Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Distribution Title: Asian Modernities

Asian Modernities: Chinese and Thai Art Compared, 1980 to 1999 by John Clark is a groundbreaking comparison of two contemporary Asian art cultures.

It is the first analysis that defines a space for Asian modernity without direct reference to Euramerica. Based on John Clark’s extensive primary research using vernacular written and interview materials in Chinese and Thai, Asian Modernities also develops theoretical perspectives on genealogies of modernity, and the twin phenomena of globalisation and transnational artistic identity.

This highly illustrated book combines institutional examination with a close attention to art works and to the way artists have positioned themselves through them at home and abroad.

John Clark is Professor of Asian Art History at the University of Sydney and a leading scholar on Asian art. He has given major keynote lectures in Beijing, Berlin, London, and Tokyo and organised several international conferences. His research focuses mainly on Japan, China, and Thailand, but he also has interests in modern Malaysian, Indonesian and Indian art. He writes frequently for scholarly and art world journals, and has authored and coedited five books, including Modern Asian Art (Craftsman House/University of Hawai’i Press, 1998) and Modernities of Chinese Art (Brill, 2010).

Monday, December 27, 2010

Books on Malaysian Politics

Here are five recent titles on Malaysian politics:
  • Between Umno and a Hard Place: The Najib Razak Era Begins edited by Ooi Kee Beng. These 40 articles by Penang-born writer and commentator Ooi Kee Beng were published since Jan 2009 the end of the Abdullah Badawi era. The author offers thoughtful perspectives and sharp but constructive commentary on a selection of the persistent problems and contradictions which face Prime Minister Najib and have for so long bedevilled Malaysia's progress and body-politic.
  • The Road to Reform: Pakatan Rakyat In Selangor edited by Tricia Yeoh. These 20 papers by specialists with experience in many areas of government and social issues assess the work of the Pakatan Rakyat government of the State of Selangor since it was elected in March 2008 on a reformist agenda. The authors look at the sometimes considerable changes and reforms already achieved as well as the enduring difficulties faced by the Pakatan Rakyat government in the fields of politics, economics, society and culture. A remarkable 2? years. Index.
  • Privatization in Malaysia: Regulation, Rent-Seeking and Policy Failure by Jeff Tan. In recent years, privatisation has fallen out of favour in many countries because the underlying political factors have not been well understood. This book examines Malaysia's privatisation programme, focusing on how political constraints resulted in the failure of four major privatisations: the national sewerage company (IWK), Kuala Lumpur Light Rail Transit (LRT), national airline (MAS), and national car company (Proton). It considers why developing countries such as Malaysia might want to embark on privatisation, the factors that lead to policy failure, and what is needed to make it work. It shows clearly that political motives driving privatisation often dominate purely economic considerations, and thus it is necessary to analyse privatisation within the specific country context. It argues that failure in the Malaysian case was due to political considerations that compromised institutional design and regulatory enforcement, leading to problems associated with corruption. It concludes that privatisation does not necessarily improve incentives for efficiency or enhance the finance available for capital investment, and that successful privatisation depends on the state's institutional and political capacity to design and manage an appropriate set of subsidies.
  • March 8: Time For Real Change by Kee Thuan Chye. This second 2010 edition of the 2008 collection of essays on consequences of Malaysia's March 2008 General Election results includes eleven additional papers. Forty-two Malaysians offer considered critical perspectives on problems and opportunities facing the government shaken by the Opposition's gains. The last ten papers explore "Where do we go from here?" and look ahead, with some hope and considerable gloom. Insets offer informal observations by members of the public.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Books on Indonesian Politics and Democracy

Here is a list of recent titles on Indonesian politics and democracy, following on from some of earlier lists.

Torn Between America and China: Elite Perceptions and Indonesian Foreign Policy by Daniel Novotny. Based on doctoral study, this is an investigation of the dynamics of foreign policy making in Indonesia in the post-Cold War era. The sections explore the foreign policy-making elite and its perceptions of Indonesia's national interest, of the USA, of China, of other Asian powers, and of the changing world balances. Possible future trends and trajectories are envisaged in the final chapter. With glossary, bibliography and index.

