Blog Archive

Thursday 30 September 2021

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in September 2021


New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


September 2021

(Last Updated 30-9-21)

  • 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 - Anthropology & Sociology

Saw, arguably the leading international authority on the Malaysian population, here embarks on an update to his defining work on the subject, the first edition of this book, published nearly a decade ago. Topics cover include internal and external migration, Ethnic and Religious Patterns, Population Distribution, Growth and Structure and Marriage, Fertility, Mortality and Labour Trends. 219 pages with an index, tables, figures and a bibliography.

Malaysia & Singapore - Arts & Crafts

A catalogue for an exhibition of textiles from Indonesia and from the Iban people of the Sarawak Second and Third Divisions. Good Paperback. First Edition. 98 pages with some black and white and 15 colour photographs, line drawings of common motifs and a bibliography.

Nelson Lim shares his probably unique collection of Peranakan artifacts, the paraphernalia of sleep. Through colour photographs of and explanatory text  about examples of pillow ends, scent holders, bolster ends, hooks, dangly bits and much more besides, he reveals a little documented side of Peranakan life. The book is bilingual in Chinese and English. 103 pages. New Paperback First Edition  For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

The evocative and well reviewed memoirs of a young Peranakan woman growing up in Melaka (Malacca) before and during the World War leading up to last years of British rule in Malaya. The author was the daughter of a Methodist teacher and went on to follow in her father's footsteps as a well known teacher and school principal. Good Paperback Reprint Originally published in 1975 188 pages. 

The story of a family business that started as a small trader in Penang at the beginning of the 20th century and has grown to be one of the best known retailers in the country today with nearly 300 stores. 285 pages with many colour photographs.

From 1884 onwards Batu Gajah was made the administrative headquarters of Kinta District, which grew to be the richest district in the Federated Malay States owing to the abundance of tin deposits in the area. The author, whose family settled in the area, traces its history in the first half of the twentieth century based on research in official records as well as accounts of the colourful characters thrown up by the Tin Rush. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 172 pages with some black and white plates and an index. 


This book was written with a view to providing better information on Sarawak's geography to senior school and university students and their teachers in Southeast Asia and Australia. It covers the state's environment, population, economic activity and public utilities and social services. Near Fine Hardback in a Fine Dust Jacket. 218 pages with maps, diagrams, some black and white plates, tables, a bibliography and an index. 

The author, an employee of the global company, Unilever, was one of the people responsible for establishing the Tugud palm oil plantation estate in Labuk, Sabah. This is his account of his experiences from the early 1960s until his retirement a decade later. 233 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

In Southeast Asia tribal peoples generally had a favourable relationship with European colonists, who often saw themselves as protectors of the tribes against the more populous and more westernised majority of the colonised. Did the same pattern hold true in Sarawak? In this 410 page book the author sets out to discover how, if at all, the Iban and Brooke relationship was similar. Chapters include - 1 - Land and People, 2 - The Iban Country to the Eve of Brooke Rule, 3- James Brooke and the Iban 'Pirates', 4 - The Malay Plot, 5 - How the Second Rajah Ruled, 6 - Charles Brooke and the Down river Ibans, 7 - Bantin's Revolt: Charles Brooke and the Upriver Ibans, 8 - Iban Migration and the Rajah's Response & 9 - The Ibans and Others: Communal Relations under Charles Brooke. New Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1936. There are also a few black and white plates, four maps, appendices, a bibliography and an index.

What comes through in this book is that the author was one of the world's doers par excellence. He was an ornithologist, explorer, journalist, broadcaster, soldier, guerrilla, ethnologist, museum curator, archaeologist, documentarian, film-maker, conservationist, and writer. Having helped found Mass Observation, one of the pioneer organisations for market research, before World War II, he went on during the war to fight behind Japanese lines in Borneo where he spent most his life until his death. This book not only contains his account of how Borneo was before the white man's arrival but also his wartime exploits on the island. New Paperback Reprint. Originally published in 1959 465 pages with an index, maps, black and white plates and line drawings. 

An assessment of the state of Sabah, formerly North Borneo, some 25 years after independence and joining the Malaysian federation. The book is edited by two political heavyweights, the Chief Minister and a Minister in the federal government. The opening chapter, reflecting on Sabah's accession to the federation is by Herman Luping, a former attorney general of the state. Other chapters include assessments of the state's politics, economic growth, welfare and medical services, housing, education, culture and demography. Very Good Hardback in a New Dust Jacket.

