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Sunday 2 February 2020

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in February 2020

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


February 2020

(Last Updated 13-2-20)

  • 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 and to Singapore. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Arts & Crafts

The author, an art historian, seeks to shine a light on a group of up and coming artists by not only discussing their work, but also their influences and working practices. In each case she explores the artist's early influences, both at home and while honing their skills, the choice and design of studios, the process of creating a work and the tools used. New Paperback. First Edition 136 pages with several colour illustrations. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

Departure Points: My Life and Ministry Among the Indigenous Peoples of Borneo & Singapore's Sojourn - Tony Siew  RM60

These are the memoirs of an evangelical missionary in Sabah, Malaysian Borneo, from 1994 to 2019. Siew worked on behalf of SIB Sabah, a part of the Borneo Evangelical Church which has grown to be Malaysia's largest Protestant group with over half a million members. New Paperback. First Edition. 

Glimpses into Life in Malayan Lands - John Turnbull Thomson  RM120

Thomson was first a private surveyor in Malaya for three years and then a Government surveyor in Singapore for a further twelve years until 1853. This book, originally published in 1864, is his account of his adventures while in Malaya, where he was often the only non-official European and was able to form strong friendships in the Malay community. This involvement made him often more sympathetic than his fellow countrymen to the plight of Malays trying to come to terms with the new British presence. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. 332 pages. 

Second Copy. Very Good Paperback. Reprint   RM100

In Court and Kampung - Hugh Clifford   RM100

The tone of Clifford's sketches of life in 19th century Malaya is set by the first sentence of his preface to this book - 'The nineteen tales and sketches, which are enclosed within the covers of this book, relate to certain brown men and obscure things in a distant and very little known corner of the Earth.' In other words it's one man's view of what life was like 'from the inside' living amongst people who were 'still in a state of original sin.' The book was originally published as ' In Court and Kampong' in 1897 Very Good Paperback Reprint of the 1927 edition . 219 page with 12 black and white plates from the period.

Malay Sketches - Frank Athelstane Swettenham   SOLD

Written while Swettenham was the British Resident attached to the state of Perak, these vignettes, as he says in his preface, are 'an attempt to awaken an interest in an almost undescribed but deeply interesting people, dwellers in one of the most beautiful and least known countries in the East.' A collection of literary snapshots with 'no statistics, no history, no geography, no science, no moralising, no prophecy' that is intended to give the reader a feel for Malaya at the end of the 19th century. First published in 1895 Very Good Paperback. Reprint 287 pages. 

Noone of the Ulu - Dennis Holman   RM50

The book is an account of the work of Pat Noone and subsequently his brother, Richard, amongst the Temiar people of Malaya. At the time Pat went to live with them and found a bride amongst them before World War II little was known about this group of Orang Asli (Indigenous People.) Pat disappeared mysteriously while living with the Temiar, so when Richard was given the task of weaning the tribes away from the Communist insurgents, he hoped he would also be able to find what happened to his brother. Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. Book Club Edition. Originally published in 1958 253 pages with some black and white plates. 

Pedalling Around the Peninsula - Sandra Loh  RM50

A keen cyclist decided to take up her friend's challenge to cycle to all four corners of the Malaysian peninsula with him. The journey took 37 days and they covered a little over 2,500 kilometers. This is their story in journal form with a good sprinkling on snaps of their progress. Helpfully the book also gives anyone who wants to follow in their footsteps lots of useful tips. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 349 pages.

Templer, Tiger of Malaya - John Cloake    RM220

Templer, often credited with turning the tide against against the Communist insuregents i the 'Emergency.' was a complex man. In this book the author, with the co-opertaion of, but not directed by, her widow seeks to piece together his life. Although he had many other accomplishments, both before and after his service in Malaya, he died largely unnoticed by politicians, but mourned by his fellow soldiers.  Please see scanned photos for a list of the chapters.Near Fine Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket 508 pages.


Borneo, Past, Present and Future - Nigel Cornwall   RM100

A short history of the Anglican Diocese of Borneo. The author was Bishop of Borneo at the time. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 60 pages with 9 black and white photographs, a map and a bibliography. 

