Apa Kabar Fall 2013 Published by the Friends of Malaysia, the Returned Peace Corps Volunteer Group
Squeaks from the Chair by Barry Morris, President Friends of Malaysia In 2013, the Friends of Malaysia was engaged in a number of different areas involving Malaysia and the Peace Corps. We contributed to a matching grant program involving the NPCA website, worked with a Cheshire Homes project, closely followed the Malaysian elections, continued to try to improve the website by collaborating with the Catch-a-fire Project, and worked to produce more newsletters than in recent years. We have also been involved with working with projects aimed at recording the experiences of Malaysian Peace Corps Volunteers and some of our board members attended the summer Peace Corps Conference. We have also discussed the situation with the disaster in the Phillipines but decided we would concentrate our potential aid on projects which could benefit Malaysia rather than those which might benefit other countries. In 2014, we will be looking into finding another major project with which to be involved, and we may be resuming our involvement with the Breast Cancer Awareness Project we were previously involved with. We will also be looking into an election for officers of our organization and into filling at least one board member position. Another Peace Corps conference will be held
next summer in Nashville and if anyone is interested in going, please let one of our board members or myself know. Thatâ€™s about it for now. We would love to hear from any of you this year! Itâ€™s been a long time since any of us worked in Malaysia, but we will continue to make it as relevant to our lives as possible.
Secretary of State John Kerry
Kerry: President Obama will visit Malaysia Soon by Teh Eng Hock TheStar.com.my/News/Nation/2013/10/11/JohnKerry-GES-Malaysia-President-Obama.aspx/ KUALA LUMPUR: US Secretary of State John Kerry called Malaysia a great country and gave his assurance that President Barack Obama will make up for his absence (CONTINUED p. 2) 1
(Kerry Continued from p. 1) by visiting the country soon. Obama, who was scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit here, was represented by Kerry as the president had to address the US federal government shutdown. Kerry said Obama was disappointed to have to skip the summit as he was very committed to the cause, which acts as a platform to facilitate the exchange of views and ideas between global business leaders and entrepreneurs.
the coalition Pakatan Rakyat) with overwhelming majority - many urban Malays are supporting the Opposition. But the Chinese practically all voted for opposition - maybe over 80%. Najib (the PM) called it a Chinese tsunami but it is more a Malaysian tsunami. Chin The situation now is getting to resemble the Arab Springs, they were for democracy and ended up getting Islamic and Secular factions that cannot agree with each other.
"This summit is very close to President Obama's heart. "I'm sure you understand that the events that kept Obama away. "I assure you that he will be in Malaysia soon," he said. Kerry also highlighted Malaysia's success in generating entrepreneurs in a multicultural setting.
This election clearly showed the Anwar faction had the support of the Urban folks while the Najib's BN is still very dependent on the rural votes. The biggest winner is DAP in Anwar's coalition. It is a multiracial party but predominantly Chinese controlled. It literally wiped out BN's Chinese partners in the urban areas. This has led BN's radical members to label the rout as “Chinese Tsunami”, like telling the Malays their supremacy is under threat. Najib is trying to frighten the Chinese saying they will have no representation in his new government - his frustrated Chinese components claim the Chinese do not want them anymore so they are staying out of his cabinet.
"Malaysia negara hebat (Malaysia is a great country.) "When other countries were discovering the world wide web in the 1990s, Malaysia created Cyberjaya, a wired city with high speed Internet," he said. He also cited shoemaker Datuk Jimmy Choo and AirAsia founder Tan Sri Tony Fernandes as Malaysia's success stories.
Two Malaysians’ Views of Recent Elections
The IT media has come out with many analysts saying that “the tsunami is urban tsunami not Chinese.” The DAP candidates cannot possibly get such a huge majority from the Chinese votes alone, the urban Malays too gave their votes to Anwar's coalition. Very definitely the urban population wants change.
by Chin and Tan The election is over. The government was not changed. But the shock wave is still reverberating over Malaysia. The ruling party got less popularity vote than the opposition. Rumors went out that there were going to be phantom voters. So the people swarmed out to vote early. It was an unprecedented turnout - 86%. I think just over 50% turn out to vote in the US. The ruling stay in power because of rural votes and those from East Malaysia of Sabah and Sarawak. Penang was retained by the opposition party DAP (under
If Najib's UMNO will not accommodate the Urban mind set, there will be an impasse and probably chaos. Only time can tell. Tan. Shared by FoM Board member Paul Murphy personal correspondence with the authors 2
Last Newsletter Puzzle Last time your editor showed you a picture of Durian fruit at the bloom stage. Some of you agriculture volunteers should have come through to collect the grand prize. Here is a photo of the maturing fruit. The new puzzle will follow.
