Our lives are precious. And that’s why we should live life without regrets. That’s how Paul enjoyed his career journey!
Commissioned as a Commando in 1984, Paul Karpaya joined the Malaysian Armed Forces in 1973 before serving the commando unit in 1976. Despite his longer-than-usual journey, his most memorable operation was in 1979 when he was deployed to Ops Selamat Sawadee, a joint operation with the Thai Army to track and combat communists in the Perak-Thailand bordering forest.
The father of four was a corporal who completed three years of basic commando training at the special warfare training centre of Sungai Udang Camp in Malacca. Hard and rusty training were apart of his life then. He served the country well fighting the communists.
The 69-year-old was always eager to take part in every operation because he wanted to prove the potential of the entire team. In 1984, he was dispatched to a special assignment in Tapah as part of the 22 Commando Regiment. The incident which happened to his wife, D.Letchimy was still fresh on his mind. She was ready to give birth to their first child, but Paul couldn’t be there by her side as he was assigned for an important task. But, he believed that his wife was far more capable and would manage the situation better.
“It wouldn’t bother me if I lost any other items of military attire, but not the Green Beret. I couldn’t bear the loss of the beret, which was really arduous to obtain. You had to go through so much,” he explained.
At the same time, Paul also urged the public not to foster racial prejudices that may jeopardise the peace that had been gained by blood, sweat, and tears of every member of the forces.
“All those nasty thoughts, racism, do not create them. If you broke the unity, it could put Malaysia into disarray, we should all live together happily as Malaysians,” he said.
Paul faced numerous setbacks during his training but that didn’t stop him from being a responsible commando to his team. After serving the nation for almost 22 years, Paul retired at the age of 42 in 1996 and mentioned that every single experience he had while serving as a commando was priceless, and even the Green Beret he used to wear is irreplaceable.