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Sunday 31 January 2021

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in January 2021


New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


January 2021

(Last Updated 31-1-21)

  • 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 - Agriculture

Peletz's study examines how this matrilineal society in Rembau, Negeri Sembilan managed to survive British imperialism, modern market forces and Islamic Malay nationalism during the period of 1830 to 1980. Near Fine First Edition Hardback in a New Dust Jacket. 383 pages including notes, bibliography and index.

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

Wade, who was born in China, was a journalist with the Shanghai Times when he was taken prisoner by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore. This is his account of his experiences in Singapore, Korea and Japan during his captivity. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 186 pages with an index. 

A no nonsense account of a young man's experiences as a surveyor for roads and railways in Kedah and Kelantan between 1913 and 1918. Wells was an entertaining and observant writer mixing stories of recipes for gin slings with lots of information on the flora and fauna, much of which he presumably had to clear out of his way to get his job done. Very Good Hardback Reprint. Originally published in 1923  261 pages with a bibliography and some black and white plates .

A popular and readable memoir of a tin mining engineer's life in Malaya between the world wars. The book ends with the author's account of his near miraculous escape from the Japanese invasion by boat to Indonesia and then on to Australia. 224 pages with an index. First edition  Very Good Hardback in a Good dust jacket 


This work, first published in 1916, is the result of Shelford's seven years as Curator of the Sarawak Museum at the end of the 19th century. Although his main interest was insects, particularly cockroaches, this book covers all living species - even 'the natives' get a few pages as an after thought at the end -  that were indigenous to Sarawak at the time. The book includes 32 black and white photographs and line drawings made by the author, who was unable to complete the work before he died at the young age of 39. The book was edited after his death by Edward Poulton. Good Paperback. Reprint 331 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page  for further details

An account of the Christian missionary experiences of a couple in Malaysian Borneo. Good Paperback. 192 pages.

This mammoth book is a comprehensive survey of the variety and complexity of basket work in Borneo/Kalimantan. With conributions from a range of experts from inside and outside the island supported by extensive colour photographs the book is a tribute to a still vibrant culture. 538 pages with an appendix on Borneo Life and Culture by the editor, a Bibliography and an Index. Chapters include 1 - Art and Identity - Bernard Sellato, 2 - Plants, People, Techniques - Hanne Christensen & Susi Dunsmore, 3 - Northwestern Borneo - Valerie Mashman & Patricia Nayoi, 4 - Central Sarawak - Jean-Francois Blehaut, JC Swayne, Heidi Munan & Diana Rose, 5 - The Basketry of Sabah - Patricia Regis, Robin Lojiwin, GC Woolley & Hanne Christensen, 6 - Northeastern Highlands - Valerie Mashman, Martin Lenjau, Martua T Sirait & Bernard Sellato, 7 - Central Borneo - Arne Martin Klausen & Mering Ngo, 8 - Southern Kalimantan - Pascal Couderc & Roy W Hamilton, 9 - A Florilege of Mats -  Heidi Munan, Janet Rata Noel & Arnoud H. Klokke, 10 - Bags, Boxes, Covers, Trays, Traps - Marieanne Davy Ball, 11 - Modernity and Market - Hendrik Tillema & 12 - Borneo Art and Style - Dianne Tillotson Ne Hardback in a New Dust Jacket First Edition. 

The incorporation of the the former territories of North Borneo, now Sabah, and Sarawak into the state of Malaysia not only provoked opposition from neighbouring Indonesia, which was settled after a low level war, but also from the Philippines. Although the Philippine claim to Sabah, being part of the former Sultanate of Sulu, was postponed by Malaysia agreeing to an annual token payment, the claim has not been withdrawn by Manila. In this book a former Malaysian Attorney General, who began his career in Sabah, seeks to demolish the Philippine claim. Near Fine Paperback, Reprint. 144 pages.

The main enquiry pursued by the author is how the individuality of the Iban, essential in their nomadic and warlike life of the past, relates to the way they live in community. Besides being headhunters, they have developed the socially cohesive longhouse, which can house up to 70 families. As the study develops we see how these characteristics equip and hinder the Iban as they adapt to the modern world. 198 pages with 16 pages of black and white photographs. Very Good Paperback First Edition 

Malaysia & Singapore - Constitution & Law

The author, Lord President of the Federal Court, was one of the contributors to the framing of the Malaysian constitution and was later involved in advising on its implementation. In this book, originally published in 1972, but later amended, he looks at  the document's main provisions for the benefit of the lay reader. Good Hardback. Second Edition. 412 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - The 'Emergency'

A British airman's account of his experiences during the Malayan 'Emergency,' both in the air and his enjoyable experiences on the ground with his family in Taiping. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 76 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

A handy guide with 20 colour plates and information on butterfly habits and distribution. Good Hardback. First Edition 64 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Malaysia & Singapore - Fiction

Penduduk Kampung Kiambang dicengkam oleh perasaan takut yang amat sangat kerana keganasan Sitora Harimau Jadian yang semakin menjadi-jadi. Sudah banyak orang yang menjadi mangsanya. Dr Effendi yang datang untuk menolong orang kampung di situ pun akhirnya kena sumpah dan menjadi Anak Sitora lalu mengganas mengikut arahan Sitora yang sebenarnya. 207 pages.Very Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally Published in 1965. 