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Malaysia by Mike Anderson The recent super typhoon which tragically struck the Philippines has brought back some warm, Peace Corps-related memories of another, albeit much, much smaller and less lethal, storm in the Pacific. One of my many vivid memories as a new Peace Corps Volunteer took place thousands of miles from Malaysia – in Honolulu. A little unexpected excitement and adventure happened before our group of English, science and agriculture teachers even stepped foot on Malaysian soil in the fall of 1968. After completing half of our training in the sleepy plantation town of Honomu, near Hilo, Hawaii, our Malaysia Group XX was chosen to be the first to have part of its training in-country. But – thanks to a big typhoon near Guam – our departure for Malaysia was delayed several days. To our delight, we were “forced” to stay over several extra nights in Honolulu waiting for the
weather to clear and enjoying one last dose of American life before flying off to Malaysia for two years. Most of us, of course, knew nothing about typhoons and had never been to Honolulu, so we welcomed the chance to have several free “R and R” days in Hawaii’s famous tourist center and capital city. Although eager to get on with our new work in Malaysia, none of us seemed particularly disappointed that our arrival had to be delayed. Learning a little about tropical storms turned out to be good preparation for Malaysia, where volunteers quickly had to learn to cope with the torrential monsoon season with its frequent flooding and heat and humidity. Best of all, the airline which had the charter flight contract for volunteers being posted to Southeast Asia picked up all of our bills. If I recall, the male volunteers were all housed in the Honolulu YMCA, but the female volunteers got fancy tourist hotel digs in the heart of Waikiki Beach. Needless to say, much of the men’s time was spent visiting the women in their more up-scale digs. But even the Y was “luxurious” compared to the barracks-like quarters we shared in the old Honomu school training site or the basic kampung housing and teacher quarters we would soon have as volunteers. For the first night in Waikiki, our airline (possibly United or the iconic Pan Am, but more likely an unknown charter carrier) let us just sign a tab for any food. But once our departure had been further delayed for another night or two (or was it even three?) and officials realized how hungry young PCVs can be, a strict limit was placed on what each volunteer could charge per day. But even with the unpopular “per diem cut,”
we still ate well and had a grand time. Finally, after a couple of false starts, the weather over the Pacific cleared, and our packed Boeing 707 – over-loaded with our luggage, including bulky, Peace (CONTINUED p. 4) 3
Haiyan/Yolanda that appears in today's Huffington Post and the Philippine Daily Inquirer:http://opinion.inquirer.net/66393/ this-time-we-must-all-be-filipino http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ stephen-pgroff/this-time-we-must-all-be_b_ 4320131 .html
(Continued from p. 3)Corps-issued storage
trunks – was finally able to take off from Honolulu. Our first Asian destination was Manila, where we dropped off a group of co-passengers, Philippine-bound volunteers who also had been training in Hawaii. (If you know your Peace Corps history, the Philippines has hosted more volunteers – more than 8,700 – than any other country.
You will see that I draw on my Peace Corps experience here in explaining my relationship to the country. As we enter the holiday season, many have asked how they can best privately support the Haiyan/Yolanda response, I would recommend either Gawad Kalinga, UNICEF or Oxfam. You can donate to any of these at the following websites: http://gk1world.com/typhoon-yolanda http://donate.unicef.ph/campaign/24/typhoonyolanda-emergency-appeal http://www.oxfam.org/en/emergencies/philippi nes-typhoon-haiyan
Peace Corps Philippines Volunteers Safe and Accounted for in the Aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan WASHINGTON, D.C., Nov. 11, 2013 – In the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan, Peace Corps announced today that all volunteers in the Philippines are safe and accounted for and that the agency has evacuated its volunteers serving in areas in the Central Visayas. Currently, 223 volunteers serve in the Philippines. Volunteers work in the areas of education, youth development and coastal resource management. Peace Corps hopes to return volunteers to their sites in the Philippines, the safety and security of the volunteers remains the Agency’s highest priority. Once the board had been assured that all volunteers in the Philippines were safe it started exploring how RPCVs from Malaysia might help. The board decided that it would not be proper to spend FoM funds for relief or rebuild efforts but we could identify some options for our members who might be inclined to contribute to the massive immediate relief efforts and to the long term rebuilding of communities throughout central Philippines devastated by the storm. Your editor contacted the Friends of Philippines RPCV
I have done quite a bit of work with Gawad Kalinga and if you're looking for a strong Filipino organization to support, that's the one I would recommend. Red Cross, CRS, World Vision, Plan, Save the Children, and many others are also involved and are certainly worthy partners. As with all such emergencies, unrestricted cash donations are preferred to anything else.
