Blog Archive

Friday 3 October 2014

New Arrivals in October

New Arrivals in October

As of 23d October 2014
(Regularly Updated)

Listed below are books which have arrived at The Penang Bookshelf recently.  (All prices are post free within Malaysia. If you live outside Malaysia, please ask for a quote for postage.)

Prices are shown in Malaysian Ringgit in blue.  If you're looking for prices in other major currencies, you should be able to find them in The Penang Bookshelf Full Catalogue which is updated regularly. Books sold will be so marked. So if you want to order any of them or want further details of any of the books before you make up your mind, do contact me at

By the time you read this, some of the titles may already be on the Penang Bookshelf website and eBay store. Do check. Prices are in Malaysian Ringgit in the eBay store and in US Dollars on the main website. Each site has a new arrivals page for the current and previous months. Where the title is in bold in this blog and there is no description of the book or price, this is because it is linked to a fuller description of the book on or in The Penang Bookshelf's eBay store. So have a look there.
The books are all used unless indicated otherwise. Abbreviations used are A = Acceptable, CD = CD Included, DJ = Dust Jacket, EL = Ex-library, F = Fine/AsNew, G = Good,  HB = Hardback, LB = Leatherbound, N = New, NF = Near Fine, PB = Paperback, SG = Author Signed Copy, SC = Slip Case and VG = Very Good

  • A Tropical Tapestry - Hubert S Banner - Banner, a prolific fiction and non-fiction writer of the pre World War II era, takes his readers on a tour of the Malay Archipelago. The tour is not meant to be comprehensive, but rather a series of sketches to evoke further interest.. 320 pages (Thornton Butterworth, 1929)- HB G  RM180
  • Bangkok Design: Thai Ideas in Textiles and Furniture - Brian Mertens - (Marshall Cavendish, 2006) HB N DJ RM70
  • Bells of the Blue Pagoda - Jean Carter Cochran - 
  • Borneo People - Malcolm MacDonald
  • Captured by Cannibals: Some Incidents in the Life of Horace Durand - Joseph Hatton (Hodder and Stoughton, 1898) HB G RM150
  • Christianity in Malaysia: A Denominational History - Robert Hunt & Others (eds) - In quite a major undertaking the editors have gathered together essays on the differing histories twelve major Christian churches in Malaysia. The choice ranges from the more familiar Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches to the more obscure Mar Thoma Church and  the Latter Rain Church of Malaysia. There are also chapters on ecumenism, the churches and social problems and a note on church growth in Malaysia from 1960 to 1985. 395 pages  (Pelanduk, 1993 ISBN: 9789679784084) HB VG  RM350
  • Cichlids From West Africa - Horst Linke & Wolfgang Staeck - A handbook covering all species known for the aquarium including species and colour varieties. 200 pages (Tetra-Press, 1994 ISBN: 9781564651662) HB VG  RM150

  • Citigold Select Presents Peranakan Treasures - Citibank HB NF  RM240
  • From Class to Culture: Social Conscience in Malay Novels since Independence - David J Banks (Yale University Press, 1987) - HB G EL RM60
  • Heritage Trees of Penang  Simon Gardiner, Pindar Sidisunthorn & Lai Ee May
  • Horned Beetles: A Study of the Fantastic in Nature - Gilbert Arrow - First published in 1951, this book is the result of a career at the Department of Zoology at the Natural History Museum in London devoted to the study of these creatures. Still a major reference work on the subject. 183 pages (Natural History Publications, 2005 ISBN: 9789838121064)
  • Jalan-Jalan: Images of Malaysia - Hans Hoefer & Peter Hutton
  • Last Adventure: The Martin Johnsons in Borneo - Osa Johnson - This is the story of a couple of US adventurers' exploits in Borneo in 1936. They were keen aviators and claimed to be the first people to fly over the Borneo jungle. While on land they concentrated on the Kinabatangan River. 233 pages (William Morrow, 1966) HB VG DJ RM100

  • Lost Horizon - James Hilton
  • Oriental Silverwork: Malay and Chinese - H. Ling Roth (Oxford University Press, 1993 ISBN: 9780195886054) HB NF DJ RM200
  • Ownership and Control of the One Hundred Largest Corporations in Malaysia - Lim Mah Hui - This is a detailed study of large corporations in Malaysia in the early 1970s and their effect on development, inequalities in society, national planning and the nature of social and organisational change. Lim demonstrates inter alia how interlocking stock ownership and interlocking directorships enhance these companies economic power. 190 pages - (Oxford University Press, 1981 ISBN: 9780195804546) PB VG RM160
  • Malay Peasant Society in Jelebu - MG Swift (Athlone Press, 1965) HB G EL RM50
  • Malaysia: The Road to Independence - Tunku Abdul Rahman (Pelanduk, 2007) PB N RM100
  • Merdeka 50: A Souvenir Edition - Preston Corporation, 2007) PB VG RM30
  • Modern Malaysian Art: From the Pioneering Era to the Pluralist Era (1930s-1990s) - Muliyadi Mahamood (Utusan, 2007) PB NF RM200
  • Nation-Building: Five Southeast Asian Histories - Wang Gungwu (ed) (ISEAS, 2005) PB N RM90
  • Nature and Nation: Forests and Development in Peninsular Malaysia -   J Kathrithamby-Wells (NUS Press, 2005)  PB N RM60
  • Out in the Midday Sun: The British in Malaya, 1880-1960 - Margaret Shennan

  • Penang (Prince of Wales Island): The Picturesque Island of Malaya
  • Perak Malay - CC Brown (AMS Press, 1982) HB G EL RM300
  • Perceptions of the Past in Southeast Asia -  Anthony Reid & David Marr (eds) (Heinemann Asia, 1979) PB NF  RM260
  • Place-Names in Peninsular Malaysia - S Durai Raja Singam (Archipelago Printers, 1980) PB VG  RM220
  • Post-Mortem on Malaya - Virginia Thompson SOLD

  • Postscripts - Cecil Rajendra (Prai Malaysia, 1984) PB NF  RM150
  • Readings in Malay Adat Laws - MB Hooker - Adat, or customary Malay law, has been codified widely throughout the Malay Archipelago the centuries. This work gathers together writings by RJ Wilkinson on Malay Law generally and on the 99 Laws of Perak, JR Logan on the laws of Johor, EN Taylor on the law of Rembau and Inheritance Law in Negerei Sembilan, WE Maxwell on land tenure & others in an attempt to better understand the core tenets of adat. There is also a bibliography of adat cases and an index. 478 pages (Singapore University Press, 1970) HB VG DJ RM200
  • Reflections of Malaysia - CT Fong - A photographic tour of Malaysia by this prolific photographer. The book was produced in co-operation with the Ministry of Tourism. So don't expect anything but dazzle. A stunning collection nevertheless. 208 pages.- (CT Fong Productions, 1991 ISBN: 9789679990485) HB NF DJ RM100

  • Religion and Governance - Chandra Muzzafar (ed) (Arah, 2009) PB N RM80
  • Sai Baba: Lord of the Air -  Tal Brooke  - "You are about to read one of the most powerful, explosive, and controversial books ever published in Indian publishing." So reads the first sentence of the preface, probably not quite the most bombastic in Indian publishing history. What follows is an account of being a member of Sai Baba's entourage in the 1970s and the disillusionment that followed. Probably one of the first exposés of the Sai Baba cult. 414 pages -(Vikas, 1979 ISBN: 0706907922) HB G RM120
  • Some Contribution of India to the Ancient Civilization of Indonesia & Malaysia - HB Sarkar (Punthi Pustak, 1970) HB VG DJ RM260
  • The Adventurous Gardener's Sourcebook of Rare and Unusual Plants - William C. Mulligan - A gardener's manual designed to inspire experimentation with out of the ordinary annuals, perennials, bulbs, herbs, vegetables, trees and shrubs. 224 pages -(Simon & Shuster, 1992 ISBN: 9780671751043) HB VG DJ RM50
  • The Economics of the Handloom Industry of the East Coast of Malaya - EK Fisk (Malayan Branch of The Royal Asiatic Society, 1962) PB VG  RM100

  • The Final Years of Hong Kong: The Discourse of Colonial Withdrawal - John Flowerdew (Palgrave Macmillan, 1998) PB NF  RM90
  • The First Contest for Singapore, 1819-1824 - HJ Marks (Martinus Nijhoff, 1959) HB VG SG RM300
  • The Journey - Jiro Osaragi - A love triangle set in post World War II Japan against the background of the the US occupation of the country. The struggle between traditional Japanese values and a growing class pursuing easy money is central to the story. 342 pages (Charles E Tuttle, 1970) PB A  RM40
  • The Little Iban WarriorLinus Lunsong Janti
  • The Manual of Tank Busters -  Gina Sandford & Richard Crow (Salamander Books, 1996 ISBN: 9780861014736)  HB VG DJ RM40
  • The Open United Front: The Communist Party in Singapore, 1954-1966 - Lee Ting Hui (South Seas Society, 1996) PB NF  RM500

  • The Orchid Thief -  Susan Orlean 
  • The Rama Saga in Malaysia -  Alexander Zieseniss (Malaysian Sociological Research Institute, 1963) HB VG LB RM150
  • The Riddle of Malaysian Capitalism - Peter Searle (Univeristy of Hawaii Press, 1998) HB VG DJ RM90  SOLD
  • The Rise and Fall of Basha Felika: Captain Speedy: His Life and Times - Jean Southon & Robert Harper (Jean Southon, 2004) PB VG RM300
  • The Way Home: The Isolated Emotional World of Former Leprosy Patients and Their Descendants - Tan Ean Nee & Joshua Wong (The Authors, 2012) PB N  RM60
  • To Catch a Tartar: A Disident in Lee Kuan Yew's Prison - Francis T Seow (Yale University Press, 1994) PB N  RM160
  • Tropical Trees and Shrubs: A Selection for Urban Planting - Wee Yeow Chin - This book is not only aimed at gardeners, but also is intended to be useful for students and academics as well. Southeast Asia's tropical trees and shrubs are broken into 16 groups in this manual. 393 pages (Sun Tree Publishing, 2003 ISBN: 9789810460228) - HB NF DJ RM250
  • Wild Orchids of Cameron Highlands -  Cheam May Choo & Others - Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands is a group of volunteers dedicated to monitoring and publicising changes in the environment of the Cameron Highlands a forest area which is now coming under threat. From 2002 until the publication of this book the group documented the spread of an state of orchids in this habitat. More than 15,000 photographs were taken and more than 600 species and sixty genera were discovered. This book publicises the results of their dedication. 208 pages (Regional Environmental Awareness Cameron Highlands, 2009 ISBN: 97898344449 (sic)) HB N DJ RM400

Thursday 2 October 2014

The Penang Bookshelf's Antique & Vintage Fair Catalogue

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The Penang Bookshelf
Antique & Vintage Fair Catalogue
From The Penang Bookshelf
What's This About?
Onset of Old Age
In preparation for my 67th birthday The Penang Bookshelf will be attending an Antique and Vintage Fair at Suffolk House Penang on 4th & 5th October between 10am and 4pm. Here are some examples of what will be there. All books are rare and/or collectible. (A matter of opinion, I suppose.) Where books are not rare, but just collectible, i.e. interesting, they're usually offered at prices lower than any other international bookseller. Many have not been advertised by us before.
This Catalogue is tediously long, so please use the links in the contents section as well as the links at the end of each section to navigate
More of the same is on its way. While in the UK in August I managed to lay my hands on another 300 or so books, which should start appearing soon.
Amidst the muck, there's rubber, tin & more
Microcosms of Indigenous Development: Case Studies of the Pahang Tenggara Region

Following independence various Malaysian Governments pushed for development throughout the country. Regionalplans fed into a countrywide plan. The editor, having helped supervise the collection of sociological data to support such a plan in the Johor region, instituted a similar one in Pahang. The book is a collection of field data from  various  researchers. 
Padi Landscapes of Malaya 
The two surveys arose out a response to worries
about declining padi (rice) cultivation at a time when other cash crops, such as rubber and oil palm, were becoming more attractive to cultivators. The purpose of the studies was to determine who worked the fields and how. Because it was felt the first report was a bit rushed, a second more intensive survey,covering more varied rice growing areas, was undertaken
Pulp & Paper Industry and Research in Peninsular Malaysia 
The book was written more than 30 years after the Institute was established and is based on the results of the evaluation of more than 200 species of trees during this period. Based on this research the authors survey the industry, the trade and consumption of paper and paper products and processes involved. 131 pages including several tables and figures. The book's chapters include - Local Industry & Products, Consumption & Demand, Methodology & Physical, Chemical & Pulping Properties  
The ArtsArts
From Folk to Fashion
A Comprehensive History of Malaysian Art
A short, but comprehensive, review of art mainly from the period after Malaysian independence. The subject matter is limited to painting, mainly in the Western style, although some mention is made of Chinese style painting.
Enter My Garden
An exhibition catalogue of the artist for an exhibition in Kuala Lumpur in 1989.

Lee Cheng Yong Retrospective
 Until this 1996 retrospective exhibition, Lee Cheng Yong was one of the forgotten pioneers of modern Malaysian art. A Penang art teacher, his paintings and sculpture were influenced by Chinese brush art, French impressionism and German expressionism. He also had the distinction of being only the second Malaysian artist to hold a solo exhibition.
Penang Artists 1920 to 1990
The author, the owner of a Penang art gallery, sets out to produce an illustrated directory of selected Penang artists during this period. The selection was based on the artist having been born in Penang, lived on the island for most of her/his life, regularly exhibited locally and the artist's work being of merit in the opinion of the author and others in the art field. The book starts with The Visual Arts of Penang: An Overview followed by the History of the Development of Art in Penang and then examples of each artist's work. The book is divided into two sections on Pioneer Artists and Contemporary Artists.
The Decorated Boats of Kelantan: An Essay on Symbolism

This significant work details one aspect of the unique heritage of
Kelantan which straddles Malay and Thai cultures, i.e. decorations applied to fishing boats in the state. The book is illustrated throughout with detailed line drawings of the art.

Randai Dance of Minangkabau Sumatra with Labonotation Scores
The Randai is an originally Indonesian dramatic dance form that has spread in Malaysia since the 1930s. The author's purpose in this work was to go back to the roots of the dance so as to better inform Malaysian musicians and musicologists.
Rajahs, Ruffians and Rakyat
Gawai Burong: The Chants and Celebrations of the Iban Bird Festival
The Iban Bird Festival, Gawai Buring, is one of the most important in the calendar of the Iban, the second largest indigenous group of people in Malaysia. The author collected the details fo the ritual from two famous Iban bards who related the details of a 1937 festival. A significant anthropological and historical record
The Natives of Sarawak and British North Borneo
A facsimile reprint of Ling Roth's classic work on the aboriginal peoples of present day Sabah and Sarawak. An encycolpedia on every aspect of these peoples' lives at the end of the 19th century. Copiously illustrated with line drawings and black and white plates
Malaysia - Elsewhere   
North Borneo: A Report on the Census of Population Held on 4th June, 1951
This 1951 census report gives a comprehensive survey of the population of North Borneo which was one of the smallest units of Commonwealth at the time.This was the first census carried out after World War II. The report is divided into thirteen chapters including diagrams and a population map. All statistics were recorded in tables. 
Iban Ritual Textiles
One of the more comprehensive reviews of the techniques of manufacture and names given to textiles used in Iban religious and community rituals. The research was carried out for a total of three years at the end of the 20th century recording many techniques and terms that are gradually being forgotten as the use of the warp ikat dies out.
Masks of Sarawak in the Collection of the Muzium Negara Malaysia
A guide to a collection which, at the time of publication, was considered to probably be the largest of its kind. Mainly Kenyah, Kayan and Iban masks are featured in this collection.
For the Love of Labuan
You Jae Ryuk, who holds a number of prestigious awards in photography, uses his art to describe the varied life of Labuan island in this 229-page book. Despite the island's transformtion into Malaysia's only Offshore International Financial Centre the book amply demonstrates much of the island's culture and natural beauty have been preserved.
Old Kuching
An updated edition, including new illustrations, of this popular collection of pictures and anecdotes about Kuching before World War II.
Mrs Pryer in Sabah
Ada Pryer was the wife of WB Pryer, the British North Borneo's first resident of the East coast and widely credited for founding the modern city of Sandakan. This book is a collection of her diary entries and other papers which give a good reflection of life for expatriates in such pioneering times as well as her husband's views of the Company which were not always favourable..
Business, Economics and LabourBusiness
Mostly Figures, but Some People Too
Geology & Mineral Resources of the Kinta Valley, Perak
At the time of publication the Kinta Valey was the richest tin mining are in the world. Detailed geological mapping was required since the Government and miners relied mainly on Scrivenor's 1927 map since when many more mines had been opened. This 347 page work was intended to bring Scrivenor's work up to date as well as provide far more detailed geological information

Problems of the Malayan Economy

The booklet consists of transcripts of a series of talks given on Radio Malaya to inroduce listeners to the workings of the country's economy and to encourage further study. Contibutors, including Ungku Abdul Aziz, TH Silcock, Charles Gamba, the editor and others, were drawn from the University of Malaya's staff at the time

Ethnicity and the Economy The State, Chinese Business and Multinationals in Malaysia
The author sets out to discover why Malaysia was one of the economic leaders in Asia in the 1960s but had lost out to others 20 years later. What effects, if any, did Government intervention and internal socio-structural arrangements have on this change?

Language & LinguisticsLanguage
A Simple But Complete Grammar of the Malay Language
This comprehensive, but basic grammar textbook has a English-Malay vocabulary list, a Malay-English dictionary, three appendices of useful notes and numerous translation exercises. A useful guide for beginner learners of Malay.

An ideal handbook for collaborating with the Japanese instead of the British! A basic phrase book in English, Malay and Japanese with a simple vocabulary at the end. It must have been in high demand to have reached its fourth edition within a year of the Japanese invasion.
Back to Contents
Malay Community & CultureMalay
Kampung & Class

Alam Pantun Melayu: Studies on the Malay Pantun
The author, an experienced translator of poetry from many languages into English and French, gives the reader an introduction to this poetic form with examples translated by him and AW Hamilton.

A Critical Survey of Studies on Malay and Bahasa Indonesia

This noted Malay language scholar attempts to list and evaluate 'publications devoted to or important for the study of Malay and Bahasa Indonesia.' Teeuw sets out to be as complete as possible, not only covering books dedicated to the language but also articles in professional periodicals as well.


Malayan Fables - Ann Parkinson

These books of fables from Raja Bongsu's Malay Annals were produced to give children in schools something 'Malayan' to read rather than English stories which were more standard fare at the time. The text is based on CC Brown's translation of the Annals.

Latar Belakang Kebudayaan Pendudok2 Di Tanah Melayu - Bahagian Kebudayaan Islam
A brief account of the development of Malay culture with particular reference to Islam
Nature & WildlifeNature

Matahari: Impressions of the Siamese-Malayan Jungle
Matahari means 'sun' in Malay. It gives the power of growth to the virgin forest. The author made his way through the Mediterranean and on to India - Siamese, Chinese, Malays, Buddhism and the tropical virgin forest are symbols of the other worlds which were key to his young life. He provides a vivid account of his journey through the jungle while both exposed to and shaded from the light of sun.

Bamboos of Peninsular Malaysia - KM Wong
The major reference work on this ubiquitous plant, found just about everywhere on the peninsula.
All That's Fit to Print
The Straits Times Annual for 1957
A glossy celebration of Malaya's independence by the country's leading newspaper. With numerous black and white and colour photos, 80 pages of articles by well known writers of the time

Malaysia - Elsewhere

The Straits Times Annual for 1963
A glossy celebration of the merger of various territories that led to the formation of Malaysia. With numerous black and white and colour photos, 80 pages of articles by well known writers of the time and 48 pages of advertisements. 

Malaysia - Elsewhere

Orang Asli/Indigenous PeoplesOrang Still Hanging On...

Orang Asli Women of Malaysia : Perceptions, Situations & Aspirations
Orang Asli (indigenous) women in Malaysia are a marginalised group within probably the most marginalised community in the country. The authors, anthropologists who have lived and worked with the community, are able to give the reader  glimpses of the main characteristics of the lives of Orang Asli women in the past, in the present day  and what they predict for their future.

Interim Report on the Economic Conditions and Prospects of the Orang Asli of Southeast Pahang
At the time of writing this report there were approximately 8,000 Orang Asli (indigenous tribes people) in Southeast Pahang. The purpose of the report was to determine how this group could be incorporated into economic development in the state as a whole and to give a general picture of their economy, culture and their desires and aspirations for the future.
Keranda: Tradisi & Misteri/Cofffins: Traditions & Mysteries
This beautifully illustrated exhibition catalogue, bilingual in Malay and English,  takes the reader on a tour of coffins and death rituals principally of Malaysia, but also of some neighbouring countries as well. The diversity of customs and beliefs of different communities is amply illustrated by the photographs and accompanying text. The book not only covers practices surrounding the disposal of the deceased in the 21st century, but throughout Malaysia's history.
Tradition in Tension: Carving in a Jah Hut Community
The author went to live with and study a Jah Hut Orang Asli/indigenous community for her master's thesis in the late 1970s. What she found was a community which was trying to cope with the loss of their former forest habitat through carving figures for tourists and other outsiders. This occupation had started some 20 years earlier and Couillard hoped to discover what effect this new source of income had on the lifestyle of former hunters and gatherers  

