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Tuesday 14 January 2020

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in January 2020

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


January 2020

(Last Updated 30-1-20)

  • 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. 
  • Orders for Brunei and Singapore also shipped free, where the order weighs more than 3 kg. Other orders from customers of a year or more in both countries will also be shipped free, whatever the weight, when ordered through The Penang Bookshelf website.

Malaysia & Singapore - Arts & Crafts

The book's lavish collection of more than 100 colour photographs may give the impression that this is yet another coffee table book, but after reading a few paragraphs you will realise that collectors are the author's intended audience. As the contents of its 191 pages show, this book has just about all one needs to launch into acquiring some exquisite treasures for your home. Contents - 1 - Rediscovery of a Unique Craft, 2 - Lifestyle of the Straits Chinese, 3 - The Characteristics of Straits Chinese Silver, 4 Various Categories of Straits Chinese Silver and 5 - Dating and Attribution of Straits Chinese Silver. The book ends with a useful glossary, index and bibliography. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

PP Narayanan - A World Trade Unionist - J Victor Morais  RM250

In this biography, Morais charts the career of probably the best known Malayan trade unionist in the mid 20th century. He was a founding member of the National Union of Plantation Workers immediately after World War II and went on to head the Malayan Trades Union Council at the age of 27. He was also president of  the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions for twenty years. With a foreword by Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaya's first prime minister. The last hundred pages contain a selection of Narayanan's speeches.  Very Good Hardback. First Edition. 444 pages with a good selection of black and white photographs and about six colour photographs

Sylvia, Queen of the Headhunters - Philip Eade  RM50

The racy biography of the last Ranee of Sarawak, who juggled attempting to be the demure consort of one of the left over oddities of British imperial wanderings with a need to be noticed. She achieved this through a rash of books about herself and some fairly outrageous behaviour. As a British visitor to Sarawak remarked, ' A more undignified woman it would be hard to find.' 362 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. Very Good Paperback. Reprint

Tunku: An Odyssey of a Life Well-Lived and Well-Loved - Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian   RM70

As the author, a notable expert in Malaysian and Thai history, states in her preface, the many biographies of Tunku Abdul Rahman tend to focus on particular aspects of his life. Instead, she seeks to produce a comprehensive biography. She omits to say is that this is probably the first biography of Malaysia's first prime minister which has any claim to being a serious academic study, making it especially welcome. The book is divided into three sections dealing with his personally and upbringing, his public life and his retirement. New Paperback First Edition. 287 pages with a bibliography and an index. 

William Shellabear: A Biography - Robert Hunt   RM100

Shellabear began his long association with Malays and their culture after making friends with Malays while stationed as a soldier in Singapore at the end of the 19th century. The experience transformed him into a passionate Methodist missionary, a pacifist and a renowned Malay and Islamic scholar. Although his mission was to convert Malays from Islam to Christianity, he did so not by criticising Islam, but by treating it with the most profound respect. He gave freely of his scholarship by promoting classical Malay literature to be a foundation of a Malay culture that could continue to flower despite the growing encroachments of Westernising influences in the country. This biography brings to light the triumphs and tribulations of a man, now forgotten by many, to whom the country owes a great debt. 373 pages including a bibliography and an index.Very Good Paperback First Edition 


Handbook of the State of North Borneo 1934 - British North Borneo (Chartered) Company  RM900

This is guide produced by the North Borneo Government to give potential investors and visitors an overview of the country. The first 100 pages or so describe the country's geography, climate, population, products, sport and natural history etc., while the remaining 40 pages include statistical information thought to be of interest to the reader. Very Good Hardback. First Edition. 144 pages, with a fold out map at the rear, plus another 11 pages of advertisements and 7 black and white plates.

The Expedition to Borneo of HMS Dido for the Suppression of Piracy - Henry Keppel  RM300

Keppel, who later rose to become admiral of the British fleet, gained his first captaincy while on service in Southeast Asia. Coincidentally he took command of HMS Dido just at the time James Brooke was establishing himself in Sarawak. This book is Keppel's accounts of his visits to the state before and after Brooke was established as rajah there. Most of the book is not an account of naval actions, but rather a description of the peoples and country he found there. 413 pages including some extracts from Brooke's journal and a fold out map. Fair Hardback. First American Edition

The Hakkas of Sarawak: Sacrificial Gifts in Cold War Era Malaysia - Kee Howe Yong   RM200

In this book the author looks at the Communist insurgency in Sarawak, which began later than the insurgency on the mainland and lasted until until peace accords in 1990. He argues that the existence of the small force was used by the Malaysian Government as a means of punishing the Chinese community, particularly the Hakka Chinese, generally. Research for the book was based on contemporary documents and interviews with survivors. New Hardback First Edition. 242 pages with a biography and an index.