Islamism and Democracy in Indonesia: Piety and Pragmatism by Masdar Hilmy, Masdar. Most scholarly works conducted within the period of post-New Order Indonesia have underlined the fact that Indonesian Islamists reject the notion of democracy; no adequate explanation nonetheless has been attempted thus far as to how and to what extent democracy is being rejected. This book is dedicated to filling the gap by examining the complex reality behind the Islamists rejection of democracy. It focuses its analysis on two streams of Islamism: the two Islamist groups that seek extra-parliamentary means to achieve their goals, that is, MMI and HTI, and the PKS Islamists who choose the existing political party system as a means of their power struggle. As this book has demonstrated, there are times when the two streams of Islamism share a common platform of understanding and interpretation as well as an intersection where they are in conflict with one another. The interplay between contested meanings over particular theological matters on normative grounds and power contests among the Islamists proves to be critical in shaping this complexity.

Problems of Democratisation in Indonesia: Elections, Institutions and Society edited by Edward Aspinall, Edward; Marcus Mietzer. Alternately lauded as a democratic success story and decried as a flawed democracy, Indonesia deserves serious consideration by anyone concerned with the global state of democracy. Yet, more than ten years after the collapse of the authoritarian Suharto regime, we still know little about how the key institutions of Indonesian democracy actually function. This book, written by leading democracy experts and scholars of Indonesia, presents a sorely needed study of the inner workings of Indonesia's political system, and its interactions with society. Combining careful case studies with an eye to the big picture, it is an indispensable guide to democratic Indonesia, its achievements, shortcomings and continuing challenges.

Political Reform in Indonesia after Soeharto by Harold Crouch. A substantial study of political central and regional reform efforts in Indonesia after the 1998 fall of Soeharto. The focus is on: reforms in the Constitution and electoral system; regional autonomy issues; military reform and civilian control; politics, corruption and the Courts; violence in Maluku; separatism in Aceh; and the final chapter is on aspects of the unpromising contexts of much reform effort. Bibliography and index.

Understanding Islam In Indonesia: Politics And Diversity by Robert Pringle. This is a readable and comprehensive basic account of the development and nature of Islam in Indonesia. After a chapter on the background to the 13th century arrival of Islam, the next three chapters highlight aspects of the country's often-turbulent politico-Islamic history to the 1990s. The last four chapters explore the place in recent events and changes of very varied major Muslim institutions and movements including those related to terrorism and Islamic Extremism. The relevance of the country's national mythologies and the swing towards democracy are also addressed. With illustrations, directory of political parties, glossary, reading list and index.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Book Event: The Singapore Kid

The author of The Singapore Kid, Jessica Alejandro, was present at BookFest @ Singapore 2010 (held from December 10 to December 19, 2020 at Suntec) for two storytelling and book signing sessions. Many children also took the opportunity to have their photos taken with Jessica.

Here are several photos from the two sessions:

Friday, December 17, 2010

Books on Peranakan Culture and Society

This is a selection from our large collection of books on Peranakan culture, which includes books on Peranakan society, history, heritage, furniture, porcelain and more.

A Peranakan Legacy: The Heritage of the Straits Chinese by Peter Wee. Exquisite pieces, embroidered clothing, stunning gold and silver jewellery, pretty porcelain artefacts and unusual items of daily living chronicle the rich heritage of the Peranakans or Straits Chinese - a people whose unique culture is an amalgamation of Eastern and Western influences: Chinese, Malay, Indian, Indonesian, Portuguese, Dutch and British. This book captures through lavish, full-colour photographs the Peranakan's strong sense of customs and etiquette and introduces readers to their way of life.

Peranakan Chinese in a Globalizing Southeast Asia edited by Leo Suryadinata. These 12 papers are from the 2009 Singapore conference. They address varied issues as they relate to Peranakan Chinese in Indonesia, Malaysia and/or Singapore. These include: usages of the term "peranakan"; intermarriage and Chinese peranakan; socio-politico dimensions; impacts of the Colonial State; political leadership in Malaysia; the State in Indonesia; education in Singapore; Anglophone Straits Chinese and their literature; identity in Colonial society; curating Singapore's Baba House; and curating the Sun Yat Sen Penang Base. Index.

Phoenix Rising: Narratives in Nonya Beadwork from the Straits Settlements by Cheah Hwei-Fe'n. Over 200 illustrations in full colour complement this fine and comprehensive multi-disciplinary study of the distinctive beadwork done - and still being done - by nonya women of the Straits Settlements. The development and pattern of Peranakan society, the social roles and education of girls and women and the significance of nonya needlework and beadwork are the themes of Part One. Part Two looks at the history, traditions, designs and tensions of the beadwork craft and its practice. Part Three explores the place of nonya beadwork in contemporary culture, including in the ongoing revival of interest in all things Peranakan. With glossary, chronology, bibliography and index.

