Saturday, November 28, 2009

Books on The Philippines

Over the last year or so, we have added significantly to our Philippines collection. Here are a selection of recent additions, chosen from different genres:
  • The Philippines: Mobilities, Identities, Globalization by James Tyner. Nearly five million migrant workers from the Philippines are employed in over 190 countries and territories. They work as doctors and domestic helpers, engineers and entertainers, seamstresses and surveyors. It is through their collective labour that the Philippines has assumed a global presence. For over five centuries the Philippines has been integrated into the world economy. Only recently, however, has the Philippines been a pro-active agent in the production of a global economy. Since the 1970s the Philippine state, in connection with myriad private institutions, has recruited, trained, marketed, and deployed a mobile work-force. Annually, approximately one million migrant workers travel to all corners of the world. The Philippines seeks to understand how the Philippines has become the world's largest exporter of government-sponsored temporary contract labour and, in the process, has dramatically reshaped both the processes of globalisation and also our understanding of globalisation as concept.
  • Amazons of the Huk Rebellion: Gender, Sex, and Revolution in the Philippines by Vina A. Lanzona. Labelled "Amazons" by the national press, women played a central role in the Huk rebellion, one of the most significant peasant-based revolutions in modern Philippine history. As spies, organisers, nurses, couriers, soldiers and even military commanders, women worked closely with men to resist the Japanese occupation and after World War II, to challenge the new Philippine republic. Vina Lanzona explores the Huk rebellion through the individual and collective experiences of its female participants. She demonstrates how the Huk women's presence raised complex questions of gender, family, and sexuality, and ultimately shaped the nature of the revolutionary struggle. With notes, bibliography and index.
  • Philippine Gay Culture: Binabae to Bakla, Silahis to Msm by J. Neil C. Garcia. Philippine Gay Culture is a descriptive survey of popular and academic writings on and by Filipino male homosexuals, as well as a genealogy of discourses of male homosexuality and the bakla and/or gay identities that emerged in urban Philippines from the 1960s to the present. This conceptual history engages recent events in the Philippines' sexually self-aware present, but also explores colonial history in showing how modernity implanted a new sexual order of "homo/hetero" and further marginalized the effeminate local identity of bakla. Garcia analyses several works by bakla writers and artists that narrate hybridity, appropriation, and postcolonial resistance and in their own way, enriched Philippine gay culture and the Philippines as a whole.
  • Presidential Bandwagon: Parties and Party Systems in the Philippines by Yuko Kasuya. In the wake of democratisation, one of the biggest challenges facing new governments is managing a smooth transition to democratic rule. How can newly elected governments stabilise their hold on power and consolidate democratic process? This book explores this issue by focusing on one of the most pressing issues in consolidating democracy: the stability of party politics. Applying both qualitative and quantitative analytical techniques and focusing on the case of the Philippines from a comparative perspective, the book analyses why the party system changed from a stable two-party system to an unstable multi-party system in the aftermath of democratisation in the Philippines. It also examines other issues such as patronage in elections, the pork barrel process and party organisation structure. With bibliography and index.
  • After The Romance: Communities and Environmental Governance in the Philippines by Karin L Gollin and James L. Kho. The Philippines has been a pioneer in granting communities greater involvement in managing natural resources, including forests, coastal resources and irrigation water. This book presents a collection of papers from a large review of Philippine community-based natural resource management. It focuses on the crucial role of governance in the pursuit of sustainability, with recommendation on issues ranging from property rights to compensation mechanisms, from international treaties to local multi-stakeholder bodies. With index.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Christmas Promotion 2009

We have started our Christmas Promotion at Select Books. This year, customers buying any two titles (or even two copies of one title) from a selected list of titles will enjoy a 25% discount on the second book.

While stocks last!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Book Launch: 冲出云围的朝阳

The book launch for 冲出云围的朝阳 will be held this Saturday (28 Nov 2009) at Imagination Room, National Library Board.