Natural Man: A Record from Borneo - Charles Hose  RM60

This book was originally published in 1926 to popularise Hose's views on the tribes of North Borneo, whom he dealt with more extensively in his two volume edition of The Pagan Tribes of Borneo. With more than 20 years experience as a civil servant in Sarawak, he had a reputation as a humane administrator, which shows in the sympathetic treatment he gives to the indigenous peoples of the island.  Good Paperback. Reprint.  284 pages with an index and many black and white photographs.

Power and Prowess: The Origins of Brooke Kingship in Sarawak - J. H. Walker   RM60

Departing from the more traditional interpretation of James Brooke as being a part of the 19th century British imperial continuum, Walker examines how Brooke drew upon the prevailing economic and ritual relationships prevalent in Borneo to establish his rule.  Near Fine Paperback 300 pages Please see scanned photos for a list of the chapters.

Report for the Year 1900 on the Trade and Commerce of Sarawak - The Foreign Office   RM120

Although Sarawak was not part of the British Empire, the British Parliament received occasional reports on the territory. In this one, filed by the British consul there, there is a brief overview of trade, shipping, the population, industries, public works and agriculture. Good paperback. First edition. 13 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Business, Economics & Labour

Malaysia's Economic Sustainability: Confronting New Challenges Amidst Global Realities - Ramon V. Navaratnam  RM150

At the beginning of the 21st century Malaysia was considered by the author, a former civil servant and corporate adviser, to be "the richest and best managed Islamic democracy in the world." This was achieved by a careful management of the country's economy during the financial crisis at the end of the previous century. The author now ponders whether the country can maintain its good health in the new century or whether it will suffer from growing globalisation that marginalises all but the larger world economies. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 254 pages including an index.

Trade Unionism in Malaya - Alex Josey   RM200

Josey, a veteran British journalist based in Singapore both before and after independence, sets out to demonstrate the delicate path that unions had to tread so as not be associated with the Communist insurgency that dominated the early post independence years. While the Government professed support for better workers' condition, they were seldom hesitant in spotting supposedly disruptive elements in unions that were predominately Chinese. Good Paperback Revised and Expanded Second Edition 116 pages .

Trade Unions and the State in Peninsular Malaysia - Jomo Kwame Sundaram & Patricia Todd  RM100

Following on from the 1994 centenary of the establishment of the first independent legal trades union in Malaya, this book takes the reader through the country's union history from the movement's early days until their struggles with the Mahathir government in the early 1990s. Very Good Hardback. First Edition. 192 pages with tables, a bibliography and an index.

Malaysia & Singapore - Chinese Community & Culture

Chinese Ancestor Worship in Malaya - Leon Comber   RM100

A brief sketch of the customs of the Chinese Diaspora in Malaya in the 1950s relating to the death of a family member. The author is an acknowledged expert on the diaspora culture and the immediate post war period in Malaya. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1954. 41 pages plus 20 black and white plates. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Cooking & Food

Cook Malaysian - Lee Sook Ching  RM70

This has been a standard Malaysian cookery book since it was first published in 1980. The book has separate sections on preparing rice, meat, poultry, seafood, bean curd and eggs, vegetables, soups, noodles and deserts and snacks. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. 176 pages. 

The Penang Palate - Yeap Joo Kim   RM150

Better known as a novelist, bringing to life stories of the Baba/Nonya or Straits Chinese community, the author has collected together in this book a selection of the community's famous fusion cooking.  She was brought up in a Penang Straits Chinese household, so her historical and anecdotal introductions to each section are particularly informative. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1990. 143 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

Malaysian Fruits in Colour - HF Chin & HS Yong   RM50

Malaysia is host to over one hundred species of fruit. In this illustrated guide the authors select a range of well known and not so well known varieties for horticulturists, gardeners, farmers and tourists. There is a special emphasis on encouraging readers to attempt to expand the country's fruit stock with three chapters on planting and maintenance. Very Good hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket 126 pages plus indices to common and botanical names