Peranakan Chinese Politics In Indonesia by Mary Somers. 2009 reissue of the 1964 Cornell study of Peranakan Chinese politics in Indonesia since the end of the Colonial government. After a background summary which identifies the totok ("pure") and peranakan (local-born or with "mixed" background), factors in the Chinese population, the post-1954 policies regarding citizenship issues are explored. The 1957 China-Indonesia Citizenship treaty and the implications of the ban against aliens trading are discussed. The influence of Baperki, the Consultative Body for Indonesian Citizenship, the 1960s exodus to China of "aliens" from many areas, and the background of the 1963, anti-Chinese riots are described. Ongoing (1964) tensions regarding assimilation and Indonesian views of the Chinese are discussed in the final section. Indexed on Google.

Classic Peranakan Cooking: Recipes from the Straits Chinese Kitchen. The Peranakans, or Straits Chinese, are a people whose culture is characterised by a blend of Chinese and Malay beliefs, customs and practices. Beginning with the same foundation several centuries ago, their cuisine grew and became refined with Indonesian, Thai, Indian and even colonial influences. This treasury of Peranakan recipes is compiled from MediaCorp TV12's popular cooking show, The Ways of the Matriarch. It includes quotes from the TV series, and handy cooking tips, offering an invaluable insight into the rich culinary heritage of the Peranakan community.

Peranakan Chinese Porcelain: Vibrant Festive Ware of the Straits Chinese by Kee Ming-Yuet. This extensively illustrated volume presents and discusses the colourful porcelain China export ware characteristic of Peranakan domestic culture. After an account of the 19th-century trade patterns, Peranakan history and culture are overviewed. Porcelain types and origins and the motifs, colours and symbols used are described followed by detailed accounts of the diverse products and their purposes in kitchens, bedrooms, religious rituals and social life. Changes in Peranakan culture and the regard in which the porcelain has been held are discussed. Other export wares used are also noted. With bibliography, index and many colourful photographs.

Straits Chinese Furniture: A Collector's Guide by Ho Wing Meng. One hundred colour photographs enrich this account of the fusion of Chinese Qing dynasty furniture with that of early 19th century British styles which together formed the ornate and highly usable furniture of the Straits Chinese, also known as the Peranakans. Includes pointers to dating, glossary and bibliography.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Children's Book Title: The Singapore Kid

Select Books has recently published another children’s book under its Autumn Wonders imprint: The Singapore Kid by Jessica Alejandro.

11-year-old Inn Kiat is a typical boy growing up in affluent Singapore. Like most kids, he is too witty for his age and has a short attention span. In just one month, his life becomes a rollercoaster ride of fun, quirks, intrigue, suspense, sadness and ultimate strangeness!

Pressure from school, tuition and demanding parents causes him to harbour many secrets. Some secrets help him pursue his dreams while others, he learns, are best not to keep.

About the Author
Jessica Alejandro is an English creative writing teacher, tutor and writer. She has been teaching publicly and privately for over 10 years. She has written six English Model Composition books (for Primary 1 to 6), which were published and reprinted by EPH.

Her constant exposure to kids has made her aware that “kids say the most candid stuff!” Jessica feels that children in Singapore need a voice and it will be waste if no one puts their thoughts, dreams and aspirations down into writing.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Book Event: Once a Zookeeper

The second event we had over the weekend was at the Singapore Zoo, where we had a talk and book signing session by the author of Once a Zookeeper on Sunday (5 December).

Francis shared with the audience his experiences as a zookeeper and the process of writing his book of poetry.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Book Event: Salted Fish

We had two events over the weekend for books that we are distributing.

The first was at Kinokuniya on Saturday (4 December), where there was a story-telling and meet the author and illustrator session for Salted Fish, a children's book published by the National Art Gallery, Singapore.