Borneo -
Community -  Fiction -
the 20th Century
Biography & Memoirs
A Lot of Puff, But Some Interesting Stuff

The Myth of Dato' Onn Jafar: The Forgotten Hero
An extensive biography of one of the founders of UMNO, the main representative of Malays, both leading up to and after the independence of Malaya. Despite his early prominence in the party, he lost support in the years after the war as he campaigned to open up the party to non-Malays as well. He formed two other parties after leaving UMNO in 1951, but never regained his earlier prominence and so has been marginalised in Malaysia's early history. This book attempts to set the record straight

Prince and Premier 
Abdul Rahman's foreword indicates that this is very definitely an authorised biography. Nevertheless Miller didn't write a hagiography either. He sums the country's first prime minister up as a man who succeeded because of his honesty and common touch rather than because he could match the intellect of his great contemporary hero, Jawaharlal Nehru. The book also benefits from being written when the memory of the events described are fresh.

The Prince & I
The chatty reminiscences of TH Tan, one of Malaya's larger than life characters in the middle of the 20th century. He was not only a journalist, but also a printer who printed the Surrender Communique at the surrender of Singapore, a politician with the Malaysian Chinese Association as well as a confident of Tunku Abdul Rahman, the prince referred to in the title. Rahman also managed to convert Tan to Islam

Memoir Khatijah Sidek: Puteri Kesateria Bangsa -
The autobiography of one of the key women in the Malay nationalist movement leading up to independence. Her insistence on the importance of women's rights within UMNO led to her expulsion from the party in 1953
Tan Sri Ahmad Noordin: Kampung Boy to Auditor General
The authorised biography of one of Malaysia's early rising stars in the civil service. While serving under Mahathir Mohamad he gained a reputation for sticking to ethical principles when reviewing Government finances.
From Village Boy to Mr Opposition: An Autobiography
Yet another rags to fame story. Sometimes one wishes for a little more originality when choosing a title for a biography. Tan was another of the forgotten independence period politicians whose efforts have largely been sidelined in the more racially motivated forces that took a more central role in Malaysian politics. He played a central role in the Labour Party of Malaya which did not fare too well at elections, but did become a member of the Socialist International
Tan Cheng Lock: The Straits Legislator and Chinese Leader

Tan was one of principal leaders of the Chinese community in Malaya in between the two world wars. This book, claiming to be an objective account, looks at his public life in the period between 1923 and 1935 when his contributions were significant in shaping the future of a multiracial Malaysia.

Musings of J.S.M.R. Mostly Malayan

Rennie, who had been in Singapore since 1900, was one of the island's foremost accountants and pioneers. In his spare time he contributed his column of 'Musings' to the Singapore Free Press. This is a collection of those articles with evocative titles such as 'A Malacca Soliloquy, ' 'The Passing of the Towkay, ' and 'Lagi Satu Tanjong.'
This work is the first full biography of one of the architects of the expansionist phase of British influence and control over the Malayan peninsula. For this Swettenham was rewarded with his appointment as the first Resident General of the Federated Malay States in 1971. He ended the Malayan part of his career more than 30 years later as Governor and Commander in Chief of the Straits Settlements. Although the author displays paintaking scholarship based on his thorough research of original papers, he has also produced a readable study of his fascinating subject.
Syers and the Selangor Police 1875-1897
This monograph from the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society is a brief sketch of the significant contribution made by Syers to the foundation of the Selangor Police before being promoted to Commissioner of Police, Federated Malay States in 1896.
Diversion in Malaya: An Incidental Account of Five Years' Residence in the Federated Malay States, 1937-1942 
The memoirs of a British teacher appointed as science master to Anderson school in Ipoh, at the time the largest educational establishment in Perak. Although the period covered runs up to the Japanese invasion of Malaysia and he gives his account of the days before he was taken prisoner of war, these memoirs are mainly an account an enjoyable life before the misery of internment.
A Political Profile: Dr Lim Chong Eu
Lim Chong Eu, the second chief minister of Penang, in his twenty odd years in power is widely credited with having transformed the island from a sleep trading city into an economic powerhouse. The author, a journalist, assesses his life on the eve of Lim's retirement from politics in 1990
The Eye Over The Golden Sands 
This is the beginning of the biography of Lim Kean Siew a noted This is the beginning of the biography of Lim Kean Siew a noted lawyer and politician in
in Malaysia in the post war years. In verse and prose he leads us through his family origins and his early life until the onset of World War II.
Scribblings at Random
The author's on the random musings about life in Penang.

