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Tuesday 3 October 2023

New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf in October 2023 (Last Updated 1-10-2023)


New Arrivals at The Penang Bookshelf


October 2023

(Last Updated 3-10-2023)

  • 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 and Singapore.

Malaysia & Singapore - Arts & Crafts

The author, the owner of a Penang art gallery, sets out to produce an illustrated directory of selected Penang artists during this period. The selection was based on the artist having been born in Penang, lived on the island for most of her/his life, regularly exhibited locally and the artist's work being of merit in the opinion of the author and others in the art field. The book starts with The Visual Arts of Penang: An Overview followed by the History of the Development of Art in Penang and then examples of each artist's work. The book is divided into two sections on Pioneer Artists and Contemporary Artists. 289 pages. Very Good Hardback First Edition 

The mixed Chinese/Malay communities in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, known as Peranakan, have developed various aspects of a distinctive culture over the years. This book concentrates n the community's particular type of beadwork, particularly as used in making Kasot Manek (Nonya beaded slippers). The book's five chapters cover the subject generally, the various types of beadwork of the past and today, techniques, projects to be undertaken by the reader with templates and restoration work. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. First Edition. 228 pages

Malaysia & Singapore - Biography & Memories

History is full of people who are well respected amongst those they have positively influenced, but of whom the rest of us know little or nothing. This is the autobiography of such a man who became a Lasallian brother in the 1930s, witnessed the Japanese occupation of Penang which threatened his vocation and then came out the other side to celebrate independence as a Malaysian, whose nationality was often questioned because of his mixed parentage. In amidst all this he was at the forefront in expanding the Lassalian educational methods throughout Asia as well as holding senior posts in the order. With the aid of his personal diaries, the author is able to project himself with different voices appropriate to the different stages of his life's development. 390 pages Very Good Paperback 

Although the British were the largest European community in Malaya during the colonial period, many other Europeans made their home there as educators, missionaries, business people and more and others came as visitors. In this work, probably for the first time, Jardin, has gathered a varied range of reminiscences from nearly 100 French men and women. Their views are often notable for the fact that they presented a more detached picture of the country than their British neighbours. New Hardback. First Edition. 456 pages with many black and white and colour illustrations.

Malaysia & Singapore - Boats, Fishing & The Sea

This is the dramatic story of the wreck of East India merchant ship Diana off the coast of Melaka in 1817, the siting of the wreck nearly two centuries later and the recovery of her cargo. The author led the recovery expedition and describes the ten years of preparation crowned with eventual success.  Fine Hardback in a  Fine Dust Jacket. First Edition.  174 pages with  bibliography, technical appendices and several maps and colour illustrations.


This is a catalogue of the first exhibition of pieces belonging to members of the Southeast Asian Ceramic Society held in Kuala Lumpur in 1981. There is an essay by Lim Suan Poh on nyonya ware as well as detailed descriptions by the two authors of the items exhibited. Near Fine in a Near Fine Dust Jacket  First Edition There are 15 pages of colour photos and 78 pages of black and white photos in this 128 page book.

Malaysia & Singapore - Children

Another tale in Dalton's series of a multiracial group of boys' adventures in Malaya. This time they discover an underwater cave. For early readers. Very Good Hardback in a Good Dust Jacket 120 pages with illustrations

Malaysia & Singapore - Environment, Nature & Wildlife

An introduction to one of the more fleeting aspects of jungle life, fleshy fungi that are poorly documented because often they are short-lived and may not be spotted again by the fungi enthusiast. Pegler introduces the reader to the some of the more common varieties to be found in Borneo with the tantalising prospect that the reader may well find other varieties as yet unknown to science. Near Fine Paperback First Edition. 95 pages. For further details, please see the scanned contents page

The author, an academic specialising in landscape architecture, explores various theories of public park design to determine what would be appropriate for Malaysia, a multi-cultural society. Different communities don not necessarily have the same requirements for the use of public spaces. He concludes by postulating new ways of designing such parks in Malaysia. New Paperback. First Edition. 144 pages with colour photographs, maps, a bibliography and an index. 

The purpose of the book is to provide technical information on the distribution, characteristics, properties and uses of timbers to be found in Malaysia. Despite the title, an additional 22 species of timber are included since the 1986 edition. All species are graded in seven strength classes. New Hardback in a New Dust Jacket. Reprint. 285 pages with many colour illustrations and a bibliography . 