Malaysia & Singapore - Fiction

Peluru dan Asap - Ali Audah (trans)  RM130

A collection of six stories from the Middle East that have been translated into Malay. The stories are based on events during the Algerian uprising against the French occupation of the country, Very Good Paperback, First Edition. 102 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

Saleh: A Prince of Malaya - Hugh Charles Clifford  RM120

This novel is a combination of Clifford's original two novels, Salleh: A Study (1904) and Salleh, A Sequel (1905). They were published together for the first time in 1926. The story covers a ten year period when Pelesu, a thinly disguised Pahang, has just come under British administration. 253 pages. Good Paperback Reprint 

The Soul of Malaya - Henri Fauconnier   RM50

Fauconnier and Pierre Boulle were two Frenchmen who managed to capture Malaya before independence better than many English language novelists of the time. This classic about the life of a planter in a remote part of the country won the Prix Goncourt in 1930. Translated from the original French by Eric Sutton. Very Good. Paperback. Reprint. 223 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

Malaysia & Singapore - Health & Medicine

Leprosy in Malaysia: Past, Present and Future - A Joshua-Raghavar   RM100

The author, an academic and school teacher, who also suffered from leprosy, otherwise known as Hansen's Disease (HD), sets out to give an overview of the incidence of the disease in Malaysia and how it has been treated from Portuguese times in Melaka up to the date of publication. He also looks forward to improvements that he expects in the future. Much of the book centres on the work of the Sungai Buloh leprosy settlement in Selangor. Good Paperback. First Edition. 261 pages with various maps, tables and black and white photographs.

Malaysia & Singapore History (20th Century)

Report for 1919 on the Federated Malay States - The Colonial Office  RM170

A general report on Government and major industrial, trade and agricultural activities in the Federated Malay States in 1919 submitted by the Government to the British Parliament. Very Good paperback. First edition. 22 pages including a fold out chart of tin mining activities over the previous 30 years. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Time Magazine - April 12, 1963 with Article on 'Malaysia's Abdul Rahman' - Roy Alexander (ed)  RM140

An issue of the weekly news magazine, Time, marking the formation of Malaysia. The 80 pages include an 11 page article on Malaysia with many colour photographs. Good Magazine. First Edition.

Malaysia & Singapore - Humour

Book of Humour - Rotary Club Of Singapore  RM50

A collection of jokes compiled by the Rotary Club of Singapore. The jokes have an international flavour and are probably assembled from other similar books. The jokes are obviously popular since this is the seventh reprint since the original edition in 1992. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. 160 pages

Malaysia & Singapore - Language & Linguistics

English-Bau/Jagoi Phrase Book - Borneo Literature Bureau   RM120

A phrase book published to enable English speaking visitors to communicate with Land Dayaks living in the Bau district and in villages near the Batu Kitang and Matang Roads in the Kuching Rural District of the First Division of Sarawak. Very Good Paperback First Edition 86 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Literature

Bidasari Jewel of Malay Muslim Culture - Julian Millie   RM130

The syair is a form of Malay narrative verse very often performed for an audience. This romantic syair was particularly popular in the Malay world in the 18th and 19th centuries and made into a popular film in Malaysia in the 20th century. In this bilingual version, in the original Malay and an English translation, Millie seeks to capture the 'sly wit and silky eroticism of the genre.' 310 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. Near Fine Paperback 

Orang Asli/Indigenous Peoples

Temiar Jungle - John Slimming  RM70

In this  176-page book the author recounts his travels by raft, boat and on foot through a hilly jungle areas of Kelantan. He gained a thorough knowledge of the area as an Assistant Protector of Aborigines for the Malayan Government. His concern about the disappearing lifestyle of the three main aborigine tribes,  the Jakun, Senoi and Negritos are evident  Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. Reprint 


Pahang - Willard C Bush   RM400

An exciting, very readable and, probably, exaggerated account of a young American rubber planter in what he describes as 'the largest and probably the most primitive State of the Malay Peninsula." He sets out on his task as "one lone white man with a cane in his hand and a six-gun on his hip among thousands of natives." The story is set in between the two world wars. Very Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket First Printing 284 pages


