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Sunday 23 July 2023

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in July 2023 (Last Updated 30-07-2023)


New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


July 2023

(Last Updated 30-07-2023)
  • 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 - Architecture

This evocative work is the result of the several years of the author's inspired idea to gather together some of Malaysia and Singapore's leading artists to paint 101 temples, great and small, in both countries.The first 70 pages of the book consists of essays on the temples of both countries, the architecture and sculptures and the process of committing images of these structures to paper. Then follows the collection of paintings grouped by painter. The painters include Long Thien Shih, Victor Chin, Lai Loong Sung, Tham Siew Inn, Peter Liew, Chong Hon Fatt, Pheh It Hao, R. Jeganathan, Soh Chee Hui & Lee Weng Fatt. Near Fine Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket  

This work is based on a huge collection of architectural drawings produced by the Department of Architecture at the university for the Center for the Study of Built Environment in the Malay World. The author has written extensively on Malay architecture and is keen to promote a revival of Islamic architecture of the past that is not based on Middle Eastern typology of mosques. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition. 110 pages with several black and white photographs and architectural drawings and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Arts & Crafts

A guide on how to choose a tattoo artist followed by a directory of mainly Chinese practitioners throughout Malaysia. The book is bilingual in Chinese and English. 215 pages with many colour illustrations.New Hardback  

De Guise, an Asia based arts and antiques journalist, in this book provides an introduction to what's collectable in Malaysia. Although, as he states, Malaysia is fairly barren in this area compared to, for example, Indonesia or Thailand, there is still enough of interest for the collector following this guide. The author excludes furniture, much of which he thinks is of dubious origin. He also limits his advice to small items that can easily fit in a suitcase. Very Good Paperback  160 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

A brief guide in Bahasa Malaysia and English highlighting the crafts currently used in the city of Melaka that are in danger of extinction Near Fine Paperback 74 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memoirs

The literature of the war in Malaya is naturally dominated by soldiers' tales from the battlefield or behind barbed wire. This book is unusual in that it's not only a Malayan civilian's account of her experiences, but also because the author experienced the war from an unusual viewpoint - a Catholic convent. She wasn't a nun, but sent there initially as a student on her father's remarriage following the death of her mother. Near Fine Paperback 261 pages. 

The first biography of one of Penang's more prominent businessmen in the first half of the twentieth century. As was often the case, it was a rags to riches story, but rather than concentrate on that aspect, the author highlights the reforms that he brought to the rubber industry, his philanthropy and his politics during the independence period. As a Straits Born Chinese he was opposed to an independent Malaya with special rights for the Malays, a cause he ultimately lost. 182 pages with an index. Near Fine Hardback in a ew Dust Jacket

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

Between 1998 and 2002, the author had published a popular weekly newspaper column, 'Long Life', recounting life's pleasures and troubles as experienced by the ordinary man and woman on the street from prewar days through to Singapore's transformation into the commercial hub of Southeast Asia. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 209 pages with several black and white photographs.

The memoirs of a British teacher appointed as science master to Anderson school in Ipoh, at the time the largest educational establishment in Perak.. Half the book covers a brief introduction to the country and his generally enjoyable life before the Japanese invasion. The remainder of the book tells of his and others' involvement in the defence of the country culminated in his escape in a small sailing boat to the Dutch East Indies  He also managed to return to the country during the British Military Administration and so is able to give his account of the war's immediate aftermath and prospects for the future. Good Hardback. First Edition. 186 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

The author spent approximately a year and a half in British North Borneo to look after her brother, a ship engineer, whose health had been impaired during his internment by the Japanese during World War Two. Only about a third of the book describes her time in Borneo. The rest is mainly concerned with travelling by ship from England and back again. Good Hardback. First Edition.60 pages with a black and white plate 

The author, an Australian, was briefly married to a member of the Terengganu royal family. In this book she tells the story of her marriage, its breakdown, her return with her children to Australia and the subsequent abduction of her children to Malaysia by her ex-husband. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. Signed by the Author  448 pages

This is an account of a young sociologist's stay in a village in the state of Sabah in Malaysian Borneo. She had recently migrated to Malaysia from India, where she was born, on marriage. The purpose of her stay was to get to know the Simunul Bajaus, who trace their ancestry to the Southern Philippines. Fine Paperback. First Edition. 191 pages with a couple of maps and some black and white photographs. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Boats, Fishing & The Sea

