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Sunday 12 May 2019

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in May 2019

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


May 2019

(Last Updated 28-5-19)

This is a list of new arrivals advertised at The Penang Bookshelf for this month. Please note: -

  • Each book advertised below includes a brief description of its contents and condition as well as the price in Malaysian Ringgit. If you want a fuller description of a used book's condition, to look at the scanned contents page, if any, and or to find out the price in USD, please click on the link in blue for the relevant book. 
  • If you click on a link after the current month and find nothing, the book's been sold.  
  • Of course, if you want to buy anything you see here, you can either do so from the site or contact me at 
  • This page will be updated constantly until the end of the month.
  • The prices shown here hold good for at least this month, but for out of print books, the prices may change in subsequent months.
  • All prices include free postage to anywhere in Malaysia.

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

Daim Zainuddin: Malaysia's Revolutionary and Troubleshooter - Michael Backman  RM80

An important biography of one of the more significant players in Malaysian politics who came to prominence during Mahathir's first premiership and now plays an important role in Mahathir's second bout of running the country. The book ends just before the election that returned Mahathir to power. The book is based on many interviews with Daim himself and with those who have worked with him. New Paperback. First Edition 230 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

Our Man in Malaya - Margaret Shennan   RM50

The troubled history of the last few years of Malaya as a colony, both of the British and Japanese and the first few years of independence are reflected in the biography of John Davis. As a member of the Police Special Branch, he escaped from Singapore on the Japanese arrival and, after 35 days in a fishing boat, arrived in Ceylon where he prepared for his return as an operative behind enemy lines. He worked closely with Chin Peng, who has written an afterword, and Spencer Chapman. After the war he stayed on to face Chin Peng during the 'Emergency' where, amongst other things, he was involved in abortive peace talks with Chin Peng in 1955. 386 pages.


Handcraft in North Borneo - Elizabeth and John Alman  SOLD

Labuan Story - The Story of a Small Island Near The Coast of Borneo - Maxwell Hall   RM400

Hall, was a British colonial officer who saw fifty years' service with the North Borneo Chartered Company and wrote several books on Borneo's past. Here he turns his attention to the history of a strategic island off the island of Borneo which was wrested from the Brunei Sultanate by the the British in the mid 19th century. After passing between the British Government and various colonial proxies, it is now a Federal Territory of Malaysia. Good Paperback. First Edition. 271 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

The Dusun: A North Borneo Society - Thomas Rhys Williams  RM60

The author originally went to Borneo in the late 1950s to research the methods by which the Dusun teach their children customary behaviour. He returned in 1962 to validate and extend  his research. In this book he provides the reader with a succinct, yet comprehensive review of Dusun society at the time. First Edition. Good Paperback  100 pages including black and white illustrations, a glossary and a bibliography. The book's chapters include - 1. The Background of Customary Dusun Behaviour, 2 - Conceptions of the Natural World, 3- Religious Belief and Behaviour, 4 - Omens, Luck and Chance 5 - Sickness and Death, 6 - Social Relations, 7 - Property, Order and Authority, 8 - Subsistence and Economy, 9 - Life Experience and World View. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Business, Economics & Labour

PKFZ: A Nation's Trust Betrayed - Lee Hwa Beng & Lee Siew Lian   RM80

Although the 1MDB scandal catapulted Malaysia into the world headlines, the authors of this book claim that Government corruption has a solid pedigree in the country. One of the authors was a former Chairman of the Port Klang Authority and details in this book how he attempted to bring to book the culprits who benefitted from the mysterious quadrupling of the budget for the Port Klang Free Zone. (PKFZ) To date no one has been convicted for the crimes described in this book. New Paperback. Reprint. 218 pages with a few colour photographs

Real Estate in Malaysia : Challenges, Insights and Issues - Mani Usilappan  RM60

This is a collection of previously published articles by a former Director General of Valuation and Property Services in Malaysia. Distilled into this selection is the author's 35 year experience as a valuer, lecturer, researcher and regulator covering most issues that one is likely to come across when dealing with Malaysian real estate. New Paperback. First Edition. 304 pages with an index.

Malaysia & Singapore - Chinese Community & Culture

The Chinese Dilemma - Ye Lin-Sheng   RM350

After a few decades of The New Economic Policy (NEP) designed to improve the financial standing of Malays through affirmative action, Ye examines its effects generally and on the Chinese community in Malaysia in particular. The book is partly in response to Mahathir's The Malay Dilemma, which inspired the NEP. However it mainly seeks to examine and often dispute various Chinese community grouses about life after the NEP, which the author generally supports. Well written and cogently argued. 197 pages with an index and a bibliography. Chapters include  Political Backdrop, Seeds of Discord, The Malay Dilemma Revisited, Chinese Grievances, The American Dilemma, Affirmative Action: American and Malaysian Experiences, Criticisms of Affirmative Action, Immigrant Chinese Society, The Ugly Chinaman, Minority Experiences Compared, Cultural Crossing, Striking a Balance, The New Economic Policy a Recapitulation. Very Good Paperback. First Edition

Malaysia & Singapore - Cooking & Food

Irene's Peranakan Recipes - Irene & Elaine Yeo  RM100

A collection of recipes made famous by the Peranakan/Straits Chinese, a mixed race culture arising from the intermarriage of Chinese and Malays in Southeast Asia over several centuries. The book was compiled by Elaine Yeo from her mother's repertoire. Irene Yeo's recipes became famous in her lifetime through the numerous cooking classes that she conducted in Singapore. New Soft cover. First Edition. 160 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Original Penang Favourites - Methodist Girls' School Ex-Pupils' Association Penang  RM50

Penang food, both in the home and on the street, manages to achieve its distinctive reputation both because of the island's multicultural mix that makes it unique and because of its residents' preoccupation with consuming it. In this book a group of local residents share recipes of some favourites. New Paperback. First Edition 48 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Penang “Ho Liao” Recipes - Methodist Girls' School Ex-Pupils' Association Penang  RM60

Following on from the popular success of their first two recipe books, The Methodist Girls' School Ex-Pupils' Association Penang are back with another 74 examples of why Penang food has an international reputation. New Paperback. First Edition 118 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - Dance, Drama & Music

Boria: From Passion Play to Malay-Jawi Peranakan Parody - Wazir Jahan Karim   RM80

This is probably the most comprehensive book written on Boria to date as it traces the origins of this form of street theatre from Persia, through India up to its current existence in Penang today. However this books takes us even further, arguing as to how Boria, "a modern day vaudeville", could to be built into Penang's vibrant street culture today. New Paperback. First Edition. 299 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Malaysia & Singapore - Fiction

Beyond The Sea - P Singaram   RM60

This book, which has been described as 'the one great Tamil novel of Penang,' follows the story of a young moneylender, who hopes to marry his boss's daughter. World War II and his joining the Japanese sponsored Indian National Army disrupts his plans and on his return he discovers that much has changed. This novel has been translated from the original Tamil into English. New Paperback Reprint. 

Four Strangers in Sungei Tujoh - Addison Jones   RM120

A school text book chronicling the adventures of the adventures of Ahmad, Shaida and Meng very much in the style of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, but in a Malayan context. The book is part of a trilogy published in the Malayan Children's Bookshelf Series. Very Good Board Book in a Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 73 pages

Malaysia & Singapore - Folklore

Hikayat Inderaputera  RM200

A pre-18th century Malay tale of the adventures of Prince Inderaputera. The book is in Bahasa Malaysia. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 342 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Malaysia & Singapore - Health & Medicine

Oh, I Thought I Was The Only One - Kopi Soh   RM50

A self-help book intended to enable readers to realise that personal problems are not unique and that there are solutions. The author is a qualified psychotherapist. New Paperback. First Edition. 178 pages

Malaysia & Singapore - History

Singapore: A 700-Year History - From Emporium to World City - Kwa Chong Guan, Derek Heng & Tan Tai Yong  RM400

The authors, a group of respected historians, seek to show that Singapore was far from a 'sleepy fishing village' before the arrival of Stamford Raffles, but was instead a thriving port which was of significance from at least the 14th century onwards. They then follow the island's history through British and Japanese times, independence and separation right up to its place as a 'Global City' today. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 220 pages with an index and several black and white and colour illustrations. 


Bujang Valley: The Wonder That Was Ancient Kedah - V Nadarajan  RM90

Most histories of Malaysia begin with the Sultanate of Melaka founded in the 15th century, despite the fact that it is fairly obvious to any student of Asian history that the country has had the benefit of a strong Indian influence in the past. Ironically even the term 'bumiputera' coined to denote indigenous peoples, rather than immigrants, is easily recognised as being derived entirely from Sanskrit. This book provides part of the answer, as the author, a native of the state of Kedah, known to its early inhabitants as Kadaram, demonstrates that an Indianised civilisation existed in the north of the peninsula no later than the 5th century AD. With a foreword by  Khoo Kay Kim New Paperback Reprint 135 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Malaysia & Singapore - Malay Community & Culture

Two Malay Worlds: Interaction in Urban and Rural Settings - Roland Provencher  RM150

A fascinating study of two Malay communities, one on the outskirts, in the 1960s, of Kuala Lumpur and the other in a more rural setting about twenty miles away. The purpose of the study was to discover the extent to which, if at all, interactions between community members changed because of their different settings within the same region. Very Good Paperback. First Edition.  211 pages with figures, tables, maps, four line drawings and a bibliography.

Malaysia & Singapore - Nature & Wildlife

The island of Borneo is host to about 500 different species of wild fruits, nuts and seeds that have formed a part of the indigenous people's diet for centuries. 30% of them are endemic and it is believed that more species are yet to be identified. In this book, the author, a recognised authority of Borneo plant life, introduces 109 of the better known species with some rare of little-known ones as well. Each species included is illustrated and has informative text as to its use and distribution. New Paperback. First Edition 311 pages.

Hardback   RM150

Frontiers of Fear - Peter Boomgaard  RM70

Boomgaard traces the relationship between tigers and their human neighbours during the 350 year colonial period of the Malay Peninsula and Indonesian archipelago. He not only unearths accounts of encounters between both, but also examines the myths attributed to tigers during this period. 306 pages. Like New Hardback. First Edition. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Preferred Check-List of Sabah Trees - Y.F. Lee  RM50

Now in its third edition, this book remains the most popular reference for the wide variety of trees throughout the Malaysian state of Sabah, formerly North Borneo. New Paperback. Third edition. 130 pages.


Penang Past and Present, 1786-1963   RM150

This 148 page book sets out to be an 'objective' history of the city and a record of its achievements on its first centenary as a municipality To achieve this, the book is crammed with facts on the city's administration, buildings and services as well as about forty historical black and white photos. The book ends with a series of 20 street maps of George Town and its environs in 1966 followed by three pullout maps of the city at various stages of its development in the 19th century. Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket First Edition For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Penang Then & Now: A Century of Change in Pictures - Marcus Langdon & Keith Hockton  RM100

Like most cities in Asia, Penang has seen a fair amount of development in the last century or so. Some of it has, for good or ill, obliterated the past, but occasionally the developers have made attempts to tip toe around what was there before. This book takes 115 sites in Penang and for each site shows comparative photographs of what it looked like about a hundred years ago and what it looks like today. The result? Mixed feelings, probably. New Laminated Soft cover. First Edition. 256 pages For further details, please see the scanned contents page

Malaysia & Singapore - Peranakan/Straits Chinese

The Baba of Melaka are probably the descendants of the first Chinese to settle on the peninsula and intermarry with the Malay population. The result, as Tan contends in 'this first comprehensive study of the ethnic identity of the Baba in Melaka', is a community that is basically Chinese, but which is heavily influenced by Malay culture and speak Malay, rather than Chinese, amongst themselves. Based on extensive field work in the community, the author captures the essence  of a small, but influential, group keen to preserve its individual identity amidst the swirl of  the more strident identities of the Chinese and Malay communities in post-independence Malaysia. 297 pages with an index, 76 black and white plates, a bibliography and various figures and tables. Near Fine Paperback First Edition 


Papers Relating to Trengganu - MC ff Sheppard, AH Hill & CA Gibson-Hill   RM180

Published as Volume XXII, part 3, June 1949 of the Journal of the Malayan Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. 125 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. Very Good Reprint Paperback

Malaysia & Singapore - Transport

Singapore: A History of Its Trams Trolleybuses and Buses: 1880's to 1960's v. 1 - FW York & A.R Phillips  RM120

It was not until 1886 that Singapore had the benefit of the beginnings of a tram system, powered by steam, although there probably were a few buses before this. In this book a couple of enthusiasts have compiled what must be the most comprehensive account of public transport on the island during this period. 256 pages . Very Good Hardback. First Edition For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

Malaysia & Singapore - World War II

Doris van der Stratten: The Australian Mistress of the Japanese Commander of Kuala Lumpur - Andrew Barber  RM60

Barber, an author of several books on Malaysia's colonial past, in the course of his researches unearthed this little known subplot of the Japanese occupation of Malaya. Doris van der Stratten did not manage to escape at the time of the Japanese invasion, became a civilian detainee and eventually the mistress of Colonel Koda, the commander of the main Japanese garrison on the peninsula. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition 152 pages with a bibliography


Malesian Orchid Journal Vol 22 (2018) - Andre Schuiteman (ed)   RM110

For details of the subjects covered in this issue, please see the scanned contents page New Paperback. First Edition  116 pages

Malesian Orchid Journal Vol 23 (2019) - Andre Schuiteman (ed)  RM110

For details of the subjects covered in this issue, please see the scanned contents page New Paperback. First Edition  124 pages 


Buddhist and Freudian Psychology - Padmasiri De Silva  RM100

A classic comparative study of the nature of instinct of sexuality, ego instinct and death instinct as expounded by Freud, where the author sees parallels in the discourses of the Buddha. This edition also probes certain dilemmas, from a Buddhist perspective, in the teachings of Freud. Like New Paperback. Third Edition. 223 pages with appendices, a bibliography and an index.

Fascinating Insects of Southeast Asia - L.E.O. Braack   RM80

A lay person's guide to the most diverse and abundant group of organisms on the planet. In this introduction the author limits himself to the more common species that are pollinate and destroy the world of Southeast Asia. With over 100 colour photographs. 130 pages. New Paperback Reprint Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

Musical Instruments of South-East Asia - Eric Taylor  RM70

Taylor, a Music Professor at the University of Durham at the time of writing this book, seeks to introduce the reader to the variety of Southeast Asian music by concentrating on the instruments played in the region. By emphasising each instrument's significance in the context of its musical function and the attendant history, beliefs and customs, he manages to avoid the more technical aspects of the art. Very Good Hardback. Reprint. 84 pages with 16 coloured plates and a few other black and white ones For further details, please see the scanned contents page.


Forests and Trees of Brunei Darussalam - KM Wong & AS Kamariah (Eds)   RM60

Although  Brunei is the smallest political entity on the island of Borneo, it is host to almost 3500 species of indigenous seed plants. A few are extremely rare and endemic to the area. Of the species recorded so far, more than half of the total 1900 are trees. New Paperback First Edition 109 pages with many colour illustrations, a bibliography and an index. 


A Field Guide to Aquatic Plants of Myanmar - Nobuyuki Tanaka (ed)   RM60

A collection of articles by Mu Mu Aung, Nobuyuki Tanaka, Norio Tanaka and  Yu Ito exploring the rich variety of aquatic plants, both in fresh water and in coastal waters, in Myanmar. Plants found in the major lakes of Indawgyi and Inle are included together with the rich variety of sea grasses in the Tanintharyi Region and the Mergui Archipelago. 112 pages


Indonesia's Secret War The Guerrilla Struggle in Irian Jaya - Robin Osborne  RM80

This is an account of the origins and conduct of a struggle for independence of Papuan guerrillas in Papua and West Papua on the island of New Guinea. The area was under Dutch administration until handed over to the Indonesian Government at the end of World War II. The author has travelled in the area and held government posts in neighbouring Papua New Guinea. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 213 pages with an index

Resilience and the Localisation of Trauma in Aceh, Indonesia - Catherine Smith   RM110

There is too often a tendency of well meaning carers, trained in Western psychology, to believe that their established models will fit other cultures. In this book, Smith examines what happens when there is an attempt to incorporate global psychological norms with traditional methods of coping with trauma when working with survivors of conflict in Aceh.  New Paperback. First Edition. 178 pages with a bibliography and an index.