Singapore has arguably done more to promote and conserve wildlife and nature than any other Southeast Asian city. This book not only charts how that came about, but also covers more than 4,000 species of flora and fauna to be found in the city state. The contributors also suggest ways of sustaining this rich biodiversity for the future. Very Good Hardback in a Very Good Dust Jacket. 552 pages with a bibliography, index and over 2,000 colour photographs, maps, tables and charts. 

A charming introduction to the Larut Hills forest reserve that covers lowlands and hills and is home to rare plants, fauna and the residents of Maxwell's Hill, a 19th century hill station created by the British. This book is not just a guide but intends to inspire the reader to enjoy physical and spiritual gifts that the wilderness has to offer. New Paperback. 145 pages with many colour and a few black and white photographs.

Malaysia & Singapore - Fiction

A collection of ten short stories set on a fictional island somewhere in the Pacific. In this isolated setting the author is able through allegory to comment on both the interaction of individuals amongst themselves and the individual's role vis-à-vis the state. This book has been translated into English from the original Malay.New Hardback  215 pages.

The trials of teenage love in Singapore laid bare with lots of tongue in cheek solutions. Although written in the age before the mobile phone, not too much has changed in the emotional chaos wreaked by overactive hormones. New Paperback. Reprinted in memory of the author who died in 2023. 175 pages.

The author's popular Inspector Mislan is back dealing with another unusual case - woman has been found dead in a playground. Forensics later confirm the woman was pregnant at the time, but the baby is missing. Powerful men was to shut down the subsequent investigation and there are even rumours that supernatural forces may have been at work. New Paperback. First Edition. 336 pages. 

A collection of short stories. Good Paperback. First Edition. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Indian Community & Culture

Minorities tend either not to be seen or heard and otherwise marginalised or to have a community impact disproportionately greater than their size. The Sikhs, both in the Punjab and elsewhere, tend to fall into the latter category. In Malaysia since arriving in the late 19th century, mainly to join the colonial military and police, they have moved into politics, the professions and business. Here the author seeks to correct and fill in gaps in other histories of the community, provide greater detail of Sikh community activities and, importantly, their role in the independence movement. New Hardback. First Edition. 488 pages with a bibliography, index and many mainly black and white photographs.

Malaysia & Singapore - Language & Linguistics

An essential for beginning to get to grips with the main language spoken in George Town, the capital of Penang island. This book is not only a dictionary, but has some useful phrases as well. New Paperback 325 pages. Please see the scan of the contents page for further details

Malaysia & Singapore - Media & Journalism

A unique study, based on both published content and oral history, of how women negotiated a space for themselves in the Malay language media in Malaysia at the end of the 20th century. Although male dominated structures were the norm in newsrooms as elsewhere in the country, female journalists managed to advocate for their readers, often achieving more editorial freedom than their male counterparts. New Paperback. 286 pages with figures, tables, a bibliography, an index and a few black and white photographs. 


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. New Hardback  Please see the scan of the contents page for further details.

Berbar, a Parisian, but based in Malaysia, demonstrates why he's a prize winning photographer with this fine collection of photographs of Malaysia's oldest colonial city. However it's not a coffee table picture book as it's reasonably light in weight, more affordable than most others of this genre, but also has sufficient information to equip the visitor for a worthwhile stay in the city. The information contained in this 80 page book is arranged into the following chapters - History, A Tour of the Town, People & Lifestyles, Festivals & Holidays, Flavours of Malacca, Beyond Malacca, Maps, Timeline, Listings & Further Information. New  Hardback 


The journals and letters mined to produce this book cover the period 1855 to 1868, when the Second Opium War engaged British forces to the East, while the Indian Mutiny and the end of the East India Company rule preoccupied Britain to West. During this period there was rioting followed by a state of emergency in Penang and a general strike in Singapore. Against this backdrop, Gibby reveals the daily lives of John Bishop King, a surgeon; Joanna, his wife; James Aberigh Mackay, a clergyman and friend of Bishop's; Benson Maxwell, the Recorder of Penang; and Annie Earl, who was 15 at the time. All five characters knew each other enabling Gibby to recreate a fairly intimate portrait of expatriate life in Penang in the mid 19th century. New Paperback. First Edition 456 pages with a bibliography, index and over 200 black and white and colour illustrations. 