In March 1851 Hugh Low, a British colonial official, made the first recorded ascent of Mount Kinabalu, the highest point in the Malay Archipelago. Exactly 150 years later a group of amateur climbers set out to recreate his feat by following the very same route. This book tells their story from initial preparations to reaching the summit. Very Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. Signed by the authors 121 pages with many colour photographs. 

A collection of photographs, mainly black and white, illustrating the history of Sabah, formerly British North Borneo, during the 100 years from the establishment of the North Borneo Chartered Company until the date of publication. The accompanying text is in Bahasa Malaysia and English. Fine Hardback in a Fine Dust Jacket 234 pages including three maps.

A personal account of the natural beauty of the Malay Archipelago's tallest mountain and its environs. New hardback in a New Dust Jacket.  164 pages including 23 illustrations by the author. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Business, Economics & Labour

In this comprehensive study of the economy of British North Borneo, while under Chartered Company rule, Massey sets out to discover the nature and causes of the territory's economic growth during this time. The study is significant  for many reasons, including, that it fills a gap in the study of the area, the Chartered Company was unlike most other British colonial enterprises in that it was unavowedly commercial and the dissolution of the Company at the end of World War II led to the establishing of Britain's last new colony in Asia. 410 pages with numerous figures and tables

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 . Good Paperback. Second Revised Edition 

This study particularly focuses on Malaysia's economic situation during the 1980s, the decade after the introduction of the country's New Economic Policy. The author assesses the extent to which this new policy of affirmative action was beginning to take effect. Unlike most previous work on the subject, information from Malaysian Borneo is included as well. Very Good Hardback. First Edition. 243 pages 

Malaysia & Singapore - Chinese Community & Culture

Since China has 'opened up' over the last few decades, there has been a growing interest amongst huaqiao (overseas Chinese) in finding out more about their roots back in China. This book, although written by an academic, sets out to firstly explain the Chinese family system and origin of names and then give pointers as to how to trace places of origin and, if you're lucky, the part of the family which was left behind. Very Good Hardback First Edition 262 pages. The book is divided into four parts, namely - I - Being Chinese, II - Out of China, III - A Community Transplanted, IV - Tracing Your Origins followed by a bibliography and other useful appendices. 

The world over immigrants tend to congregate initially in communities where members share a common origin. The same has been true in Sabah, the former British North Borneo, where the Hakka community are still the majority Chinese community. This book records the results of the celebration of the 90th anniversary of the arrival of the first members who established the Inanam-Menggatal-Telipok towns there. Besides being a record of the celebration in 2003, the book, bilingual in Chinese and English, contains historical articles on the community's development. 189 pages

Blythe, Secretary for Chinese Affairs in Malaya in the immediate post war period, produces one of the most comprehensive accounts of secret societies that were an integral part of Chinese society both on the mainland and amongst Chinese overseas. The book looks at both the attempts of the Ching Dynasty and British colonial authorities to suppress these groups as well as the role played they played in the Malayan 'Emergency'. With a foreword by Malcolm MacDonald 570 pages with about 20 black and white plates, a bibliography, general index and an index of Societies and Organizations. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition

A collection of articles on the history of the Hakka people in Sabah, formerly North Borneo. The community, the largest Chinese ethnic group in the area, were responsible for a wide range of development in the state. New Paperback. First Edition. 197 pages with several historic black and white photographs. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Cooking & Food

This collection of recipes brings to life again dishes which, though still familiar to Malaysians, have changed over the course of time to suit modern palates. A group of culinary experts dig out recipes that may have been more familiar on the tables of our grandparents rather than what we expect to see served today. New Paperback. Revised Edition. 123 pages For further details please see the scanned contents page.

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 305 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 recipes. New Paperback Reprint. Originally published in 2013

Although Perak state used to be famous as the centre of the country's tin mining, today it is better known as a gastronomic haven. Ipoh, the principal city, with its wide range of Chinese cuisine, is usually the fist stopping off place for foodies, but this book tempts them to venture further into the remoter parts of the state where other, often unique, delicacies are to be found. Near fine paperback. First Edition. 288 pages with many colour photographs and an index.  

Malaysia & Singapore - Constitution, Laws & Legal System

A review of Malaysia's constitution shortly after the formation of the federation by the then head of the law faculty at the University of Singapore. The commentary does not follow the articles in numerical order, but rather groups various articles around particular topics. Good Hardback. First Edition. 238 page with a general index and further indices of the articles, case law and legislation. 