Historically Malay life has been focussed on the sea so it is very fitting that HS Barlow has produced a 411 page survey of Malaysia's boating and fishing activities culled from past issues of the Journnals of the Straits, Malay and Malaysian branches of the Royal Asiatic Society. The contents demonstrate that this work is a must for anyone with an interest in this aspect of Malaysia's history.  Ariticles reprinted include - Abbot, W.L. (1907) Bark Canoes among the Jakuns and Dyaks; Dalton, H. Goring (1926) Some Malay Boats and Their Uses;  Gibson-Hill, C.A. (1941 - 1954) A Note ontrhe Christmas Island Canoe (Kolek), Cargo Boats of the East Coast of Malaya, The Indonesian Trading Boats reaching Singapore, The Fishing Boats Operated from Singapore Island,  A Note on the Small Boats of the Rhio and Lingga Archipelago, Tongkang and Lighter Matters,  Further Notes on the Old Boat Found at Pontian in Southern Pahang, The Orang Laut of Singapore River and the Sampan Panjang,  A Possible Origin of the Jong Stories, The Origin of the Trengganu Perahu Pinas, The Boats of Local Origin Employed in the Malayan Fishing Industry; Ishak bin Ahmad (1941) Malay Fushermen's Supersitions; Gopinath, K. (1950) The Malayan Purse Seine (Pukat Jerut) Fishery; Fitch, F.H. (1953) Dusun boats an the Segana Riverm North Borneo; Burdon, T.W. (1954) The Fishing Methods of Singapore; Parry, M.L. (1954) The Fishing Methods of Trengganu and Kelantan; Alfred, E.R. (1986 & 1987) The Pulau Brani Jong & Boats of Singapore and Longuet, Rohani Update on Boats and Boat Building in Estuary of the Trengganu River. The book also contains extensive black and white plates, line drawing and tables.     New Hardback. First Edition    

The Horsburgh Lighthouse, on the island of Pedra Branca, about 50 km East of Singapore was competed in 1851. This book mainly tells the story of how the lighthouse came to be built and the subsequent improvements Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 52 pages with some black and white plates and foldout facsimile of the Canton Register.

The author, an international industrial design expert, explains the technology of traditional Malaysian fishing craft within an anthropological setting of the communities to which the fishing industry is still central. The book includes a chapter on an onsite measurement of an 18 metre fishing boat. New Paperback. 143 pages with a glossary, list of references, many illustrations and an index.  


This book claims to be the first comprehensive review of nomadic peoples throughout the island of Borneo. The contributors look not only at their present plight, particularly with regard to the effects on them of deforestation, but also harks back to past life patterns which it is now so difficult to preserve. The modern research also analyses the interaction between these minorities, the majority communities and the State. New Paperback. First Edition. 384 pages with an index, maps, tables and a figure. 

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 lisst of references cited and recommended reading as well as a linguistic chart and black and white photographs.

The Berawan of Central Borneo have an unusual culture surrounding death. Funeral rights are extremely complex and define who is dead and who is not in ways unfamiliar to many other cultures. In this book, the first full length study of the subject, Metcalf, a distinguished anthropologist, seeks to explain practices that have baffled travellers from the earliest times.275 pages. With some black and white photos, a bibliography and index. Near Fine Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket

The abridged account of the Cambridge University ethnographer, Charles Haddon, to New Guinea and Sarawak at the end of the 19th century. His host in Sarawak was Charles Hose, the Brooke administration civil servant and ethnographer. 244 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket.

This is a collection of black and white photographs that could not be replicated today as they capture Sarawak's indigenous peoples on the cusp of  the 'independence' and 'development' that was to change their world dramatically. Wong, 'The Father of Sarawak Photography' brings together his photographs collected from many years of living amongst tribal people in pursuit of his art. 30 pages of text including an introduction by Malcolm MacDonald and 80 photographs. A Very Good Hardback  First Edition 

A collection of articles in English and Malay on the state of Sabah collated by Professor Khoo Kay Kim, Professor of History at the University of Malaya at the time. For contents please see scanned page. 142 pages with black and white and colour photos. Near Fine Paperback First Edition 

An updated edition, including new illustrations, of this popular collection of pictures and anecdotes about Kuching before World War II. 81 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details

Choo traces his family's history from the arrival of his great grandfather in the 1850s to work in the gold mines, through the experiences of Brooke and British rule through to Sarawak becoming a part of the Malaysian Federation. Very Good Paperback. 265 pages with a bibliography.

A humourous account of a Westerner's adventure in Sarawak along the Rajang River, Malaysia's longest, and the peoples and sights he met along the way. Good Paperback. 320 pages with a map, a bibliography and some colour photographs. 

A collection of short essays celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sarawak joining the Malaysian Federation. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 158 pages with some black and white plates.

A report based on research in 1967 and the following year to determine what building materials could be found in the Sandakan peninsula as well as to produce geological information that would be useful for water supply, irrigation and development planning.  75 pages with maps, some black and white maps and a coloured geological map on a scale of 1:50,000 in a pocket on the inside of the back cover. Very Good Hardback. First Edition 

A collection of papers designed to show how the Bidayuh community of Sarawak can 'modernise' and become players in a fast moving 21st century world. New Paperback. First Edition 164 pages. 

A collection of articles previously published in a weekly column in the People's Mirror explaining the way of life of the Iban population of Sarawak. Very Good Paperback. 125 pages with some black and white photographs

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. Fair Hardback. 216 pages with several line drawings by the author.

A mammoth volume that covers almost everything one would need to know about Kinabalu, the highest mountain in the Malay Archipelago. The book includes information on the mountain's history, its place in tribal mythology, climbing routes and, of course its flora and fauna. Very Good Hardback First Edition 484 pages with many illustrations.

