Always A Commando

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Lieutenant-Colonel Clarence Tan Kim Peng (Rtd) was born on his family’s rubber plantation in 1941 Singapore, just ten months prior to the Japanese invasion of what was then British Malaya. Like many of his generation, his life spans the fascinating, often tumultuous years surrounding the evolution of Singapore from a primarily rural, British colony, to the thriving independent nation that it is today. From serving as an army officer during race riots in Singapore, to searching for communist insurgents and Indonesian infiltrators in the jungles of Malaysia during the Emergency and the Confrontation, LTC Tan was part of both the British and Malaysian armies before becoming a pioneer officer in Singapore’s defence force.

His son-in-law, Thomas A. Squire, brings alive the adventures of his life as a story for his grandchildren, but in a manner that can be read by all. This is a story of a man and the country he served through turbulent and uncertain times to the strong first world nation it is today.

This story will appeal not only to those interested in the life of an ordinary local boy growing up in post-war Singapore, but also to those seeking a concise historical understanding of some of the forces that influenced the island nation in its journey.