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Apa Khabar Newsletter of the Frienda of Malaysia
50th Anniversary Celebration Peace Corps Walk of Flags By Paul Murphy, Johor Bahru 1971-73
Sunday, September 25 was the conclusion of the long weekend in DC celebrating the 50 years of the Peace Corps. There were speeches at the Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery remembering how the Peace Corps came into existence and what it has meant for the volunteers and for the world. The PCVs who lost their lives while serving were honored. Then there was a Walk of Flags for all of the 139 countries that the Peace Corps has served in. It went across the bridge to the Lincoln Memorial. It was an amazing sight to see so many flags and thousands of RPCVs dressed in their host countryâ€™s clothing. Over 110 Malaysian RPCVs participated in events over the 4 days.
Lynn Hodson Kass, Michael Anderson, Anne Howes, Mary Lou McRae, and Lynn Juhl) at the Lincoln Memorial
Thaine Allison and Lynn Juhl, second and third from the left
LUNCHEON AT THE EMBASSY By Paul Murphy – Johor Bahru 1971-73
On Saturday, September 24, the Malaysian Embassy hosted a luncheon for about 120 RPCVs and spouses. We began by singing “Negara Ku” and the “Star Spangled Banner” (Fig. 2.1). Jerry Becker was in the black and white shirt. Nancy Gallant was in the white blouse and blue and white skirt and (Fig. 3.3) . Then Lynn Juhl, who organized the event with the Embassy, acted as a Master of Ceremonies (Fig. 2.2). He thanked the Embassy for graciously hosting such an elaborate reception and he called on 5 people to give short recollections of their time in Malaysia. Barry Morris, the FoM President, then talked about some of the things that FoM had accomplished including donating thousands of dollars to charities in Malaysia. Thaine Allison, the FoM Vice President of Programs, gave a plaque from FoM to Ambassador Dato Sri Dr. Jamaludin Jarvis to thank Malaysia and the Embassy for their support of the Peace Corps (Fig. 2.3). Each table was decorated with different Malaysian handicrafts (Fig 2.4) – Mary Quattro, the founder of FoM, Toni and Ron Noah; (Fig. 3.1) - Lynn Hodson Kass standing with a blue and black blouse) and (Fig. 3.2) the room’s walls were also beautifully decorated. Finally, after all of the speeches, we had a delicious makan (Fig. 2.5). The Ambassador further surprised our group by giving us a written quiz about Malaysia. We all groaned when he first mentioned it, but we became very focused when he said that first prize was a round trip airfare to Malaysia! There were 14 other prizes ranging from an iPad to batik – how incredibly generous of the Malaysian Embassy.
Fig. 2.5 More Embassy Luncheon pictures on P. 3 2
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Embassy Luncheon Pictures
FoM Malaysian Buffet by Paul Murphy - Johor Bahru 1971-73 On Friday, September 23, FoM organized a dinner at the home of board member, Lynn Juhl. The hospitality was outstanding, the food was plentiful and delicious and there was even Tiger Beer for the 50 people who attended. It was a wonderful evening with so many stories being told about our time in Malaysia. FoM had a short Membership Meeting. The Malaysian Ambassador even came over for a few minutes!
