Thursday, October 29, 2009

Baby Panda Finds His Way

The second book in our Asian Values series has been published! Baby Panda Finds His Way was published on 28 Oct 2009 and shall be available in all major bookstores.

The Asian Values series was published with the support of the Media Development Authority of Singapore. It was the launch series for our children's book imprint, Autumn Wonders. The first book in the series, Water Buffalo's Reward, was published in January 2009. The series aims to introduce children to Asian values in an accesible and enjoyable way through simple, engaging and thought-provoking stories.

The value introduced in Water Buffalo's Reward is Diligence. In Baby Panda Finds His Way, the value introduced is Respect.

Baby Panda was not very good at showing respect—to his mother, his elders or even to his environment. One day, he becomes lost. With the help of Tiger, Baby Panda is finally reunited with his mother, but not before he has learnt about the importance of respect.

Both books in the series are illustrated by Li Dan. Li Dan is an illustrator and designer based in Singapore. She has a Masters in Illustration from Edinburgh College of Art, UK, and is adept at different illustration styles and media. Her work has appeared in many major publications, books, magazines, advertisements and won awards, including the Victoria and Albert Illustration Awards 2005. Her portfolio can be viewed at

The author for Baby Panda Finds His Way is Emily Lim. Emily is the award-winning author of Prince Bear & Pauper Bear, The Tale of Rusty Horse, Just Teddy and Bunny Finds the Right Stuff. She is the first in Asia to be awarded two prestigious IPPY awards at the world’s largest book awards. Her books have also been made into cartoons and were recently aired on television. More information about Emily and her books can be found at

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Books on Piracy and Maritime Security in Asia

Maritime security is increasingly an area of concern for Southeast Asian nations, with piracy in particular threatening the economic growth of an area that is hugely dependent on sea-borne trade. Here are some recent books dealing with this issue:
  • Maritime Counter-Terrorism: A Pan-Asian Perspective edited by Swati Parashar. These 21 separately referenced specialist papers are from the 2004 New Delhi workshop of the Observer Foundation and address the measures taken by Asian nations to deal with maritime piracy and terrorism. The grouped papers explore: the vulnerabilities and capabilities of military, air and police forces; threat perceptions in South Asia, in Southeast Asia, and in Australia and East Asia; actors to watch in maritime piracy, armed robbery and in political groups, including the Tamil Tigers; the final section offers critical evaluations of the efforts and dynamics of ongoing maritime counter-terrorism.
  • Contemporary Maritime Piracy in Southeast Asia: History, Causes and Remedies by Adam J. Young. This book explores contemporary maritime piracy in Southeast Asia, demonstrating the utility of using historical context in developing policy approaches that will address the roots of this resurgent phenomenon. The depth and breadth of historical piracy help highlight causative factors of contemporary piracy, which are immersed in the socio-cultural matrix of maritime-oriented peoples to whom piracy is still a thinkable option. The threats to life and property posed by piracy are relatively low, but significant given the strategic nature of these waterways that link the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and because piracy is emblematic of broader issues of weak state control in the littoral states of the region. Maritime piracy will never be completely eliminated, but with a progressive economic and political agenda aimed at changing the environment from which piracy is emerging, it could once again become the exception rather than the rule. With glossary of selected terms, bibliography and index.
  • Maritime Security in Southeast Asia edited by Kwa, Chong Guan and John K Skogan. This book examines maritime security challenges in Southeast Asia and the responses that they provoke. Maritime security is an issue that has, over the last 20 years, taken on a much greater importance, due to the Law of the Sea Convention, which has resulted in the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs). As well as traditional security threats to maritime security, there has also emerged a range of non-traditional threats, such as piracy and international terrorism, which spill over into the maritime domain. Events such as September 11 and the designation of Southeast Asia as a 'second front' in the war against terrorism, have resulted in the growing realisation that multilateral security cooperation is required in order to manage the security of the seas. Expert contributors, including many from the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, identify the nature of Southeast Asia's maritime security problem. They also critically evaluate the various responses by countries and organisations within and without the region. With bibliography and index.
  • Piracy, Maritime Terrorism And Securing The Malacca Straits edited by Ong-Webb and Graham Gerard. Maritime piracy continues to persist as a significant phenomenon manifesting a range of social, historical, geo-political, security and economic issues. Today, the waters of Southeast Asia serve as the dominant region for the occurrence of piracy and the challenges it poses to regional security and Malacca Straits security. As a second installment within the Series on Maritime Issues and Piracy in Asia by the International Institute of Asian Studies, Leiden University, and the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, the authors of this volume add fresh perspectives to the ongoing debate about piracy, the threat of maritime terrorism, and the challenge of securing the Malacca Straits today. This volume of expert contributions opens with a global and regional outlook on maritime terrorism before proceeding to examine: the transnational threats to security at sea; piracy in the waters of the Philippines; the similarities and differences between the security situation in the Malacca Straits and in the Southern Philippines; the politics of security policies in Southeast Asia; anti-piracy security forces; the rise of important new seaports in Asia; the Regime Navigation on the Danube as a possible model; security cooperation within Asean; and maritime history in the region, 1511-1839.
  • Realising Safe and Secure Seas For All: International Maritime Security Conference 2009 edited by Joshua, Ho. This volume is a compilation of the proceedings arising from the inaugural International Maritime Security Conference 2009 held on 13-14 May 2009 in Singapore. The conference sought to promote global maritime safety and security and to update maritime practitioners on the latest cooperative efforts and technological developments in the maritime domain. Senior naval officers and officials from Australia, China, France, India, Italy, Japan, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States and the International Maritime Organisation presented at the conference, and their papers are included in this volume.
  • Sea Pirates by S.S. Narayan. Narayan provides a detailed description about sea pirates from the ancient periods to the present. Chapter titles include History of Piracy; Flags and Weapons of the Sea Pirates; Sea Piracy in Somalia; Renaissance Trade Routes; and Pirate Punishment. With bibliography and index.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Books on Southeast Asian Economies and Economic Policies