A collection of brief biographies of the 16 governors who ruled present day Sabah under the North Borneo Chartered Company, a further four governors under the British Colonial Office after World War II and nine Heads of State following Sabah's joining the Federation of Malaysia. Also included are a record of their activities while in office. New Hardback. 280 pages with several black and white and colour photographs. 

A guide to the Sarawak Museum. The book is in Bahasa Malaysia and English. Good Paperback. 18 pages with various black and white and colour illustrations. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Business, Economics & Labour

Malaysia has made startling and significant strides in shaking off its almost complete dependence on the production of commodities at the time of independence. The country is now supposed to be galloping on to be a developed nation by 2020. This piece of research highlights the problems in the country's  science technology and science infrastructure and what needs to be done to fix it if the 2020 goal is to be achieved. New Paperback 75 pages with references and an index.

This book was written by Puthucheary during the second of his three bouts of imprisonment for political activism by the Singaporean Government, both before and after Singapore became a self-governing state. He explains how the organisation of labour under British rule militated against racial co-operation and why the majority of Malayans remained poor in a country rich in natural resources, thus making the book still relevant to the understanding of Malaysia today. Very Good Hardback in a Fair Dust Jacket First Edition. 187 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page.

Malaysia & Singapore - Children

A whimsical children's story about kampung life set in a Malay kampung in mid 20th century Malaya. 56 pages with four colour illustrations and other line drawings by Nora Hamerton. Very Good Hardback. Good Dust Jacket First Edition 

Malaysia & Singapore - Chinese Community & Culture

Kanowit, or Kanowit Bazaar, is situated on the Kanowit and Rajang Rivers, near Sibu Sarawak. During the Brooke period the area saw a big influx of Chinese from Singapore and Fujian to take advantage of the trading opportunities there. The Chinese community were the dominant community in the town at the time of Fielder's research in the early 1970s. His monograph maps out the setting, population, economics, multiracial and uniracial activities, religion and the role of the family. New Paperback. 277 pages with figures, tables, maps, a bibliography and an index.

Malaysia & Singapore - Constitution, Laws & Legal System

This book contains The Syariah Court Enactment Acts 1993 (nos. 12 and 13 of 1993), The Syariah Criminal Procedure Code Enactment 1997 (No 3 of 1997) and The Syariah Criminal Offences Enactment 1997 (No 4 of 1997) Very Good Paperback. 221 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Cooking & Food

A Singaporean chef, a Hokkien himself, presents 50 recipes that are popularamogst  the Hokkien community in Malaysia and Singapore. The text is in Chinese and English and every recipe is illustrated by at least one colour photograph. 123 pages. New Paperback For further details please see the scanned contents page.

The author, an award winning cookery book writer, visited Brunei, Sabah, Sarawak and Kalimantan, which make up the island of Borneo, over a period of four years to discover many dishes unique to the island. Not surprisingly their uniqueness can often be attributed to the islanders' use of  ingredients produced close to home rather than imported or transported from far away. There are separate sections with recipes from each Malaysian state, Kalimantan and Brunei including the foods of the indigenous peoples, Malays and Chinese. New Hardback. 537 pages with an index and many colour illustrations First Edition

Being on the trade route between China, the Malay archipelago and India and Europe, the peoples living along the Straits of Malacca, their culture and food have always been susceptible to a myriad of influences. In this cookery book the author, better known as a historian, brings together a wide selection of dishes with Malay, Chinese, Thai and Eurasian tastes that are still a vital part of Malaysian and Singaporean diets today. 167 pages  with a bibliography and many colour illustrations. For further details please see the scanned contents page

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. Here introduces the community's bite sized snacks, known as kueh or kuih, and normally sweet, although about a dozen recipes for savory kueh are also included in this book. The book is in Chinese and English New Paperback. First Edition 115 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Dance, Music & Drama

Ferrarese, a novelist, travel writer and punk guitarist,  excels himself in bringing the sweaty, creative and vibrant subculture of the metal punk scene in Malaysia and Indonesia alive for the reader not only through his offhand, but perceptive, writing style, but also through a variety of wood cut,  black and white photos and a 70 minute CD that is included with the book. The book is not a history, but a guide to the evolving scene in both countries today, demonstrating how  metal punk 'has the potential of liberating peoples from the tentacles of the elites that control them.'  New Paperback First Edition 456 pages. with a bibliography, discography, glossary, track list for the CD and an index. 

One of Malaysia's well know playwrights uses as inspiration two stories from the folk tales of the Sejarah Melayu (Malay Annals) for this satirical action drama. It was judged one of the top five plays entered for the International Playwriting Festival held by the UK's Warehouse Theatre in 2006. New Paperback. First Edition. 139 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Education

The book opens with the apposite African saying 'Until the lions have their own storytellers, the history of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.' In this book the author, a Professor at the National Institute of Education, Singapore, picks through the way history has been taught in Malaysia from the late colonial times until now. The result is evidence that when the government's message changes, history does too. As Mark Twain said, 'The very ink with which history is written is merely fluid prejudice. New Paperback. 111 pages with a bibliography.