Date: 28 Nov 2009.
Time: 10:00am -12:00pm
Location: Imagination Room, National Library Board

The moderator and panelists for the panel discussion will be:

Moderator: Mr Lin Xingdao (Singapore media veteran)
Panelist: Dr Ong Yong Peng (academic)
Panelist: Mr Chen Keng Juan (veteran educator)
Panelist: Mr Tan Kok Siew (author)

As there is insufficient time for English presentations, the panel discussion will only be in Mandarin. However, English speakers are welcome to ask questions in English during the Q&A.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Our First Chinese Publication

Select Books is proud to announce the publication of our first Chinese book - 冲出云围的朝阳 (The Morning Sun Breaking Out of the Clouds).

It is the first book published under our new Chinese imprint 精选.

The author is ex-journalist Tan Kok Siew.

This is a novel about the life of a Hainanese family from the late Qing dynasty to the present time. In it, one follows the story of how the family survived great hardships in a poverty-stricken village in Hainan, China and found hope and future in their adopted land of Singapore.

It tells of a determined and resourceful young man who started life in colonial Singapore as a coffee-shop assistant, peddling bread and kaya on a rickety bicycle along the streets of Katong who later overcame the odds to become a successful contractor for the British colonial administration.

The author traces the difficult life the family led, especially during the unsettling days of the Japanese Occupation and the turbulent fifties. However, the trials and tribulations did not deter the third generation of the family, who found success in different pursuits around the world.

Written with a fine journalistic eye honed through a long career as a reporter in a local Chinese daily, the author brings a strong humanistic touch to this vivid and often moving portrayal of events and personalities, not just in Singapore and Hainan, but also in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Pakistan, and Canada.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Books on Chinese Overseas

Dan Feng and Ting Hway's wedding solemnisation yesterday (15 November 2009) at the Chinese Heritage Centre, Nayang Technological University, is the inspiration behind this post. Congratulations and warm wishes to them!

Whilst at the reception, I had the opportunity to pop into the current exhibition at the Centre: Chinese More Or Less: An exhibition on Overseas Chinese Identity. Conceptualised by the Centre’s former director, Ms Lynn Pan, who is herself the author of the book Sons of the Yellow Emperor and editor of The Encyclopedia of the Chinese Overseas, the theme of “Chineseness” and Chinese Identity is explored and translated into visually interesting exhibits.