Here is a selection of recent titles on Southeast Asian economies and economic policies:
  • Singapore: Trade, Investment and Economic Performance by Ramkishen S. Rajan and Shandre M. Thangavelu. Singapore's rapid evolution from a modest trading post under colonial rule into a prosperous, self-confident nation is one of the notable success stories of the second half of the 20th century. International trade and investment linkages have been the cornerstones of the city-state's economic success (more than 7 per cent per annum during the period 1970-2005). This book offers an overview of the Singapore economy with emphasis on its global trade and investment linkages and policies. It analyses patterns and policies of Singapore's trade and foreign direct investment and discusses issues related to its services sector, focusing on its multilateral and bilateral commitments.
  • Asian Industrial Clusters, Global Competitiveness and New Policy Initiatives edited by Bernard Ganne and Yveline Lecler. These 17 papers on Asian Industrial clusters and associated issues come from the field studies and research 2002-2006 in China, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand and West Malaysia by the University of Lyon and the National Scientific Research Centre. The first section deals mainly with policy issues. Then detailed discussion of local and national patterns and situations and their contexts enable understanding of the success or otherwise of the very varied models adopted.
  • Economics in Public Policies: The Singapore Story by Tan Say Tin, Leong Foong Lin et al. Designed to enlarge public understanding and in a style accessible to a wide readership, this is an account of the economic rationale and underpinnings of key government policies which influence or enable many aspects of Singapore life. The material in each chapter is supported by graphics and tables, reading references and suggestions for thought. The subjects addressed are: government expenditure and revenue; micro economic concepts; land transport; utilities; public housing; healthcare; education; the labour market; and a peek into the future.
  • Southeast Asia in the Global Economy: Securing Competitiveness and Social Protection by Helen Nesadurai and Soedradjad Djiwandono. While economic globalisation benefited Southeast Asia, especially during the 1990s boom, the region now seems to be caught between two emerging economic giants - China and India. What challenges and opportunities does the rise of China and India pose for Southeast Asia and how should policy-makers respond? Are bilateral free trade arrangements and bilateral economic partnerships a boon or bane for competitiveness? In identifying approaches and strategies to cope with these challenges and leverage on the opportunities available, this book also links the quest for competitiveness with the necessity of social protection. The link comes in the form of the people who work for firms as human resources, and as users and innovators of technology. The book acknowledges and discusses the problems of inadequate technological and innovative capacity and the problems of managing labour productivity in Southeast Asia. However, the book also cautions against focusing on people solely as productive labour, whether in production or the knowledge sector. By highlighting the adverse social, economic and political consequences of ignoring social protection issues and challenging the myth that addressing social protection undermines competitiveness, the book emphasizes the social responsibilities incumbent on governments and firms in this age of growing economic insecurities.
  • The Miracle: The Epic Story of Asia's Quest for Wealth by Michael Schuman. A senior US business journalist is the author of this accessible account of economic change and development in nine Asian countries in the recent past. Significant events and personalities are described, often with the flavour of personal contacts. Many of the realities of Asia's background of poverty, the achievements of the Asian Economic Miracle and the impact of the 1990s and ongoing "downturns" are outlined and set into context. The Epilogue highlights a human reaction common in US.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Books on Textiles