Malaysia & Singapore - The 'Emergency'

A detailed account of the history of the Malayan Communist party from its origins until the signing of the Peace Accord with the Malaysian Government in 1989. The author is a retired police officer heavily involved in the campaign and highly suspicious of anything with the faintest whiff of insurrection 252 pages including epilogue and glossary. Near Fine Paperback. First Edition

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

This extensive pocket-sized guide was published to encourage students and the rest of us to take more notice of mammals that still survive their disappearing natural habitats. Many of the species described are illustrated through line drawings by Chong Yun Fat and Others. Detailed descriptions and Chinese, English, Latin and Malay names are given for the many species described. There's even a chapter on how to study and collect mammals. 340 pages including a list of references, a glossary, a list of all mammals known from Malaya and an index. Very Good Paperback Reprint. Originally published in 1966 

This work was compiled by the author, an international expert on rattans,  on a three month secondment from Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. The purpose was to provide taxonomic information for the plantation industry. One particular benefit of the survey was identifying rattans which were rare elsewhere in Borneo because of the ultrabasic igneous rocks, which are a particular feature of the area. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 182 pages with several line drawings, an illustrated glossary, suggestions for further reading and a scientific index.

A mainly photographic account of an expedition of marine biologists to a small island of sandstone in Northern Malaysia. The purpose of the expedition was to gather information about the marine biology of the area as a prelude to it being designated as a marine protected area. New Paperback. First Edition  130 pages with maps and colour photographs. 

From September to November every year Singapore and its neighbours witness the migration of nearly 200 bird species to find an alternative to the winter of the Northern Hemisphere. Chew Yen Fook, a professional photographer, in this photographic essay seeks to capture the transformation this brings to Singapore. Very Good Paperback. First Edition 80 pages with many colour photographs.

Descriptions and colour photographs of 122 species from 51 genera of orchids native to Southeast Asia. Very Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 124 pages with 187 colour photographs. 

The authors met while working together on wildlife trade issues and decided to produce this book identifying 225 of the region's lizards. Each species' description includes identification, habitat, habit and distribution information, common and scientific names and a colour photograph There is also information on lizard conservation and how to find them together with a complete checklist of lizards in the region. New Hardback. First Edition. 176 pages with an index. 

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. 

This novel, which has been nominated for an Irish literature prize, is a sequel to the author's first novel, Echoes of Silence. The narrator, Hafiz, attempts to piece together his life after a memory loss following a near fatal accident. What's interesting is that he uses the hexagrams fromthe Chinese Book of Changes, I Ching, to help him do so. The process is not only a reflection on the narrator's personal story, but also on what's been happening in Malaysia since independence New Paperback. 277 pages. 

The award winning author sets his novel in his native Sarawak at the time of the rule of the Brooke family. A tale of the people's struggle against colonial rule. New Paperback. First English Language Edition Translated from the original Malay 371 pages.

A thriller involving a young lawyer, Fei-Li Quong, who is dragged into a word of intrigue involving her high profile Western clients. As the plot develops she is torn between her traditional Asian values and different values acquired through a Western education as she discovers her clients' secret experiment that could crush the Asian way of life. Good Hardback First Edition  486 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - Folklore

Reprints of the following articles Malay Folk Lore first published in the Folk-Lore Journal, 1883-1889; The Traditions of the Mentra by DFA Harvey published in the same journal in 1888 and Malay Spiritualism by Walter Skeat published in the same journal in 1902. New Hardback 41 pages. 

A collection of 13 Borneo folk tales, mainly from Sabah, illustrated by Benedict Chong, one of the state's better known artists. . Good Paperback.  37 pages with several colour illustrations.

Malaysia & Singapore - Geography & Guide Books

A delightful and comprehensive guide to places to go for British forces stationed n Southeast Asia in the 1960s. About two thirds of the book is devoted to Malaysia and Singapore and the rest to other countries in Southeast Asia with numerous maps, line drawings and advertisements. Lots of dated references, e.g. on Langkawi - 'surprisingly it has sufficient modern amenities to ensure the comfort of a reasonable traveller.' 313 pages. Good Board Book Fourth Edition 

Malaysia & Singapore - History

Swettenham, one of the architects of British Malaya, sets out in this book to show what the country was like before the British intervention in Malay affairs, how the intervention came about and what happened afterwards. Naturally, having been in the thick of it all, he feels that the Brirish made a good job of their task. Here he argues why. Good Hardback . Revised and expanded edition 380 pages. Chapters include I - The Outward Appearance of the British Possessions in the Straits of Malacca, II - Malacca - Early History, III -Pinang - Early History - Lord Minto's Expedition to Java, IV - Singapore - Sir Stamford Raffles, V - The Straits from 1825-67 - The Arrangements made to Settle the Claims of the Sultan and Temenggong in Regard to Johore, VI - The Straits from 1867-73 - Sir Harry Ord's Administration - Anarchy in the Malay States, VII - The Malay; His Customs, Prejudices, Arts ,Language and Literature, VIII - 1874 - Sir Andrew Clarke - British Intervention in the Affairs of the Western Malay States, IX - 1875-6 - Sir William Jervois - British Resident of Perak Assassinated - Punitive Expedition, X - The Evolution of the Residential System - Tin Mining - What the Malay States Owe to Chinese Labour and Enterprise - Roads- Railways, XI - The Continued Evolution of the Residential System - Revenue Farms - Education - Land Settlement - Irrigation - Rubber Cultivation - Currency - Pahang, XII - 1895-1907 - Federation and its Results, XIII - Concerning the Malay States which are not included in the Federation, XIV - How the Development of the Malay States has Affected the neighbouring British Colony and the Relations of both with the Colonial Office XV - Twenty Five Years After . There are also two appendices, at least 40 black and white photographs, a fold out map and an index. 