Author Yeo Wei Wei spoke about the inspiration for the story – a famous painting by artist Cheong Soo Pieng. Illustrator Ye Shufang also spoke about how she conceived the initial sketches for the characters in the stories, and how the final illustrations evolved.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Books on North Korea

This is a selection of titles with a particular focus on North Korea:
  • Nothing to Envy: Real Lives in North Korea by Barbara Demick. North Korea is Orwell's 1984 made reality: it is the only country in the world not connected to the internet; Gone with the Wind is a dangerous, banned book; during political rallies, spies study your expression to check your sincerity. After the death of the country's great leader Kim Il Sung in 1994, famine descended, and Nothing to Envy - winner of the 2010 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction - weaves together the stories of adversity and resilience of six residents of Chongin, North Korea's third-largest city. From extensive interviews and with tenacious investigative work, Barbara Demick has recreated the concerns, culture and lifestyles of North Korean citizens in a gripping narrative, and vividly reconstructed the inner workings of this extraordinary and secretive country.
  • The Korean War 1950-1953: The Full Story with First-Hand Accounts of the Forgotten War by Brian Catchpole. In June 1950, the North Koreans invaded South Korea. With the horrors of the Second World War still fresh in everyone's minds, US President Truman was reluctant to intervene, but within two weeks, American troops were in action as part of a UN task force. They were soon joined by military personnel from Britain, Canada, Australia, and a dozen other nations, facing 1.3 million Chinese soldiers who poured across the Manchurian border in support of North Korea. Thus began a three-year struggle that saw the world teeter on the brink of a Third World War. Now, sixty years on, Brian Catchpole provides a clear view of the conflict often referred to as "The Forgotten War".
  • North Korean Reform: Politics, Economics and Security (Adelphi Paper No. 382) by Robert Carlin and Joel S Wit. While foreign policy and security concerns have trumped past efforts to reform the North Korean economy, Pyongyang is implementing important economic reforms despite renewed tensions with the United States. This is in response to a leadership debate - between 'reformers' and 'conservatives' over whether Pyongyang's military industrial complex should be scaled back to help ensure the success of reforms - that is fundamentally transforming the country. The direction of these developments reflects strong pro-reform forces in the leadership and could have profound implications for the future of national security policy. But internal struggle over reform could lead to indecision on security and foreign policy issues, including at the nuclear talks. Whether Washington can influence the debate is unclear, but a US policy of engagement could enhance the chances of success for North Korean advocates of reform.
  • The Future of US-Korean Relations: The Imbalance Of Power edited by John Feffer. US relations with North and South Korea have been characterized by profound asymmetries of power and perception which in recent years have led to increased tensions among the three countries. Bringing together twelve prominent experts on US-Korean and US-Pacific relations, this book explores the many dimensions of current and future US foreign policy. Charting new developments in North and South Korea, the contributors examine US-Korean relations through such prisms as nationalism, the media, regional relations and human rights issues. In relating the downward spiral in US relations with the Korean peninsula, the book provides an analysis that runs counter to conventional interpretations, and offers clear and balanced policy recommendations for remedying the crises.
  • Under the Loving Care of the Fatherly Leader: North Korea under the Kim Dynasty by Bradley K Martin. This book offers in-depth portraits of North Korea's ruthless and bizarrely Orwellian leaders, Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il. North Koreans have been indoctrinated from infancy to follow unquestioningly a father-son team of despots. Lifting Pyongyang's curtain of self-imposed isolation, this book takes readers inside a society that to an outsider may appear to be from another planet. This fascinating, comprehensive work of history and reportage takes advantage of source material that has only recently become available (some from archives in Moscow and Beijing) to bring the reader up to date on the tensions of today. More than a decade in the making, this book will for years to come, define a Spartan and stubbornly enigmatic society.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

New Distribution Partner: Art Post Asia

We are pleased to announce that Select Books has been appointed by Art Post Asia as their exclusive distributor in Singapore.

Art Post Asia is a publishing and design group producing beautifully photographed books with compelling narratives on Asian art and culture, heritage and living traditions and contemporary aspects of lifestyle and design in and around Asia.

Their books cover special interest areas from the different places in Asia, portraying the natural environments, its peoples, and their treasured heritage.

Here we feature three of their publications:

Foodlore and Flavors: Inside The Southeast Asian Kitchen by Tan Su-Lyn.

Foodlore and Flavors takes you on a street-to-kitchen gastronomic tour around the 10 countries of Southeast Asia. With essays and contributions from 14 international culinary experts from the participating countries of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar,
Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam, this is the first ever publication to focus exclusively on the cuisines of all 10 member nations which make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), while delving into the cultural significance of the region’s culinary folklore and traditions.