So, on the theme of overseas chinese, here are some recent books we recommend:
  • Beyond Chinatown: New Chinese Migration and the Global Expansion of China edited by Mette Thuno. The papers in this volume were originally presented at the Fifth Conference of the International Society for the Study of the Overseas Chinese, held in Copenhagen, May 2004. A group of scholars from multiple disciplines convened to present new theories and empirical data about Chinese migration as well as to discuss the significance of the contemporary situation of Chinese migration compared with the historical, and in the light of China's rise today as an economic and political power.
  • Sun Yat Sen in Penang by Khoo Salma Nasution. Archival photographs and records enhance this account of the legacy and contacts in Penang of Dr Sun Yat Sen (1866-1925). When Dr Sun was banned from Japan he focused his efforts on gaining support from the Overseas Chinese for the revolutionary movement. His headquarters became 120 Armenian Street, Penang; now conserved. The Sun family lived in Penang 1910-1912 and his impact and legacy in Penang is shown in many of the educational and other buildings illustrated. With sketch map, bibliography, chronology and index.
  • The Chinese Diaspora: Space, Mobility and Identity by Laurence J.C. Ma and Carolyn Cartier. In this first book to explore the Chinese diaspora from geographical perspectives, leading scholars in the field consider the profound importance of meanings of place and the spatial processes of mobility and settlement for the Chinese overseas. They trace the Chinese diaspora everywhere it has become a significant force, from Southeast Asia to Oceania, North America, Latin America, and Europe. Providing an important historical perspective, the contributors analySe the sharp differences between sojourning Chinese prior to the 1960s and the transnational Chinese of the current era, especially in terms of spatial distribution, mobility, economic status, occupational structure, and identity formation.
  • Chinese Overseas: Migration, Research and Documentation edited by Tan Chee-Beng; C. Storey and J. Zimmerman. These 16 separately referenced papers are from the 2003 International Conference of Institutes and Libraries for Chinese Overseas Studies in which librarians, archivists, and scholars explored the often-untilled fields of resources which could reveal new knowledge of Chinese Overseas' history and ways of life. The insightful introductory paper by Wang Gungwu overviews the diverse and often personal ways by which Chinese migrations can be illuminated and understood. Subsequent papers range over the world scene and are grouped as: Research and Documentation; Sources and Documentation; and Libraries, Archives and Exhibitions. Indexed.
  • Understanding the Ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia by Leo Suryadinata, Leo. About 80 per cent of the ethnic Chinese outside China (also known as the "Chinese overseas") live in Southeast Asia. This book examines that community in the context of both national and international dimensions. It first discusses the ethnic Chinese and China, addressing the issues of migration, nationality, business success and ethnic conflict; second, Chinese cultural adaptation and various identities; and third, case studies of the Chinese in Indonesia, external actors, the state, and ethnic Chinese politics. Professor Suryadinata has written extensively on the subject of the Chinese overseas. The essays in this book were written between 1987 and 2005, and have previously been published in other books and journals.
  • Journal of Chinese Overseas edited by Ng Chin-Keong and Tan Chee-Beng et al. This cross-disciplinary journal publishes research articles, reports, and book reviews on Chinese overseas throughout the world, and the communities from which they trace their origins. Moving across regions and disciplines, the Journal examines Chineseness in its many diverse settings. With a Board of Editors drawn from fields as diverse as history, anthropology, sociology, geography, cultural studies, and political science, the Journal contributes to transnational studies, as well as the study of Chinese communities in specific national settings.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Recommended Children's Books - Nov 09

Here are some children's books with Asian themes that we recommend:
  • Chinese Cinderella: The Mystery of the Song Dynasty Painting by Adeline Yen Mah. Is she dreaming, or has Chinese Cinderella lived a previous life? Following a fall at the river town of Feng Jie, Chinese Cinderella is whisked away to hospital. There she sees a copy of an ancient painting, 'Along the River at Qing Ming'. As she lapses in and out of consciousness, she is haunted by vivid dreams that seem strange, yet somehow familiar. A tale emerges, of friendship, wealth and poverty, eunuchs and an Emperor who loved art, as Chinese Cinderella recalls a life lived eight hundred years ago during the Song Dynasty. But is it real, or all in her imagination...
  • Georgette's Mooncakes by Adeline Foo; illustrated by Lee Kowling. Two little girls find themselves caught up in the middle of an uprising in ancient China, as the Chinese revolt against their Mongol rulers. With a backdrop of mystical Chinese lanterns and monstrous Japanese kites, this story traces the origin of the Mid-Autumn Festival, weaving in the magic of mooncakes painted by one of Singapore's pioneer artists, Georgette Chen.
  • Baby Panda Finds His Way by Emily Lim; illustrated by Li Dan. This is the second book in the 'Asian Values' series, which aspires to introduce children to Asian values in an accessible and enjoyable way through simple, engaging and thought-provoking stories. In this book, Baby Panda learns about the importance of 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. The first book in the series is Water Buffalo's Reward.
  • Under The Cherry Blossom Tree: An Old Japanese Tale by Allen Say. There were eggs in every bird's nest, the air buzzed with honeybees, and cherry trees bloomed all at once. The poor villagers forgot their cares and gathered in the meadow to sing and dance their time away. But their miserly landlord refused to be happy. Mumbling and grumbling, he sat all alone eating a bowl of cherries and glaring at the merry villagers. Then, quite by accident, he swallowed a cherry pit. The pit began to sprout. Soon the landlord was the wonder of the village - a cherry tree was growing out of the top of his head! What happened to the cherry tree and to the wicked landlord is a favourite joke in Japan. Illustrator and storyteller Allen Say recounts this tale with wit and vitality, and his beautiful drawings complement this classic Japanese tale.
  • Hachiko Waits by Newman Leslea. Inspired by the true story of Hachi, the faithful dog in Japan that would wait at the train station for its master long after the man had died. This is a profoundly touching story about loyalty and devotion, suitable for readers aged 8 years and older.
  • Fatimah and Her Magic Socks by Zizi Azah Abdul Majid and Izmir Ickbal. Lively colour illustrations enhance the tale for small children of how a young girl, enpowered by the lion of her imagination, takes her journey which encourages independent thinking. The story is related to a production of Singapore's innovative Teater Ekamatra.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Tessellated Path