This book is a collection of papers presented at two conferences, organised by the editors, to re-examine Malaysian history not only against the wider backdrop of Nusantara, the Malay name for the Malay World, but also involving alternative voices that are not often heard in traditional histories. The book is divided into the following sections - 1 - Envisioning Malaysia; 2 - Malaya in Art and Literature; 3 - Anti colonial Struggles and Nationalism; 4 - Imagined Communities in the Malay World 7 5 - The Nation State and Beyond. New Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 2020. 532 pages with forewords by Syed Husin Ali and Jomo Kwame Sundaram

This is probably the best known piece of historical fiction in Malay literature as it purports to relate how the Melaka sultanate was founded by descendants of Alexander the great and ended with the arrival of the Portuguese. This edition is the first translation into English by Stamford Raflles' friend, John Leyden.  New Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1821. 204  pages including Raffles' introduction.


A history, written in a non academic style, of early British activities on the Malay Peninsula following the Pangkor Agreement of 1874. The exploits of Frank Swettenham, Hugh Low, William Maxwell, Hugh Clifford and others are extolled in adoring terms. Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. Reprint. Originally published in 1977.  172 pages with a bibliography, index, map and some black and white plates. 

A history of Malaya from the arrival of the Portuguese in the 16th century through to the declaration of independence from British colonial rule in the mid 20th century. 140 pages with a bibliography and many black and white and colour illustrations. New Paperback. First Edition 


When originally published in 1932 this was the first history of the state that had relied on sources both in English and Malay. In many ways it has stood the test of time although the work confines itself mainly to the activities of the sultans, their supporters and opponents without spending too much time on the lot of the sultans' subjects. New Paperback Edited Reprint. 189 pages. 

A sociological analysis of what happened when a rural sub district of Johor, Mukim Plentong, was transformed by the creation of the are into the Johor port and Pasir Gudang Industrial Estate from the 1970s onwards.  While the largest oil refining centre in the world provided unskilled employment, large migrant populations from elsewhere in Malaysia and from Indonesia severely disrupted public services and a harmonious community. Very Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 220 page with table maps, black and white plates, a bibliography and an index


A book in Bahasa Malaysia about Kelantan Society and Politics. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 400 pages

Malaysia & Singapore - Language & Linguistics

A dictionary of the language spoken by the Iban people of Sarawak in the mid 20th century. There is also a supplement of words that do not appear elsewhere in the dictionary used by Ibans in the Third Division of Sarawak. Very Good Hardback. First Edition 218 pages

A fascinating facsimile reprint of what must have been one of the earliest English-Malay phrase books. It was originally compiled by Artus, a Dane, and translated into English by a London merchant, Augustine Spalding. Published in 1614, the book was intended to help British traders who had already set up trading posts in the Malay Archipelago. Near Fine Hardback. Reprint.  78 pages 

The last of the author's four books on Penang Hokkien culture. Here he concentrates on the Baba/Nonya/Straits Chinese aspects that have been rooted in the island as a result of intermarriage between Chinese and Malay peoples. He not only looks at this community's distinct language, but at their dress and other customs. New Paperback. First Edition 103 pages with many, mainly colour, photographs. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Malay Community and Culture

Consulting this book helps the reader understand the importance of the 'chop' - usually the ubiquitous rubber stamp today - in many parts of Southeast Asia. Seals in this region, as well as elsewhere, were a vital guarantee of of a document's authenticity. In this meticulously researched and lavishly illustrated book, the author, the head of the Southeast Asia section at the British Museum, catalogues more than 2,000 of such seals from present-day Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Cambodia, the Philippines and Thailand from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Near Fine Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket. First Edition 785 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

Wilkinson led the first systematic attempt to write an account of the Malays of the peninsula, their society, culture and history. The results were published in a series of papers. In this work the papers reprinted cover historical subjects, i.e. Part I - The Peninsular Malays, Part II - Perak State Council Minutes & Part III - Negri Sembilan. There is an introduction by Dr Peter Burns where he gives a background to the publication and describes the paper as a whole. . The papers themselves were originally published in the 1920s. Near Fine Hardback in a Fine Dust Jacket. First Edition of this collection 468 pages  Please see scanned contents pages for further details 


Although this is mainly a quick survey of Melaka's history until the beginning of the 19th century, the author also manages to weave various bits of former residents' personal history and legends into the story. In doing so he manages to add a bit more colour than would usually be found in history text books. New Paperback. First Edition. 154 pages with a bibliography.

