I am a bit cheesed off by the comments made by Wira in Dato' Arshad's blog, under the entry "An Open Letter To The Chief Of Defence Forces And To All Three Service Chiefs" dated 14 April 2010. I think I need to clarify things a bit for Wira since he has made it clear that he is NOT a follower of my husband's (Mej. Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman (B) blog, xnuripilot. Based on this declaration, Wira is in no position to come out with such callous remarks regarding the issue on the gallantry medals. I think I need to straighten things out a bit to ease the congestion and lessen the confusion in Wira's somewhat troubled mind.
To date, Malaysia has 5 gallantary awards which have been gazetted by the government, namely
1) Seri Pahlawan Gagah Perkasa (SP)
2) Pingat Gagah Berani (PGB)
3) Pingat Tentera Udara (PTU)
4) Jasa Perkasa Persekutuan (JPP)
5) Kepujian Perutusan Keberanian (KPK)
The famous Kanang was awarded both the SP and PGB in the 70'S. A few of my husband's colleagues got their PGBs in the 70's as well. It is important to note that these medals were not accompanied by monetary incentives then. It was only in 2001 that the government decided to grant the recipients of SP and PGB a monthly allowance of RM400 and RM300 respectively. However, the amount was later increased to RM2000 and RM1,500 monthly in 2009. There was quite a buzz in the local media regarding this substantial increase that marked the beginning of my husband's crusade to get the authorities to provide similar incentives to the other 3 remaining gallantry awards i.e. PTU, JPP and KPK.
Inevitably, a precedence is set when the government decides to acknowledge the SP and PGB recipients with monetary incentives. My husbabnd is of the opinion that the other 3 medallists should also be accorded the same respect and dignity. Wira's shallow concept on the role of soldiers (i.e. fighting and dying blindly for the country and not seeking what is rightfully theirs for the taking) is sadly outdated and irrelevant. It was the order of the day then, to swallow everything in silence regardless of how dissatisfied and disgruntled a person was over a certain issue and to accept everything as fate. Hang Tuah's blind loyalty is no longer revered today.
Things are obviously different now. There are numerous platforms which allow us to voice our opinions, to speak out our minds and to pour out our grievances. It would be foolish not to grab this golden opportunity dangling right under our noses to fight for a good cause. In this particular case, the "good cause" stands to benefit not just Mej. Nor Ibrahim Bin Sulaiman (B) but hundreds of others in the military as well as the police force.(I don't know the actual statistics, but I was told the total number does not exceed one thousand) These were some of the people who once fought for the country against the communists terrorists and were awarded gallantry awards for their bravery but sadly, they missed out on the monetary incentives enjoyed by their SP and PGB counterparts. There was not the slightest hint of discontent or disillusionment until 2009 following the announcement on the increment of the monthly allowance to the SP and PGB medallists. This inevitably triggered a normal thinking person into questioning "Why? Why only SP and PGB. Why not all the other three as well?" In the course of this pursuit, a comparison was made between the gallantry award medallists and the gold, silver and bronze medallists in athletics as a means of providing an analogy. If all the three athletics medallists are given the incentives, then going by the analogy, it would seem justified that all the five gallantry award medallists be treated similarly.
I hope my explanation would assist in lifting the shroud that's been clouding both Wira's thoughts and vision.
"Wira" means "hero" when translated. The Cambridge definition of a "hero" is "a person who is admired for having done something very brave or having achieved something very great." The soldiers who were on the frontline fighting for the country are definitely heroes. The athletes who brought fame to the country are also heroes. If it is not asking too much, Wira, which category do you fall into? The battle field or the sports arena? It strikes me as rather weird and odd that a person who goes by the nickname of "Wira" should decide to hide his true identity. Heroes are supposed to be brave enough to reveal their true self. Well, may be with a few exceptions!!!. Come on Wira, take off that mask of yours. Prove us that you are a REAL hero, come out of that hiding place. Give us a chance to assess you the way you assess others.
P.S. Wira, may be it would be wise for you to just eat the apples and oranges mentioned in your comments instead of making careless comparisons of them. Who knows, they might just help you think straight once and for all.