Pukul Habis: Total Wipeout: A Story of War in Malaysia and Singapore. By David Boey.

AuthorHuxley, Tim

Pukul Habis: Total Wipeout: A Story of War in Malaysia and Singapore. By David Boey. Singapore: David Boey Creatives, 2022. Softcover: 400pp.Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine and concerns over a potential Chinese attack on Taiwan have brought the conduct as well as the deterrence of interstate war to the foreground of contemporary discussions about international security. But, despite the prominence of concerns over terrorism, internal security, piracy and other relatively low-intensity challenges over the last two decades, potential conflict between states never went away as a focus for those who think about defence and security in Southeast Asia. This has been particularly so in Singapore. The structure, equipment and training of the city-state's armed forces provide many clues to their intended operational roles, which are evidently concerned primarily with deterrence and (if necessary) defence against conventional military threats. However, to a greater or lesser extent, the orders of battle, procurement patterns and military exercises of some other Southeast Asian states, including Malaysia, reveal that their political leaders and defence establishments also have possible conflict with other regional states on their minds.For several decades, David Boey--a Singaporean who was at one point a correspondent for Jane's Defence Weekly and later Defence Correspondent for The Straits Times--has thought long and hard about his country's defence preparations. In a country where almost every locally raised male has some military expertise due to Singapore's National Service system, Boey is probably the most knowledgeable person, outside government, on the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF). It should be no surprise that Pukul Habis, his fictional account of a war between Singapore and its neighbour Malaysia, reflects his near-encyclopaedic knowledge of the SAF and is replete with military detail. But Boey's transition from his previous journalistic writing to the very different medium of fiction is also impressive.Following in the footsteps of previous authors of speculative war fiction--including novels as diverse as Hector Bywater's The Great Pacific War (1925), General Sir John Hackett's The Third World War (1978) and Tom Clancy's The Hunt for Red October (1984), not to mention earlier books by Singaporean authors such as Douglas Chua's Crisis in the Straits: Malaysia invades Singapore (2001) and Wee Ee Hon's Ko Island: What if NS Men had to fight...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT