January 1, 1999: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Mockingbird: Paul Eggers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Malaysia: Peace Corps Malaysia : The Peace Corps in Malaysia: January 1, 1999: Headlines: COS - Malaysia: Writing - Malaysia: Mockingbird: Paul Eggers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-141-157-13-244.balt.east.verizon.net - on Sunday, January 16, 2005 - 2:03 pm: Edit Post

Paul Eggers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia

Paul Eggers served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia


Fiction writer PAUL EGGERS holds a BA from the University of Washington, an MA from Penn State, and is a PhD candidate at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. His work has appeared in Sonora Review, The Quarterly, The Washington Post, and elsewhere. Besides writing fiction, Eggers writes interviews, profiles, and political analyses for Inside Chess. He has also published poetry. His novel, Saviors, will is newly published by Harcourt Brace. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Malaysia (1976-78) and an Education Advisor for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in Malaysia and the Phillipines. In 1997 he won the Merit Award from the Nebraska Arts Council's Individual Artists Fellowships program.


Reuben Gill's fondest wish is to be assigned by the UN High Commission on Refugees to Bidong, Malaysia, where he believes he can recapture his idyllic Peace Corps days. What he finds will change him forever. Written with energy and true wit, this is a novel about how difficult it is to save the world, about doing the right thing for the wrong reasons and the wrong thing for the right reasons. It's a novel about the impossibility and the necessity of hope. In the tradition of Joseph Heller's Catch 22, Saviors is a darkly comic look at good intentions gone awry. It's a funny, thoughtful novel of great power.

"Wow! What a debut! Eggers is a masterful writer, and this book positions him to join the ranks of Maugham and Forster and Conrad, Paul Theroux and Norman Rush. Saviors is as funny as Twain and as dark as Stone. I gulped it down, amazed by the deftness of Eggers' style. Saviors is an enormously accomplished and entertaining novel." Bob Shacochis, author of Swimming in the Volcano

"Saviors is never anything but spirited, funny and, if such a word can be used, wise. It is a lovely book, keenly perceived, original, and wonderful to read." Craig Nova, author of The Universal Donor

"This first novel is bleak but also steeped in black humor that is reminiscent of MASH." Booklist

"Paul Eggers seems to have learned from someone that the novelist is allowed to think, so bravo! This is a serious, painful first novel by someone as daring as he is well-informed." Paul West, author of Lord Byron's Doctor

MR THANH, ORIGINALLY OF SAIGON, conducted his camp-wide rat pogrom so thoroughly that the kids were reduced to throwing rocks at each other. Some boys got beaned, and Mr Thanh, the most responsible Viet I knew in the Bidong Island refugee camp, blamed himself and went around shelfter to shelter, apologizing to all their parents, more than twenty families. This was Mr Thanh's way. Before getting on a boat out of Vietnam, he had been a colonel with the South Vietnamese army. But even now, stateless and dependent, another Viet biding his time on Malaysian soil, he wore a dashing yellow scarf imprinted with the name of his old regiment.

I was the UN education adviser, the camp's English teacher. Mr Thanh was my regugee assistant. I had picked him out myself, struck by his earnestness, and would give him occasional gifts, whatever I could scrounge. Mr Thanh and I were two of a kind. I understood his need to be forgiven he had let the camp down, he said and I think I even understood the state of mind that made him, after a day of brush-offs from the boys' parents, walk into the island's Zone C school the next morning and root around the UN educational-supplies closet and, without asking permission, drag a filthy visual aid, a mannequin, down to the beach to wash clean. What I culd not do that morning was clear his supply-closet forway with the camp's Malaysian security fucks. Mr Thanh had acted on his own. If only I had known that he was going to take the mannequin, I could have stopped refugee-camp logic from taking over.

