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Monday 12 June 2023

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in June 2023 (Last Updated 27-06-2023)


New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


June 2023

(Last Updated 27-06-2023)
  • 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.

Malaysia & Singapore - Arts & Crafts

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. New Paperback. Reprint 

A weighty catalogue of the jewellery collection held at the Barbier - Muller Museum  Geneva in 1985. The subject is gold jewellery, mainly from the indigenous peoples of the area. There is an extensive introduction by Rogers, a senior anthropologist with experience of working with tribal people in the archipelago and a wealth of black and white and colour photographs. 369 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page. Near Fine Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket. Second Edition

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

A lively account of an Australian entrepreneur's experiences in Malaya at the end of the 19th century. Although he tried his hand at coffee planting, his main legacy is his contribution to establishing the country's original trunk roads for which he carried out much of the original survey work. New Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1898. 210 pages. 

In this first authoritative biography of one of the pillars of Overseas Chinese society in South east Asia in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Ilsa Sharp clears up much of the folklore that has built up around the man. Born in Penang, he took over his late father's business interests at the age of 21 and expanded them to become one of the richest men in the region within ten years. This was mainly due to his versatility as he switched businesses and centres of operation between Hong Kong, Malaya & Singapore.New Laminated Boards 217 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Malaysia & Singapore - Boats, Fishing & The Sea

From the late 19th century until the mid 20th century much of the communication and trade between Singapore, the peninsula and Borneo relied on the efficiency of the Straits Steamship Company. Here Professor Tregonning brushes aside most of the colourful anecdotes to apply his historian's skills to reconstruct the company's history. It was not easy, given the loss of most documents during World War II, but the book still remains the definitive work on the subject. Very Good in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition.  321 pages with 53 black and white plates Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.


A facsimile reprint of Ling Roth's classic work on the aboriginal peoples of present day Sabah and Sarawak. An encycolpedia on every aspect of these peoples' lives at the end of the 19th century.  Copiously illustrated with line drawings and black and white plates. Maps including a large fold out map.. A bibliography and index.Very Good Hardbacks in Good Dust Jackets. Reprints. Originally published in 1896  xxxii, 464, iv, 302, ccxi pages.

One of the leading historians of the Brooke period in Sarawak gives a popular well illustrated account of the extraordinary history of this family and the peoples who became their unwitting subjects. 144 pages. Near Fine Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket  For further details, please see the scanned contents page. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Cooking & Food

Ricky Ng, a well known chef specialising in the cooking of the Straits Chinese community, gives the reader a sample of the cooking from that part of this mixed race community which settled mainly in Melaka, Singapore and Indonesia. Their customs, as well has their cooking, has a more significant Malay influence than those of their Northern cousins. The book is in Chinese and English New Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 2011 128 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. 

Soya & Spice: Food and Memories of a Straits Teowchew Family - Jo Marion Seow  RM90

A cookbook that not only introduces the reader to Teowchew and Hokkien dishes, as they are prepared in Malaysia and Singapore, but also mixes in some of the author's memories of her family and friends who either taught her these dishes or shared them with her. . New Paperback 167 pages with colour photos accompanying each recipe. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

A Guide to the Hoyas of Borneo - Anthony Lamb & Michele Rodda  RM300

Flowering hoyas are a popular house plants in cooler climates and garden plants in the tropics. Borneo is only second to the Philippines in the variety of hoya that grow there. 67 of the 72 named species are covered in this guide. Advice is also given on cultivation both as house and garden plants. New Hardback. First Edition 210 pages

Malaysia & Singapore - Fiction

A tragic tale, set in 19th century Borneo, on the miserable life of a Dutch merchant. This was Conrad's first novel and introduces themes, such as the clash of East and West and the disastrous effects of colonialism, which were to reoccur in his later works Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1895. 244 pages with explanatory notes. 

A Mosque in the Jungle: Classic Ghost Stories by Othman Wok – Ng Y-Sheng (ed) RM70

A collection of over 20 short stories by one of Singapore's leading writers of horror and ghost stories. 207 pages. New Paperback. 