Select Books carries a wide range of books on textiles, particularly batik. Here is a selection of 5 titles:
  • Legacy In Cloth: Batak Textiles Of Indonesia by Sandra Niessen. Weaving in the Batak region of North Sumatra is an ancient art practised by women, and exhibits some of the oldest design and technical features in the Indonesian archipelago. Since colonial annexation at the turn of the 20th century, innovative Batak weavers from the Lake Toba region in northern Sumatra have successfully adapted their art to new economic and social circumstances - but at great cost. In recent decades, weaving has fallen into decline and the tradition is threatened, while at the same time Batak textiles are highly prized in museum collections around the world. Legacy in cloth offers the first definitive study of the woven heritage of the Toba, Simalungun, and Karo Batak. The most complete analysis of Batak textiles ever published, it provides a record of more than 100 different design types, including archival and contemporary photographs showing how the textiles are woven and how they are used in Batak culture.
  • Pictorial Cambodian Textiles by Gillian Green. The pictorial representations of Cambodian silk hangings, pidan, are unique in mainland Southeast Asia. Many of the few surviving antique textiles of this genre visualise, in astounding detail, Theravada Buddhist themes and are a response in silk to similar images in other artistic media also used in community religious practice. The imagery of another genre of pidan springs from a different source, and are distinguished by their common theme of a triad of bird/snake/tree of life. In addition some of this group have images of ships ranging from realistic to arcane. Latest research suggests that these hangings were essential to celebrations held at the end of the rainy season in Cambodia. This book illuminates many facets of these spectacular cloths. In it is assembled for the first time, a comprehensive collection of pictorial pidan from private and public collections, many hitherto unpublished.
  • Textiles: A World Tour - Discovering Traditional Fabrics and Patterns by Catherine Legrand. Pieced together much like the fine garments it portrays, this colourful volume guides the reader on an international textile tour, presenting in over 700 photographs, a raft of remarkable clothing, people and fabric from all over the world. Taking the reader from Vietnam to Benin, from Central America to Eastern Europe, the book is filled with stunning costumes, sumptuous fabrics and breathtaking detail. Both an ethnographic textile map and a fabric-inspired travelogue, it explores and reveals many secrets about international textile crafts, including weaving, dyeing and appliqué. With glossary and bibliography.
  • Kimono As Art: The Landscapes of Itchiku Kubota by Dale Carolyn Gluckman and Hollis Goodall. This lavishly illustrated book presents 55 masterworks by Japanese kimono artist Itchiku Kubota. His unique style, inspired by the fragile dyed silks of 16th-century Japan, and developed after 20 years of experimentation, combines stitch-resist, ink drawing, embroidery, metallic leaf and a complex layering of colours to create hauntingly beautiful landscapes with richly textured surfaces. In the artist's magnum opus 'Symphony of Light' - showcased in this volume together with his five-piece 'Mount Fuji' series and ten individual works - the monumental kimono are intended to be shown sequentially, and were made only for display. Featured on a special fold-out section, Kubota's remarkable imagery can be fully appreciated as it extends from robe to robe. Published to accompany a collaborative exhibition between the San Diego Museum of Art, Timken Museum of Art, Canton Museum of Art and the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, the catalogue includes essays, a preface by Satoshi Kubota, Itchiku's son and artistic heir; and an interview with Satoshi Kubota. Also includes a biography, an overview of the artist's basic production techniques, a glossary and a bibliography.
  • The Worldwide History of Dress by Patricia Rieff Anawalt. This impressive volume offers informative historical articles on dress traditions, maps and 960 colour illustrations which make a delightful, probably unique, worldwide view of the non-Western dress worn in the past and present. Much information in dress construction, accessories, materials and ceremonial usage is also included. With references, bibliography, glossary and index.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Books on Garden and Landscape Design

