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Friday, November 17, 2017

Pretenders and Stolen Valour

Some 17 years ago, I befriended a military man. Soon after that, he retired but we maintained our friendship, albeit via the internet through various iteration of social media tools.

I learnt a lot about the military from this man, and I considered him one of my early masters.

But that all changed a few years ago when I found out that he may be a fraud. He did served in the military, but never in the roles he claimed to be.

The discovery led to a soul-searching. But by then, I have had established myself as a defence writer and had also decided to do freelance writing; there's more freedom and you get to be more critical.

That experience, what I called as the 15-years lie, made me very careful with my friendship with others. I begin to take note of inconsistencies in stories that people shared.

I came across one. I won't be mentioning the name; you guys have to dig and find out the person yourself.

Another former military man, he claimed he was a member of the acclaimed GGK and HANDAU. Which isn't something surprising as early batches of HANDAU did consist of GGK members.

I took note of him when he frequently regaled some of the so-called liberal pages with his past combat experience, first against the communist, then against the Serbs.

It was when he shared some so-called technical details which is non-existence that I realised this person is a pretender.
So I began to check further.

As a GGK man, he claimed to have been involved in Ops Gubir, including the recovery of the downed Nuri which had killed 11 servicemen. This raised a second red flag. He is too young for Ops Gubir.

I shared his details and story to contacts with HANDAU veterans that I know of. It was here, HANDAU veterans stood up and called him a cheat.

He went low for about 2 years, and no longer making boastful claims.

Recently, I found out amongst the 900 plus pending friendship, was a request for friend from a name I was not familiar with, but having a very familiar photo.

Quickly, I verified his identity with some common contacts, which confirmed they are the same person. So I just leave it there.

But things recently became more interesting when a post appeared on his original profile claiming that he has a stage 4 cancer and will be quitting Facebook.

Interesting because his other profile is still active.

So what have I learnt here?

I learnt that there are people out there, having no confidence of who they are, created false details of their past to impress others.

I learnt that they need not to be some shady characters.

I learnt that they will find ways to weasel their ways out of the predicaments they have created.

I learnt that they love to impress girls.

Be careful.

Some people are not who they claim they are.

Stolen Valour refers to the act of claiming to be a military personnel, and or claiming military decorations that they did not gained during their time in service. 

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