The then Lord President of the Federal Court of Malaysia and two academic experts in constitutional law have in this book gathered together a collection of essays from both academics and those required as public servants and lawyers to implement the constitution in a  review its workings during the first twenty years of its life. The subject matter is wide ranging, including fundamental liberties, Islam, citizenship, the King, ministerial responsibility, Parliament, elections, the judiciary, public service and emergency powers. Good Hardback First Edition 425 pages.

The author's account of his imprisonment following his refusal to pay a fine for contempt of court. He was a former political adviser to Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition. 267 pages 

Malaysia & Singapore - Dance, Drama & Music

A collection of 24 folk songs, including the national anthems of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, for intermediate piano with lyrics in Malay and English. New Paperback. First Edition. 56 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - The "Emergency"

The author sets out to compare counter insurgency operations in Malaya and Vietnam and puts forward his theory as to why the British army was more successful than that of the United States. Nagl also took part in US military operations in Iraq and in a preface to this edition reflects on his experiences there. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 2002 250 pages with a bibliography and an index.

Although one might be surprised at another book on the 'lessons learned' published so long after the conflicts in Malaya and Vietnam, the author hoped this one would be viewed in a different light. The book is unusual in that it analyses the Vietnam war in a comparative context. The purpose of doing so is not to devise ways of prosecuting similar interventions more successfully in the future, but rather to deter the use of force in such circumstances in future. Good Hardback. First Edition. 225 pages with two maps a bibliography and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

This book is basically a listing of over 70 species of flora and 200 species of fauna to be found in this state park stretching over 100,000 hectares of Perak. The description of each species includes a colour photograph and information on identification and habitat as well as a QR code linking each species to further information on the Malaysian Biodiversity Information System website. New First Edition. Paperback. 297 pages with a bibliography and an index . 

Hansen's thrilling account of the world of orchid obsessives as he follows them from the Borneo rainforest to Turkey and elsewhere to discover what makes this billion dollar industry tick. Good Paperback. 265 pages. 

This book describes Sabah's thriving fishing industry, one of the major exporters of the state. Over half of the 600 different species found in local markets are described here together with a detailed background on the industry. 280 pages with many colour photographs. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

Malaysia & Singapore - Fiction

In this well reviewed novel, the narrator tries to come to terms with the changes experienced by him and other members of the Indian community following Malayan Independence. He wonders about the relevance of his Hindu upbringing as he negotiates his way through life in a society where old securities seem to be withering. Fine Paperback. Reprint. 189 pages.

As one might expect from Shelley, this novel involves the Eurasian communities in Singapore and Malaya. This time the setting is the Japanese occupation during World War II as a background to two love stories. Good Paperback. 231 pages.

Peter Blundell, the pen name of Frank Butterworth, lived an worked in Borneo for about ten years before the First World War. On returning to England he turned his hand to writing fiction and nonfiction about Borneo. This novel won the top prize for The Humourous Novel Competition in the year it was published. Good Hardback. First Edition. 256 pages. 

This is a suspense thriller  that mainly concerns the the heroine, Jasmine, grappling with her conflicting identities of being a Malaysian transplanted in the UK. Even though it's the author's first novel the book won good reviews for her subtlety in telling a gripping story of that, according to the book's cover, involves 'love, redemption (and) murder.'  Good Hardback. Fair Dust Jacket First Edition 485 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Geography & Guide Books

An annual government guide on the activities of the Singapore Government and on amenities available on the island. Good Paperback. 265 pages with several black and white photos. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Health & Medicine

A thorough review of a range of food setting out the beneficial effects of each in not only maintaining good health but in curing and preventing illness. The book is divided into four sections covering fruit, vegetables, grain and byproducts of food processing respectively. New Paperback. First Edition. 380 pages with an index, various figures and tables and a few illustrations. 

A collection of essays by social work practitioners designed to give a grounded introduction to first year undergraduates in social work. Near Fine Paperback Reprint 300 pages with a list of useful websites, a bibliography and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - History

A general bibliography of publications on Malaysia Good Hardback. First Edition. 311 pages. 

In the rush to publish commemorative volumes on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the colony of Singapore, this book will probably maintain its importance longer than most. It was written by a couple, who were one of the principal publishers in Singapore at the time, as an academic work, drawing on some unpublished material, but in a readable form. Published under the auspices of the Singapore Chamber of Commerce. Very Good Hardback. Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 730 pages.