Chinese Community and CultureChinese
Kiasu & Culture
Chinese Minority in a Malay State 
This is a timely study of a Chinese community which has not had too much attention in the past, both the 'pure' Chinese and the Peranakan, or mixed, Chinese minorities in a state dominated politically by an ethnocentric Malay political party, PAS. The author divides his work into three parts 1 - History of Settlement and Society, 2 - Peranakan-Type Chinese in Tirok and 3 - Ethnic Relations

Ethnic Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia A Dialogue Between Tradition and Modernity

A collection of articles based on papers presented at the 2001 international conference on 'Ethnic Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia A Dialogue Between Tradition and Modernity'. A wide range of academics from Asia, Australia and Canada sought to examine the process of change in Chinese society and look at how tradition and modernity both complement and clash with each other.


Stories of the Chinese Overseas
This beautiful book, bilingual in Chinese and English, is quite an achievement as it manages to evoke the histories of the Chinese who migrated to various places in the East, West and South without a single colour photograph. Instead through grainy, but vibrant, black and white and toned photographs, snippets of experiences of migrants, poetry and brief backgrounds of the Chinese in each country, the book manages to evoke something of what life must have been like for these pioneers. The author is a well known Singaporean novelist who uses her talents to revitalise their history.


Kecantikan : Bengkung Kaki -The Allure of the Bound Foot
For over a thousand years, foot binding (three-inch golden lotus) was practised by women in China as part of a culture associated with rites, music and civilised institutions and as an ornament of the body. This practice was once considered as an attractive way to exhibit beauty. The book provides us with a deeper understanding of the cultural, historical and socio-political motives behind this practice

Closer to Reality than You Might Imagine
In a Corner of Asia - Hugh Clifford

A collection of short stories written by the author, a British colonial officer, illustrating a way of Malayan life that he saw fast disappearing. Written between 1896 and 1899.

Sepia - Owen Rutter 
This 320 page novel is one of the first, if not the first, to be published in English about Borneo. It's a story about a newly arrived British government officer's experiences and his struggles to find a woman to love. The book was subsequently published under the title "Passion Fruit." Rutter was a civil servant employed in British North Borneo and wrote several non-fiction works about Government and the people of what is now Sabah.

The Fountain of Youth - Erasmus Dawson
This could be described as an early work of science fiction, a tale of adventures in Borneo, where Dawson and his companions set out supposedly to find the revitalising spring that is the fountain of youth of the title. However the main purpose is to find a special metal, unknown elsewhere, invented by Hindu giants. A good example of a 19th century 'lost world' tale, somewhat in the style of Rider Haggard, and described by a reviewer of the time as ' thoroughly bright and amusing.'

Ahad - Zakariah bin Salleh
A story that was published after winning a national prize. by Hindu giants.


Pangkor to World War II
Meddlers and Marauders
Malay Land "Tanah Melayu"


This work is a classic review of the day to day lifepeople of Malaya at the beginning of the 20th century. As the author says in his preface, the book's not about tin or 'notables' such as sultans and British colonial servants. It's more just about the life that supports them, though they may not know it!.

Political and Statistical Account of the British Settlements In the Straits of Malacca
Originally published in 1839, the book was not well received by the English press who were a bit peeved that the Straits Settlements were dispatched in a few pages. Despite the title, the main part of the book is an account of the Malay States from a sympathetic point of view. Newbold travelled the penisula widely which enabled him to cover history, politics, commerce, geology, linguistics, botany, anthropology and the law in some detail. 2 volumes

British Empire Exhibition: Malaya Pavilion

A lovely guide to the Malaya Section of the 1924 British Empire Exhibition held at Wembley in 1924 and 1925. With sections on the various states, industry, art and culture. With several black and white photographs and accompanying text, advertisementsand a bibliography of 'modern books' the country and on the Malay language

Rulers and Residents: Influence and Power in the Malay States 1870-1920
This book essentially covers the transformation of Malaya from a group of sultanates into a British colony through examining the relationship between the sultans and their new masters. Although in many ways rulers' powers were more circumscribed, Gullick argues that the sultans also acquired new roles which enabled them to last until the present day unlike their colleagues in neighbouring Indonesia.

