Bob Feingold

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Description of Service[edit]

About Bob Feingold Today[edit]

After three years as a semi effective PCV in late 1969, with my $500 go-home allowance in pocket and little else, I was pondering rest-of-my-life possibilities with the the madam in the old Tivoli Bar on Batu Rd in KL. Old Molly was sympathetic and steered me into a very well paying in-country job. Now, almost forty years later I have retired in Kota Bharu and although old Molly and the Tivoli are long gone I still see former students; great friends and great drinking buddies.

The PCV years were great but the following years were better and much more effective in a way that PC service could never be. The PC experience was just too dissipated and transient: I taught ~200 pupils per year and probably had a lasting effect two or three or four, if any. The government's goal was universal secondary education for all. We were brought in to fill a staffing gap due to the aggressive expansion of Malay language secondary education and the building of hundreds of new secondary schools. Simultaneously the Malaysian teacher training system was cranked up turning out more teachers able to instruct in Malay. The Min. of Education simply needed us to fill in until they could catch up and staff the expanded Malay language education system.

The time spent working and interacting with co-teachers had no long term effect. We were a curiosity, an amusement, an interloper who would go away and be replaced by a more acceptable local teacher who could teach in Malay, fit the vision of 100% Malay language education. We eased the transition and contributed to the phase out of English language instruction.

We served a purpose: we filled a gap, but we as English medium teachers, we were extraneous to the government's vision of nation building: universal education in the national language. I not think either the PC directors or the Malaysian government really expected us to leave footprints. Within five years all IA was taught in Malay in government schools.

The post PCV in-country experience has been much more effective and rewarding simply because I had the money to focus on individual potential and need: Twenty dollars per month kept a bright kid in school; a hundred paid for university accommodation; a few thousand put someone through a two or three year diploma course; fifty capped broken front teeth. We have assisted many: twenty or thirty or forty, I do not know. The majority, not all, have seen a success that would have been impossible without our assistance.

To some the above might smell a bit like "white man's burden", that's fine, call it what you want, but the long term effect far surpassed anything I accomplished as a $120/month PCV.

Perhaps, after a period of in-country orientation, today's PCV's should be given an assistance allowance and really have an effect.


Requiescat In Pace 28-05-2011[edit]

Bob departed this Earth after suffering post-op trauma from knee surgery. Bob slipped into a coma and did not regain consciousness. He was a kind and caring, always helpful person and will be dearly missed by the many who knew him.

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