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. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket First Edition For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Peranakan/Straits Chinese

Peranakan Communities in the Era of Decolonization and Globalization - Leo Suryadinata (ed)   RM150

Migration happily results in racial hybrids. Some mixed race descendants blend into their host populations so as to become barely distinguishable from them, while others, such as the Peranakan Chinese, descendants of the Chinese diaspora and their Malay hosts, develop a distinct cultural identity. The contributors to this volume, rather than following the more fashionable course of mining the community's past, illustrate, with case studies, how the Peranakan are faring now  in the relatively recently independent countries of Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. New Paperback First Edition 148 pages with an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - "The Emergency"

Malayan Police Magazine June 1955 - PAM Morrah (ed)  RM200

The monthly magazine of the Federation of Malaya Police issued when the Communist insurrection was still raging, but according to the magazine's editorial "their efforts to hold up the progress of the country have been frustrated." There are several articles on police work, a good sprinkling of cartoons about the 'emergency' and some contemporary advertisements. Very Good Magazine. First Edition.

Malaysia & Singapore - Transport

Malayan Railways : A Brief Introduction - Patrick G. Smith  RM120

The prime purpose of developing a railway system in Malaysia was to enable rubber and tin producers to get their products to consumers as quickly and economically as possible. This review concentrates on the railways until the end of the steam era. With a bibliography and photos, tables and maps. 74 pages. New Paperback First Edition

Motoring in Malaya: AAM Handbook 1960-1961 - Automobile Association of Malaya   RM130

A handbook giving members of the association and visiting members of overseas affiliated associations information what to do in case of accidents, visa requirements, rest houses and holiday bungalows, hotels and garages and service stations throughout the country. Good Paperback. First Edition. 48 pages with many contemporary advertisements.


The Forgotten Sentinels: The Sepoys of Malaya, Singapore & South-East Asia - N Nedumaran   RM200

When the British moved out from India to start to colonise parts of Southeast and East Asia, they relied mainly on Indian soldiers, sepoys, to acquire and secure their conquests. Yet, as the history of the expansion of empire has mainly been written by white men, there are very few accounts of what these sepoys achieved, where they went and what their lives were like. This book seeks to remedy that by brining to life the history of these men doing their masters' bidding thousands of miles from home from the establishment of a British East India Company outpost in Penang up until the outbreak of the First World War. The author is a military historian who has devoted several years to researching this subject. With a foreword by Field Marshal Sir John Chapple, New Paperback. First Edition.  337 pages with a bibliography, index and a few black and white and colour photographs.


Wu Chu Chuan Wu Chi Chuan and Therapeutic Exercises - Mah Chai Soon   RM70

In 1991 Professor Roland Werner together with the University of Malaya Press started their ambitious project to record  practices of healing prevalent in Malaysia in the Malay, Chinese, Indian and Indigenous  Cultures. This work on the role of Chinese martial arts in personal healing is the first of a planned eleven volumes for the Chinese section of the series.The exercises are explained by detailed written and graphic illustrations. The benefits of each exercise are also detailed. 336 pages. New Paperback First Edition 


Netherlands East Indies and British Malaya: A Commercial and Industrial Handbook - John A Fowler   RM250

A handbook, compiled by a US Government Trade Commissioner, following a three year residence in the area. The book contains an extensive review of the import and export trade, government regulations, economic statistics and the government systems of both territories at the time. Good Hardback. First Edition. 411 pages including 32 black and white plates and two fold out coloured maps of the Netherlands East Indies and Java and Madura Island. 


The Cycle Empire: Reflections on Tibetan Culture - Eddy Izuan Musa  RM100

Reflections in words and pictures of the author's visit to Tibet. He attempts to come to terms with the symbolism he encounters in the lives of Tibetans he meets and in the country's scenery, religion and culture With additional photographs by Tristan Yap. New Hardback. First Edition. 200 pages with many colour photographs.