Malaysia & Singapore - Minorities

A poptpurri of anecdotes, memories, recipes, language and much more celebrating what it is to be Eurasian in Singapore. Near Fine Paperback 203 pages with illustrations.

Orang Asli/Indigenous Peoples

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. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition 632 pages with a map and numerous figures and black and white plates 

The Jah-Het, or Jah Hut, people are a small aboriginal group living in Pahang state in Malaysia. In this book, Werner introduces the reader to a wide range of the tribe's deities, numbering more than a thousand, as represented in wood carvings. 637 pages with nearly 750 black and white plates, 34 line drawings and two maps. Near Fine Hardback in a New Dust Jacket First Edition

Malaysia's Forest Research Institute was set up to support the forestry industry with technical advice. Whereas its usual publications concentrate on types of timber useful for forestry and their characteristics, this publication examines forestry's role in relation to the main forest dwellers on the Malay peninsula, the orang asli or indigenous peoples. The institute carried out a series of studies of different orang asli communities to attempt to understand their use of the forest and how the industry can interact and support them. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1997.  187 pages with figures, maps, tables and an index. 

A former Commissioner of Orang Asli Affairs gives a broad ethnological and sociological overview of the major aboriginal tribes living on the Malaysian peninsula. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 376 pages with a bibliography, an index and 26 photographs of which 9 are in colour.


The book features 102 of the 152 recorded orchid species to be found in peat swamps in forests in peninsular Malaysia. Each species is described by a colour photograph, a written description, distribution information and further notes. Fine Hardback in a Fine Dust Jacket. First Edition. 136 pages with a bibliography and an index to scientific names.

Since its inception in the middle of the 19th century, Singapore Botanic Gardens have been a centre for orchid display and propagation. At the time of publication the gardens hosted 600 orchid species and 1,500 hybrids. The book is divided into three parts I - A history of the orchid programme in the gardens, II -The orchid species with colour photographs and other botanical information and III - The breeding of hybrids in the gardens. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. 152 pages, with references, a glossary and an index. 


A detailed guide to one of Penang's principal attractions. The book not only covers the gardens' history, but also provides authoritative information on the various sections and the plants to be found there. New Paperback. First Edition. 96 pages with many colour photographs and illustrations.

A history of the Australian presence in Penang between 1955 and 1988 when the country's armed forces and their families were based there for two year tours. The book not only looks into the lives of those based here but looks at the significance of the deployment in the context of Asian and Australian military history. Very Good Paperback. 320 pages with an index and some black and white plates.

Jean DeBernardii in her preface quotes the Chinese saying, "If you ask the gods there will be a reply." If you ever wanted to know about the spirit mediums possessed by the Monkey God, the Third Prince, the Vagabond Buddha and others, then you should find your answer in this well researched but very readbale book. In order to produce this major work on modern Chinese popular religion the author interviewed twenty-two practicing spirit mediums, some of them while in a trance state. The 372 page book includes many relevant black and white illustrations as well as many tables, an extensive bibliography and a glossary in Mandarin and the Penang Hokkien dialect of major terms Very Good Hardback in a Near Fine Dust Jacket 

Malaysia & Singapore - Photography

This is  vivid and extensive photographic record of the changes taking place in the Malay Peninsula at start of the 20th century. Originally published by the photographer in 1907, this edition brings together 139 of the original 175 photographs with captions by Neil Khor and Gretchen Liu and an introduction by John Falconer. Near Fine Hardback in a Fine Slipcase 144 pages with a bibliography and an index.

Lambert opened his photographic business in Singapore in 1867 and by the beginning of the 20th century had opened further branches in Kuala Lumpur, Sumatra and Bangkok. The firm were official photographers for major events and important personalities as well as managing to amass one of the finest collections of Southeast Asian landscape views. This is an album of Lambert's 'rediscovered' photographs prepared by the curator of photography at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. The photographs are annotated and there is an introductory essay about the business. Very Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket.  192 pages.

Malaysia & Singapore - Politics

Malayan Communism is best known for its role in undermining the Japanese occupation of Malaya and its role in leading the insurgency that disrupted life in the country in the years immediately after the end of the Second World War. In this book, the author delves into the lesser known aspects of the movement, i.e. its origins, which began as anarcho-communism in the early 20th century and went through many transformations before gaining a foothold in the trade unions in the mid 1930s. The work is based not only on Chinese and English language archives but on interviews with participants in the movement. New Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1997. 312 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

In this book Scott interestingly sets out to discover the views of seventeen Malaysian civil servants on politics and democracy generally. The country had been independent from the British for a decade and their views are seen to express both a need for security and to explore. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 302 pages with an index. 

The author, one of the rising stars of the Malaysian opposition Democratic Action Party (DAP), turned his back on a business career to join politics and was elected to Parliament in 2008. In this book this Oxford educated economist sets out, in what he hopes is an easily readable format, where he sees the Malaysian economy at the beginning of the 21st century. Of course, as the book has been published by DAP the book is not short on tales of mismanagement by the Barisan Nasional which has ruled the country since independence. New Paperback Second Printing 335 pages. 

