I had previously lamented about Singaporeans' lack of interest in the country's modern history. At the very least, we should all be familiar with the key defining events or decisions. How many people are aware that the fledgling Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) learnt a terrible lesson about the need for relentless training and never letting one's guard down during the period in the 1960s known as Konfrontasi (Confrontation)?
The price the SAF paid were nine of its soldiers killed in an ambush in Kota Tinggi, Johor, by armed Indonesian infiltrators. Those men, who were on patrol, were literally caught with their pants down when a group of them took a dip in the river leaving just a few others to stand guard. But the SAF learnt from that lesson. I am glad there is now an initiative to commemorate in a memorial service all those of our people who died and suffered during Konfrontasi (TODAY, March 11):
Apart from the TODAY story above, I have an ST cutting earlier this year in which a Mr Goh, who was a young SAF officer at the time, recalled the Kota Tinggi incident (he spoke of eight deaths, not the nine in TODAY's account):
There are so many other defining events or decisions. The story of how Singapore achieved a sufficient measure of security in its water supply is well known. Less known (practically unknown by the young and forgotten by many of my peers today) is the Great MRT debate of the 1980s. I hope some researcher/s delve/s into this issue. Here's an old Business Times cutting to pique some interest:
Finally, still reminiscing, I had earlier posted this old ST cutting of a 1930s Ford car advertisement:
Here are the rest of that incomplete page...