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Tuesday 31 May 2022


New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


May 2022

(Last Updated 31-5-2022)
  • 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 orders under 2 kg to Singapore.


This 142-page book is a collection of ten research papers about peat swamps in Sarawak by different experts. Each paper contains its own diagrams or tables and reference list. Topics discussed include microfungi, plant diversity, tree species composition and invertebrate, fish, amphibian, mammal and reptile fauna.

Six anthropologists deal with various practices surrounding death amongst different ethnic groups in Borneo. Two of the societies have, or have had, a tradition of reburying their dead after a short interval. Also some of these traditions are fast dying out following the conversion of many to Christianity. Near Fine Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket. 366 pages with some black and white plates, a map and an index. 

Heidi Munan uses her 30 years' experience in being involved in and studying Sarawak culture in this book which has a good balance of stunning photographs and well informed text. Ms Munan's experience as Honorary Curator of Beads at the Sarawak Museum stands her in good stead as she explains the significance of beads in Sarawak's social, religious and cultural life. The contents of this 144 page book include 1 - Borneo: The Land and People, 2 - Beadmakers, Bead Sellers, Bead Buyers, 3 - Beads of Power, 4 - Beads as Wealth, 5 - Beads of Beauty, 6 - The Bead Trade Today and 7 - Bead Names. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition

A study of commercial logging activities in Sarawak which covers such topics as the political economy of logging, timber land concessions, accidents to and compensation of workers and native land rights. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 93 pages with maps and some black and white plates. 

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 Downriver 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. There are also appendices, a bibliography and an index. Very Good Paperback. Reprint  

This work summarises the work of the author and his wife in trying to discover how aboriginal Dusun children in North Borneo grew up and took on the cultural norms of their society. During their two year stay in two different villages, they were particularly keen to discover in what ways, if any, such enculturation differed from similar processes in other societies. That said, the author goes to particular lengths in making observations rather than mixing in theory. Very Good Paperback. 137 pages whose contents include 1 - The Setting of Enculturation, 2 - Methods of Study, 3 - Conception, Pregnancy and Birth, 4 - Infancy, 5 - Childhood Years, 6 - Patterns of Enculturation & 7 - Changes in Enculturation. There are also list of references cited and recommended reading as well as a linguistic chart and black and white photographs. 

This classic account of the writer's visit to Borneo just around the time of independence includes history, ethnography and anecdote all written in an entertaining style. The book includes 44 black and white illustrations of the country and the people whom the author met. The 424 pages are divided into six parts, i.e. 1 - The Country, 2 - The Land Dayaks, 3 - The Ibans, 4 - The Kayans and Kenyahs, 5 - The Melanaus, Malays and Chinese and 6 - Envoi.  Very Good Hardback  in a Good Dust Jacket. First Canadian Edition.    

An introduction to what was then British North Borneo, currently Sabah, for British children in the early 20th century who were curious as to what life was like in the far flung parts of empire. Despite the patronising tone and the cringe worthy abundance of stereotypes, e.g. "a Chinaman was born for work and a Malay was born for play", the book is probably a fairly accurate view of what most British visitors thought of Sabah at that time. Very Good Hardback. First edition. 88 pages plus 11 colour illustrations and a sketch map. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

The author, who together with her husband, had had previous experience of providing technical assistance in Africa paid a visit to Sarawak in the 1950s. The first part of this book is an account of their stay and their discovery that rural youth lacked educational and technical support. The remainder of the book describes a scheme to send young volunteers from the UK in an attempt to provide that support. From this experience they both established the world wide British volunteer body Voluntary Service Overseas, which, in turn, prompted President Kennedy to establish the US Peace Corps. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 216 pages with several line drawings by the author.

