By Revathie Dhanabalan
April 10, 2018
Members of the Singapore Armed Forces Veterans' League (SAFVL) at the Konfrontasi Memorial Ceremony
The 1960s was a dark period in Singapore when Indonesia waged an undeclared war to oppose the formation of Malaysia. Singapore was part of that new nation, from 1963 to 1966. In 1965, Singapore experienced the worst post-war (World War II) bomb attack on the MacDonald House.
Laying of flowers by guests
A memorial was set up near MacDonald House (Dhoby Ghaut Green) on 10 March, 2015 to mark the 50th anniversary of the bombing. Every year since, Singaporeans, families of those who were killed or injured in the bombing, veterans and soldiers, gather to remember those who had lost their lives during those troubled times. The memorial also reminds Singaporeans of the ongoing fight against terrorism, and our resolution to stay united as one people, to preserve our way of life through Total Defence.
Opening address by the President of the SAFVL, Brigadier-General (RET) Winston Toh
Although Konfrontasi happened more than five decades ago, Brigadier-General (RET) Winston Toh, President of the Singapore Armed Forces Veterans' League (SAFVL) reiterated to the attendants at the memorial service to "remember the courage, efforts and sacrifices of those who had fought to defend us during Konfrontasi. Be it people that are serving their National Service or veterans or retirees - all of us have a part to play in Total Defence and the security of Singapore," said BG (RET) Toh.
Laying of wreaths by Loyang View Secondary School students
Organised by the SAFVL, the memorial also serves as a purpose to educate younger generations about this dark chapter in Singapore's history. In his address, BG (RET) Toh spoke of his hopes for the future generation to remember the sacrifices of those who fought for Singapore. He added that as "we [adults] age, we need to continue to play our part in educating our next generation in terms of defence, sufficiency in defence and being a good citizen."
A minute of Silent Prayer led by Inter-Religious Leaders
53 years ago, Konfrontasi shook the hearts of every Singaporean including the veterans that were present at the memorial. SAFVL Committee Member and Commitment to Defence Ambassador, MAJ (RET) Peter Soh recounted his harrowing tale and experience when he was posted to guard key installations. He reminded event attendants that "we can all draw lessons from that dark chapter of our history."
CPT (RET) Shamsudin bin Sahdan
If you would like to read a first-hand account of Konfrontasi, check out our interview with CPT (RET) Shamsudin's experience and how he got the name "King of the Parade" when he was posted to Sabah during Konfrontasi.