Little Sandhurst
A Military Love Affair

By Nordin Yusof
November 2004
Asean Academic Press
ISBN: 190191948X
562 pages, Illustrated, 5 " x 8 "
$110.00 Hardcover

This book tells the story of a Malay boy from Johor who joins the army on the rebound. Originally, he wants to be a medical doctor but fate had other plans for him. During his 34-year military career, he starts life as a soldier before becoming an officer and later, for short spell becomes a diplomat as a military advisor in Indonesia. He spins the story of his military training at the Federation Military College (FMC) in Port Dickson.

Since he joins the FMC in 1960, there is no turning back despite his early desire to quit the army run by martinet British officers and senior NCOs. The FMC is established in 1952 by Gen. Gerald Templer with his vision of training future leaders during the height of the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960) - a dark period of terrorism posed by the communist insurgents in the Malay Peninsula. In the FMC Cadet Wing, he becomes a member of the class of 1960-1961, known as the Intake 4 comprising 47 multi-racial cadets (including four Singaporeans).

During the 2-year training period, Intake 4 spends one year in Port Dickson and another year in Sungai Besi, close to Kuala Lumpur the capital city of Malaysia. By this token, Intake 4 is the last batch of cadets trained at Port Dickson and the first group that is commissioned in the brand new College at Sungai Besi. During the transition period of the Malayan independence gained in 1957, he describes the modernization of the fledging Malayan Armed Forces as well as the implementation of the Malayanization program.

This program entails the handing and taking over between the British officers and their Malayan counterparts of all appointments in the civil administration, military and police forces in the newly-independent Federation of Malaya. "You are married to the army first and your wife, second." This was the British dictum to follow for those who want to be a truly professional military officer. The initial cultural shock that he goes through the militarization of his civilian life finally turns out to be a passionate love affair with his career.

Written from a historical perspective, there is a wealth of information that can be found in his personal account serving the young nation through the end of the First Emergency (1948-1960), the Second Emergency (1968-1990), the Sabah claim by the Philippines (1968) and the May 13, 1969 racial clash, among others.

Military History; Autobiography

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