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Pokok Pokok - In-Country Peace Corps Malaysia Magazine


Dave Zane
RPCV 1977 - 1979
Malaria Officer
Kota Baru, Kelantan 

Recently while going through personal boxes of those years I came across several issues of Pokok Pokok, the in=country PC magazine for volunteers. I wanted to know if FOM would find a use of these issues? I might be able to digitize them. Do you know if PC HQ has a repository of such in-country publications?


I also have a volunteer guide the state of Kelantan which was developed in the mid-1970s from all volunteers in that state – American, Japanese, and others. I’ll add that to the mix to send you. I have scanned 6 issues of Pokok dating from 1978 - 1980, totaling nearly 500 pages. (I have a few 1977 issues, but those are 8x13 size which is too large for my personal scanner.)

Looking at the Contents page, you will see the editor's technical note that "no portion of this magazine may be reproduced without written permission from the editor." The magazine no longer exists, therefore there is no editor to seek permission from. I don't think there are any technical issues for scanning and for the FOM to post this on the FOM website this is for a public service, it was originally a public magazine, and probably would be provided to FOM if requested from the federal government under the freedom of information act. Anyway, just wanted to point that out.

In addition, as earlier indicated, I also scanned the "Volunteer Guide to Kelantan (and Besut).

I also wrote a 
short description of these efforts for the FOM newsletter.

You may access these POKOK issues, the volunteer guide, and the FOM article description by going to this google drive link:

I opened a few issues to look at and, oh, they contain wonderful content and flavor of PC in Malaysia, of those times!

Meanwhile, I wanted to share electronically with you the "Volunteer Guide to Kelantan." This was a
55 page guide developed circa 1977 that provides an orientation to life and cities in Kelantan state.  I was not an author; the authors are listed on page 3.  As someone who lived/worked in Kelantan, I found the below sample of snippets from the guide particular memorable: 

•     "This state is different from others in 
Peninsular Malaysia
•     Says
taka pa when someone steals your bike
•     A great place for breakfast if you want something warm in your belly going into the pouring monsoon rains.
•     It can be a very pleasant place until the organist comes in to play at
•     Give it a try first before rejecting it.
•     Hours – odd
•     Post office: what can I say, there is no such thing as a
•     Corrupt western food at western prices.
•     The people are happy to answer your questions and see you eat.
•     No name restaurant - Anchor beer sign outside…
•     I hope I haven’t given you the impression that PM is exciting, it can be as boring as hell.
•     The 
nightlife – blank
•     And finally, as a favor to me, do me a big favor when you are there in the city. Go to the
JooTeng makan shop and look for the big guy (you can’t miss him) .whose name is Wee, and tell him that Steve says hello. I’d appreciate.
•     Once known in town, you most tiring exercise each day is just saying hello to people that say hi to you.
•     Check with the polis and security forces before going upriver.
•     Beware of the cats; they steal your food when you aren’t watching.
•     The beach is cursed with OPS; not bad if 
you haven’t seen a bikini since you have left the states.
•     An ulu of an ulu."

It is a large pdf file, so I have uploaded to google drive; you can access it at:

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