FoM Board Members Lynn Juhl, Barry Morris, Paul Murphy, and Thaine Allison
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Pictures from Friends of Malaysia Buffet:
FoM Board Members Margie Hazelton and Mary Quattro, (both seated). Michael Anderson (standing in the center)
Contessa Madgwick (seated) and Barry Morris, FoM President
Jan Burns (seated), Pru Zimmerman Dana, and Lew Howell (far right)
FoM Board Members Barry Morris, Thaine Allison, and Ann Howes
Malaya Something that was pleasantly surprising to me at the 50th reunion was that I heard the word `Malaya’ used a couple of times by some of the earlier Peace Corps Volunteers who served in Malaysia. Perhaps this is because the Federation of Malaya lasted from 1948 to 1963 and Peace Corps Volunteers were already physically present when Malaya began to be called Malaysia. The first volunteers arrived in 1962 and I would think there were many people in Malaysia at the time that still referred to their country as Malaya. Malaya always to me had echoes of empire and colonialism and when I arrived in 1970, I wondered if there were many of the remnants of empire remaining. It didn’t seem to me that there were many obvious ones and I would think there are even less now. Johor Bahru, a sleepy town of around 50,000 people when I arrived, is now the second largest city in Malaysia (next to Kuala Lumpur) with 2.75 million people in the year 2000. The population of Malaysia as a whole is now 2.5 times larger than when I was there. In terms of gross domestic product per capita, Malaysia is now ranked 76th in the world and ranks ahead of countries like Argentina, Mexico, Costa Rica and Lebanon. In terms of the growth rate of its gross domestic product, Malaysia was ranked 32nd in 2010 with a real growth rate of 7.2%. Wikipedia lists Malaysia as the 29th largest economy in the world and the 43rd most populated country. Wow! That’s a lot of growth since the Peace Corps left Malaysia in 1982. When I used to ride a motorcycle down Batu Road in 5
KL, I wouldn’t have been able to imagine anything like the traffic or size of Kuala Lumpur today. But, looking back, I can say that I’m glad I lived in Malaysia when life was a bit slower and simpler and easier to navigate. By the way, I’d like to give a special thanks to Lynn Juhl for serving as the contact person for the 50th reunion for the Friends of Malaysia. Lynn not only hosted a meeting and makan at his house, he organized the luncheon and program held at the Malaysian Embassy. The Malaysian ambassador and his staff were tremendous hosts at their embassy and even gave away great prizes to those who scored highest on a quiz about Malaysia. They were very supportive of the kinds of programs and activities carried out by the Friends of Malaysia. The ambassador himself was one of the most personable individuals you could hope to meet and I’m hoping opportunities for additional contact with the embassy or its staff present themselves in the future. Barry Morris, FOM President
Footballers Require Armored Travel JAKARTA Though the Malaysian players hate it, they are expected to take the Barracuda armoured vehicles from their hotel to the Bung Karno Stadium here for today’s Sea Games football final against Indonesia. Team manager Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin said yesterday the players were advised to use the armoured vehicles for their own safety in view of about 100,000 hostile Indonesian fans on the route to the stadium. On Thursday, the Malaysian team complained that they had a “suffocating” trip to the stadium for a group match against Indonesia after going in two Barracudas, which saw 10 players crammed into each vehicle. Defender Fadhli Shas said the players fought for air and space inside the Barracudas. “When we arrived by bus, the people outside were banging on the sides. It was dangerous but we were expecting it andmade us more determined to win,” said Fadhli.
