In the 60s, life in the Royal Malay Regiment was hard. At least hard enough to be honest. An independent country was still in its infancy. Economic development, racial tension, communism and citizenship issues were what most people had to embrace and face. No exceptions for the Royal Malay Regiment. They had to counter all, especially with the communists’ armed threat and the May 13th tragedy. During the latter, they had to bring down anybody with parangs, anybody who posed threat. The situation was totally fucked up.

Joo was a Major in the Royal Malay Regiment. He was a good soldier and an excellent officer. But he has issues with his higher ranks. He refuses to obey their personal orders. Personal, corrupted orders. His higher ranks decided to reassign him. Soon after, Joo was a personal bodyguard for Ghazali Shafie, a secretary for Malaysia’s Ministry of External Affairs at that time.

His service to Ghazali was more than just physical safety. Joo has become more or less like an assistant, thus showed Ghazali’s professional affection towards him. He received privileges that his higher ranks can only dream of. Out of jealousy, they had to do something. Once again, he was reassigned.

This time as an officer in a remote district in Sabah. Joo accepted this challenge and began his service in Sabah. He left his wife and children behind because of the environment. An environment not suitable to bring up a family, what more a young family like Joo’s. He spent one year in Sabah before he received a call from Ghazali Shafie. Ghazali asked him to retire from the Royal Malay Regiment.

Ghazali had strong ties with the Sultan of Selangor. It so happens that the Sultan needed a new protocol officer. Ghazali suggested Joo. Joo resigned from the Royal Malay Regiment and started his new role as the Sultan’s protocol officer, an aid to the Sultan. As always, Joo performed well with his responsibilities. Things were starting to get better for Joo. The Sultan took good care of Joo and his family. But then, the happiness was cut short by envy, yet again.

Distant royalties in the istana were uncomfortable with the Sultan’s relationship with Joo. To them, subjects should not be that close to a Sultan, what more receiving privileges such as borrowing the Sultan’s car! (the Sultan offered Joo, not the other way around). They started bad-mouthing Joo. This then leaded to slander. The wise Sultan didn’t believe what he heard. Joo in the other hand decided that if the royal family doesn’t like his presence around, he’s willing to go. He asked the Sultan to let him go.

The Sultan concurred with Joo’s decision. His highness didn’t force Joo to stay but decided to bargain give tribute. Before Joo left, the Sultan told Joo, “I am sad to let a friend go. To show my appreciation to you, I’m giving you the Dato’ship”. Joo replied, “I’m sorry but I don’t think I’m an adequate candidate for that position”. The Sultan continued, “How about a huge piece of land in Batu Tiga?” Joo humbly replied, “There are others who needed the land more than I do”.

The land intended is at the heart of the present Shah Alam.

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