Despite Malaysia being one of the more robust democracies in Southeast Asia, not much has been written about the organisation responsible for the smooth function of elections, The Election Commission of Malaysia. The author, a legal academic specialising in constitutional law, explains how constituency boundaries are drawn, electors registered, nominations monitored and the polling process managed. New Paperback, First Edition. 204 pages with a bibliography. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Race Relations

The classic and withering exposition of a myth that was used time and time again by colonial powers to justify their rule. The myth has the simple premise that 'the natives' do not behave and think like we do, so they need help - from outsiders. Alatas looks briefly at the image of Malays held by outsiders and then in more depth at how it was transformed into being the raison d'ĂȘtre of colonial rule. New Paperback. Reprint, First published in 1977. 266 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Religion

DeBernardi, best known for her work on Chinese popular religion in Penang, now turns her focus on another aspect of Chinese Penang and Singapore life, its Christian community. She singles out The Brethren, a Protestant congregatio, and their offshoots, meticulously describing their influence on Chinese Christianity, not only in these two cities but across Southeast Asia and China. New Paperback. First Edition. 430 pages with a bibliography, index and some black and white plates and maps. 

Some of the first settlers in Singapore after the British East India Company settled there were members of the Teochew community from Southern China. The author, who led the restoration work on the community's oldest temple, Wak Hai Cheng Bio, pieces together its history from colonial records and temple inscriptions and describes the restoration process. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket. First Edition 244 pages with a bibliography, index and many illustrations. 

Although the predominant Islamic discourse and practice in Malaysia appear to have been taking on more 'traditionalist' trappings in recent years, this book highlights a contrary trend, the advocacy for women's rights based on Muslim teachings. Spearheading this challenge has been the Sisters in Islam, a non governmental organisation of professional women promoting justice and equality. Through integrating piety and reason they continue to demonstrate how women can  take their place at the centre of Islamic life in the country. New Paperback. First Edition. 330 pages with references and an index.

This is the first English language edition of the author's work, Islam dan Sosialisma, first published in 1976. Altas points out that Islam does not recommend any political system, just a moral code that should underpin any such system. He finds much in Marx's writing to recommend to Muslims and some aspects which he believes conflict with Islam. New Paperback. 107 pages with a list of references

When he wrote this book Thoburn was responsible for the Methodist Episcopalian missionary activities in India and the Malay Archipelago. The book was born out of his frustration at his fellow missionaries' lack of knowledge about the people's whose souls they wanted to save. So what results is an extensive survey, mainly of India, at the end of the nineteenth century. About 50 pages are devoted to the Straits Settlements. As the author admits himself, the book does have a missionary slant. 562 pages with an index and about 30 black and white plates. Very Good Hardback. First Edition.


An imaginative history and snapshot of Malaysia's capital city at the turn of the century where the author mixes anecdote, research, myth and experience to convey both the city's struggles and its excitement. Very Good Paperback 237 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

It is generally accepted that Kuala Lumpur became established as a town, thanks to tin mining and supporting trades, in the mid 19th century. How it came to be established, has been the subject of various claims promoting the local Malay chief, Raja Abdullah and outsiders from China and present day Indonesia. In this book the author makes a case for Sutan Puasa, a Sumatran tin miner and trader. New Hardback. Reprint. Originally published in 2018.  615 pages with about 150 black and white illustrations, a bibliography and an index.

Brickfields, in the centre of Kuala Lumpur, is one of the oldest parts of the city and therefore ripe for development. Using a clear anthropological approach, Baxstrom traces how both the resident population, government and developers coped with brining about change by trying to reconcile technocratic concepts of planning and development with the people's experiences of place and community. Very Good Paperback. 283 pages with a bibliography and an index. 

Malaysia & Singapore - World War II

The troubled history of the last few years of Malaya as a colony, both of the British and Japanese and the first few years of independence are reflected in the biography of John Davis. As a member of the Police Special Branch, he escaped from Singapore on the Japanese arrival and, after 35 days in a fishing boat, arrived in Ceylon where he prepared for his return as an operative behind enemy lines. He worked closely with C
hin Peng, who has written an afterword, and Spencer Chapman. After the war he stayed on to face Chin Peng during the 'Emergency' where, amongst other things, he was involved in abortive peace talks with Chin Peng in 1955. New Paperback. Reprint 386 pages

These are the internment diaries of George Peet, who was editor of the prestigious Straits Times newspaper both when Singapore fell to the Japanese and again immediately after the end of the war. As a seasoned journalist he was able to bring to life the ingenious methods used by civilian internees to make the best of a bad lot during their imprisonment. The book is compiled and edited by his granddaughter. New Paperback. First Edition. 245 pages.

The story of James Taylor who was a Principal Medical Officer in British North Borneo at the time of the Japanese arrival at the outbreak of World War II.  The Japanese allowed civilian medical staff to continue their professions under certain restrictions. In time Taylor, together with his wife, used his position to support the resistance among the Bornean people and Australian prisoners of war. His activities were eventually discovered and he was tortured and imprisoned, but survived to return to Australia at the end of the war. Good Paperback. 151 pages with some black and white plates.