Twenty Years in Sarawak, 1848-1868: A Flourish for the Bishop & Brooke's Friend Grant: Two Studies in Sarawak History 1848-68- Max Saint   RM80

The accounts of Charles Grant, one of Rajah Brooke's civil servants, and Francis McDougall, an Anglican missionary, of a turbulent period during the Rajah's rule. Although both men did not have much time for each other they were united in being critical of James Brooke's decision to prefer Charles Brooke, James' eventual successor, to the Charles' elder brother, John. Both accounts also highlight the deterioration of James Brooke's character towards the end of his rule. 284 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. Good Paperback. Reprint 

Malaysia & Singapore - Business, Economics & Labour

Income Distribution and Determination in Western Malaysia - Tan Tat Wai   RM300

Based on research carried on in the mid 1970s, the author reviews the spread of income in various sectors and how inequalities are maintained. The vast scope of the work ranges from owners of monopolies down to urban and rural workers and small businesses.  Good Hardback. First Edition. 364 pages with tables, figures, charts, a bibliography and an index. 

Malaysian Industrial Policy - Jomo KS (ed)   RM150

The contributors to this book examine the interaction between Government intervention and industry that have been a centre piece of Malaysia's plan to become a self-sufficient industrialised nation by the year 2020. Their analysis argues that , despite Malaysia's modest economic growth compared to that of  her neighbours, investment incentives with conditions, rather than trade or investment liberalisation, is the key to a strong industrial future. New Paperback. First Edition. 322 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

The National Union of Plantation Workers: The History of the Plantation Workers of Malaya 1946-1958 - Charled Gamba  RM150

The author, a leading expert on labour law, relates the history of how plantation workers, originally imported from India as indentured labourers, transformed their working conditions through forming unions. Their experiences inspired many other groups of workers to follow suit to develop a strong labour movement in Malaya and Singapore during the immediate post independence years. Good Hardback. First Edition. 292 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Cooking & Food

Feasts of Penang: Muslim Culinary Heritage - Wazir Jahan Khan   RM200

While Penang's cookery book market is positively crowded with books dishing out tips on Chinese Peranakan (locally born) cuisine, there's little about the other main cooking tradition in the city - Jawi Peranakan, Muslim cooking developed a fusion of Indian and Malay cooking. This book more than fills that gap. Its 306 pages include sections on 1- Herbs and Spices, 2 - Bread and Breakfast Cakes, 3- Noodles, Savoury Porridges and Soups, 4 - Rice, 5 - Malay Rice Meals, 6 - Indian Muslim Rice, 7 - Jawi Peranakan Cuisine, 8 - Bridal table Spread, 9 - Cakes and Puddings & 10 Chutneys and Condiments with a list of references and an index of recipies. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket First Edition 

The Magic of Singapore and South Indian Cooking - Arumuga Subramania Ramalingam   RM50

A selection of recipes from a well know restauranteur in Singapore in the 1980s. His speciality was the fusion of South Indian and Singaporean styles of cooking. 89 pages with several colour photographs. Very Good. First Edition 

The Star Guide to Malaysian Street Food   RM80

Malaysia is famed for its meals cooked on the street to either eat there or take away. The flavours reflect the country's multicultural heritage of  with a feast of Chinese, Indian, Malay and Thai style food that will be cooked and served to you within minutes. This book is a comprehensive guide to the best throughout East and West Malaysia as determined by the Star newspaper's indefatigable team of food critics and foodie readers.  Very Good Paperback       

Malaysia & Singapore - Dance, Music & Drama

Apache Over Singapore: The Story of Singapore Sixties Music Vol 1 - Joseph C Pereira   RM140

In this first volume of Pereira's stunning record of Singapore pop music from the 1960s, he covers the period from 1961 to 1965. The era was kicked off by the performances of Cliff Richard and the Shadows in November 1961, a turning point for Singapore pop music, and was followed by local groups performing on TV shows, such as Pop Inn, competing in competition and holding their own shows in theatres and elsewhere.  New Paperback. First Edition  146 pages For further details, please see the scanned contents page