An updated edition of an authoritative overview of Malaysia's history from the earliest times. Good Hardback. 349 pages with several maps, tables and a bibliography.

A selection of writings about Singapore from travellers, who usually dropped in for a few days on their way to somewhere else. The examples cover experiences and observations from the founding of the city in 1819 until the fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942. Near 260 pages. Near Fine Paperback First Edition 

The author is a well known Malaysian journalist of 35 years experience, who spends his retirement writing to educate his fellow Malaysians about their history and culture. Here he brings together a wide range of anecdotes mainly about events and personalities who have featured in his own lifetime. In doing so, he brings to light often unreported facts that fill out the bigger historical picture. New Paperback. 162 pages with a mixture of colour and black and white photographs. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Humour 

A Malaysian journalist and a Singaporean artist team up to take a humourous look at life in their respective countries, which, for a short time, were politically united and still share some common cultural characteristics. However more than fifty years of separation have produced some changes as the authors are all to keen to point out. Near Fine Paperback 98 pages. 

A collection of anecdotal glimpses of Malaysian life designed to 'probe into the female psyche and (be a) survival guide for the male.' Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 264 pages with many illustrations by Wang. 

As a follow up to her successful debut account of life as a flight stewardess, The Sky is Crazy: Tales from a Trolley Dolly, this book reveals more of her sky high adventures. Very Good Paperback., First Edition. 216 pages.

Following on from the success of his first collection of jokes about life in Malaysia and Singapore, Brazil introduces the reader to 600 more. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 176 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Indian Community & Culture

This pamphlet was published following a major demonstration in Kuala Lumpur by the Hindu Rights Action Front, HINDRAF, to present a memorandum to the British Government about the plight of the Malaysian Indian community since Independence. The authors set out to assess the current position of the community in the country, the causes of any problems and basis for change as well as suggesting remedies. New Paperback. 50 pages with a list of references. 


The author carried out field work in Jelawat, Kelantan, between 1967 and 1969 in an attempt to get an anthropological grip on the community and to study its history. The area was undergoing some upheaval at the time because the Pan- Malayan Islamic Party (PMIP) had wrested power from more traditional parties supported by the state's nobility. One of the key themes of the book is the 20th century transformation of the relationship between former rulers and the  peasantry. 311 pages. The contents include chapters on - Malaysia, Kelantan and the Islamic Party, Kelantan before 1886, The Years of Foreign Intervention, Jelawat under Colonial Rule, Agriculture and Class in Jelawat, The Origins of Party Politics in Town and Country, The Impact of Party Politics in the Countryside, Land, Peasants and Parties, Party Politics and the Administration of Islam, Religious Ideas and Social Reality. There are also three appendices, a glossary, bibliography and index as well as 4 maps, 15 black and white illustrations, diagrams and tables. Near Fine Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition

This significant work details one aspect of the unique heritage of Kelantan which straddles Malay and Thai cultures, i.e. decorations applied to fishing boats in the state. The book is illustrated throughout with detailed line drawings of the art. 167 pages. Chapters include - 1 - The Boats, 2 - The Decorated Parts, 3 - The Themes, 4 - The Malay Religious System. There are two appendices including one on the geographical distribution of boat decorations, a glossary and a bibliography. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition

Malaysia & Singapore - Language & Linguistics 

Quite naturally inhabitants of former British colonies were inflicted with the English language. Equally naturally the language blossomed with additions and embellishments from local usage. This book is a handy introduction to the way 'English' is spoken in Singapore. Near Fine Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 2003. 169 pages with several illustrations. 

Written by an exiled Indonesian, this book was primarily intended to teach Malay to those preparing to take Indonesia from the Japanese at the end of World War II. Besides dealing with the essential grammatical points and providing some phrase lists, the book ends with a 100 page dictionary. The spellings are in Indonesia Rumi script. Very Good Hardback 183 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Literature

An assessment of the Malaysian historical or mythical figure, depending on one's point of view. Hang Tuah remains an important figure in popular culture today. The book is in Bahasa Malaysia. New Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket. First Edition. 121 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

A Malay literary work by Pawang Ana about a misunderstanding between lovers. This version has been revised by Raja Haji Yahya based on the manuscripts interpreted by RO Winstedt and AJ Sturrock.  Very Good Paperback. Revised edition. 182 pages.