With a clear and highly visual approach, this book will serve as a key resource for authentic Southeast Asian recipes as well as an understanding of the cultural role that food plays in this part of Asia. Country contributors for this book include some of the region’s culinary experts and internationally known food writers like: Her Royal Highness of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Princess Norodom Marie Ranariddh; Malaysian food expert and TV personality, Chef Wan; Philippine television producer and cookbook publisher, Michaela Fenix Makabenta; Ms. Jasmine Taib of Brunei Darussalam; and Indonesian food writer, Sri Owen.

Southeast Asian Art and Culture: Ideas, Forms And Societies by Aurora Roxas-Lim.

The diverse cultures of Brunei
Darussalam, Cambodia,Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines,Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam, the 10 countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) individually present unique artistic forms and expressions that closely interface with their history, society, and religion.

This book shows art and culture across Southeast Asia drawing from similar and yet diverse local mythical and religious beliefs, cultural traditions and cycles of migrations, trade, and political change.

Zhangzhou Ware Found in the Philippines: “Swatow” Export Ceramics From Fujian 16th-17th Century by Rita C. Tan.

Ceramics produced in the kilns in Zhangzhou region of Fujian province of China in the 16th and 17th centuries have been popularly known to the western scholars and collectors as “Swatow ware.”

The arrival of the European maritime traders in the 16th to 17th centuries opened up a new horizon in China’s trade with the foreign countries. The affluent European market became the main focus of Chinese potters in Jingdezhen, the biggest ceramic producing center in China. Zhangzhou “Swatow” ware produced in Fujian during this era was more to meet the demand of the neighboring countries in Asia. With the abundance of local finds of this group of ware in the Philippines, this publication serves to prove that faced with a new trading scenario in the region, the Philippines continued to be a thriving market of China’s ceramic trade like she used to be in the Song and Yuan dynasties or 11th to14th centuries.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Books on Public Administration and Policy Making

These are recently published books on public administration and policy making in Singapore:
  • Management of Success: Singapore Revisited edited by Terence Chong, Terence. This major collection of essays on 2010 Singapore would enable a comparison of present with past if compared with the similar 1989 ISEAS volume. The 32 specialist essays address in some depth, and often in trenchant or critical terms, pretty well every area of Singapore life and public policy. Index.
  • Road to Recovery: Singapore's Journey through the Global Crisis by Sanchita Basu Das. Singapore had been one of the nations severely affected by the 2008-09 global financial and economic crisis. The city-state came under pressure through the financial, trade, and confidence channels. To counter these shocks, Singapore policymakers undertook unprecedented monetary and fiscal policy measures. They subsequently charted a revival strategy that would help the country emerge stronger after the crisis. These all-encompassing policies together with the global economic recovery in 2009 helped the city state bounce back faster and stronger than many other regional economies. This book provides an insight into the events that occurred during the crisis and Singapore's successful navigation to economic recovery.
  • The Media, Cultural Control and Government in Singapore by Terence Lee. This book explores this inherent contradiction present in most facets of Singaporean media, cultural and political discourses, and identifies the key regulatory strategies and technologies that the ruling People Action Party (PAP) employs to regulate Singapore media and culture, and thus govern the thoughts and conduct of Singaporeans. It establishes the conceptual links between government and the practice of cultural policy, arguing that contemporary cultural policy in Singapore has been designed to shape citizens into accepting and participating in the rationales of government. Outlining the historical development of cultural policy, including the recent expansion of cultural regulatory and administrative practices into the 'creative industries', Terence Lee analyses the attempts by the Singaporean authorities to engage with civil society, the ways in which the media is used to market the PAP's policies and leadership and the implications of the internet for the practice of governmental control. Overall, The Media, Cultural Control and Government in Singapore offers an original approach towards the rethinking of the relationship between media, culture and politics in Singapore, demonstrating that the many contradictory discourses around Singapore only make sense once the politics and government of the media and culture are understood.
  • Public Administration Singapore Style by Jon S.T. Quah. This substantial and clearly organised account of Singapore's public administration discuss its history and present structure and the general context of its work in government departments and statutory boards. The nature and rationale for government policy on salaries, corruption, recruitment and some of the resolved and unresolved problems of the last 50 years are discussed. Both basic principles likely to be generally applicable and problems and solutions likely to be peculiar to Singapore and the PAP style are highlighted. With tabulated data, glossary, bibliography and indexes.
  • Singapore Perspectives 2010: Home.Heart.Horizon by Tan Tarn How. These 14 papers are from the 2010 Singapore Perspectives annual conference of the Institute of Policy Studies. This year's theme was Home.Heart.Horizon. It followed the now-traditional pattern of being a meeting of Singaporeans' positive and negative thoughtful assessments of Singapore's ongoing development.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Books on Christianity in Asia

