Best known for his role in helping to establish the Singapore Armed Forces Commando Formation and as the unit's first commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Clarence Tan was born on his family's rubber plantation, just ten months before the Japanese invasion of British Malaya in 1941.
As with those of his generation, his life spans the dramatic, often tumultuous years of Singapore's evolution from a primarily rural British colony to the world class cosmopolis it is today. From leading a platoon during racial riots in Singapore to searching for communist insurgents and Indonesian infiltrators in the jungles of Malaysia during the Emergency and the Confrontation, LTC (Rtd) Tan was part of both the British and Malaysian armies before becoming a pioneer officer in Singapore's defence force. For as surely as there are makers of history, there are those too who are made by history.
Always A Commando is at once a compelling chronicle of one man's life from kampong kid to red beret and a rich evocation of the country he served through turbulent and uncertain times.