An annotated anthology of Malay prose from both Indonesia and Malaya from the time of Munshi Abdullah to the 1930s.  Very Good Paperback. 138  pages

A postcolonial analysis of the portrayal of Malaya and Malayan life by British writers from various periods from the late 19th century to the time of Malayan independence. There is a significant section on the stereotyping of Oriental women. Near Fine Paperback. Revised edition 236 pages with a list of references and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Malay Community and Culture

In this fascinating work Fischer tries to analyse the various influences that guide the spending habits of the Malay middle class in Malaysia. The steady creep of Islamic revivalism contends with the often contradictory messages from global capitalism. This can result in a difficult path for the average consumer to negotiate. New Paperback. First Edition. 258 pages with some black and white plates, a bibliography and an index. 


A collection of sketches of students of Landscape Architecture at the Universiti Putra Malaysia bringing to life a varied selection of buildings and other sites in Melaka. New Paperback. First Edition. 86 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Miscellaneous

This is a fairly detailed guide to Burmese cats and their close relatives from Malaysia, which started being imported into the UK and the US from the beginning of the 20th century onwards. By the time this book was written this breed was the second most popular pedigree breed in the United Kingdom. 68 pages with colour and black and white illustrations. Chapters include - 1 - Appearance and Behaviour, 2 - The Early History of the Burmese/Malayan Cats, 3 - The Development of the Breeds, 4 - Red, Cream, Tortoiseshell, Champagne and Platinum, 5 - The Show Scene, 6 - A Burmese/Malayan in Your Household, 7 - the Stud, The Queen and the Kittening, 8 - Care & Grooming & 9 The Future of the Burmese and the Malayan.

A collection of scandalous and some mind boggling anecdotes about celebrities and the not so famous in Malaysia and elsewhere compiled by a veteran Malaysian journalist. The general theme is strange sexual proclivities written about in a charmingly restrained manner. 161 pages

Sini Sana: Travels in Malaysia - Tom Sykes & Tan May Lee (eds)  RM60

A collection of travellers tales unlocking hidden gems in contemporary Malaysia. The writers are both Malaysian and visitors to Malaysia. New Paperback. First Edition.  225 pages.

A collection of true stories of Malaysian life with positive messages. The author deftly illustrates a variety of human behaviour and interpersonal relationships so as to illustrate the joy of the individuality of each of us. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition 202 pages.

Orang Asli/Indigenous Peoples

This book provides an anthropological analysis of the effects of the current life style of the Semang, one of Malaysia's indigenous tribes, on their ecosystem. As the title suggests, this work does not completely accept the conventional wisdom that all responsibility for the degradation of the environment belongs to The Semang's more 'developed' neighbours. There are some black and white photos of current activities of the Semang. Good Paperback. First Edition. 104 pages with some figures and tables and a reference list. 

In 1931 Pat Noone, the author's brother, settled with the Temiar people, one of Malaysia's indigenous tribes, by going into the jungle to live with them and married a Temiar wife. When the Japanese invaded Malaya ten years later, Noone and the Temiar retreated into the jungle and no more was heard of him. In this book the author relates his experiences of reconnecting with the Temiar during the Malayan 'Emergency' to try to discover his brother's whereabouts.  Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 212 pages with several black and white plates and an index. Published in the UK as Rape of the Dream People 


A history of one of the most historically important states of Malaysia. Linehan traces the state's history from earliest times to the end of the 19th century. Good Hardback. Reprint. Originally published in 1936. 256 pages with seventeen black and white plates and two maps.


An eye opener of a book, not only for visitors to Penang, but definitely for residents as well. Whereas many casual visitors to George Town will have noticed the humourous murals and wire art that add to the charm of the place, few will have had the dedication and time to unearth the striking array of art hidden in back alleys or more remote parts of the island. Gibby's definition of street art includes all secular art which can be seen without an entrance charge and is not in a museum or gallery.  The colour photos are accompanied by the results of the author's research into the history of each installation and more about the individual artists, where known. 301 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. 

Morson's account of the Light family, Francis and his son William, takes us from Phuket, Francis Light's base before taking over Penang, to Adelaide, founded by William. As New Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket. First Edition. 126 pages with some colour photos. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. 

An unusual and sensitive work on the role that blood plays in the life of the people of Penang, Malaysia. For not only does Carsten follow the process that blood takes from donors, to labs and hospitals, but she stops to talk with donors and medical staff and over a period of ten years of research she builds an understanding of the social, cultural and political backdrop of the community, veins of a society through which blood courses. New Paperback. First Edition.   237 pages with an index and some black and white photographs.

