Wednesday, January 7, 2015

I remember Sam

I remember Sam. Samsuddin Basrah. If there is one thing about Sam, it would be his smile. Yes his contagious smile. Warm, assuring and fatherly even. I have always wondered why his smile never left his face. Sam wore his smile like a mask and we never saw an ugly Sam. Never. Slim, clean, straight forward and personable. He would be akin to the Cliff Richard or Ricky Nelson of our generation. No, Sam does not sing. Not even like us after a stengah at the bar. We did not catch him singing in the bathroom either. But on some very rare times Sam rose to the occasion and belted his heart (and voice) out. He stood up to be counted. Sam had the next door boyish image.

I had never served in the same Regiment or organisation with Sam. He was in 1 ARTY and I in 2 ARTY. I remained a field gunner throughout and Sam was a field gunner and air defender. Much of our interactions were at Corp activities, Corp mess nights, Corp games, conferences and army exercises.  We had not even attended one our courses together and I don’t play golf which was his favourite sport. He would always encourage me to play golf in every Corp golf competition. Come on Allen, he would always say as Director of Artillery.

Sam and I did not have the same feathers as we were close; yet not close. In the same flock but different birds. Sam was a couple of years older than me and those others of our vintage; circa 1960s. I believe this small age gap made him more responsible and matured. That is not to say Sam did not participate in our rowdy activities. Sam was never a leader in such ativities but was always dependable to participate, his smiles and all. Sam was a true thoroughbred team player. He was quiet and alert by nature. Always with a soft and encouraging voice. He would say his piece with full integrity and the truth matters most to him. He had left a good legacy for others to follow, which would be very difficult, as Sam had set an exemplary profile and left a high benchmark as a Gunner.

Anybody else who wants to share their moments with Sam, please write in the comments below or better still inform me or Rama so that we can add an addendum to this post. 

Sam left us too soon. Sadly and suddenly. Whilst he would no longer be with us, Sam and his quiet smiles would be missed by all of us.

Goodbye Sam, We are glad you were a Gunner.

Allen Lai

PS. Photo to be uploaded later. anybody got one?


  1. Thanks sir for this concise and sincere memoirs.I never saw him being ill at all during his time. His health started deteriorate very soon after all his children are married, as if his final duty and battle as a great father . I was born during he attended staff college 1977. Coincidence and unexpectedly he left during I attended staff college in 2014. Pray for his blessings and peace beside The Almighty. Amin.