Friends of Malaysia



Our Newsletter Apa Kabar on line--
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Malaysia RPCV Experiences
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Malaysian Newspapers


Interesting Malaysian Websites


Malaysian History

Malaysian Restaurants in the US
Learn About Malaysian Customs
Books Written By Malaysia RPCV's
FOM Resolution In Gratitude to the Royal Marines
Books Written By Malaysia RPCV's
Announcement of Hilo 50th Reunion November 2011
Who We Are
Welcome to the Home Page of the Friends of Malaysia.   We are the association of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers who have served in Malaysia and we are an affiliate group of the National Peace Corps Association.

Our objectives include the following:
  • Promote a better understanding of Malaysia and its people among Americans
  • Improved education in Malaysia
  • Support the Malaysian people in protecting their environment
  • Support the Peace Corps Agency in its work around the world
We publish a quarterly newsletter, Apa Khabar, which is available to our members.

If you have any comments or suggestion, please e-mail us here . Terima Kaseh



Our Accomplishments


Thaine H. Allison, Jr.

RPCV 1962-64

VP Programs



Goals: To assist in achieving a higher quality of life for our friends and families in Malaysia


Contributed to the Borneo Project to supply native language books to Penan Schools in Sarawak $US 250 printed posters of the “Frogs of Borneo” illustrations from our books. These wonderful posters are for sale on (just make a $10 donation and write “frog poster” in the comments section). Click here to see a full size pdf of the poster.

Contributed to the Rotary Club of Klang $US 250

Worked with a 4th grade teacher in New Hampshire who has a new student from Malaysia to acquire books for her to read in Malaysian as she integrates in to an English medium environment.

Contributed to the Malaysia Run for the Cure Breast Cancer Prevention Fund $US 250

Purchased Computers for rural Sabah Schools $US 1,000

Assisted the Borneo Project to create hydroelectric power for rural villages $3,000

Assisted in training health professionals by providing $US 300 scholarships

Provided training equipment for breast cancer awareness projects in Sabah and Sarawak $US 4,000

Contributed US$200.00 to the Malaysia Cancer Society

Contributed $500 to World Wide Schools

Fostered a Reading Program for International Children’s Book Day featuring Malaysian Children’s Favorite Stories


In total we have contributed nearly $US10,000 to projects that foster understanding and development between America and Malaysia, our adopted country.


Project Overview


Over the last five years Friends of Malaysia has fostered a number of service projects in Malaysia to continue the commitment. It is nearly 46 years since the first Peace Corps Volunteer landed on a hot muggy afternoon in Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu) North Borneo, (Sabah) yet many of us still see the need to support Malaysia's efforts to grow and resolve disparities throughout the country. With all of the changes, and progress, that have come to Malaysia there have also been continuing problems of poverty, dislocation and limited opportunities for some. In addition with people living longer lives and changing dietary habits some diseases have become more prevalent. We as an association of returned volunteers have set as one of our goals to continue to assist NGO's, educational institutions and voluntary groups to achieve a higher quality of life for our friends and families in Malaysia.


One of the great ironies of the computer revolution is that many of the components “inside the box” are made in Malaysia. Malaysia has become a media center for programmers and content developers in and around Kuala Lumpur. Yet many schools in Malaysia, especially in rural areas, do not have access to computers or people trained in their use. Early on in the “computer revolution” FoM stepped in to provide computers to a school in rural Sabah. A small but important step in bringing a rural community closer to the electronic frontier.


In the early nineties electric power had reached the larger and intermediate cities and towns across Malaysia but many rural villages, long-houses, were without electricity. The Borneo Project( set out to provide small hydro electric power generating plants to kampongs in Sabah and Sarawak. FoM provided the financial capital to establish one of these generating plants and wire a long-house deep in the interior of Sabah, approximately $US3,000. Training was provided to help the locals maintain the plant and install the electric wiring to allow each house to have limited access to electricity. Much effort went into creating a local steering committee to allocate power, maintain the plant and collect revenues to cover the cost of operation.


Approximately five years ago we began to read about the increasing awareness and incidence of breast cancer amongst Malaysian women. Coincidentally two of our members died of breast cancer and that made the issue personal. We sought out a reliable partner in Malaysia who helped us identify an appropriate project to support. During the last three years we have provided nearly $US4,000 in funds to provide nurse training and training devices to assist women in examining their and encouraging them to get early diagnosis and treatment. One in twenty Malaysian women are diagnosed with breast cancer and the number of women that go untreated and undetected is thought to be much higher especially in rural areas. We have sought to provide assistance in rural areas. We also contributed $US200 to the Malaysia Cancer Society.


