For most Malaysians, Hari Raya means spending precious time with their loved ones. Sometimes, this entails travelling long distances to be with their parents, siblings and relatives. The joy and anticipation of being with their loved ones make the long and sometimes arduous journey a worthwhile effort.

However, for a small bunch of very special folk, Hari Raya is just another busy day at the office, very far away from loved ones. Once again, I was very privileged to have the opportunity to spend just a bit of time with these swell guys.

About a year ago, on 22 May, I wrote a short article about a bunch of guys who looked after the country's real estate located a few hundred miles away from land. This year, I had the wonderful chance of visiting another bunch, who looks after another area of national interest. Located in the east coast of Sabah, this Forward Operation Base (FOB) is manned by a handful of members from the three services of the Malaysian Armed Forces (MAF). In a nutshell, these guys are there to "get things done" when the need arises.

Like their MAF colleagues in other parts of the country, Hari Raya is just another work day, making sure that "certain things will get done" should the "bad guys" show up. For them, there is no time to shop for "baju raya", help the wife hang fresh new curtains or hug and seek forgiveness from their loved ones on the morning of Aidilfitri.

Having said all that, it is ironic that there is little interest in these people who look after the country's national interest.

By: Admiral Tan Sri Mohd Reza bin Mohd Sany