Dear Jen Leong
Since you have been courteous, please allow me to address you here over your question on the participation of non-Malays in the armed forces, and from the perspective of an officer, as the other ranks' path is not for me to comment on.
The dwindling numbers are a function of many factors. Chief amongst them is that the war was winding down. We managed to make this war so unprofitable for the CPM that they agreed to lay down their armed struggle in 1989. This was a world's first.
Next, it also depends on how you see yourself as a non-Malay in the armed forces. If you look forward to a career, or a business venture, sometimes you may succeed with cunning and acumen. Often times not, for you are piited against the numerical and sectarian odds. Promotions are lost, sidelining is common. That does not encourage numbers. Then you will find that such "failed businessmen" will advertise against anyone else taking a chance.
You also have those who sign up to gain a trade. They serve in logistics, in engineering, as legal directorate officers, seamen, pilots, fire specialists, radar techs, whatnot. Those who are lucky to be signed up as short service commission officers leave at term's end and live fruitful lives in the quiet of post-service years.
Then there are those of us who joined up just to serve. The promotions didn't matter as we knew this is government service. We just wanted to be an influence for things to work correctly. We looked way beyond personal pain and rising through the ranks as an index of self-worth, and gave till there was none left, and then some. I hate cliches, but this is where you actually get to be all that you can be.
I had the privilege of serving under various trades, as a fire officer, air trafficker and as a pilot as I sought to pursue what I felt I was able to do but was dropped off over the way things were according to their times.
I was privileged in that from the time of commissioning I was taken seriously notwithstanding my rank, and had no problems with providing input towards operational decisions to my generals, often without counter argument. I will not say too much about this, suffice that there are current practices and hardware that are results of my input, and I am amongst many who have contributed this way. I would be summoned from meetings by my four-stars for matters such as these. And yet, at the lower echelons I was perceived as a threat. I too have faced the very matters that discourage non-Malays from signing up. But to yield is to be defeatist. To quit before you are ready is to allow the enemy within his undeserved victory.
I can say without remorse that those who leave should leave happily. Baggage weighs you down. And becomes the birthplace for misplaced vitriol. This is not an answer that will satisfy the masses. It was my own answer as I gave what I had to King and country no matter what horrors I witnessed my leaders commit, no matter what insult the public voiced.
Forgive my geriatric meanderings.
Posted by hobbit1964 to steadyaku47 at Thursday, March 7, 2013 at 12:30:00 PM GMT+10:30