Also your editor heard from Maureen J. Caroll: Our VP in the Philippines has forwarded your email to me about the interest of Friends of Malaysia's members in making donations to Philippines typhoon relief. What a thoughtful and generous offer! Many thanks. As you may know, PCAFPD raises funds to send Filipino young people to college. We have held back from setting up a special typhoon relief fund till now. We understand that all of our current scholars are safe but several of our graduates have lost their homes and all their belongings. Thus, group and asked for help in identifying local we are accepting donations to assist them legitimate groups that need assistance. and others that we may learn about in Two responses were received and are shared rebuilding their lives. If donations exceed here. Stephen P. Goff replied: I hope you are all need we will create a special scholarship having a good Thanksgiving weekend. fund for Leyte students.You are most welcome to contribute to our special fund by I wanted to share with you a piece I wrote on Typhoon going to our website (CONTINUED p. 5) 4
And from Academia: Today, I read in the Borneo Research Bulletin (BRB 48:43, 2012) that there are 63 photos of Banggi Island on your website. I went to your website, but I cannot find them. I am a linguist who lived in Malaysia for about 18 years and on Banggi Island for several years. I am planning to return to Banggi this fall. I have a son who was born in KK. I am VERY interested in any Thank you very much to Friends of Malaysia! Banggi Island photos that you might have. Apa Kabar editor gets letters too: Dear Friends of Can you please let me know how I can see them? Malaysia,: My name is Lauren McDowell (RPCV Were you in Sabah or Sarawak with the Georgia 2009-2011), and I’m writing to you with a Peace Corp? Where? great job opportunity for members of the Malaysian Thanks in advance. community living in the New York City area. Michael Boutin The League of Kitchens (www.leagueofkitchens.com) Associate Professor and Chair is a new immersive culinary adventure in NYC where Applied Linguistics Department Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics immigrants teach small cooking workshops in their 7500 W. Camp Wisdom Rd. homes. Students encounter a new culture, cuisine, Dallas, TX 75236 and neighborhood with every experience. Tel: 972-708-7400 ext. 2029 Public workshops will start in January 2014. Each Website: experience will offer opportunities for meaningful http://www.gial.edu/academics/appliedconnection and social interaction, cultural engagement and exchange, culinary learning and discovery, linguistics-department and exceptional eating and drinking.
(CONTINUED FROM p.4) www.rpcvphilippines.org and clicking on Donate Now and indicating the purpose of the donation. Otherwise, we have been recommending other very reputable relief funds. See the message below from NPCA Board member Steve Groff, based in Manila, about his recommendations, with which we agree.
Through this experience, we seek to build crosscultural connection and understanding, and increased access to traditional cooking knowledge, while providing meaningful, well-paid employment and training for immigrants. We’re currently hiring talented home cooks (ie, your host grandmother) from all over the world to be parttime cooking instructors. Instructors will be paid $25/hr for teaching (including additional preparation and follow up time), be reimbursed for food costs, and get paid $20/hr for approximately 40 hours of training. Fence crew, Banggi Island,September 1963 Do you, or other members in your group, know of any individuals who you think might be interested? Or any organizations or communities that might be able to connect us to some potential instructors in the NYC area? I’ve pasted below the full recruitment notice and attached it as a flier. I’ve also pasted below a possible blurb you could post on your Facebook page, if you think that’s appropriate. Please let me know if you have any questions. Lauren McDowell, Community Outreach and Education Manager Wild pig fence Banggi Island, September 1963 5
Anniversary of Merdeka in 2007. Perhaps even more so than then, the words I knew in Bahasa Malaysia came back to me and I was able to carry on quite detailed conversations. It must be a case of long term memory still being strong whereas my short term memory is definitely not what it used to be. One taxi driver paid me the ultimate language compliment: he said if he was talking with me on the telephone, he would think that I was a local Malay speaker.