Here is a list of selected titles from our collection of books on Christianity in Asia:
  • Christianity and the State in Asia: Complicity and Conflict edited by Julius Bautista, Julius and Francis Khek Gee Lim. Christianity is one of the most rapidly growing religions in Asia. Despite the challenges of political marginalisation, church organisations throughout much of Asia are engaged in activities - such as charity, education and commentary on public morality - that may either converge or conflict with the state's interests. Considering Christianity's growing prominence, and the various ways Asian nation states respond to this growth, this book brings into sharper analytical focus the ways in which the faith is articulated at the local, regional, and global level. Contributors from diverse disciplinary and institutional backgrounds offer in-depth analyses of the complex interactions between Asian nation-states and Christianity in the context of modernisation and nation-building. Exploring the social and political ramifications of Christian conversions in Asia and their impact on state policies, the book analyses how Christian followers, missionaries, theologians and activists negotiate their public roles and identities vis-à-vis various forms of Asian states, particularly in the context of post-colonial nation-building and socio-economic development.
  • Biomedical Ethics and the Church: An Introduction by Roland Chia. An introductory exploration of Christian perspectives on issues of bioethics which increasingly face individuals, medical practitioners and researchers, administrators and makers of public policy as well as pastoral counsellors. Part 1 explores theological foundations for bioethics. Part 2 looks at current issues in healthcare, life and death decisions, human genetics and research of various kinds and Part 3 considers bioethics and the role of the Church including in public ethics.
  • Christianity in Asia by M. C. Andrews Kutty. The author of this study of Christianity in Asia teaches religious studies and philosophy at Alagappa University. The wide-ranging account discusses Christianity as a world religion and its social sources and history. Japanese and Chinese expressions of the religion and other ongoing and recent trends are set into their political, social and also philosophical contexts. Index.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Books on Human Rights in Asia

This is a selection of books on human rights in Asia:
  • Gender-Based Violence During the Khmer Rouge Regime: Stories of Survivors from the Democratic Kampuchea (1975-1979) by Kasumi Nakagawa. This publication is based on findings from research into gender crimes during the Khmer Rouge regime, first conducted in 2006 by the Cambodian Defenders Project, a human rights NGO based in Phnom Penh. This second edition includes additional information collected by 200 Cambodian students as part of a Gender Studies course at Pannasastra University of Cambodia. The text is organised according to: Forced Marriage and Marital Rape; Rape; and Other Sexual Assaults.
  • Human Rights Constitutionalism in Japan and Asia: The Writings of Lawrence W. Beer by Lawrence W. Beer. Lawrence Ward Beer (b. 1932) has been a close observer of Asian linkages among law, politics, culture, and national security issues over fifty years. His perspectives have been refined during long residence in Asia, especially Japan, by substantial friendly interactions with Asian legal scholars, judges, and attorneys involved in the world of human rights constitutional law. This volume brings together a selection of Lawrence W. Beer's many works previously published in diverse venues, but no longer easily accessible. The collection opens with a review of constitutionalism in Asia, and the United States and concludes with a recent examination of Japan's rejection of war: "Japan's Constitutional Discourse and Performance". By way of Afterword, the author offers an in-depth review of "Globalization of Human Rights in the 21st Century".
  • 20 Years Defending Human Rights by Kua Kia Soong. Suara Rakyat Malaysia, usually known as SUARAM has since 1989 worked to promote human rights in Malaysia. This is a careful account of its aims and activities. Included are details of: the early years 1989-94; the 1995 Stop Bakun Dam campaign; the 1996 Asia Pacific Conference on East Timor; the Asia Pacific People's Assembly 1998; Save the Sungai Selangor, Police the Malaysian Police and anti-ISA campaigns; and efforts to promote refugee needs and local democracy. Annual Reports 1988-2009 are summarised and present challenges discussed.
  • Tortured Beginnings: Police Violence and the Beginnings of Impunity in East Timor by Human Rights Watch. This Human Rights Watch report documents instances of police abuses against detainees and members of the public in East Timor since 2002. The non-accountability in discipline and inadequate training of the new police force is made evident. The report stresses the urgent need for appropriate remedial action before abuses are institutionalised. Urgent recommendations are made to the local authorities, the United Nations, Australia and Britain as well as other concerned parties and donors regarding the need for training, well-understood codes of conduct, and disciplinary and accountability procedures without which impunity will take over peace.
  • China: The Truth About Its Human Rights Record by Frank Ching. A small, fact-filled and incisive book of information about China's human rights record by a senior China- experienced analyst. Degrees of progress as well as great grimness are noted.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

