In this rich and rewarding memoir, T.K. Taylor describes his experiences in schools from Kuala Lumpur to Johore Bahru. Full of vivid anecdote and sharply observed historical detail, his writing takes us from his first days spent adapting the Western curriculum to local schools' needs to his time as Chief Education Officer for Selangor state, showing the role of education in the transition to independence. Taylor's career began in 1946, when he was appointed as Senior Master in English at King Edward VII High School in Taiping, a city of over 50,000 in the North near the Thai border. He rose through the ranks, becoming Head Master at English High Schools in Klang, the port for Kuala Lumpur and Johore, before he took over as Chief Education Officer for Selangor. Taylor outlines the development of education and the adaptation of English-medium teaching to students from different ethnic backgrounds, and describes the role of non-English schools, particularly Malay, Chinese and Indian. His account is rich with descriptions and insight into the politics, social conditions and cultural life of Malaya at the time, gained from his experiences living in different towns, working with people from a wide range of backgrounds and inspecting schools in remote areas. As a New Zealander, Taylor also brings a rare Commonwealth perspective to his time in the Colonial Service. Sunset of Empire in Malaya brings new insight into the workings of the Colonial Service in a period of enormous change as its officers helped to rebuild the country in the aftermath of World War II and Japanese occupation, Communist struggles and the dawn of independence.
Sunset of the Empire in Malaya
A New Zealander's Life in the Colonial Education Service