Near Fine Copy   RM160

Malaysia & Singapore - Folklore

A collection of folklore taken from the Malay Annals and other sources retold for children. With illustrations. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition. 125 pages

A collection of well known Malay folk tales with a twist added by the author. Each tale is told in its traditional form and then followed by a 'second take' which continues with a modern take from where the original finished. New Paperback. 66 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Gender

This interesting study was carried out by the author in the area of Mercham in Terengganu to establish how a traditional Malay society coped with childbirth and much that went before and after. She chose this state because it has been more cut off from outside influences than many other states particularly because she was interested to  discover also how this society was benefiting from Western medicine, if at all. 267 pages whose contents include 1 - An Introduction to the Problem and the People, 2 - Food: Belief and Behaviour, 3 - The Malay Humoral System and the Concept of BISA, 4 - Conception and Pregnancy, 5 - Government Midwife and Traditional Midwife, 6 - Giving Birth in a Malay Village, 7 - The Postpartum Period & 8 - Conceptions and Preconceptions. There are also appendices on Edible Wild Plants, Incantations in Malay, Fish and Dietary Analyses, Notes, a Bibliography and an Index. New Paperback Reprint

Malaysia & Singapore - History

The first updated edition of this school text book that was required reading for students of the history of the country in the immediate years after independence. 346 pages with a bibliography, an index and some black and white plates. Very Good Reprint of the 1964 revised edition

This collection of articles forms a socialist analysis of Malayan History from 1874 to independence. This volume was intended to be followed by another, Malaya: Model of a Neo-Colony to demonstrate how colonial policies and class structures were maintained in the post-independence period, but the second volume  was never published. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 265 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

An interesting study, by a former professor of Geography at the University of Malaya, on the interaction between the natural geography of Malaya and human settlement from the earliest times up until the early 20th century. Good Hardback in a Good  Dust Jacket  First Edition 144 pages. For further details please see the scanned contents page 

A brief introduction to the interconnected past of these three modern states. As with any history of the area, this book emphasises how artificial the creation of these countries has been, thanks to colonial interventions of the past. 320 pages.  Very Good Paperback. First Edition 

Malaysia & Singapore - History (Pre-18th Century)

In this comprehensive work the author attempts to piece together the historical geography of the peninsula before more reliable written records started appearing from the mid 16th century onwards. The work was ground breaking because for the first time Wheatley painstaking re-examines whatever first hand resources were available rather than relying on second hand translations and suppositions. Good Paperback Reprint. Unlike the later reprints, the fold out maps are included.  Originally published in 1961.  Goos Paperback Reprint This 388 page book is divided into seven parts namely I - China & the Malay Peninsula, II - The Malay Peninsula as Known to the West, III - The Indians in Malaya, IV - The Arabs in Malaya, V Three Forgotten Kingdoms, VI - The Isthmian Age, and VII - A City that was Made for Merchandise. There are also numerous maps, diagrams and a bibliography of more than 40 pages.   

Malaysia & Singapore - History (20th Century)

The author, a US citizen who has written various books on British colonialism, attempts in this work to produce a balanced picture of what life was like for members of the Malayan Civil Service from the onset of World War II until independence. He also seeks to to appraise their legacy to the new Malaya. 240 pages including six maps, ten black and white plates, a list of sources and an index. Very Good Hardback. First Edition.


When originally published in 1932 this was the first history of the state that had relied on sources both in English and Malay. In many ways it has stood the test of time although the work confines itself mainly to the activities of the sultans, their supporters and opponents without spending too much time on the lot of the sultans' subjects. Very Good Hardback. 240 pages. For further details please see the scanned contents page. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Language & Linguistics

The three volumes of Wilkinson's famous dictionary have here been reissued as a single volume. The Jawi and Rumi transliterations are given for each word, followed by a note on the word's origin, where known, and examples of use and variations. Part I (alif to za) and  Volume II (sin to nya) are followed by Part III containing appendices on the Malay Alphabet, Pronunciation, Malay Dialects, Orthography, Etymology, Romanized Malay, and  a list of abbreviations. 717 pages. There is an index of 54 pages followed by Addenda on Malayan Wild Birds, Names of Snakes, a List of words omitted and  a list of corrigenda.(5 pages). Good Hardback Second Edition Originally published in 1901

This handbook first issued in  1945, ran into several editions as it was one of the most handy and used introductions for non-native Malay speakers to the Malay language. It adopts a no nonsense approach with McHugh's phonetic version of the language. There is no attempt to introduce the student to the official romanised version of the language. The book is aimed an enabling the large influx of overseas troops involved in re-occupying the country after the Japanese surrender and then in the 'Emergency' to make themselves understood quickly. Good Paperback. Fourth Revised Edition. 152 pages.


The author, a trainer of tourist guides, gives the reader the benefit of his knowledge in this guide to the sites of Melaka city. Very Good Hardback. Second Edition. Originally published in 1984. 103 pages with several black and white photographs

Malaysia & Singapore - Mining

The results of a two year survey carried out just before the Japanese invasion, mainly for the purpose of finding tin deposits, but which also covered the country's most important coal mine. An attempt was made to resurvey the area in 1948, but this was disrupted by insurgent activity. Very Good Hardback. First Edition 163 pages  with tables, sketch maps and other line drawings, an index and  two coloured geological folding maps, one of  Kuala Selangor and the other of Rasa Selangor in a pocket on the back inside cover. . 

Orang Asli/Indigenous Peoples

Negritos of Malaya - IHN Evans  RM400

This work is based on twenty years of research amongst the indigenous peoples of the Malay peninsula. The work is a follow up to previous works by Skeat, Blagden and Paul Schebesta and concentrates on the Semai tribes, otherwise known as Negritos, who are ethnically different from other indigenous tribes in the country. Evans provides an extensive account of Semai customs, traditions, religion, history and religion. Very Good Hardback. First Edition .323 pages with several black and white plates, a bibliography and a pull out map.


A history of one of Malaysia's better known beauty spots, which is now a major tourist attraction. The authors recount a range of stories, both mythical and factual, about the island which, besides always being an important fishing hub, was also an vital staging post for traders from many lands. Near Fine Hardback. First Edition. 97 pages with suggestions for further reading and several line drawings


An exhibition catalogue of showing a hundred works of art depicting Melaka and Penang from shortly after the British arrival in both places. Most of the reproductions in this book are in colour. 72 pages. Near Fine Paperback. First edition. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

In multicultural Penang, the Peranakan/Straits Chinese have developed a magpie culture as befits their mixed Chinese/Malay/Thai racial origins. In this collection of articles the contributors trace how that the theatrical and visual aspects of this adaptive culture have developed and thrived since from the nineteenth century to the present day. New Paperback. First Edition. 312 pages with several black and white plates, a CD laid in and an index.

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 First Edition For further details, please see the scanned contents page.


At the time this book was published it was hailed as a novel approach to Malayan history in general and Perak history, in particular. Sullivan adopts a mixed historiographical and and anthropological approach to study the functioning of slavery and debt-bondage in the state prior to their abolition by the British in 1883. 88 pages with maps tables, appendices and a bibliography. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition.

Low was appointed as second British  Resident of the State of Perak to "advise" the Sultan on his running of this propsperous tin mining state. His appointment came at a tricky time since the first Resident had been murdered by annoyed noblemen a short while before. As might be expected, the British had responded with force executing and exiling the supposed culprits. So Low's task was to restore  calm. This journal is his official diary of his first six weeks in office, a fascinating account of the day to day official life of a senior experienced colonial officer. Low's work has been helpfully annotated by Sadka throughout. Very Good Paperback 108 pages including a Notes on Sources, a biographical note on Low, an extensive introduction explaining the prevailing political climate and two appendices setting out the Pangkor Engagement and the Perak Constitution.

Malaysia & Singapore - Poetry

This is the first collection of Margaret Leong's poetry after she moved from the United States to Malaya in 1949. At a time when poetry in English in the region was scarce, her verse was noted for its evocative depiction of life around her. With a foreword by Malcolm MacDonald, formerly a senior British Government official in Southeast Asia. Very Good Hardback. First Edition. Signed. 

The poems selected here, 'the best and most significant poetry in English' from these countries in the forty years prior to publication, formed the basis of a course in Asian writing taught by the editor at an Australian university. About two thirds of the book is devoted to poems from the Indian sub continent. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 103 pages with suggestions for further reading.

Malaysia & Singapore - Politics

This is a collection of essays by a Professor of Media and Communication Studies analysing various aspects of Malaysian life. Based on his analyses, he makes an impassioned plea for Malaysians to take more of an interest in learning about and fixing 'the rotten state of Malaysia' today. New Paperback. First Edition. 258 pages.