Malaysia & Singapore - Children

A collection of stories for children about Abu Nawas, 'the famous trickster of Baghdad.' He is best known for his wit and intelligence in extracting himself and his friends from difficult situations. 64 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Chinese Community & Culture

Unlike in neighbouring Thailand and Indonesia, the overseas Chinese in Malaysia have not been through a forced assimilation with the majority population and so remain a distinct economic and cultural force in the country. In this collection of essays looking at Malaysian Chinese in the Great Depression and subsequent financial crises, economic ties with China in history, the case of Robert Kuok and the community's relationship with China today, the contributors highlight its resilience and continuing vital role in the country's political economy. 219 pages with an index, tables and bibliographies.

At the time of publication the author was the president of the Malaysian Chinese Association, a component of the then Barisan Nasional government. Vision 2020, announced in 1991, was an ambitious plan to transform all sectors of the economy, politics and rights to something more akin to that found in developed countries. It has yet to be achieved. So this book sets out the Malaysian Chinese role in this unfulfilled vision. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 118 pages with a few colour photographs. 

Chuah, a Malaysian of Chinese origin, converted to Islam in his early 30s and has devoted much of his time since then to promoting Islam and to studying the experiences of other Chinese with similar religious experiences. This book is a result of interviews carried out with other similar converts to discover their experiences. In doing so he gives us a perspective on multicultural Malaysia that is usually ignored by others, but from which there is much to learn. This book now appears to be generally unavailable. 241 pages. Chapters cover topics such as the conceptual and theoretical background to the study, ethnic relations in Malaysia, interactions between Chinese Muslim Converts, non-Muslim Chinese and Muslim Malays, the integration of Chinese Muslims with Malays and the practice of Chinese customs by Chinese Muslim converts     

Malaysia & Singapore - Cinema, Dance, Drama & Music

A history of film in Singapore from film making to film viewing. The changes that have taken place in every aspect of film making and film enjoyment from the advent of the film on the island are set out in this well documented history. Near Fine Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket. 255 pages with black and white and colour plates and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Cooking & Food

50 recipes for Nyonya, Malay, Chinese and Thai Kuihs (sweet dishes). Bilingual in Chinese and English. 108 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Education

A geography text book in Malay produced for schools in Malaya before independence. Good Hardback 375 pages with some black and white plates and an index.

Today's University of Malaya started as the Kuala Lumpur campus of the former University of Malaya in mid 1957. It was not until 1962, that the university became a separate national institution in its own right. The author compiled this work with the help of reminiscences of many former employees and students in a manner suggested in the early 1950s by Professor Cyril Northcote Parkinson, the former Raffles Professor of History, i.e. as a chronological account. 465 pages with an index and appendices. 

Malaysia & Singapore - The 'Emergency'

The author who fought with the British army, both in the Malayan 'Emergency' and in the Konfrontasi with Indonesia in Borneo, reviews counter-insurgency tactics in both arenas. He argues that the British were more successful than the US forces in Vietnam because they placed greater emphasis in winning the hearts and minds of civilians caught up in the conflict. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 112 pages with a  bibliography, maps and some black and white photographs. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

Although this book describes itself as "the first fully comprehensive field guide to the birds of West Malaysia and Singapore," it probably attempts too much. It is certainly comprehensive, but maybe a bit heavy for use as a field guide unless birdwatchers have porters. The book runs to 490 pages and weighs nearly a kilo with 72 of the pages being devoted to clear coloured plates of "every species known to occur or have occurred " in the region. Each bird's entry in the book includes a written description of the bird itself, its voice, range, status, distribution, habitat and habits. Sadly the book is out of print as there has been nothing to match it before or since. Very Good Paperback

Singapore likes to see itself as a City in a Garden with significant amount of green space compared to many Southeast Asian cities. In this book botanists, historians, anthropologists and naturalists delve into the green history of the island, explaining how the environment has influenced the wider history of its inhabitants. The contributions are interspersed with first hand accounts of travellers of the past. New Paperback. First Edition. 328 pages with figures, tables, some illustrations, a bibliography and an index.

A listing of the 199 species of wild land mammals known to be in the Malay peninsula and off shore islands, including Singapore at the time of publication. Information on distribution, identification, habits, voice, breeding, life history and subspecies are given together with their English, Malay and Latin names. 127 pages with a bibliography, index and fifteen colour plates  Good Hardback First Edition. 

