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Monday, 22 February 2021

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in February 2021


New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


February 2021

(Last Updated 22-2-21)

  • 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 - Arts & Crafts

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. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

This short biography illuminates the impact of one of the British colonial administration's more colourful characters on Perak in the late 19th century. Speedy, as Assistant Resident of Larut, was the first European administrator of the area, then the principal tin mining district of the country. A bit of an eccentric who enjoyed playing his bagpipes dressed up in a leopard skin, he was nevertheless reportedly liked by the community in which he worked, but frequently upset his colonial administrative colleagues. Black and white plates and a map. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 103 pages


Evans was a pioneering ethnographer and archaeologist in North Borneo and on the Malay Peninsula. Originally published in 1922, this book is an enthusiastic account of his experiences and findings in the place he was happiest, present day Sabah. The book is not full of dry academic detail as Evans was an enchanting writer. Fine Paperback Reprint. Originally published in 1922 313 pages with a pull out map.

In 1990 shortly after a politician announced that the Mount Kinabalu National Park was about to be expanded most of the new area was burnt to the ground, supposedly by inhabitants of the area. This is one of the many puzzles that the author seeks to unravel in her research into the history of land use from pre-colonial times until 1996. Her work was mainly among the Dusun people whose customary use of land has often been misunderstood, ignored or contested by colonial administrators, modern politicians and the business community. She also suggests possible solutions for the future. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket First Edition  224 pages with a bibliography and index

Malaysia & Singapore - Cooking & Food

As one might expect from an organisation representing the busy mems of Malaya  this is a no nonsense cookery book packed with lots of tips and tried recipes for the tropics.  Most of the recipes are Western ones, but there are also chapters of Chinese, Indian, Indonesian and Malay dishes. xxiii & 243 pages with an index. For further details, please see the scanned contents pages. Very Good Board Book. Ninth Edition 

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

This is a classic work on plant life of the peninsula compiled by a botanist after 30 years of Malayan experience. The plants listed are mainly common ones that one is more likely to come across. Other than one black and white plate, illustrations are from line drawings. Very Good Hardback. Reprint. Originally published in 1954 254 pages. Chapters include 1.Evergreen Malaya, 2 Roots and Stems: Trees, Palms, Pandans and Tree-Ferns, 3, - Bamboo, Ginger and Orchid, 4 - Yams and Some Other Tubers, 5 - Vegetative Propagation, 6 - Flowers and Hybrids, 7 - Fruits and Seeds, 8 - Bananas, 9 - Grasses, 10 - The Story of the Pigeon Orchid, 11 - Nest-Ferns and Their Neighbours, 12 - Terrestial Ferns, 13 - Climbing Plants, 14 - Prasites and Saprophytes, 15 - Water Plants, 16 - Plants and Ants, 17 - The Malayan Forest and Botantical Equivalents of Malay and English Plant Names. There is also an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Health & Medicine

 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

Malaysia & Singapore - History (20th Century)

This book  mainly covers the period when Laurence Guillemard was Governor of the Straits Settlements and High Commissioner for the Federated Malay States. He was the the first such official to arrive without previous colonial experience and came with a mission to decentralise government in the hope of encouraging greater participation by the sultans, much to the chagrin of British and Chinese commercial interests. Guillemard's stewardship of British Government policy also saw the start of a campaign to encourage Malays to join the civil service.  Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket.  First Edition. 395 pages with a bibliography, index and some black and white plates.

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. Near Fine Paperback First Edition 76 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Language & Linguistics

One of the great joys of spoken language is the clues the language gives to the speakers' way of life. Baba Malay, the language spoken by by descendants of early Chinese immigrants to the Malay peninsula who intermarried with Malays, is no exception. Both the immigrants and the Malays they met hadn't had the benefit of a classroom, so 'bazaar' Malay and colloquial Hokkien went into the melting pot to produce this lively and gutsy language. The author helps us through our occasional bits of puzzlement  in this  Baba Malay - English dictionary by giving us the original Hokkien or Malay derivations of words that baffle. 223 pages ending with a glossary of cherki, the Straits Chinese card game, and illustrations of the cards. Near Fine Paperback First Edition

Reputed still to be the best book for teaching oneself Jawi, the former Arabic based script used for the Malay language. The book was written before the 1972 spelling reforms for Rumi, the now standard Romanised spelling for the language. 192 pages with a small vocabulary.  Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition


The author, a Malaysian journalist living in London when this book was published, is a self confessed blogger. However he's far from being an introverted blogger as his wide readership testifies. This book brings together amusing, insightful and wistful reminiscences of his early life in Trengganu, now renamed Terengannu in the Bahasa spelling reforms of the 1970s. Good Paperback Reprint. p.p. 336 which include an extensive glossary of Malay words used in the book 


In this prescient polemic, written as the Second World War was ending, Ward takes the case of Hong Kong to look at how the Japanese invaders sought to present themselves as liberators of Asians from white imperialism. After examining Japan's modus operandi in the British colony, he advocates measures that colonial powers will have to take if they were going to regain their former dominance. Either such advice fell on deaf ears or was ineffective, since within a decade from the end of the war most Western colonies in Asia were either in the hands of newly independent governments or on their way to do so.  Good Hardback. First Edition. 205 pages with an index. 

A hundred years after the Portuguese set up trading posts and colonies stretching from India to China,  British and Dutch traders followed to set up what eventually became the two dominant powers in the Malayan Archipelago. In this book, divided into three parts for each of the European powers, Burnet traces the history of each enterprise separately and chronicles how they interacted with each other until the end of the 19th century. With colour photos, maps, bibliographies and an index. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket. First Edition. 224 pages.

Riddell argues in his introduction that although much has been written about the arrival of Islam in Indonesia and Malaysia and its development through to the revivalist period of the 1970s and 80s, much of such scholarship in English does not pay very much attention to the religious aspects of Islam .He therefore traces the theological ebbs and flows throughout its history in the region to redress this gap in Islamic scholarship. Very Good Hardback 349 pages. The contents include the following chapters Islamic Scholarship and Textual Materials, Doctrines and Debates: The Place of Revelation, Exegesis of the Qur'an, Law and Stories, Mystical Belief and Practice, 20th Century Islamic Reformism and Revolution, The 16th and 17th Centuries: Sufis in Conflict, Early Malay Qur'anic Exegetical Activity, The 18th and 19th Centuries: From Sufism to Reform, Malay Islamic Thought (1900-1998), Exegisis in Modern Southeast Asia, Perspectives on Popular Preaching (1983-98).There is also a bibliography and an index.

A review of the perceived Communist threat in Southeast Asia at the start of the Cold War. The author assesses the strength of various guerilla groups in Malaya, The Philippines, Vietnam, Burma, Taiwan and Korea.  Good Hardback 352 pages with an index.


This is a collection of articles in journals and books from the noted scholar of the Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia between 1970 and 1990. The book looks at  the historical perspective and how that is reflected in the Chinese diaspora of the late 20th century. Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 312 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.