Retire in Malaysia “Just before returning to the United States for the Retire Overseas Conference in Orlando last month, My husband, Davis and I were enjoying our second visit to Malaysian Borneo,” writes Wendy Justice, Correspondent for the website Live and Invest Overseas. “We enjoyed the area immensely the last time we travelled here, particulary the charming city of Kuching, which is the capital city of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. We also knew that Malaysia, My second Home program offers special incentives to foreigners who want to move to Sarawak, including a lower minimum purchase price for real estate than what is requires elsewhere in Malaysia. So, we wanted to get a sense of the livability of the region as a potential choice for retirement and investment. To read the rest of this article go to http://tiny.cc/tho4f 6
Disunity Threatens Islam
Disunity among the Muslim community will result in Islam being weakened, warns Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom. Jamil, who is in charge of Islamic affairs, said Muslim unity was weakened to the point that not many would come out to defend Islam against attacks. "Lately, issues pertaining to religion in the country have brought into question how important it is to unite Muslims to face tribulations and challenges ahead. "Islam has always placed greatimportance on unity. That will help us to strengthen the community." On the slew of issues concerning Islam, Jamil said matters related to apostasy and freedom of sexuality had threatened Muslim solidarity in the country. "There have been matters that threaten Muslim solidarity, most importantly, the unity of the minds and thoughts of Muslims, "The issue of apostasy, for instance, is of grave concern and has caused uneasiness among Muslims." Jamil said following the check conducted by the SelangorIslamic Religious Department (Jais) atDamansara Utama Methodist Church on Aug3, many were aware that Muslims must uniteto safeguard the faith of fellow Muslims. He
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said Muslims in the country should be thankful that enactment protecting the Muslim faith had been in place since 1980. "What is great about this enactment is that these cases will not be tried in a syariah court but in the civil court. This means those who try to deviate the faith of Muslims, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims, can be tried in a court of law." On the recent controversy about Seksualiti Merdeka, Jamil reiterated that deviant sexual practice was not accepted from any point of view, be it norms of life, in the context of eastern culture or religion. Jamil, who is also a Umno supreme council member, slammed activists who championed the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgender (LGBT) community. "It is wrong to defend LGBT as a marginalised group in the name of human rights and modern democracy. "If we are concerned, we should bring back these people to the right path and not support or endorse freedom of sexuality." On views that Umno was too moderate and had not done enough to protect Islam, Jamil said it was a matter of perception. "We have only to look at the religious institutions established, mosques constructed nationwide, and the thousands of imam and religious teachers paid to nurture our children. "This is all a result of the governing wisdom and continuous efforts carried out tirelessly by Umno as the leading political party under Barisan Nasional." Jamil said Umno had always done its part to defend Islam and develop the community. "We practise what we promise to do. This is unlike others who make many promises when they were not in power like making promises to tear down liquor factories and gambling dens if they take over certain states. However, they do not keep to their promises." Reprinted from Straits Times, November 20, 2011
Muslim Beauty Contestants
The Sarawak Islamic Affairs Department's (Jais) move to advice five Muslims against participating in the Miss Borneo Beautiful 2011 contest has caught state Welfare, Women and Family Development Minister Datuk Fatimah Abdullah by surprise. Surprised because this was the first time JAIS had acted to stop Muslims from taking part in a beauty contest in this state. "I have to talk with (Abang) Shamsudin (Abang Seruji, state Jais director). "I am keen to know what happened and why the advice was given," she told the New Sunday Times. Fatimah is more curious about Jais' ruling on the participation of Muslim women in beauty contests. "Would Jais act similarly for other beauty contests?" Her concern stemmed from Abang Shamsudin's reported statement that "the syariah dictates that beauty pageants are illegal". She said this would have implications on traditional beauty contests, such as the Ratu Kebaya (Kebaya Queen) or the international Miss World Harvest Festival. "From what I see, Jais was just carrying out it's responsibility. If they didn't act, they would have been accused of not doing
their job. But I would still like to get a clearer picture of what happened." However, the closed-door talk by Jais failed to get the women - Melatie Melisa, 22; Natasha Nur Amarina Mohamad Kaie, 21; Adira Kamil, 23; Sharifah Nadzirah Wan Hamid, 23, and Roszainah Suhaili, 21 -- to withdraw from the contest. "We did no wrong. We did not do anything that went against the teachings of our religion," Natasha said after finishing second runner-up among the 18 finalists. Adira, who finished fourth runner-up was voted Miss Popular. Nadzirah picked up the Miss Personality title, while Farahana was crowned Miss Photogenic. The women claimed there was no swimsuit segment in the contest. "Maybe some people were envious of us, so they complained and created an issue," Natasha said, adding that their decision to ignore Jais' advice was unanimous. "After all, the hard work we have put into this contest would go to waste. And we did not do anything wrong." Meanwhile, Abang Shamsudin told Berita Harian that Jais could not act against the contestants for ignoring their advice. "We have done our duty. Their Reprinted from Straits Times, November 20, 2011 8