Valour and Courage: Operation "Seladang" (Gaur)
Death or Glory
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The Courageous
Who Have Looked At
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In A Foxhole
“When you're left wounded on

Afganistan's plains and

the women come out to cut up what remains,

Just roll to your rifle

and blow out your brains,

And go to your God like a soldier”

“We are not retreating. We are advancing in another direction.”

“It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it.”

“Old soldiers never die; they just fade away.

“The soldier, above all other people, prays for peace,

for he must suffer and be the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

“May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I won't .”
“The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his.

“Nobody ever defended anything successfully, there is only attack and attack and attack some more.

“Fixed fortifications are a monument to the stupidity of man."
“It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died.
Rather we should thank God that such men lived.

The Soldier stood and faced God


Which must always come to pass

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He hoped his shoes were shining

Just as bright as his brass

"Step forward you Soldier,

How shall I deal with you?


Have you always turned the other cheek?


To My Church have you been true?"


"No, Lord, I guess I ain't


Because those of us who carry guns


Can't always be a saint."

I've had to work on Sundays

And at times my talk was tough,

And sometimes I've been violent,

Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny

That wasn't mine to keep.

Though I worked a lot of overtime

When the bills got just too steep,

The Soldier squared his shoulders and said

And I never passed a cry for help

Though at times I shook with fear,

And sometimes, God forgive me,

I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place

Among the people here.

They never wanted me around


Except to calm their fears.


If you've a place for me here,


Lord, It needn't be so grand,


I never expected or had too much,


But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was silence all around the throne

Where the saints had often trod

As the Soldier waited quietly,

For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you Soldier,

You've borne your burden well.

Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,

You've done your time in Hell."

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Operation "Seladang" (Gaur)
Friday, June 16, 2006
On the 18th August 1959 Operation Seladang was launched in Pahang, a section of 12 men were selected from Platoon 9, C Company of the 1st Federation Regiment. They were led by 2Lt Muthulingam Francis Thilagaratnam (200103). They were tasked to conduct an ambush in the vicinity of a banana plantation and the Sungei Ruan new village.

The Lieutenant was assisted by his Platoon Sergeant 201410 Ismail bin Man and Corporal Choo Woh Soon. The section moved from Mentakab, Pahang at around 2200 hrs through the Sungei Ruan Police Station, to pick up a Police Special Branch Agent. They were guided by this agent to the location, earmarked for the ambush. They arrived at the location at midnight. The agent after indicating the location to the troops left the area.

The section took up positions in the banana plantation until the dawn of 19th August 1959. To avoid being seen by the locals they moved out of the ambush position as daylight broke. They abandoned their ambush position to move uphill which was covered with bush. They stayed hidden there until nightfall.

They rested on top of the hill awaiting nightfall. To keep themselves undetected by the local population, the members of this ambush party did not bring any food to be cooked and were not allowed to smoke at any time. No cooking utensils like mess tin, spoons and hexamine tablets for cooking were carried. They only carried biscuits and water. They stayed put at that location until late in the evening. At around 1800 hrs the rain came down, when it was still drizzling 2Lt M.F. Thilagaratnam moved down the hill with seven of his men, to reoccupy the ambush position.

4 men were left behind to take care of the surplus equipment and their radio sets. When the ambush party was about to take up their positions even though it was drizzling, the line of sight and the weather at that moment was clear. This troubled them that they could be spotted by passersby’s. They aborted the taking up of positions temporarily, to await darkness. They pulled back a distance from their designated ambush position.

As the section was looking for a good spot to be covered from view, Lance Corporal Choo took cover behind the trunk of a banana tree. A little moment after that at approximately 1815 hrs, suddenly, a person appeared before him. Lance Corporal Choo tried to signal the Platoon Sergeant, Sgt. Ismail who was nearby. The Sergeant failed to see Lance Corporal Choo who was frantically signaling him.

It never crossed the mind of LCpl Choo that the person in front of him was a Communist Terrorist. His first thought was that the person was an “Orang Asli” (aborigine), as the person was not wearing a shirt or a hat and was wearing long pants which had been cut off at the legs, just below the knees. Apart from that he was carrying a salt container which was normally used by the aborigines.

LCpl Choo carefully observed the movement of this individual, without the individual being aware. The individual laid down a Tommy gun and then removed his pack and stood as though waiting for someone. When LCpl Choo saw the Tommy gun, he realized that he was the Enemy. The Enemy now moved forward, looking, probably for his friend or friends. LCpl Choo lay still and was still not detected by the Enemy.