During his two years in Penang the author was drawn into a blossoming art movement on the island and decided to chronicle it. Here he examines how the eruption began and what propelled it, by interviewing artists and appreciators of their art. He also looks at the outside influences from visitors like him to the socio-political make up of Malaysia at the time. New paperback. First Edition. 270 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Peranakan/Straits Chinese

Often confused with Chinese, who arrived in the Malay Archipelago from the 19th century onwards, the Straits Chinese, or Peranakan, are as distinct a community as say, Gypsies or Jews in  Europe. Here the author provides an extensive history of the community's origins and their unique customs, either developed themselves or adapted from other cultures with whom they have been living for centuries. This is a reprint of the Babas Revisited , a 1993 revision by the author of his original 1980 classic. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 193 pages.

A book devoted to the Melaka home of two major figures of the country's Baba (Straits Chinese) community Tan Cheng Lock and his son Tan Siew Sin. The father founded the Malaysian Chinese Association while his son led the party after independence and was a long serving Finance Minister. However the book is principally about the architecture and history of the house. Chin Kon Yit was an authority on Malaysian historic architecture while Chen Voon Fee is a noted water colour artist. Both have collaborated on a range of best selling books on buildings throughout Malaysia with Chin providing the informed text complimenting Chen's evocative paintings, as is the case in this book. 116 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

A guide to a Melaka Museum dedicated to the culture of Malaysia's Peranakan, i.e. descendants of Chinese immigrants who intermarried with the local population and created their own distinct culture. Before it became a museum in 1985, it was a family home for a Peranakan family for over a century . 91 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

Malaysia & Singapore - Poetry

An anthology of Malaysian poetry in English covering a period of sixty years prior to the publication of this volume. Near Fine Paperback. 386 pages.

Pulau Pinang ialah di antara pusat pantun multibudaya yang terpenting. Buku ini mengumpul bait-bait yang cemerlang daripada khazanah lisan dan juga tulisan negeri ini.  New Reprint Paperback. 297 pages For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

An anthology of Malay poetry from both Indonesia and Malaya. The book also includes a short introduction English to Malay poetry . Very Good Paperback. 122 pages 

Malaysia & Singapore - Politics

A collection of media statements by the leader of the opposition Democratic Action Party following the publication of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Illegal Immigrants in Sabah. New Paperback. First Edition. 63 pages with about 8 pages of black and white photographs.

A collection of essays by one of the moderate wing of Parti Islam Semalaysia (PAS), the opposition party with a reputation for wanting to change Malaysia into more of a Muslim state than it is already. The wide range of topics included cover not only the state of the nation as seen from PAS' point of view but also gives the reader an interesting insight into the thought processes of PAS itself. With an introduction by Karim Raslan, a self described 'politically and secular Muslim.' 289 pages including an index. 

A biography of a prominent Malaysian politician told in cartoons. New Paperback. First Edition. 168 pages. 

A collection of speeches by one of Malaysia's more outstanding finance ministers. His heyday was in the 1990s, when he has been credited with boosting Malaysian economic growth. As with many old colleagues of Mahathir, he has also played an important role in helping fix the country's ills following the 2018 general elections. The topics covered by the speeches include Malaysia, ASEAN/Asia, the Commonwealth and the Muslim World. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket. First Edition. 150 pages with an index 

The author, a Malaysian expatriate in the United States, has built up a reputation for being a trenchant, but generally positive, critic of the political scene in his homeland. Here he takes a wide ranging look at life in Malaysia from education to business and politics and race and suggests changes that need to be made if the country is going to place as a respected member of the international community of nations jostling for recognition in the globalised world. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition.  466 pages with a list of references and an index.

A collection of thought provoking pieces about the state of Malaysia, The author, who after 15 years experience as a government officer concerned with social welfare became an academic,  picks his way through what he sees is tearing his country apart. His focus ranges from money politics and the education system to to the neglect of the Indian community, the unemployability of Malay graduates and much else besides. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 

Singapore is not unusual in Southeast Asia in laying a heavy emphasis on planning for and control of society. Where it is perhaps unique is that the Government has been efficient in executing those plans and the populace affected has been generally compliant. In this book the contributors argue the the technocratic and bureaucratic elitism that has resulted is beginning to run into problems, where a rethink with an emphasis on reducing inequalities is now due. New Paperback. First Edition. 329 pages with an index. 