The author highlights the behind the scenes role played by Syed Kechik bin Syed Mohamed and the role he played bringing Tun Mustapha and his United Sabah National Organisation to power. The book was produced with the co-operation of Syed Kechik himself giving us an insight into the politics that laid the foundation for today's federal state of Malaysia. Very Good Paperback This 240 page book is divided into the following chapters - 1 - Political Sorm in Sabah (1965-6), 2 - Cabinet Coup in Sarawak (1966), 3 - Sabah's First General Elections (1966-7), 4 - Formation of the Mustapha Government (1967), 5 - From Politics to Development (1968-70), 6 - Continuing Detours in Politics (1969-71), 7 - Apart from the Inner Circle (1971-5), 8 - The Birth of Berjaya (1974-5), 9 - The Coup Forestalled (1975) & 10 - . USNO's Fall From Power (1976). The book ends with useful thumbnail sketches of each of the main personalities.

Despite the melodramatic title this book contains the challenging thoughts of Democratic Action Party (DAP) leaders, CV Devan Nair, Lim Kit Siang, Nor Jetty, Goh Hock Guan, Chen Man Hin and others as to how to establish a democratic socialist Malaysia. The main theme is seeking ways to coalesce as a nation. There is a foreword by Willi Eichler, the then leader of the German Social Democratic Party. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 284 pages. 


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 First Edition Paperback


After twenty five years as a travel writer, the author turns to interviewing a wide range of expatriates who have lived for some years in Asia and made it their home. The biographical sketches of a dozen or so artists, entrepreneurs and others reveal common themes that explain why each of them set down new roots far from where they were born. Very Good Paperback. 317 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

The author, who had a long international career as an academic specialising in Islamic history, uses contemporary materials to unravel the sociological impact of early Islam in the Middle East. He argues that a significant byproduct of the new religion in the area was to free up previously stratified social classes so as to allow greater social mobility. New Paperback. First Edition. 108 pages. For further details please see the scanned contents page

The book is a collection of articles, illustrated with colour photographs, of the principal artists at the time of publication in Malaysia by the editor, in Indonesia by Jim Supangkat, in The Philippines by Alice Guillermo and Cid Reyes in Singapore by Susie Wong and in Thailand by Apinan Poshyananda. Very Good Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket. First Edition 256 pages.

The editor, who has collated several other short story collections, introduces the reader to a wide variety of modern short stories from authors in South, Southeast and East Asia. New Paperback. First Edition 282 pages. For further details please see the scanned contents page. 


A collection of essays, mainly by Chinese academics, assessing the state of Chinese culture on the cusp of the 21st century. The contributors not only examine traditional culture, but also the changes undergone during the revolutionary period and then look forward as the country comes to terms with Western influences. New Paperback. First Edition. 209 pages with an index. 

Han Suyin's first novel inspired by her experiences as a Eurasian doctor in China before the Second World War. Good Paperback. Reprint. First published in 1952. 252 pages.

Sri Lanka

The Donoughmore Constitution which sought to regulate politics in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka, was unique in that it was the first time that a mechanism of universal suffrage to elect a national government had been put into effect when only white countries in the European empires had that privilege. The author examines its effectiveness in giving citizens control of their domestic affairs and keeping communal tensions at bay. Very good Paperback. First Edition. 358 pages. For further details please see the scanned contents page.

This is an account by an experienced author and journalist who decided to base himself at the Galle Face Hotel, the oldest hotel East of Suez, for a year from November 2001. His idyll was shattered when his presence in the country dragged him into the cross currents of Sri Lankan politics which led to his expulsion from Sri Lanka. Good Paperback. Sri Lankan Edition. 134 pages with a line drawing and an index. 


This study of a Malay, outwardly Muslim, community not only looks at the close connection between fishing and the structure of village life, but also at how the community was adapting to the beginnings of change in the mid 20th century. Woven into this study also are observations as to how the community adapts Islam to its animist sub-culture and how that combination copes at the edge of a Buddhist Thailand. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 110 pages with chapters on 1 - The Village and Its Context, 2 - Making a Living, 3 - The Web of Life, 4 - Maintaining Control, 5 - Dealing with the Supernatural, 6 - Learning to Live in Rusembilan, 7 - The Changing Scene. There is also a glossary of Malay words and a recommended reading list.

The main purposes of this wide ranging and comprehensive guide to the mammals of Thailand were both to record the variety of species before some became extinct due to development and to suggest ways in which agricultural and other activities could be adapted so as to both preserve wildlife but also to protect crops. There are numerous black and white illustrations together with a chapter on Muridae by Joe T Marshall and a chapter on Sciuridae by Robert Askins. Near Fine Hardback First Edition. No 628 of a Limited Edition of 1,000. Signed by both Authors 833 pages.

Brailey, a specialist in modern Thai history, explains the frustrating effect of the Japanese incursion into Thailand at the start of World War II, which stifled one of Southeast Asia's earliest nationalist revolutions, as it became an unwilling handmaiden to the Japanese war effort. The narrative concludes in 1968 when military rule was still the order of the day, a common feature of Thai politics since then. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 288 pages with a bibliography and an index. 


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