Malaysia & Singapore - Folklore

This lovely collection of Sabah folklore was made by the author during his travels around the state as a forestry officer and later while working with the World Wildlife Fund. The 40 stories are simply told and charmingly illustrated. 77 pages including a glossary. New Paperback. First Edition.


This study, based on two years' research in the Pasir Mas area of Kelantan, is an interesting sociological snapshot because it concentrates on two communities, the Chinese and the Thai, who are not only minorities in a predominantly Malay area, but who also can trace their histories back to pre-colonial times. This combination throws up some peculiarities, e.g. the minorities share many common cultural characteristics and similar concerns as their Malay neighbours and trade and commerce is not necessarily dominated by these minorities. Good Hardback. First Edition  135 pages with a bibliography and index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Magic & Popular Religion

This is probably the most complete account of the healing arts of Malaysian aborigines, Orang Asli, that has been published or is likely to be published, given the declining aboriginal population on the Malaysian peninsula. There is an exhaustive account of various rituals, prayers, chants and other procedures employed by the Mah-Meri and Jah-Het communities.  632 pages with a map and numerous figures and black and white plates Near Fine Paperback. First Edition 

Negeri Sembilan

This work, a revised Ph.D thesis, mainly seeks to study the workings of the matrilineal system of kinship prevalent in Negeri Sembilan at the time of the research. Swift particularly looks at how this system copes with the patrilineal system of Islam, the change from rice to rubber cultivation and the effects of colonial administrative intrusion. 181 pages with chapters on The Traditional Political System, The Nature fo the Economy, The Major Products: Rice, Rubber and Fruit, Saving and Capital, The Decline of the Traditional Political Organisation, Some Recent Adat Disputes, Family and Domestic Groups, The Village, Status and Social Stratification & Economy and Society. 181 pges Very Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket First Edition There is a glossary, bibliography and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - World War II

This is the classic story of one of the first jungle war experts of the modern era. He takes us through the period of the Japanese occupation of Malaya. Between the invasion and the fall of Singapore he was involved in behind the scenes operations to try to sabotage the Japanese advance. After Singapore fell he remained on the peninsula working with the orang asli (aborigines) and Communist guerillas to do what he could to undermine the occupation until the return of the British.Fair Paperback Reprint  First Published in 1949 381 pages with black and white plates and five maps 

Although the fall of Singapore is often cited as one of, if not the, worst military disasters in British history, military planners did have plans to counter the Japanese threat. The author gives extensive coverage of these plans and explains why they were as ineffective as they turned out to be. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. 314 pages including conclusion, map and photographs, bibliography and index. 

As part of their occupation of Singapore, the Japanese created a research bureau, the Chōsabu, to study  the economy so that  military and civilian administrators could draw on the findings when formulating social and economic policies. The reports were notoriously difficult to read, and so this exceptional translation by Gregg Huff and Shinobu Majima is a true linguistic accomplishment. These are especially important as the Japanese destroyed most records of their wartime administration, leaving the Chōsabu reports as one of the few firsthand sources to have survived.  New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket. First Edition 579 pages For further details, please see the scanned contents page.


This wide ranging study contrasts and compares the different experiences of seven Asian states in dealing with issues of autonomy for minorities and armed insurrection in support of such autonomy. The problem is examined from the view point of post-colonial Governments and the separatists themselves.New Paperback  329 pages.

The contributors to this book trace the varying histories of health practices in Southeast Asia over the past two centuries. Outwardly the most significant health impact during this period was the introduction of Western medicine on a large scale, mainly due to the dictates of colonial powers and their successor governments. Yet the effect has not been to completely wipe out traditional practices that preceded this change. The essays demonstrate how both systems live beside and interact with each other. New Paperback. First Edition. 290 pages with figures, tables, a bibliography and an index.

The Rama story has inspired the local artists in countries outside the Indian sub-continent to interpret it in their own media and languages, with a blend of their own personality and cultural environment. This book is a collection of research work involving four major literary versions of the Rama story in Sanskrit, Tamil, Malay and Thai. These stories keep the cultures alive and intact both in India and Southeast Asia. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 365 pages with diagrams, glossary, bibliography and index.