The author witnessed the effects of the Japanese invasion of Malaya first hand, first as a teacher in Singapore and then with the Culture and Research Institute in his native Ipoh. While in Ipoh he started to prepare this harrowing account of life in his occupied homeland. Very Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1946. 208 pages with a further 11 pages with a map, appendices and an index.


The story of a marriage between a dyed-in-the-wool Anglo-Saxon foreign correspondent and a proud Chinese woman who happened to fall in love and stay married for more than 40 years. Each of them takes turns to write parts of the book showing how very difficult it is to understand another's culture, but also how, if you try hard enough, how the rewards keep coming. New Paperback 252 pages.

'A passionate romance set in the Himalayas of Nepal and the beaches of Singapore.' Good Paperback. 175 pages. 

A guide to the present day metre gauge railways of Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. Although the systems are rapidly modernising, it's still possible to find diesel engines and semaphore signalling, if you're quick! New Paperback. First Edition. 96 pages with many colour illustrations.

An explanation of the Islamic theory of economics including comparisons with other economic theories. New Paperback. First Edition. 263 pages with figures, tables, a bibliography and an index.


The author's research covers about three-quarters of the island of Borneo under Dutch control, equivalent roughly to the modern provinces of Kalimantan Timur and Kalimantan Selatan. The period chosen for research was one of rapid change, when the population increased from approximately three-quarters of a million at the turn of the century to nearly twice that at the time of the Japanese invasion. The main spur for the change was a concerted push to exploit the natural resources of this heavily forested region. Very Good Hardback. 282 pages with a bibliography and index.  

Indonesia not only has the distinction of being the country with the world's largest Muslim population but is also the country which contains a significant Muslim population that is furthest away from Islam's source in the Middle East. Both these characteristics have given Islam, as practiced in the country, a certain uniqueness. In this volume the authors present a bare statement of events occurring within Indonesian Islam during the period. They hope this information will be the basis for further research and analysis. Near Fine Paperback. 521 pages with an index. 

Sri Lanka

This volume covers the history of the island from Portuguese times until the mid 19th century, the peoples. geography and economy of the Southern and Central Provinces, Elephants' habits and distribution, The Northern Forests and the Ruined Cities. Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1859 547 pages with a map, plans, charts and wood engravings.

The author, known as Adele Balasingham at the time of publication, was the wife of Anton Balasingham, the chief strategist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Based in Jaffna, she was involved in both the LTTE's war efforts and peace negotiations and was concerned with the welfare of women there. This book, highlighting the stifling effect of the Tamil dowry system in Jaffna stemmed from such concerns. Good Paperback. First Edition 66 pages with a bibliography. 

Sokari is a form of rural theatre devoted to the Goddess Pattini. It is performed mainly in Sri Lanka's hill country. The author describes the origin and significance of the performance as well as describing its main features. Good Paperback. First Edition 25 pages with one black and white plate and a list of references. 

A mid-19th century introduction to what is now Sri Lanka. At the time of publication in 1850 the book was considered to be one of the more authoritative descriptions of the country and its people. Good Paperback. Abridged Edition. 274 pages with some black and white plates and engravings.

For details of articles in this issue, please see the scanned contents on the cover. Very Good Paperback First Edition 304 pages

An attempt by a geographer to analyse Sri Lanka's character, problems and prospects as evidenced by its physical and human resources. Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket, 435 pages with figures and tables.

Writing That Conquers: Re-Reading Knox's An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon - Sarojini Jayawickrama  RM120

Robert Knox's An Historical Relation of the Island of Ceylon, published in 1681, recounts his experiences on the island during his nearly 20 year stay there. It remains an important source on Sri Lanka in that period. Naturally Knox's views are coloured by his British background as he recounts unfamiliar practices he encountered. In this book the author extracts from the original work what Knox missed, presenting a different memory than that generated by a colonial mindset. Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 2005. 350 pages with a bibliography, an index and some illustrations. 


A description of all 729 species of ferns and related plants in Taiwan. The  extensively illustrated with a total of more than 4700 images and precise keys for the reliable identification of families, genera and species. There is also information on distribution and frequency information for all species, habitat, a list of scientific names accompanied with Chinese name, pinyin transcription and commonly used deviating scientific names, a bibliography and an index containing synonyms, misapplied names and names in alternative taxonomic combinations. New Hardback 1064 pages ISBN: 9789868709805


A thorn in the side of the Thai police, as well as an annoyance to their Malaysian colleagues as well, Dr. Porntip, Thailand's best known forensic scientist, recounts some of her better known cases. The cases include that of the disappearance of the Thai Muslim Activist, Khun Somchai Neelapaijit and the death of Teoh Beng Hock while in Malaysian police custody. Not for the squeamish! 204 pages.New Paperback  For further details, please see the scanned contents page.


The unusual autobiography of a successful international British pop star of the 1970s, who gave it all up when he converted to Islam at the height of his fame. After several years immersing himself in his new faith he reemerged as a philanthropist, advocate for a nonviolent Islam and eventually as a pop star again. The book is written in English and has been The Penang Bookshelf's best selling book for a few years. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket 105 pages.