We stock a number of books on garden and landscape designs, particularly after we had several queries during the Singapore Garden Festival held last year. Here are 4 interestings titles:
  • Japanese Stone Gardens: Origins, Meanings, Form by Stephen Mansfield. Japanese stone gardens provide tranquil settings where visitors can shed the burdens and stresses of modern existing, satisfy age-old yearnings for solitude and repose and experience the restorative power of art and nature. This book provides an insight into the powerful mystique and dynamism of Japanese stone gardens, from their earliest use as props in animistic rituals to their appropriation by Zen monks and priests to create settings conducive to mediation and contemplation and, finally, to their contemporary use and meaning.
  • Bawa: The Sri Lanka Gardens by David Robson and Dominic Sansoni. The late Geoffrey Bawa's most famous garden is at his estate in Sri Lanka, Lunuganga, and it is rivalled only by Brief, the lesser-known garden of his brother, Bevis. Evolving over several decades, these two gardens and their outbuildings and sculptures represent highpoints of tropical design in which architecture and landscape are intimately mixed. This volume includes an overview of the Sri Lanka's rich horticultural tradition and the social background that inspired the Bawas. It is followed by chapters that explore and celebrate the brothers' relationship and the architectural soul of Brief and Lunuganga through superb photo essays and descriptions, revealing the aesthetics and architectural mastery of the creators as well as the stunning context of Sri Lanka itself. Also included are directions on how to get to Brief and Lunuganga, a bibliography and a glossary.
  • Balinese Gardens by William Warren. A vivid record of Bali's stunning landscaped gardens and natural beauty, this book is a delight for anyone with an interest in tropical plants and landscape design. Renowned photographer Luca Invernizzi Tettoni and author/landscape designer William Warren capture a unique portrayal of this extraordinary island, focusing on hotel and private gardens and Bali's abundant natural features. The book opens with an overview of the island's physical and cultural environment, and then takes the reader on a guided tour of Bali's finest traditional and contemporary gardens.
  • Chinese Gardens by Lou Qingxi. This book is about the history, evolution, art and techniques of Chinese gardens and their architectures. The author contrasts Chinese gardens with natural scenery and notes that the beauty of Chinese gardens lie in their combining culture and art into one. The author examines the development of the classic Chinese garden, the different prototypes and the architectural theories formed over the years. He describes the meaning of these classic Chinese gardens to the Chinese, and the Chinese people's admiration of them. With black and white and color pictures. This book was published simulataneously in seven laguages. Translated to English by Zhang Lei and Yu Hong.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

More titles from Selections No. 96

Here are three more titles from our recent Selections Issue No. 96. They have been deliberately chosen to be as different from each other as possible, other than their Asian theme!
  • Colonialism, Violence And Muslims In Southeast Asia: The Maria Hertogh Controversy And Its Aftermath by Syed Muhd Khairudin Aljunied. This book deals with the genesis, outbreak and far-reaching effects of a legal controversy and the resulting outbreak of mass violence, which determined the course of British colonial rule after post World War Two in Singapore and Malaya. Based on extensive archival sources, it examines the custody hearing of Maria Hertogh, a case which exposed tensions between Malay and Singaporean Muslims and British colonial society. Investigating the wide-ranging effects and crises faced in the aftermath of the riots, the analysis focuses in particular on the restoration of peace and rebuilding of society. The author provides a nuanced and sophisticated understanding of British management of riots and mass violence in Southeast Asia. By exploring the responses by non-British communities in Singapore, Malaya and the wider Muslim world to the Maria Hertogh controversy, he shows that British strategies and policies can be better understood through the themes of resistance and collaboration. Furthermore, the book argues that British enactment of laws pertaining to the management of religions in the post-war period had dispossessed religious minorities of their perceived religious rights. As a result, outbreaks of mass violence and continual grievances ensued in the final years of British colonial rule in Southeast Asia - and these tensions still pertain in the present.
  • In The Footsteps Of Stamford Raffles by Nigel Barley. Stamford Raffles is that rarest of things - a colonial figure who is forgotten at home but still remembered with affection abroad. Born into genteel poverty in 1781, he joined the East India Company at the age of fourteen and worked his way up to become Lieutenant Governor of Java when the British seized that island for some five years in 1811. There he fell in love with all things Javanese and vaunted it as a place of civilisation as he discovered himself a man of science as well as commerce. A humane and ever-curious figure, his administration was a period of energetic reform and boisterous research that culminated in his History of Java in 1817 and it remains the starting-point of all subsequent studies of Indonesian culture. In this book, part history, part travelogue, Nigel Barley re-visits the places that were important in the life of Stamford Raffles and evaluates his heritage in an account that is both humorous and insightful. Originally published in 2001, this book has now been updated.
  • A Taste For Green Tangerines: A Saucy Romp Through The Rainforest by Barbara Bisco. Disillusioned with her London life, anthropologist Bethany Parker takes a last minute offer to help build an eco resort in the Indonesian rainforest, trading cappuccinos, a lacklustre boyfriend and her one bedroom flat for mosquito nets, longhouses and an international team of environmentalists. Thrust into a lush, colourful and sometimes brutal world of tribal traditions, tensions and struggles between east and west, Bethany is forced to learn about herself as she learns about Borneo. A Taste for Green Tangerines was the No. 1 bestseller at Foyles for three consecutive weeks when it was launched.
This last title is distributed by Select Books, and it illustrates the expansion in our distribution business. In addition to the more serious, academic titles that we have always been strong in, we are now representing more mass-market titles, and we are pleased to be able to distribute a quality title like A Taste for Green Tangerines.