An introduction to Taiping, one a tin mining centre, its natural surroundings, history and people lovingly told by a Taiping born author. New Paperback. 1461 pages with many colour and a few black and white photographs.

Malaysia & Singapore - Politics

The author was a decorated civil servant in Singapore, rising to the position of Solicitor General. He then was appointed President of Singapore's Law Society where he used his position to question Government legislation. This and his candidacy in a general election for an opposition party landed him in jail. This book is his account of his experiences until he fled the country on being released from jail. Good Paperback..  293 pages with maps, appendices, an index and a foreword by CV Devan Nair, a former President of Singapore.

For 20 months until February 2020, the author was Minister of Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change in the short lived Pakatan Harapan Government in Malaysia. Here she gives a detailed account of what her ministry managed to achieve in that short space of time and what remained unfinished. The book, rather than promoting political gossip, gives an insight into the challenges of bringing new ideas for change after years of stagnation under the United Malays National Organisation which had been in power for 61 years. New Paperback. 355 pages with figures and tables.

In the dying years of the United Malays National Organisation Government, a popular movement for reform, Bersih (Clean), sprang up. Its most visible element was large street protest, but this book demonstrates the extensive work on reform that underpinned the movement. A group of experts and researchers propose here a series of urgent reforms needed for elections, parliament, public office and political finance. New Paperback. First Edition. 361 pages. 

Malaysia & Singapore - Race Relations

Although the race riots of 13th May 1969 were relatively limited compared to, say, similar experiences in Indonesia or South Asia, there is a commonality in the changes in national consciousness coupled with national amnesia that follow. In this brave work, the survivors of the mayhem are, often for the first time, given a voice, telling the world what happened to families and neighbours and how the trauma lingers today. New Paperback. Reprint. First Published in 2022. 252 pages with some black and white photographs

Malaysia & Singapore - Religion

The post independence period in Malaysia has seen a rise in female activism in the Muslim community, particularly through NGOs. This has resulted often in reinterpreting a Muslim woman's role in society. The author discovers, through interviews with a range of activists that interpretations are varied from a neo-traditionalist approach to one that has more modern aspects, where issues of polygamy and child marriage are challenged. New Paperback. First Edition. 119 pages with a bibliography        


A sweeping history of East Asia from the dawn of Chinese civilisation to the end of the 20th century. Good Paperback.  368 pages, with a chronology, bibliography and index. 

A review of the situation in Southeast Asia in the two decades since the end of the world war explaining how it became a global flash point so quickly and what might happen in the future. Good Hardback. Reprint. Originally published in 1970.  486 pages. with some black and white photographs, maps, a bibliography and index. 

A collection of seven articles by six ASEAN academics seeking to determine the role that the social sciences have to play against a backdrop of resurgent Islam. There are case studies on Muslims in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. Very Good Paperback. First Edition. Signed by the Editor. 177 pages

At the beginning of the 21st century about a quarter of the world's Muslims lived in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country. In this book the author not only outlines the history of the religion in each country, including those were Muslims are in a minority, but also looks at the current state of the religion in each country and the different challenges that exist. Very Good Hardback. First Edition. 94 pages with a list of references. 

A survey of the economic situation in Malaysia and Singapore and the role played by Australian aid. Good Hardback. First Edition. 309 pages with tables and an index. 

Sri Lanka

Between 1897 and 1907 Still was a tea planter and later worked in Ceylon's Archaeological Department, when he toured the country extensively. This is an account of his experiences in Sri Lanka's jungles which not only teemed with wild life, but was inhabited by aborigines and pock marked with ruined cities. Good Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in 1930. 237 pages. 

Rajasingha II was King of the Kandyan kingdom for most of the 17th century when one of his main preoccupations was dealing with the Dutch invaders. At the time one of the prominent families of the kingdom was the Tudugalas, who unlike many families of the time, have preserved large parts of their family history. In this book the author, a former Government archivist, pieces together their colourful history. Also included is a copy in Sinhala with a translation into English of a major family record of the time. Very Good a Very Good Dust Jacket  First Edition. 94 pages with some black and white illustrations, a fold out family tree and an index. 


Although Thai cooking is renowned for its complex and delicate flavours, only 30 herbs and spices are needed to create its unique range of tastes. The author describes each herb or spice with its botanical information and details on its use in cooking or for healing. Several classic recipes are also included. New Paperback. Reprint. Originally published in  2005 192 pages with many colour illustrations, an index, glossary and suggestions for further reading. 


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