Heroes or war criminals?
The classic answer to this question is: There is no right or wrong answer.
Depending on which side of the conflict you were on during the Indonesian Konfrontasi (Confrontation), you would label them accordingly.
For the sake of peace and building good economic ties with our neighbour, then Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew sprinkled flowers at the graves of two marines, who were executed for bombing MacDonald House, during his official visit to Indonesia in 1973.
This act was in full cognition of the fact that Indonesia had always regarded the two marines as heroes. It is their sovereign right to do so, as is its naming a navy frigate after them.
That in no way changes our stance that the full weight of the law must be brought to bear on the killing of three innocent civilians, who were cut down in the prime of their lives.
History has moved on and if there is any lesson to be learnt from this tragedy, it is that forgiveness is the only path to peace.
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