The Drums of Tonkin: An Adventure in Indonesia - Helen & Frank Schreider  RM50

This is the extraordinary account of a couple who travelled by amphibious jeep from Java to East Timor through Indonesia's 3,000 island archipelago. In between both drinking in the beautiful scenery and negotiating a variety of hazards, they also had the opportunity to note the wide variety of cultures and practices in the archipelago. Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. 


Changing Lives in Laos: Society, Politics and Culture in a Post-Socialist State - Vanina Boute & Vatthana Pholsena (eds)   RM120

A group of contributors, historians, anthropologists, geographers and political scientists, examine the changes that have taken place in Laos since 2000. A huge influx of foreign investment in the country has brought both improvement to and disruption of old established ways throughout the country.  The authors' fresh insights are based on fieldwork and unpublished sources. New Paperback. First Edition. 457 pages with a bibliography and an index.

Sri Lanka

Archaeology of Tissamaharama: Report on Archaeological Discoveries at Tissamaharama, 1884 - Henry Parker   RM150

This is another example of how some colonial officers managed to find the time to learn more about the countries to which they were posted and then publish their findings to further wider knowledge. In this case Parker, an irrigation officer, set himself the task of delving into the past of Magama, the capital of Ruhuna, a principality of ancient Ceylon. His findings, originally published in 1884, are reprinted in this facsimile edition. Very Good Hardback. Reprint.  82 pages. For further details, please see the scan of the contents page

Being a Tamil and Sri Lankan - Karthigesu Sivathamby  RM150

A collection of previously published articles by a Sri Lankan academic, who has held senior posts both inside and outside the country. In his specialisation of Tamil History and Culture, he was the author of more than 40 books and monographs on the subject at the time this book was published. These articles cover his views on the conflict, the peace process, Tamil Music, Cinema and Theatre, Tamil Artists, Education and the Media. Good Paperback. First Edition. 325 pages

Sixty-four Years in Ceylon : Reminiscences of Life and Adventure - Frederick Lewis  RM130

Originally published in 1926, this is the account of a British expatriate from his early years, after being born in Kandy, up to his retirement at 65. He started his career in the coffee plantations, but after the leaf disease outbreak, moved into government service as a forestry officer. The book contains vivid descriptions of his own life, the countryside and peoples, both British and Ceylonese, whom in came across in the South, Central and Eastern parts of the island. Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. Reprint. 506 pages with 14 black and white plates.

Sri Lanka's Mythology - R. Weerakoon  RM100

A comprehensive study of the mythology of Sri Lanka from before the arrival of Buddhism in the country up to how it influenced 20th century beliefs and rituals in the country. There appears to be only a slight reference to the mythology surrounding the life of Prince Vijaya in Sri Lanka and Buddha's visits there. First Edition. Good Paperback. 177 pages with 8 pages of plates. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

The Buddhist Revival in Sri Lanka - George D. Bond  RM80

Buddhism, although it has flourished for centuries in Sri Lanka, only regained its central role in the country due to a revival at the end of the British colonial period. In this book, the author examines the various strands of this revival from the time of Angarika Dharmapala through to the establishing of the Sarvodaya Shramadana movement. Good Hardback in a similar dust jacket. Reprint. 322 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

The Most Dangerous Moment: The Japanese Assault on Ceylon 1942 - Michael Tomlinson   RM120

The book's title comes from Lester Pearson's report that Winston Churchill considered the news of the Japanese Fleet's progress towards Ceylon as being 'the most dangerous moment of the war.' This book is an account of how that threat was averted. Although originally published in the UK in 1976, this edition has been updated by the author. Good Paperback. Revised Third Edition. 173 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.