A handy pocket guide to the more common birds to be found on the Malaysian peninsula and in Singapore. 252 of the 690 known species in the area are covered. The various species are helpfully sorted into groups according to their general outline to enable the user to find what they're looking for more easily. There is also an index and guide to spots where the birdwatcher is most likely to find birds. 144 pages. 

Maxwell was an unusual British administrator in Malaya in that he was the third generation of his family to have been involved as a legal officer in the country. Amidst his duties, he obviously found time to hunt in the Malayan jungles. This book is a collection of his experiences. Good Hardback. Pocket Edition  313 pages.

The first comprehensive survey of the flora of the Malay Peninsula, by Henry Ridley, was published in the 1920s. This is the first volume of an attempt to update that work, concentrating on the orchids of the peninsula. Holttum was Director of the Botanic Gardens, Singapore, and later Professor of Botany at the University of Malaya. Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 753 pages with a few colour plates, many line drawings and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Fiction

This novel concerns two children, now adults, returning to Malaysia to try to discover what happened to their parents, who disappeared without trace, after the Japanese invasion of the country. They eventually do discover the shocking truth. Morgan's writing style has been compared to Maugham and Nevil Shute. 206 pages

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. Very Good Paperback Reprint 

Malaysia & Singapore - Geography & Guide Books

This work, although published more than half a century ago, arguably remains one of the standard colonial geographic text books for the region. It certainly sets a standard which many others aim to achieve, whatever their political perspective. The book contains numerous detailed maps and some black and white photographs. 466 pages divided into four parts namely I - General Features, II - The Regions, III - Colonial Expansion and its Effect on the Economic System & IV - Colonial Achievement.   Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket 

A pocket sized handbook for tourists visiting Malaya in the 1920s With an introduction by Paul Kratoska. xi and 382 pages including many black and white photographs by Kleingothe and others as well as seven reproduced watercolours by Mrs HC Barnard. The reprint does not include the map. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Health & Medicine

A collection of articles tracing the growth of the problem where antibiotics are losing their efficacy as infectious illness and disease develop resistance to existing medicines. New Paperback. 133 pages

Malaysia & Singapore - History

Developed from lecture notes by Tregonning when he was Raffles Professor of History at the University of Singapore and from his students' research this is a general history of the peninsula from the fifteenth century until the formation of Malaysia. Very  Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 339 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

Mary Turnbull's history of Singapore, first published in 1977, broke new ground in giving particular focus to the island's political and economic history, the foundations for the successful state it was to become. In this volume ten contributors, both established historians and new researchers, both reflect on her work and on new research that sometimes questioned some of Turnbull's original theses. New Paperback. First Edition. 261 pages with a bibliography and an index.

This collection, reprints from articles about Singapore history in MBRAS journals, was originally published in 1969. This is the first revised edition. One of the articles in the 1969 edition was removed and three more added brining the total to 29 articles divided into two sections, Ancient Singapore and Modern Singapore. Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. The 317 pages also contain copious illustrations, maps and photographs in colour and black and white.  

Malaysia & Singapore - History (20th Century)

A general handbook of Government statistics and other information published five years after independence and just before the formation of Malaysia. (This is the complete year book. Volume One was the 1961 edition.) 528 pages with an index. Very Good Paperback

Nasionalisme dan Revolusi di Malaysia dan Indonesia: Pengamatan Sejarah mencerakin secara mendalam sejarah dan makna nasionalisme dan revolusi dalam perjuangan menegakkan negara dan bangsa merdeka di Malaysia dan Indonesia pada kurun ke-20. Ia terhasil daripada penelitian lanjutan oleh beberapa orang penyelidik dan pendidik ilmu sejarah dari kedua-dua buah negara. Selain penemuan baru, buku ini mengajukan pandangan dan kesimpulan yang mencabar kebijaksanaan semasa tentang makna bangsa, kebangsaan, nasionalisme, kemerdekaan dan revolusi dalam sejarah politik kedua-dua negara. New Paperback First Edition  301 pages with a bibliography and an index

Malaysia & Singapore - Language & Linguistics

The author, an academic specialising in literary translation, undertakes a comparative study of two translations into English of the Malay literary classic, Salina. She puts forward the view that translation is a 'culturally dictated activity', highlighting the difficulties where at translator is not immersed in the original author's mindset. New Paperback. 222 pages with a bibliography and an index.