Peace Corps Group 28 Reunites Kula Lumpur by Barry Morris My Peace Corps group recently met in Kuala Lumpur. Ten of us, including spouses, met at the Renaissance Hotel in KL. Originally, there were more of us scheduled to come, but health concerns kept them from coming. For me, it meant that I have been back once every decade since first arriving in 1970. We met for a few days in Kuala Lumpur and then for a few days in Penang. Being Peace Corps volunteers, we all had somewhat different agendas of things we wanted to do while visiting. One of our group wanted to go to Seremban to meet a man she encouraged to get an education many years ago. When she first met this man, he was just selling something on the street, but she realized how intelligent he was and encouraged him to get an education – which he did – and later he rose to become a prominent official in the Malaysian government. Since we have returned, I have been surveying people to get their reactions and the reactions of their spouses. Basically, what I am hearing is that it is difficult nowadays in West Malaysia (though possible in East Malaysia) to find a traditional kampong. There do not seem to be many rubber plantations left. There are a lot of palm oil farms or plantations now. Although there is still a lot of poverty, Malaysia is also now much more upscale than it was before. Indoor malls are many in the bigger cities. Kuala Lumpur now has much more of a nightlife than it used to have. Although the races are still fairly separate, you see them eating in many of the same establishments since so much of the food is now `halal’. My last time back was to attend the 50th
Left to right: Barry Morris, Mimi Gray, Larry Sundberg, Marcia Levy, Peter Meyerink, Linda Burgher which surprised me: one made a few wrong turns and offered to reduce the fare, and another , after agreeing on a rate of 15 ringgit, when we arrived said “why don’t you just give me 12 ringgit since often this is what locals pay.” The power of speaking the local language! English doesn’t seem to be spoken as much but there is a lot of government encouragement for the Malaysian citizens to learn it. For me Malaysia was always something of a magical, mystery tour. You see such amazing things there and such interesting people. You can eat such varied food and shop for things you would rarely or never find in the US. I never saw anyone begging and there were a lot of foreign workers present. I rarely heard a horn being blasted also. My wife, Diane, had never visited Malaysia before. The Singapore Airport is surely one of the nicest in the world. Here are her comments about the Singapore (CONTINUED p.7) 6
Google “Penang hotels” or “Penang tourism” or “Penang map” to get names of the hotels. Bayview, Continental and Cititel Hotels are some of them. If you prefer to be out at beach area (Batu Ferringgi) rather than in Georgetown, I recommend the Holiday Inn. Reasonable prices compared to all the other big beach hotels, nice clean, big pool, right on the beach, close to buses/taxis into the city and good hawker stalls and evening restaurants all up and down the beach strip. Kula Lumpur hotels are good value and very competitive. Cheaper and about as good as Singapore’s 5-star hotels. Again, web site is best source for special rates.
(CONTINUED FROM p. 6) Airport: “Here at Singapore Changi Airport waiting to board. Final day of wild strange magical Malaysia trip. Spent last night in airport. They have beautiful rooms to stay in for those in transit. Plus free movie theater around the clock. Plus butterfly garden. Rooftop sunflower garden and interior orchid atriums. There are secluded video rooms. Private prayer rooms. Fantastic jaw dropping architecture. Women in full black burkas with only their eyes visible. Indian women in stunning saris. Indonesian men in long plaid sarongs. Majority of westerns are very blond and seem? Dutch” Malaysia is becoming such an economic dynamo for the region. In another article for this newsletter, I’m going to write about the numbers of people from area countries who are now working in Malaysia and their possible impact on the country.
I stayed at a new Holiday Inn resort hotel out near old airport beyond Petaling Jaya. Very, very reasonable, but far from downtown, but trains/metro operate close by and are efficient. Downtown KL has become a nightmare -- hot, humid, haze, crowded, and endless traffic and little walking space for pedestrians. Central city has been ruined by too many luxury malls and high-rise office bldgs.
Travel Tips and Hotel Possibilities if You Are Heading to Malaysia by
Recently when visiting Malaysia, Barry asked Friends of Malaysia board members for any recommendations for Malaysian hotels that they might have and listed below are their recommendations. These recommendations were very helpful in our travels.