This work essentially brings up to date, in a more manageable form, the author's mammoth Islam Embedded, written a decade earlier. He traces Malaysia's very influential Islamist party's many transformations from being a leftist anti-colonial party at the time of its founding, to being a more doctrinaire conservative party and into what is now, a more democratic group ready to enter coalitions with others so as to gain power. 260 pages with a bibliography and an index.

Singapore's political firmament is crowded with stars who could have lit up to the island state's history, but were snuffed out by detention and harassment before they could do so. One of the brightest was probably Lim Chin Siong, who with Lee Kuan Yew, was one of the founders of  the People's Action Party, but he spent more time in detention than representing his constituents. This book is an assessment of his life by many who were inspired by him. xxix and 209 pages with some black and white and colour plates and an index. New Paperback. Second Edition 

Unlike his successors, Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's first prime minister, was a keen writer and journalist. Especially after he left power, he had plenty of time to ruminate on the state of the nation and on life and politics generally. In this book various Malaysians of the 21st century respond to some of his core ideas, amplifying, defending and contradicting them. 269 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

This trenchant critique of Government policy, originally published more than 30 years ago, is as telling today as it was then. The author, who has a political service longer than any prime minister of the country since independence, not only concentrates on what he sees needs to be put right, but has suggestions on how to do it. The work is divided into four sections looking in turn at 1- Nation Building, Democracy and Corruption, 2- The New Economy Policy, Malaysian Plans and Budget, 3 - Human Rights and Constitutional Guarantees & 4 - Education and Labour. Very Good Paperback. Third Edition. With a Special Commentary on the 1978 General Elections 413 pages

A collection of Johns' regular columns for the online new portal Malaysiakini. Although an Australian, he quickly built up a reputation as an astute, sharp and humourous commentator on the Malaysian political scene. A particular target was the former premier, Mahathir Mohamad. For example the preface to this book contains a damning indictment of Mahathir's anti-Semitism. Very Good paperback. First Edition. 171 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Race Relations

In a society where communal politics thrives, the author sets out a potential role for the Christian church in Sabah to bridge community divisions. Thu En Yu explores ways in which Christians can throw off the original association of their religion with colonialism by developing a religion and associated theology more deeply rooted in an indigenous identity. 263 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Religion

In quite a major undertaking the editors have gathered together essays on the differing histories twelve major Christian churches in Malaysia. The choice ranges from the more familiar Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches to the more obscure Mar Thoma Church and  the Latter Rain Church of Malaysia. There are also chapters on ecumenism, the churches and social problems and a note on church growth in Malaysia from 1960 to 1985. Very Good Hardback. First Edition 395 pages with a glossary and an index. 

An officially sponsored account of the history of the Roman Catholic Church from its arrival in Melaka with the Portuguese to the end of the 20th century. The account also includes details of church activities in Brunei. The book not only details the church's internal activities, but also the role that it played in society generally. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 500 pages with maps, some black and white photographs, a bibliography and an index.


A collection of papers on Selangor previously published by the Malayan/Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society. The papers give snapshots of the state attempting to come to terms with the importance suddenly thrust upon it as a result of increasing British interest in the area. Selangor eventually became the site of the Federal Capital. The snapshots are based on two Malay and three British individuals who were witnesses to this formative period. 241 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

Malaysia & Singapore - World War II

The award winning account of the author's imprisonment under the Japanese, his life after the war and his meeting with one of his captors. Good Paperback., Reprint. 276 pages.

Sybil Kathigasu was perhaps the most famous icon of resistance to the Japanese occupation of Malaya. Her reputation was no doubt helped by the fact that she was swept up by the British propaganda machine, shipped off to the UK to be treated for her horrendous injuries from Japanese torture and awarded the George Medal before she died from those injuries. This book incorporates her famous personal account, No Dram of Mercy, the account of Chin Peng, the guerilla leader who worked closely with her, and "Exploring the Legend' by Norma Miraflor & Ian Ward, looking at why Sybil Kathigasu's work was so important. 239 pages including some black and white photographs which have not been previously published. 

This is the extraordinary story of a unique member of the British forces at the fall of Singapore: he was both fluent in English and Japanese. He therefore not only served as interpreter for the surrender negotiations, but also proved to be an invaluable intermediary between the British in captivity and their Japanese captors and again interpreted between both sides when Singapore was retaken by the Allies. The author was a prisoner with Wild and wrote this biography with the assistance of Wild's family and contemporaries. Good Paperback  188 pages For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

White Coolies - Betty Jeffrey  RM60

An Australian nurse's account of her experiences as a Japanese prisoner of war in Malaya. Good Hardback in a Fair Dust Jacket. 204 pages.


