By Sukhindarpal Singh | MALAYSIA |
On this Sunday, 11 Nov 2018, the world shall be commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of The Great War.
At 1100 hours on 11 Nov 1918, the Allies and Germany signed an Armistice ending all hostilities.
In the UK, life actually comes to a standstill for one minute at the appointed hour every year.
The Malay State Guides (MSG) — raised and stationed in Taiping, Perak — saw active service in the Great War as part of the Aden Field Force (28th Aden Brigade) from 9/10/1915 till the end of the war. Of the 900 men who went, only 450 returned. Thus the Malayan connection.
The MSG itself was formed in 1896 as a result for the need to organise a military force from the Police which could carry out their military duties without being called out to do Police work as well.
The first commanding officer (CO) was Colonel Walker who asked Sikhs and Pathans form the Police Forces of Perak, Selangor and Pahang to volunteer.
EVENT | PENANG, MALAYSIA: Remembrance Day at Gurdwara Sahib Police Penang | 11/11/2018 | 7am-8.30am Asa Di vaar; 9am-10am Kirtan; 10am-11am Presentation; 11am Ardaas
As the reader would know that a Capt Speedy recruited 100 Panjabis to form the Perak Armed Police in 1873, later to be redesignated the 1st Perak Sikhs.
In the early 60s, a very distinguished gentleman would visit my father, Sardar Joga Singh, in our shop-house along Bishop Street in George Town, Penang.
Master Inder Singh, a retired teacher, and my father would be having long discussions while painstakingly going over papers which I much later found out to be the manuscript of the locus classicus, History of the Malay State Guides. I believe my father was helping to proof-read the manuscript which was printed by a press down the street from where we lived.
That slim volume is the basis of my interest and knowledge of all things MSG.
Masterji, the son of Havildar Ram Singh, MSG, was born in Kuala Lumpur, in 1902, in the old Police Depot barracks where a company of MSG was stationed, saw most of his narrative first hand and Taiping, served as a teacher in King Edward VII School in Taiping and retired in 1957.
Look through your family tree and I am sure somewhere among the branches, roots and twigs you’ll find there is a soldier or a policeman, a prison warden, an airman or a sailor.
I call on all Malaysian Sikhs to please head to the nearest Gurduara on Sunday and, if nothing else, say a silent prayers for 1 minute at 1100 hours or 11.00am, to commemorate those who laid down their lives in the Great War and the wars and conflicts that followed the “war to end all wars” and pray for The One Creator to “be above those presently serving to bless them, to be by their side to comfort them and to be within them to give then strength and joy.”
In the congregational daily prayer, Asa Di Vaar, there is a line that reads, Ik nihali peh seven, ik uper rehan kherhay: some lie down on soft beds while others watch over them.
You are also invited to come to the Gurduara Sahib Police Penang to join the Sanggat to commemorate this historical centenary.
(Asia Samachar, 24 Oct 2017)