A booklet explaining Malay noun phrases. Each entry is illustrated by an example. The book is in Bahasa Malaysia. Very Good Paperback. 148 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Literature

The editors, an acclaimed Singaporean novelist and poet respectively, present to English readers translations of Chinese Singaporean literature. The original Chinese versions are also included. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 504 pages. 

Although the title refers to 'Malaysian' literature, this is a collection of translations of Malay literature from World War II until 1983. The selection  includes short stories, poems, plays and literary criticism. The editor is one of Malaysia's best known poets and was a Professor of Literature at the time of publication.  Good Paperback. First Edition. 413 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - Magic & Popular Religion

In a brief introduction to the subject generally, the author covers superstitions in games and the arts, in folk tales, taboos and omens, good and bad. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 62 pages with some line drawings. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Malay Community & Culture

A handbook on Malay customs. The book is in Malay and English. Good Paperback. 63 pages 

Malaysia & Singapore - Media & Journalism

This useful annotated list covers nearly 200 periodicals published mainly in Malay, with a few in English that were devoted to Malay concerns, between 1876 and 1941. The majority of these were published in Penang and Singapore where most Malay-literate people lived. The annotations give details of times of publication, editors and where copies were known to be held when this book was published. 74 pages including a bibliography and indexes of Titles, proper names and publication by state.  Very Good Hardback. First Edition


Built originally by the Dutch, Christ Church has has the distinction of being the oldest Protestant Church in South East Asia that still functions as a Christian church. The author wrote the book while serving as a priest at the church. 231 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. 


One of Malaysia's principal postcard collectors shares cards depicting 19th and 20th century Perak, the second largest state in Malaya and the centre of the tin industry at the time. Cheah also provides background information on the production of postcards in this period. 192 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

Malaysia & Singapore - Peranakan/Straits Chinese

An extensive introduction to the culture of the Peranakan, descendants of Chinese immigrants who married members of their host communities and have evolved their own distinct customs and traditions. This is done through a selection of articles from the community's magazine. New Soft back. 349 pages with many black and white and colour illustrations. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Poetry

A collection of Singaporean poetry, some well known and others that the editors feel should be better known. The 41 poems are divided into sections on romance, relationships, journey and home. New Paperback. First Edition. 96 pages

Based on recent research, the authors assess the state of nation building in the ethnically diverse states of Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. The three main elements of nation building addressed are - the difficulties of building a national identity at a time of change, the problems faced by ethnic minorities excluded from the constructed identity of the majority and ways to build national integration, particularly amongst the young. 263 pages including an index, tables and figures.

Malaysia & Singapore - Politics

Written by two academics with a long and respected interest in Malaysian politics, this book assesses what they believe to be his major achievements and his weaknesses after nearly two decades of his first period as Malaysia's premier. This study demonstrates how the master of Malaysian politics for so much of his adult life manages to successfully continue to play his game. Very Good Paperback. First edition. 225 p[ages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

This book traces the dispute over the sovereignty of a small island off the coast of Malaysia and Singapore which led to a judgment at the International Court of Justice in Singapore's favour in 2008. Both the authors were part Singapore's legal team at the time. New Paperback. First Edition 195 pages with some maps and black and white and colour photographs. 

Following his retirement as prime minister in 2003, Mahathir, among other things, used a blog to be able to continue to comment on politics. He was considered to still play a significant role in UMNO, the main party of Government, until he resigned his membership in 2016 to form his own party. This book is a a collection of blogs, mainly on politics that he posted on his site, to air his views. The book is in Bahasa Malaysia and English Very Good Paperback. Reprint. 323 pages

A collection of 24 speeches by the founding father of Malaya from his time as Chief Minister to his independence day speech on 31st August 1957.  195 pages. 