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

A Guide to the Pitcher Plants of Sabah - Charles Clarke   RM50

A simple forty page guide to Sabah's pitcher plants written by one of the foremost experts on the subject. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 

Manual of Malayan Silviculture for Inland Forest (Two Volumes) – J Wyatt-Smith & Others   RM600

This bible of Malayan forestry had been in the process of compilation since before World War II but appears to have been completed shortly after Independence to sum up the British experience in this field before their officers were replaced by Malayans. The original 1963 edition was issued in loose-leaf form. This edition updates past information and includes some chapters which were missing from the first edition. The set is divided into three parts - Part I - The History of Malaya and Malayan Forestry, Part II - Environmental Factors & III Natural Regeneration Near Fine Hardbacks Second Edition. 451 pages with many tables and maps, some of which are in pockets.

Malaysia & Singapore - History

History of Malaya and Southeast Asia - Marissa Champion & Joy Moreira  RM100

The book's title is slightly misleading as the 'history' starts from the arrival of Raffles in Singapore, but this is a text book for Singapore schools. About two-thirds of the book covers the history until Singapore left the Malaysian Federation and the rest covers Indonesian, Philippine and Thai history for roughly the same period. Very Good Reprint. Paperback.

Straits Affairs The Malay World and Singapore - D.J.M. Tate   RM150

A compilation of articles and illustrations from the Illustrated London News and other newspapers and magazines during the period 1786 to 1914. Very Good Hardback. First Edition 130 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further 

Trade and Society in the Straits of Melaka - Nordin Hussin   RM80

While the more traditional histories of Southeast Asia and elsewhere has been primarily political, i.e. studies of men and women at the centre of power, there has been a growing trend to dig a bit deeper so as to develop histories of the people who influenced and were affected by the political decision makers. This work is a significant contribution to the new trend as it examines what was happening in the two major trade ports in Malaya at the end of the 18th and beginning of the 19th century. Penang was always British controlled and Melaka mainly Dutch controlled during this period. 388 pages including the following chapters - 1 - The Straits of Melaka and the Trading World, 2 - The Geography and Trade of Melaka, 1780-1830, 3 - The Geography and Trade of Penang, 1780-1830, 4 - Trade in the Straits: Melaka and Penang, 1780-1830, 5 - Urban Traditions, Geography and Morphology, 6 - Population Growth in Melaka and Penang, 1780-1830, 7 - Dutch Administration in Melaka, 8 British Administration in Penang, 9 - Melaka Society 1780-1830 & 10 - Penang: A Port-town of Migrants. There is also a bibliography and an index. Near Fine Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 2007

Malaysia & Singapore - Malay Community & Culture

Rethinking Raffles: A Study of Stamford Raffles' Discourse on Religions Amongst Malays - Syed Muhd. Khairudin Aljunied  RM120

Stamford Raffles for many years was considered to be one of the leading European authorities on Malay culture based on his experiences and his scholarship in the Malay Archipelago. In this book the author dissects his views on religions practiced by Malays, the principal one obviously being Islam. He demonstrates how his naturally European world view, but also how his contradictory viewpoints unfairly coloured the attitudes of many of his contemporaries and successors. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 107 pages with a bibliography and an index.


My island in the sun: a Penang perspective - Volume 1 - Khor Cheang Kee  RM50

This charming collection of articles first appeared in the Malaysian daily, the New Straits Times, over a period of 15 months in the 1970s. They capture the multicultural quirkiness of Penang life at the time. Despite the the fact that more than 40 years have passed, the book remains a bestseller because it captures the soul of a Penang that survives to this day. Khor had a long career as a journalist and editor of the New Straits Times.

