Saturday, February 8, 2014

Blasts from the past...

It has been an exhausting past few days for Angie and I. We arranged: for Tiong's body to be taken to a casket company for the wake; for the necessary papers; for a columbarium niche (it has a nice "penthouse" number, with his birth year in it); and for the funeral/cremation. And, while we were busy to-ing and fro-ing, we found a tyre had an embedded nail. We got it patched.

Whew! I think I should now resume blogging.

When news of the naming of an Indonesian warship after the two men (marines in mufti, hence deemed to be terrorists by Singapore) who carried out the 1965 MacDonald House bombing hit the headlines mid-week, I tried to recall how much I personally knew about that incident, which occurred during Sukarno-era Indonesia's undeclared war, or Konfrontasi (Confrontation).

I knew there were a series of explosions island-wide that started in 1963. In fact, there were 37, with MacDonald House being the most serious of them (three victims died as a result). I also recalled that there were explosions earlier, in 1963, at Katong Park, also carried out by Indonesian saboteurs. There were three blasts in all, fortunately with no fatalities.

But my memory failed me when I thought that -- apart from MacDonald House being the location of the Australian High Commission and the Japanese Consulate -- there was some link to the Israeli Embassy. As it turned out, there was another building on Orchard Road -- Faber House -- that housed the Israeli Embassy. And it too was a target of bombs. Twice. But these blasts occurred much later (in 1985 and 1986) and were the work of international terrorists.

International terrorists were also involved in two other Singapore-related events: the 1974 Laju ferry hijacking and the 1991 SQ117 Airbus hijacking.

I found the SingaporeInfopedia site an excellent source for what happened with regard to these incidents that are etched into our recent past:

MacDonald House (March 10, 1965)

Faber House (March 17, 1985 and December 21, 1986)

Laju ferry hijacking (January 31, 1974)

SQ117 Airbus hijacking (March 26, 1991)

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