A collection of essays on the themes of ethnicity, national identity and nationalism among Malaysians who are still struggling to focus on an agreed national identity despite their common homeland. Please see photo of contents page, 170 pages including index. 


The author chose the Brickfields area of Kuala Lumpur to determine the experiences of and ways in which citizens deal with threats to the quality of urban life. How do urban dwellers and city authorities navigate and negotiate often competing needs in an environment where laws are often badly made. little understood and haphazardly applied.? New Hardback. First Edition. 283 pages with a bibliography and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - World War II

This fascinating book is written by the officer commanding the small group of Japanese officers who planned their country's 70 day campaign to inflict on Britain its worst defeat in the war. The book contains significant insights into how Japan was able to overrun ill-prepared colonial forces in such a short period of time. 358 pages. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. There are three appendices and index and about 30 black and white photos. Good Paperback 


In order to remind anthropologists today of the important work on traditional Chinese culture produced the late Marjorie Topley this volume brings together all of her published work on Hong Kong, Singapore and elsewhere. Edited and introduced by Jean Bernardi. 609 pages with several line drawings and black and white photos, charts and tables, a glossary and an index. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket

Grotius, a Dutch 17th century legal expert, was called upon by the United Dutch East India Company to provide legal justification for the Dutch practice of plundering other merchant ships at sea. He produced two treatises 'The Law of Prize and Booty' and 'The Free Sea.' In this book Borschberg both re-examines Grotius' premises and gives an account of the rivalry between the Dutch, Spanish and Portuguese in the Eastern Seas at the time. New Paperback. First Edition. 482 pages, almost 60 black and white illustrations, a bibliography and an index. 

In the digital age opportunities for cultural collaborations and influences across regions are multiplying. In this book the contributors analyse how popular culture in China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea and the Philippines have benefitted from intra regional co-operation and influences. New Paperback. 276 pages with a bibliography, index, tables and figures.

Soy is the most ecologically efficient and economical source of complete protein in human food and the world's most traded crop. An international group of food specialists look at important issues from production to consumption. New Paperback. 337 pages with an index. 

The author, a senior historian at the US Army's Office of Military History, recounts the Allied campaign against the Japanese in Buna, New Guinea, from mid 1942 to early 1943. The gruelling battles in dense tropical terrain took a huge toll on both the opposing forces. In the end the Allies were able to claim their first victory in the Pacific, a turning point in the war. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 222 pages with an index, about 30 black and white photographs and nine maps. 

A collection of reminiscences and travel tips by the author gleaned from his travels to over 60 countries in Asia, the Middle East, Africa, Europe and throughout the Americas. New Hardback. First Edition. 282 pages with many colour photographs and an index. 

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.


This major work is a revised and enlarged edition of the late Wolfgang Franke's An Introduction to the Sources of Ming History (1968). Liew-Herres, who reviews more than 2,500 texts, includes many works overlooked or inaccessible to Franke. Where works have been translated from Chinese into other languages, these are noted. The 1289 pages breaks the annotated texts into seven sections in the first volume dealing principally with aspects of history, biography and politics. The second volume contains chapters on foreign affairs and military organisation, geography, economics and technology. There are also indices of the authors and titles, a glossary and a bibliography. . New Hardbacks. First Edition 

A brief introduction to Chinese culture, customs, historical personalities and much else besides Very Good Paperback. Reprint. 106 pages with over 1000 illustrations by the author

A collection of the Chinese intellectual, Bo Yang's, speeches and writings and interviews with him, also included samples of reactions which Bo Yang's thoughts have provoked. 162 pages. 

There is a large body of literature on Western incursions into China from this period until World War II, but the relationship between China and its largest neighbour has not been so well documented outside China and Russia. In this book, based mainly on Chinese and Western sources, the author explores the more subtle highs and lows of diplomatic relations between both countries, which laid the foundation for a longer lasting relationship from World War II onwards. Very Good Hardback First Edition 339 pages


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