In Pursuit of Mountain Rats
The Rest of 20th CenturyEmergency 
From Battles in the Jungle to Rumbles on the Hustings

In Pursuit of Mountain Rats: The Communist Insurrection in Malaya
This book remains a classic on the 1948-60 communist insurrection in Malaya. The author's unrestricted access to Malayan Government confidential and secret papers, without similar access to Communist sources, obviously influences his viewpoint to a great extent. Nevertheless the book is a thorough a record of the events and has influenced the conduct of counter insurgency warfare since
Dialogues With Chin Peng New Light On The Malayan Communist Party -
Chin Peng, decorated as a resistance fighter against the Japanese in Malaya and condemned for his later role in leading the Communist guerilla assault on, first, British, and, then, Malayan Government rule, obviously had a mixed reputation. This book is a record of the fascinating encounter in 1999  between Chin Peng and a group of prominent academics who had studied the party and police and military personnel who had confronted Chin Peng and his followers in the jungle. The aim of the two day workshop was to try and improve the objectivity in writing this important part of Malaysian history

Malayan Federalism 1945-1963

Upon resumption of colonial rule in Malaya after the World War the
British decided to 'rationalise' the various pre-war systems of government in the country into something more centralised. Their efforts were not always enthusiastically received. This book charts the progress or not of such schemes which eventually led to the formation of Malaysia in 1963
Malaysia - Elsewhere

Meet You in Malaya - Katherine Sim  

A short atrractive brochure introducing the tourist to post World War II Malaysia with sections on Penang (4 pages), Malacca & Selangor (2 pages each), Kedah & Perlis, Perak,  Hill Stations, Johore, Negri Sembilan,The Islands & The East Coast (1 page each). Each page has at least one couloured sketch by the well known artist. 
Malaysia - Elsewhere

Forces and Families Holiday Guide to The Federation of Malaysia and Other Places of Interest in South East Asia

A delightful and comprehensive guide to places to go for British forces stationed n Southeast Asia in the 1960s. About two thirds of the book is devoted to Malaysia and Singapore and the rest to other countries in Southeast Asia with numerous maps, line drawings and advertisements. Lots of dated references, e.g. on Langkawi - 'surprisingly it has sufficient modern amenities to ensure the comfort of a reasonable traveller.'  
Penang Penang

Penang Sketchbook  

Through both evocative watercolours and line drawings on every page Chin Kon Yit works a marvellous partnership with the author Chen Voon Fee to bring to life both the architectural heritage and the current street life of the rich blend of Chinese, European, Indian and Malay cultures which nurture the roots of Malaysia's second city.
Hail Penang! 
This first edition is now becoming quite rare.  The book is virtually unique amongst memoirs of British colonial life in Penang in the 1920s. What makes the book stand out is not only Bilainkin's lively journalist's skills, but also his particular vantage point. He was not a British Government officer, planter or other business man, but employed by the Chinese owned Straits Echo as their editor. Therefore although part of the colonial community of Penang, Bilainkin probably asked more questions and was more observant of what lay under the veneer of colonialism than most of his compatriots.

Ma Lai Xi Ya Bin Cheng Wang Shi Tai Yuan Tang Qing Shu Bai Zhou Nian Ji Nian De Kan (Penang Ong Kongsi Commeemoration Volume)  
An account of the Ong Kongsi in Penang and its notable members

About The Penang Bookshelf
The Penang Bookshelf specialises in providing book lovers with a broad range of new and second-hand books, both fiction and non-fiction, primarily about Malaysia, but also about other parts of Asia as well. 

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Category Pages - Asian Fiction,      Asian History,     Asian ReligionsBorneo  Chinese Ceramics   Malaysian Architecture  Malaysian Agriculture   Malaysian Arts and Culture  Malaysia: CartoonsMalaysian Chinese Community  Malaysian Cooking and Food Malaysia: Colonial Biography,     Malaysia: Modern Biography,   Malaysia - Fiction  Malaysia: Journalism,    Malaysia: Language & Linguistics,     Malaysia: Literature, Malaysia: Malay Community   Malaysia & Singapore: 19th Century History,   Malaysia: Post-Independence HistoryMalaysia: Miscellaneous, Malaysian Nature and Wildlife    Orang Asli (Indigenous People)    Malaysian Poetry  Malaysian Politics  Malaysia: Religion   Malaysia & Singapore: World War II  Perak    Singapore: Anthropology & Sociology     Singapore Fiction


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