Reprinted with permission

from Saviors

Copyright © 1999

by Paul Eggers

Harcourt Brace

Selected Publications
of Paul Eggers


Saviors, Harcourt Brace, 1998


"RPM," American Literary Review, Spring 1999

"Reuben Chained," William and Mary Review, Spring 1996

"Anything You Want, Please," Northwest Review, Winter 1996

"The Year Five," Sonora Review, Fall 1994 (with preface by Jane Smiley)

"How the Water Feels," The Quarterly, Winter 1992


"Poem for a Roommate, Another Country," Seattle Times, 26 March 1980

"Old Douglas Coming Out of Wesport, Again," Tendril, Spring 1979


James Fellowship for Novel-in-progress, Heekin Group Foundation, 1997

Merit Award, Nebraska Arts Council's Individual Artists Fellowships program, 1997

First Place, Quarterly West Novella Competition, 1995 (chosen by Jane Smiley)

First Place, Marie Sandoz/Prairie Schooner Short Fiction Award, Graduate Student Division, University of Nebraska, 1993

First Place, Vreeland Award for Creative Writing, Graduate Student Division, University of Nebraska, 1992

Chess Journalists of America Award, 1989

First Place, Centre County Festival Poetry Competition, "At the Refugee Camp on Bidong Island: A Villanelle," July 1984

When this story was posted in December 2004, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Our debt to Bill Moyers Our debt to Bill Moyers
Former Peace Corps Deputy Director Bill Moyers leaves PBS next week to begin writing his memoir of Lyndon Baines Johnson. Read what Moyers says about journalism under fire, the value of a free press, and the yearning for democracy. "We have got to nurture the spirit of independent journalism in this country," he warns, "or we'll not save capitalism from its own excesses, and we'll not save democracy from its own inertia."

December 10, 2004: This Week's Top Stories December 10, 2004: This Week's Top Stories
Dodd says Rumsfeld's answer was unacceptable 9 Dec
RPCV Blake Willeford runs classic movie theatre 9 Dec
RPCV says education is key to curbing AIDS 9 Dec
RPCV Dannielle Tegeder opens exhibition 9 Dec
Shalala 1st Woman In Touchdown Club 9 Dec
"Today we have a new country" says Toledo 9 Dec
DDN wins Investigative Reporting Award 8 Dec
Celeste on Panel to study Colorado finances 8 Dec
RPCV leads Rotary Club medical team to Togo 6 Dec
Vasquez to speak at Hawaii, Wisconsin commencements 6 Dec
Tom Murphy warns Pittsburgh on budget abyss 2 Dec
Venezuela RPCV Martha Egan runs Pachamama imports 30 Nov
more top stories...

RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack RPCV safe after Terrorist Attack
RPCV Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, the U.S. consul general in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia survived Monday's attack on the consulate without injury. Five consular employees and four others were killed. Abercrombie-Winstanley, the first woman to hold the position, has been an outspoken advocate of rights for Arab women and has met with Saudi reformers despite efforts by Saudi leaders to block the discussions.
Is Gaddi Leaving? Is Gaddi Leaving?
Rumors are swirling that Peace Corps Director Vasquez may be leaving the administration. We think Director Vasquez has been doing a good job and if he decides to stay to the end of the administration, he could possibly have the same sort of impact as a Loret Ruppe Miller. If Vasquez has decided to leave, then Bob Taft, Peter McPherson, Chris Shays, or Jody Olsen would be good candidates to run the agency. Latest: For the record, Peace Corps has no comment on the rumors.
The Birth of the Peace Corps The Birth of the Peace Corps
UMBC's Shriver Center and the Maryland Returned Volunteers hosted Scott Stossel, biographer of Sargent Shriver, who spoke on the Birth of the Peace Corps. This is the second annual Peace Corps History series - last year's speaker was Peace Corps Director Jack Vaughn.
Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes Vote "Yes" on NPCA's bylaw changes
Take our new poll. NPCA members begin voting this week on bylaw changes to streamline NPCA's Board of Directors. NPCA Chair Ken Hill, the President's Forum and other RPCVs endorse the changes. Mail in your ballot or vote online (after Dec 1), then see on how RPCVs are voting.
Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying Charges possible in 1976 PCV slaying
Congressman Norm Dicks has asked the U.S. attorney in Seattle to consider pursuing charges against Dennis Priven, the man accused of killing Peace Corps Volunteer Deborah Gardner on the South Pacific island of Tonga 28 years ago. Background on this story here and here.
Your vote makes a difference Your vote makes a difference
Make a difference on November 2 - Vote. Then take our RPCV exit poll. See how RPCV's are voting and take a look at the RPCV voter demographic. Finally leave a message on why you voted for John Kerry or for George Bush. Previous poll results here.

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: Mockingbird

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Malaysia; Writing - Malaysia



Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.