Barry Morris and Michael H. Anderson Singapore hotels over the years have become ridiculously expensive. They seem to rival NYC in prices. I usually splurge a wee bit and stay at the Traders Hotel, which is a unit of the very posh Shangri-La Group. Price is around $150/night -cheap by Singapore standards, but good value for money and its location (off upper Orchard Rd on Cuscaden -- near Botanical Garden, US Embassy, etc. Singapore YMCA is excellent but, again, not real cheap, but good location near museums and lower Orchard Rd.
For a nice visit and smashing view, I recommend you go out to new Marina Bay Sands Hotel/Casino and have drinks atop the rooftop, open-air bard. Great views of skyline and the harbor plus sound/light show that is free.
For a nice visit and smashing view, I recommend you go out to new Marina Bay Sands Hotel/Casino and have drinks atop the rooftop, open-air bar. Great views of skyline and the harbor plus sound/light show that is free. Penang has lots of inexpensive but OK hotels in lower part of Penang Rd. There are big 3-4 Asian tourism or businesspersons’ hotels on the street just a block up from fancy, historic and expensive E & O Hotel.
Mt Kinabalu, Sabah Malaysia 7
We Have a New Logo for Friends of Malaysia by Thaine H. Allison, Jr In our ongoing effort to expand our presence in social media and meet the needs of our organization, the Board of Directors has worked with volunteer consultants from Catchafire group in New York. A subcommittee of the board, Karen McClay Flolid and myself have worked with a professional graphics artist, Esther Tham in Atlanta; to develop a logo that captures the spirit of Malaysia, our organization and the work we do. We incorporated the hibiscus, the national flower of Malaysia, the mountains that dominate much of the landscape, the royal purple of the people and the red and yellow colors from the Malaysian flag are brought together to create a logo that we hope will become synonymous with Friends of Malaysia.
FoM board member Karen McClay Flolid (196568) shows off her license plates in Minnesota snow country. “You can take the girl out of the tropics but you can’t take the tropics out of the girl!” (CONTINUED FROM p.7) Penang Georgetown area: Bayview, Continental, Cititel, 1926 Heritage Hotel – reasonably priced, older style hotel, highly recommended. Bati Ferringi Area: Holiday Inn, Park Royale, Shangrila Rasa Sayang Hotel
Karen and Esther are to be congratulated for putting together such an unique but simple piece of art.
Kuala Lumpur: Istana Hotel, Renaissance Hotel, Holiday Inn Resort Hotel (Petaling Jaya area)
Also we now have a QR code that will take you directly to our web site if you have a smart phone with a free QR app. Our web site improvement effort is coming along and we hope to have some additional progress to report in our next newsletter. In the mean time; give it a try:
Port Dickson: Lexis Hotel, For lovely, old style accommodation in KL or Penang try: http://www.tenggiri.com Recommended booking websites for hotels or travel: www.wotif.com or www.agoda.com Other observations: Hostels. It is a good way to meet youth and if you book early, a private room is usually possible. Free breakfast and snacks help a lot. But still fun. 8
FRIENDS OF MALAYSIA BOARD OF DIRECTORS Barry Morris, President Thaine Allison, Jr., V.P. of Programs/Newsletter Editor/Web Master Paul Murphy, Treasurer/ Membership Director John Pearson Lynn Juhl Mary Quattro Rod & Ruth Zimmer Michael H. Anderson Marjorie Harrison Karen McClay Flolid Bob Cricenti Ann Howes
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This Issueâ€™s Contest What does this series of maps portray and how are they relevant to Malaysia? Send your answers to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates of PC Service _____________________ Home Phone ___________________________ Membership Category: _____ $50.00 Individual (Includes Friends of Malaysia and National Peace Corps Association)_____ Friends of Malaysia only $15.00 Print this application, fill in the blanks and Mail the application, with a check payable to Friends of Malaysia, to: Paul Murphy, Treasurer, FoM, 510 Little John Hill,Sherwood Forest, MD 21405. Or just go on line and do it! NPCA: http://www.peacecorpsconnect.org/members hip/ 9
This is the fall issue of the Apa Kabar newsletter of the Friends of Malaysia. Edited by Thaine H. allison, Jr. with assistance from Michae...
Published on Dec 31, 2013
This is the fall issue of the Apa Kabar newsletter of the Friends of Malaysia. Edited by Thaine H. allison, Jr. with assistance from Michae...