He continued observing the Enemy. He could actually hear his heart thumping in his chest. LCpl Choo continued observing, once in awhile trying to get the attention of Sgt Ismail. LCpl Choo did not want to react without orders as he was instructed by his Platoon Commander not to open fire without his orders. The Lieutenant was not aware at the entire goings on, as he was at that time behind a big log and his back was towards the Enemy. The Sergeant too was unaware.

Soon two more Enemy appeared, LCpl Choo who had vainly signaled his Sergeant many times, was desperate. The two Enemy who had come around to where LCpl Choo was, looked around carefully. They suddenly made eye contact with LCpl Choo. The Enemy was surprised and momentarily froze. They reached for their weapons. Before the Enemy could bring a bead on him LCpl Choo opened up with his rifle. LCpl Choo coolly brought aimed fire on the Enemy. He fired snap shots at the Enemy. He did not even flinch, as the enemy rounds whizzed past him. His aim was true. All the three of the Enemy fell, killed by him, in that very short time.

A pistol and two Tommy guns, assorted ammunition and equipment were recovered from the dead Enemy. One of the enemy who was killed was Ngow Lai , who was a Branch Committee Member of the Malayan Communist Party. Ngow Lai was involved in the ambush and the killing of the High Commissioner of Malaya, Sir Henry Gurney in 1951. He was also involved in the killing of Mrs. Nora Stutchbury, wife of the District Officer of Bentong. She was killed along the Kuala Lumpur –Bentong road. in 1950. The other two dead Enemies were Mo Sze Chuan and San Cheng. All were from the 6th Assault Unit.

The shots were heard at the Raub Police station, the Police contacted the Battalion Headquarters. Major F.A.Coombe the Officer Commanding C Company was informed. He was actually watching a movie. He gathered the Company and asked for volunteers to head to Sungei Ruan. With 3 sections of men, a land rover and an armored car, the Company commander moved from Mentakab to Sungei Ruan at 2200 hrs that night. The Company Commander’s intention was to meet up with the Ambush Party. The Company Commander with the help of the Police Special Branch arrived at the ambush location at 0300 hrs on the 20th. The following morning at dawn on the 20th August 1959, a follow up was conducted to see if there were any more Enemy, using tracker dogs. The Unit then moved back to Mentakab.

For valor in the face of the Enemy, in which he killed 3 of the Enemy, Lance Corporal Choo Woh Soon was awarded the “Pingat Gagah Berani”, by His Royal Highness the Second Yang DiPertaun Agong, Sultan Hisamuddin Alam Shah Al-haj ibni Almarhum Sultan Alaiddin Sulaiman Shah on the 4th of January 1961. The award was presented by the third Agong, His Royal Highness Al-Sultan Syed Putra ibni Almarhum Syed Hassan Jamalullail at the Tunku Abdul Rahman Hall in Kula Lumpur on the 5th August 1965, a Thursday.

Choo Who Soon was born in Ipoh, Perak on the 3rd January 1938. He derived his early education at the Chinese School in Tanjung Rambutan, Ipoh. He continued his studies at the Methodist School in Tanjung Rambutan. He went out of Tanjung Rambutan to seek his fortune, to Kuala Lumpur, there he worked as a bar man at the 27th Company Royal Army Service Corps(RASC), after which he journeyed on to Singapore to join the Navy. He was unsuccessful whereby he returned to Kuala Lumpur. He then joined the Army on the 21st January 1956, after being accepted as a recruit of the 1st Battalion Federation Regiment (1st.Bn.Fed.Regt), which later became the 1st Reconnaissance Regiment.

He underwent recruit training for a period of 6 months in Kuala Kangsar, Perak. He went for further courses in Segamat, Johor and Sungei Udang in Malacca. After two years in the Pipes and Drums Platoon of the 1st Federation Regiment he joined C Company and was promoted to a Lance corporal. He was then sent to the Recruit Training Centre to become an instructor. From the 13th January 1962 until 13th July 1962 he was in the Congo as an Armored Vehicle Commander. Apart from that he was sent on a course to New Zealand for the Junior Leaders Tactics Course from the 29th June 1967 until 4th September 1967.

Choo Woh Soon left the service as a Sergeant after serving the nation loyally and gallantly for 21 years. Currently he resides in Kamunting, Perak.
posted by D.Swami Gwekanandam @ 8:59 AM  
1 Comments:
  • At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Thank you for the enlightening piece of history. Very proud of what you all have achieved, if Malaysian only knew.... I hope Malaysian, Malays and non Malays alike have the opportunity to learn and understand that Malaysian of every race have played their part to protect this country. May you have a long and happy life. I hope Prof Khoo reads this...

     

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