Penang Perspective - My Island in the Sun - Khor Cheang Kee   RM50

Here we have an amusing and interesting collection of columns written by the late author while working with the New Straits Times. The column was entitled "Penang Perspective" giving readers a chance to read and debate the views of a well-remembered Penangite who gave 50 years of his life to Malaysian journalism. The 218 pages  also include line drawings by one of the author's sons.    New Paperback Reprint   

The E&O Hotel: Pearl of Penang - Ilsa Sharp   RM200

With the co-operation of the hotel management, Isla Sharp has been able to produce a history not only of the structure of hotel, but of the people who have worked there and visitors who have enjoyed the luxuries oft one of the grand Eastern hotels since its foundation in the 1890s until the present day. The book has all the illustrations and well researched text one needs to bring to life what the hotel used to be like at various times in its history and what it is like now. The contents of this 192 page book include 1 - Seeding the Pearl - the history of Penang before the hotel was founded, 2 - Who Were the Sarkies? - the story of the Armenian Brothers who founded the hotel, 3 - Pride Before the Fall - the hotel's expansion and ruin during World War II, 4 - Business Not Quite as Usual - the hotel's attempts at recovery 5 - New Beginnings - The restoration of the hotel in 1981 to its former glory. There is also an extensive bibliography.        Very Good Hardback in a New Dust Jacket. First Edition    

The Humble Weeds of Penang Hill - Abdul Ghani Hussain  RM50

An experienced general practitioner in Western medicine, whose writings on traditional medicine have been widely published, introduces the reader to the wide variety of medicinal plants growing wild on Penang Hill, one of the island's main areas of natural beauty. Each plant is illustrated by a colour photograph, its habitat described and, where applicable, its medicinal uses and appropriate recipes described. New Paperback First Edition. 49 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

Malaysia & Singapore - Peranakan/Straits Chinese

The Nyonya Kebaya A Century Of Straits Chinese Costume - Endon Mahmood   RM70

The author has with this book produced probably the most authoritative work on the Nyonya kebaya, a light blouse that is the traditional wear of female descendants of Chinese and Malays known as the Straits Chinese or Babas and Nyonyas. The author was a life long collector, conservator and wearer of the kebaya and so is amply qualified to write this sumptuous book. 176 pages with the following chapters - 1 - The Nyonyas: A Brief History, 2 - Sheer Silhouettes: Kebaya Through the Ages, 3 - Gems from the Straits: The Collection of Datin Seri Mahmood, 4 -Charmed Impressions: The Artistry of the Kebaya, 5 - Women of Style: Completing the Nyonya Look & Postscript: The Future: Applications of a Fashion Icon. There is a Glossary, Bibliography, Directory and an Index. with many colour and black and white illustrations. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust  Jacket Second Edition. Originally published in 2002 

Malaysia & Singapore - Poetry

The Best of Robert Yeo   RM70

A collection of poetry of one of Singapore's best known poets. His poetry is popular not only because it is written in an accessible style, but also because he reflects Singapore life in its various stages as the city state has developed during the years following independence. New Paperback. First Edition. 195 pages with an index of titles and an index of first lines.

Malaysia & Singapore - Politics

Reforming Political Financing in Malaysia - Transparency International Malaysia  RM80

This book was prepared as an advocacy tool to be used in trying to stem the widespread corruption that has tended to permeate Malaysian politics in recent years. The book examines how opaque party financing both on the ground and in the media favour certain parties above others and suggests methods of reform. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition. 234 pages with a bibliography, index and appendices

Malaysia & Singapore - The 'Emergency'

Guerrilla Communism in Malaya - Lucian W Pye   RM170

Having just got rid of one threat to their interests at the end of World War II, the West was a bit taken aback to be confronted with another one - guerrilla Communism. Soldiers fought it and academics puzzled over its significance. This book is the result of several months of interviews with ex-Communists, by the author, a US academic to try to find out what on earth made the Commies tick. Very  Good Hardback  First Edition 369 pages with an index


Southeast Asia's Chinese Minorities - Mary F Somers Heidhues  RM50

An overview of the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia with particular reference to their role in Indonesian and Malaysian politics. The author also looks at questions of identity and the relationship of the community with China. Good Paperback. First Edition. 125 pages with a bibliography and an index. 

Sri Lanka

The Modern History of Ceylon - EFC Ludowyk  RM50

A survey of Sri Lanka's turbulent history from earliest times to the first two decades of independence. The author was the most prominent Ceylonese historian of his time. Good hardback in a Good Dust jacket. 309 pages. 


The Man Who Loved Books Too Much - Allison Hoover Bartlett   RM50

The thrilling story of John Gilkey who stole hundreds of rare books from around the United States, not because he wanted to sell them but because he was obsessed with books. Near Fine Paperback 275 pages.