Thursday, August 18, 2005

Tugu Negara and UMSC War Memorial: The reflection of Past War.

Malaysia was declared as an independent state on 31 August 1957 by our founding father Tunku Abdul Rahman. This is not a recurrence lecture about Malaysia history but awareness of the two statues that is Tugu Negara and UMSC War Memorial. Surfing on my routine internet reading, I saw a photo of The Battle of Iwo Jiwa in BBC News website that reminds me our Malaysia Tugu Negara.

BBC: WW2 in Pacific

After doing a deep research on the internet, I found out UMSC War Memorial statue look exactly as the photo at Arlington National Cemetery in Rosslyn, Virginia, USA.

The Marine Corps War Memorial is a military memorial statue located adjacent to Arlington National Cemetery in Rosslyn, Virginia, U.S.A. The memorial is dedicated to all personnel of the U.S. Marine Corps who have died in the defense of the United States since 1775.

Wikipedia: UMSC War Memorial

Therefore, there are similarity between UMSC War Memorial and our own Malaysia Tugu Negara. Tugu Negara was built on 1966 by Felix De Weldon on 1966 the same designer to this UMSC War Memorial. Both of these statues don’t identically look same but the overall is that it looks the same. It depicts soldiers with a flag fighting on war.

The Tugu Negara or the National Monument located in Kuala Lumpur,Malaysia. The height of this monument is 15 meters high. It is made out of bronze. It is located near the Parliament building. It depicts a group of soldiers holding up a national flag, was constructed in 1966 and was designed by Austrian sculptor Felix de Weldon, who was also responsible for the famed Iwo Jima Memorial Monument in Washington. It commemorates those who died in Malaysia's struggles for freedom (principally against the Japanese occupation and during the Malayan Emergency of 1946-60). The national flag is held aloft by one of the figures. Each of the bronze figures symbolises a different quality, namely leadership, suffering, unity, vigilance, strength, courage, and sacrifice.

Wikipedia: Tugu Negara

The interesting part is, UMSC War Memorial design was taken from photo taken by Joe Rosenthal at the tip of the island of Iwo Jima on 23 Febuary 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima.

The bronze statue depicts the raising of the American flag atop Mount Suribachi at the southern tip of the island of Iwo Jima on February 23, 1945 during the Battle of Iwo Jima. It is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph "Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima" by war photographer Joe Rosenthal. Felix W. de Weldon, a sculptor who was serving with the U.S. Navy was inspired to reproduce the photograph as a model and later a life-sized statue. The statue itself was cast in 108 pieces at the Bedi-Rassy Art Foundry Brooklyn, New York, taking some three years to complete. The entire $850,000 cost of the memorial was donated. It is currently managed by the National Park Service.

Wikipedia: UMSC War Memorial
Wikipedia: Battle of Iwo Jima

As a Malaysian, we should know more about statues that stand firm all around places in Malaysia. It is a reminder for us and future generation about once event during peace and the hardship and suffering during war. It’s not meant to be a reminder about how good and brave our soldier during the war we called patriotism. Patriotism is not just about how much you love to your country to fight in a war and get killed during war period. It is about getting us to love our country by avoiding war from happening and leave the mess and destruction to our future generation to solve and live with it.

War memorial not mean to spark any intention about us trying to fight in a war. It remind us about specific event happened during the past that not pleasant and a hard reminder about the consequences and effect of war. One might think by serving in National Services and taking military exercise training, the spirits of patriotism and nationalism is in him. On certain perspective, yes is it. But does we indirectly promote and spreading the seed of war to our youngster by giving them the knowledge of killing and shooting.

Malaysia National Services is striving to Military Compulsory Training order same as in Singapore. I know the importance of having a great military capability due to the sovereignty of any country especially Malaysia. Still prefer the society not being in to the mandatory National Services that impart weapon training exercise that suggested by some party. We have a great and adequate amount of population that freely chooses to be a soldier and willing to defend their country. Singapore as usual doesn’t have to adequate population that willing chooses to be a soldier and therefore, mandatory military training is compulsory and needed and yet this is not stereotype assumption.

I have an ill feeling of giving our youngster the skills to kill and shoot. It will naively create a new generation that was brain washed to fighting in a war. Therefore again, open a door for someone to take an opportunity to justify wars against others for it self intention and motives. We’re creating an opportunity for mass war to be reborn. A dictator to rise and genocide to be happen in future. A war against a war will create a more war and conflict among the people. Bringing up your weapon and army capability or training up people to prepare them for war might as said an act or war and an opportunity for some irresponsible people to start a big war.

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