New Distribution Titles: Two Books on Art

Select Books was recently appointed as the exclusive distributor in Singapore for these two beautiful books on art:

Agus Suwage: Still Crazy After All These Years. Still Crazy After All These Years is a much-anticipated monograph of the career and works of Agus Suwage, the great leading light in contemporary art in Indonesia.

Edited by Enin Supriyanto, this beautifully designed tome is a comprehensive documentation of Agus Suwage's work over the past three decades, compiling existing and newly commissioned writing on the artist.

It aspires to be as huge, wonderful and crazy as the artist's own output, while being fantastically light to carry and post. A must for contemporary art enthusiasts - sure to be a collectors' item!

This epic book project is produced in conjunction with the artist’s 20-year survey exhibition sharing the same name, featuring essays written by curators and writers from 1995 – 2009 that have accompanied Suwage’s various solo exhibitions at home and abroad, as well as newly commissioned writings by respected names from Indonesia’s literary and academic world.

The contributors include : Adeline Ooi, Agung Hujatnikajennong, Aminudin TH Siregar, Asikin Hsan, Enin Supriyanto, Hendro Wiyanto, Jim Supangkat, Karim Raslan, Ko Matsunaga, Nirwan Ahmad Arsuka, Patrick D. Flores, Puthut EA, Rizki A. Zaelani, Seng Yu Jin, St. Sunardi, and Sudjud Dartanto.

WORKING is a project by 10 leading contemporary Malaysian artists in association with RogueArt. It is a book about the events that take place in an artist’s studio and the thinking behind the artistic process. What exactly does an artist do? Where does he or she work? What materials do they use? What are the problems an artist faces when making a work? What goes on in their head when they are making work? This publication explores the working processes of 10 local practitioners and their relationship with their respective working environments through a series of interviews and artists’ self-documentation, recording their individual progress of making of a specific work for the project.

WORKING features lead portraits of the artists by regionally acclaimed photographer Tara Sosrowardoyo and interviews by Chai Chang Hwang, Nur Hanim Khairuddin, Adeline Ooi and Beverly Yong.

This publication hopes to communicate the experience of making art through the perspective of some of Malaysia’s most exciting practitioners.

The WORKING artists are: Ahmad Fuad Osman, Ahmad Shukri Mohamed, Ahmad Zakii Anwar, Chong Siew Ying, Hamir Soib, Jalaini Abu Hassan, Kow Leong Kiang, Raja Shahriman Raja Aziddin, Ramlan Abdullah and Yee I-Lann.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Distribution Partner: Areca Books

We are pleased to announce that Select Books has been appointed by Areca Books as the exclusive Singapore distributor for two of their recently published titles.

Areca Books is a rapidly-growing niche publisher based in Penang, Malaysia. A number of their publications are pioneering works in trans-local history, cultural heritage and environment. Their books are well-researched and richly-illustrated, appealing to popular readers as well as academic researchers of Malaysia and Southeast Asia. We are therefore very pleased to have been appointed as their distribution partner in Singapore.

Hail Penang! Being The Narrative of Comedies and Tragedies in a Tropical Outpost, Among Europeans, Chinese, Malays, And Indians by George Bilainkin was first published in 1932. George Bilainkin was the editor of the Penang newspaper The Straits Echo. Through a series of engaging sketches and reflections he discloses a wonderfully compelling portrait of Penang, its personalities and its environs. Looking beyond the complacent colonial facade Bilainkin grapples directly and indirectly with a wide range of topics that have strikingly modern echoes: the absurdities of social snobbery; the position of women in society; and the fraught nature of race relations. This edition has a new foreword by Ilsa Sharp, and offers an original, engaging and provocative glimpse of colonial society that is sure to engage a new generation of readers.