Dr. Rosaly Puthucheary’s first novel, The Tessellated Path, was launched on 1 November, 2009 at the Arts House as part of the Singapore Writers Festival.

Dr. Rosaly Puthucheary received her doctorate in English Literature from the National University of Singapore. Her earlier publications were on poetry: Pillow Your Dreams (1978), The Fragmented Ego (1978), Dance on his Doorsteps (1992), Footfalls in the Rain (2008) and Mirrored Mirages (2008).

In her remarks at the book launch, Rosaly said that she had started writing the novel in 1996, just as she was approaching retirement, and had completed it substantively by 2001. While writing the novel, she became conscious of the challenges faced by writers in Singapore and Malaysia. This insight helped her to formulate the proposal for her doctoral thesis, which she started in 2002. The completed thesis has now been published by ISEAS as Different Voices: The Singaporean/Malaysian Novel.

On why she had chosen “The Tessellated Path” as the title, Rosaly said that it reflected our journeys in life. Each of our journeys is “like a mosaic pattern, with happy moments and unhappy moments; uneventful periods mixed with momentous events; adrenalin-propelled actions and lethargic inactive existence.”

Responding to a question about the deliberate weaving in of the political developments of Singapore and Malaysia into her novel, Rosaly said that it was an important aspect of the novel as it provided the context for the protagonist Lisa’s journey of self-discovery. She added that it was also subconsciously a reflection of the deep emotional and psychological impact that her two brothers’ association with these political developments had had on her as well as her family.

Here are photos from the book launch:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Book Launch: The Tessllated Path

The Tessellated Path, Dr. Rosaly Puthuceary's first novel, will be launched on Sunday, 1 Nov 2009, at the Earshot Cafe as part of the Singapore Writer's Festival.

At the event, Rosaly, an English literature doctorate holder who has also previously published poetry collections with Select Books, will also launch
Different Voices: The Singaporean/Malaysian Novel. This second book focuses on the challenges that a novelist faces in the literary representation of a multilingual environment, and is published by ISEAS.

The Tessellated Path
Set is in the background of Singapore's struggle for independence, and the narrative explores the notion of predestination. Determined to live a life far removed from that of her mother's and grandmother's, the protagonist, Lisa, sets off on her own to discover a life beyond her comfort zone. In this journey of discovery, she is wrenched from her traditional mode of thinking as she confronts betrayal, homosexuality, wife-battering, murder, suicide, fraud and lechery. Interwoven with these are the historical moments which shaped the development of Singapore from a British Crown Colony to an independent nation. Although the narrative is rooted in autobiographical parallels and details, the portrayal of characters and dialogues are fictitious.

In The Tessellated Path, Rosaly has constructed an engrossing tale with allusions to the myths and legends of this region. The Vedic astrological sign, the Dragon's Tail, which hangs like a hostile force over the protagonist, becomes a metaphor for the unknown forces she must encounter to finally reach her destiny.

Do join us for the launch!