In the US we co-sponsored a Reading Program for International Children’s Book Day featuring Malaysian Children’s Favorite Stories. Books about Malaysia were read in several 3,300 schools in 30 states across the country. Children had the opportunity to ask more than 40 returned Peace Corps volunteers about the country and their experiences in Malaysia. We also contributed to the World Wide Schools program developed by the National Association of Returned Peace Corps Volunteers. (


Over the last ten years the FoM have contributed nearly $US 10,000 to these various projects. We are currently exploring additional projects to support in rural Malaysia and utilize our resources wisely as a commitment to our donors, members and the people of Malaysia.

If you have ideas or suggestions please contact us at:


We are always looking for ways to support our goals of continued service and appreciate your comments.




Sherry Zembower, 
Former President of the Friends of Malaysia
1947 - 2005

It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Sherry Zembower, a past president and co-founder of the Friends of Malaysia, and a member of the Board of Directors of the NPCA (National Peace Corps Association).  Sherry lost her fight with breast cancer on January 22, 2005 in Colorado Springs, after having served a long career as a youth counselor, social worker, and a Peace Corps volunteer teacher in Malaysia (1969-71).

Please read the moving tributes to Sherry written by her sister, and by her other friends, on this website.


She was an avid outdoorswoman and actively involved in the returned Peace Corps community. Gifts in her memory should be directed to the Friends of Malaysia�s Karen Bowlsby Breast Cancer Awareness Project , an effort which Sherry spearheaded, or the Susan G. Komen Foundation. A celebration of Sherry�s life will take place on February 12 in Colorado Springs, and on the East Coast some time this spring

If you knew Sherry, and would like to share some stories or pictures of her, please contact the webmaster of this 


Scenes from Malaysia




Downtown Kuala Lumpur

            Malaysian school girls take cover in a rain shower  
The Karen Bowlsby / Sherry Zembower Breast Cancer Awareness Project
Honoring All Peace Corps Volunteers Who Fought Breast Cancer
Karen Bowlsby Perez Grayson was a dedicated Peace Corps volunteer who served in Malaysia around 1964-65. She considered her Peace Corps service one of the highlights of her life. When she returned to the United States, she earned her teaching credentials and taught history, citizenship, and English as a second language in the Montebello school district in the greater Los Angeles area. Around 2001, she took early medical retirement due to her breast cancer. She passed away in April, 2003.

Sherry Zembower was a past President of the Friends of Malaysia. She was a Peace Corps volunteer teacher serving in Malaysia from 1969 - 1972, dedicated to making our world a better place. On her return, she spent her career helping and counseling troubled youths, working in youth centers and detention centers. She passed away from from breast cancer in January, 2005.

The Ministry of Health of Sabah, Malaysia, has suggested that they would welcome assistance in their campaign to improve education and awareness of breast cancer. We learned that as Malaysia has progressed economically, breast cancer has become a major cause of death among Malaysian women.

The Friends of Malaysia is undertaking this project to raise money for Malaysian programs designed to improve awareness and early detection of breast cancer, in order to save lives. In particular, we are supporting a campaign, run by the Sabah Ministry of Health and various non-government organizations, that teach women, primarily in rural areas, on methods of self examination so that breast cancer might be detected at an earlier stage when it can be treated.

We are raising money and dedicating this project in memory of Karen and Sherry, two dedicated Peace Corps volunteers who passed away recently from breast cancer.

The Karen Bowlsby / Sherry Zembower Breast Cancer Awareness Project and Links to Breast Cancer Related Resources

My Mother, Karen Bowlsby, by Amy Perez

My Sister, Sherry Zembower, by Susan Poling

Donate to the Karen Bowlsby / Sherry Zembower Breast Cancer Awareness Project

Our Partners
The Borneo Project
The Borneo Project is an effort by the indigenous people of Borneo to preserve their rainforests and their culture.

Over the past 2-7 years, Friends of Malaysia has been an active partner with The Borneo Project, helping to support the indigenous people of Sarawak in developing a micro-hydro project. It has just recently become active and the community of Long Lawan now has enough electrical power to provide for basic electrical needs in their living areas. We are very proud of our involvement with this project.

Link to The Borneo Project