Day 8 -Konfrontasi

Konfrontasi – Bombing of Mac Donald House in 1965

Bombing of Macdonald House, a famous landmark in Singapore on 10 March 1965. Bombing was not very far off from Istana. Considered the most deadly bomb. 1963 – series of explosions mark the beginning of konfrontasi but because bombing of Macdonalds was at the heart of the city, it was more remembered and therefore described as most devastating terrorist attack.

Saboteurs sent from Indonesia under the orders of Sukarno. Sukarno’s intention was to spread chaos across Sg as part of confrontations against federation of M’sia. Aft 2nd world war, Sg was subsumed under Malaya when British decided to separate us. Merger in New Malaysia offered best hope for M’sia. Sg really intended for true political union via access to their market. Sg + Malaya + Sabah + Sarawak = New Federation of Malaysia. M’sia PM Tengku Abdul Rahman led the merger. But not everyone was happy. Formation disrupted Indon’s plans as it claims that the formation represents a British colonial plot to dominate SEA. Political differences fuelled growing animosity. Indon regional giant. Tengku Abdul Rahman issued a stark warning but it did not stop Sukarno who thought with his large empire in SEA, he could make the forward movement. He was also battling from within – threatened by Indon army. Nightmare – old & sick + military gaining power day by day. So what better target than M’sia. Sukarno needed a distraction to crush M’sia.

Commercial links severed between M’sia & Indon. Threatened 15,000 jobs in Sg. Worst – Sukarno launched plan to disrupt M’sia through campaign of sabotage. President Sukarno – spread fear & destabilize new economy. Bombings became more frequent. Response – vigilante corp + sg infantry regimen + trained volunteers defended Sg. Educated on konfrontasi & how to counter terrorism.

Life under sukarno. Fervent nationalism. Vested colonial influence. This encouraged the spread of a sense of anti-colonialism. Leaders of m’sian federation fought back.

Sukarno’s Borneo campaign (direct attack into sabah & sarawak) failed – british concentrated troops in sabah + indon deployed marines & commandos so there was intense fighting w good contenders.

Indon kko marines, osman & harun, arrived in sg, armed w explosives. Mission – bomb & cause as much destruction as possible. O & H selected perfect target. Mcdonald house was an iconic building – high rise, high class design. Considered a prestigious estate in the city & its prominence made it the target. Bomb was placed with deadly accuracy as it blasted out all support pillars from ground resulting in maximum impact.

O & H laid low then their boat hit a rock & smashed into pieces. Stranded. But they were rescued by Sg Maritime Police & taken back to island for questioning. There were calm & became talkative after a while. Osman bin Haji Mohamed Ali & Harun Said. They were Indon commandos. Outcome of trial will push 2 nations to the brink of confrontation.

Then SG agreed to a political divorce w M’sia. Sukarno celebrated. 30 sept 1965 troops loyal to communist indon fell to Military Group under the helm of Suharto. Suharto waited patiently while Sukarno took power. Suharto’s moment to seize power had come. Had crushed communists & sukarno pushed to the sidelines. Country inherited by Suharto was crippled by poverty & famine. New govt started fresh chapter. 11 08 1996 signed peace treaty w KL & konfrontasi brought to an end. 1967 thai philp sg indon m’sia ASEAN formed. Major step to regional cooperation & stronger economical ties. Sg considered releasing them aft taking into account plea of indon govt. SR Nathan took part in nego – cannot release due to loss of lives & injuries. Despite pleas by TAR & Suharto, Sg stood firm.

1968 they were hanged at changi prison & bodies flown back to Indon. 10,000 gathered to give them heroes’ welcome. Anger swelled. Sg embassy attacked & ransacked. Riots occurred. Diplomatic relations plummeted to rock bottom. Suharto swore to punish LKY. June 1970, Kun Choy appointed the new Sg Ambassador. His mission was to heal wound from konfrontation. Bonded with Suharto’s circles. Diplomatic maneuvering paid off. 1973 PM lee made first visit. No diplomatic expense were spared. Greeted by army. Despite diplomatic gestures, LKY knew more needs to be done. Bold plan to go to kaliman hero cemetery & pay respects to the 2 men. LKY put flowers. Tears & leaders were moved. It was important. Press were not told in advance that this was gonna happen. Act of sprinkling flowers. Indons felt relieved that it had been done. Important gesture as Indon place a lot of emphasis on form. So he had paid his respects to the dead. End of long diplomatic stand off. Start of new relations between Sg & Indon. Bond became close. Bilateral ties strengthened. Stood the test of time.

Pardon any broken English. This was typed in real time as I was watching. Finally knew what caused the separation between Singapore & Malaya. More interested to find out more about what LKY did during Sg’s early independence now. Oh just recalled what audit prof said earlier today about our local politics scene which I listened with disgust. Disappointed as to why it became like this. I mean.. Ethics literally doesn’t exist because the one who initiated in learning about ethics is not even abiding by it. Alright. I gotta go. Will be back for accounting scandals! & more current affairs.

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