Indonesia recently decided to name a new British made frigate KRI Usman Harun, after the 2 Indonesian marines who were responsible for the MacDonald House bombing in 1965. Singapore has sent a strong signal to Indonesia that it opposes the naming, saying that the action would “reopen old wounds.”
A total of 29 bombs had been set off in Singapore since the start of Indonesian Konfrontasi in 1962. The MacDonald House bombing which left 3 people dead and 33 injured, is the most serious incident. Second Sgt. Usman bin Haji Muhammad Ali and Second Cpl. Harun bin Said. were arrested within 4 days, charged with murder and sentenced to death in 1968.
Personally, I think Indonesia is free to name their warship whatever they want. It is their warship after all. Singapore isn’t an expert in naming warship. Just look at our warship. All the names are pretty boring. RSS Valour, RSS Endurance, RSS Intrepid etc etc…. We name our ships base on good attributes and characteristic that we wish our Navy personnel have when they are serving in that ship. We don’t have the habit of naming our warship after a person. But from as far as I know, countries that name their warship after a person usually name them after great people. Great people who have done commendable deeds that deserved to be remembered. And hopefully crews onboard that ship will have the same great attribute as that person.
So who is Second Sgt. Usman bin Haji Muhammad Ali and Second Cpl. Harun bin Said? They are Indonesian marines during the Indonesian Konfrontasi who managed to infiltrate into Singapore and plant bomb on civilian targets. Why attack a bank building in downtown Singapore? Well, it is an easy target. It would be a lot harder for them to attack a heavily guarded military target. And Indonesia didn’t declare war with Singapore or Malaysia during the Indonesian Konfrontasi. So to put this in today context, the actions by Usman bin Haji Muhammad Ali and Harun bin Said are considered terrorist act. And I’m surprised that Indonesia considered these 2 terrorist as their national hero. It is a total insult to all the National Hero of Indonesia.
And to add more insult, all these bombing and attack did not achieve the main objective. Indonesia eventually accepts the formation of Malaysia. The Indonesian Konfrontasi ended with victory to the Commonwealth.
So sure, go ahead Indonesia. Name your warship after the 2 terrorist who cowardly attack civilian targets during peace time in a confrontation that you lost. I feel sorry for the soldiers who will be serving onboard KRI Usman Harun. Everyone have their ship name after some great hero or famous politicians who have contributed significantly to the country. But the poor crews of KRI Usman Harun will be serving onboard a warship named after 2 terrorist. 2 cowardly terrorist who picked on easy civilian targets instead of the tougher military targets. And they didn’t even manage to escape out of Singapore after their mission. Lousy.
Imagine KRI Usman Harun going oversea and the foreign Navy personnels visiting the ship asked the crew about their ship’s name. It is going to be an awkward conversation.
And don’t bother about being sensitive towards Singapore. The damaged relationship between Singapore and Indonesia can be easily repaired. Naming your warship after 2 terrorists is more important than your relationship with your neighbours. And don’t worry. The next time you have an earthquake or tsunami, Singapore will still provide assistance like we always do.
So I say let Indonesia name their warship whatever they want. It is their rights. Just like we can also name 2 urinal in the new National Stadium as Usman and Harun. But of course we are not going to do that. We are more mature than the Indonesians. So go ahead Indonesia. Let the rest of the world laugh whenever they see KRI Usman Harun, the pride of Indonesia Navy named after 2 coward terrorists that you call heroes.