A collection of papers presented at a conference of environmental activists and academics in Penang in 1986. Subjects covered included timber exploitation, the effects of deforestation on the inhabitants and environment, the role of transnational corporations, NGOs, the UN and financial institutions in deforestation and NGO action in the first and third worlds. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 510 pages with some tables and maps.

A collection of papers from a 1999 international conference on tropical peat swamps. The papers are divided into five sections looking at 1) flora and fauna, 2) the structure and function of peat swamps, 3) water resources within the swamps, 4) the socioeconomic aspects involving communities depending on peat swamps and 5) techniques for managing peat swamps. New First Edition Paperback. 356 pages with numerous graphs, tables and illustrations.

This introduction covers 800 species in 123 genera describing their distribution, biology, propagation, cultivation and economic importance. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 410 pages with a bibliography and an index. 

This book is the result of three decades of nocturnal research into the habits of the vampire moth or Calyptra, members of less than ten of the 180,000 species of Lepidoptera which have developed blood sucking habits. The author describes the method extracting blood, illustrated with photographs and illustrations, the species' distribution, behaviour, ecology, phenology, and physiology as well as the types of victim that they choose. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket.

A collection of contributions looking at the experience of trauma in different contexts in Southeast Asia whether it be survivors of the Khmer Rouge rule in Cambodia. natural disaster in Indonesia or harassment of religious and ethnic minorities in Malaysia. The book also demonstrates the myriad ways in which traumatic experiences can be transformed into a range of responses from resistance to reinvigoration. New Paperback. First Edition. 188 pages  with an index. 

A catalogue accompanying an exhibition of about 350 ceramic pieces mainly from Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam to celebrate the founding of the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society. There are descriptive notes of each of the pieces and several black and white and a few colour plates Very Good Paperback. First Edition 194 pages with a bibliography. 


An unusual account of the Chinese revolution from the end of the rule of the last emperor up to the Cultural Revolution because it is told from the perspective of three revolutionaries who were all members of the author's family. The participants were born as landless peasants and some of them ended up shaping the new China. Good Paperback. 401 pages with an index and a few black and white plates.

A distinguished retired Malaysian government servant, with the benefit of both an education in China and in Malaya, provides an encyclopedic account of Chinese culture with attractive accompanying colour photographs. An impeccable introduction to one of the world's oldest civilizations and to its continuing relevance today. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket 262 pages. 

When the Nationalists fled from China in 1949 they managed to bring a substantial amount of the country's national treasures with them. A good collection of them ended up in Taiwan's National Palace Museum. This catalogue, extensively illustrated with colour photographs and bilingual in Chinese and English, describes some two hundred blue and white, monochrome and multi-coloured porcelain from the reign of Ch'eng Hua.  200 pages.

A massive and authoritative review of Chinese ceramics produce from the earliest times until the end of the Chinese dynastic era in 1911. Near Fine Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket. First Edition. 685 pages. 


The Minangkabau of West Sumatra have a distinct set of traditions of which they are proud and results in a tight knit community. Their culture is matrilineal which often brings them into conflict with Wahabi reformists keen to promote a contradictory way of living which they claim was established by the Prophet Muhammad. In this book the author traces this conflict from pre-colonial times through to the 20th century. New Paperback 211 pages with some black and white photographs, a bibliography and an index.

The story of a prisoner of war held by the Japanese in Java. During his imprisonment he lost both his hands and his eyesight. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 190 pages.

Sri Lanka

Parker collected these tales during his travels throughout the island during thirty years in the irrigation department in Ceylon. They probably still remain the most comprehensive collection of Sri Lankan folklore in the English language. Very Good Hardbacks. Reprints. 371, 427 & 445 pages respectively. Originally published in 1910. 


The best known member of the morning glory (Convolvulaceae) species in Thailand is phak bung, a type of water spinach which makes a popular dish. Thailand is actually host to at least 147 Convolvulaceae species and more are discovered every year. The authors introduce the reader to this wide variety, but also top their use for food and as garden ornamentals. Propagation techniques are also included. 27 genera of Thai Convolvulaceae are included and 80 selected species. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket


A well reviewed collection of humourous stories about the antics of Morton's ridiculous characters. The book has nothing much to do with Borneo. Good Hardback. First Edition. 288 pages.