The Sara Saga is a memoir that traces the remarkable life of Manicasothy Saravanamuttu: cricket-loving student at Oxford during the Great War, fearless editor of Penang's English-language newspaper The Straits Echo, resilient internee during the Japanese Occupation, influential diplomat-at-large during the height of the Cold War, and trustworthy confidant to the great and the good. "Sara" as he was known to all, was a witness and participant in the making of modern Asia.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Books on China's Military Security

This is a list of books on China’s military security:
  • Chinese Air Power: Current Organisation and Aircraft of all Chinese Air Forces by Yefim Gordon and Dmitriy Komissarov. This is the first book in English to present full details and colour photographs of the organisation, power, and aircraft of all China's air forces - now the third largest in the world. Maps, charts, colour photographs, and tables show the extent and pattern of organisation, communication and command, inform and identification, training patterns, distribution of naval and air force, aircraft, bomb and missile armament, and notes on bases and test establishments.
  • Fortifying China: The Struggle to Build a Modern Defense Economy by Cheung Tai Ming. Fortifying China explores the titanic struggle to turn China into an aspiring world-class military technological power. The defense economy is leveraging the country's vibrant civilian economy and gaining access to foreign sources of technology and know-how. Drawing on extensive Chinese-language sources, Tai Ming Cheung explains that this transformation has two key dimensions. The defense economy is being reengineered to break down bureaucratic barriers and reduce the role of the state, fostering a more competitive and entrepreneurial culture to facilitate the rapid diffusion and absorption of technology and knowledge. At the same time, the civilian and defense economies are being integrated to form a dual-use technological and industrial base. In Cheung's view, the Chinese authorities believe this strategy will play a key role in supporting long-term defense modernisation. For China's neighbours and the United States, understanding China's technological, industrial, and military capabilities is critical to the formulation of economic and security policies. Fortifying China provides crucial insight into the impact of China's dual-use technology strategy. Cheung's "systems of innovation" framework considers the structure, dynamics, and performance of the defense economy from a systems-level perspective.
  • A Military History of Modern China: From the Manchu Conquest to Tian'anmen Square by Peter Worthing. War and the military have played central roles in shaping modern Chinese history, as the consequences of war and defeat, in both internal and external conflicts, have largely determined the course of history in China, especially in the period since the rise of the Manchu dynasty in the 17th century. Understanding the military history of China is, therefore, essential to an understanding of the Chinese state that is now emerging as a 21st-century military and economic power. Organised chronologically, this book is divided into three sections designed to reveal the manner in which war and the military have influenced the course of Chinese history. The first section is on imperial China, and it underscores the importance of war in China by dealing with the Manchu conquest and military rule over China, the developing technology gap between China and the West, the devastating defeats at the hands of Western powers in the 19th century, and early attempts at military reform and modernisation. The second section explores Republican China era, tracing important military reforms that gave rise to a revolutionary movement, the overthrow of the monarchy, and attempts to establish a democratic republic. The third section focuses on People's Republic of China, and reveals the critical role of the military and warfare in the period after the Chinese Communist Party came to power. The book also includes a section on modern military reform, acquisition of military technology, and relations with Taiwan.
  • The Chinese Army Today: Tradition & Transformation for the 21st Century by Dennis J. Blasko. This comprehensive study of the modernization efforts of the Chinese military focuses on the ground forces. In 1999, the military modernization programme of the Chinese People's Liberation Army that had been underway for 20 years accelerated and achieved a focus not seen in the previous two decades. Based primarily on Chinese sources, this book details the changes and key developments implemented since 1999 and puts them in the context of the many traditions that still remain. First-hand observations and three decades of military experience enable the author to draw disparate threads from official Chinese statements, documents and media reports into an integrated whole. This volume defines what forces make up the People's Liberation Army and examines in detail ground force organization and structure, personnel policies, doctrine and training, new equipment entering the force, and missions routinely undertaken in support of society.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Here are recent additions to our collection of titles on Malaysia:
  • Malaysia's Foreign Policy, The First Fifty Years: Alignment, Neutralism, Islamism by Johan Saravanamuttu. This overall account of Malaysia's foreign policy 1957-2007 is based on groundbreaking study and interviews with major players over some years. It brings into focus some of the uncertainties and pressures from which the country's present international standing or diplomacy has emerged. Policy changes and uncertainties, the stamp of major personalities, policies of neighbouring countries and global powers, and the pressures of religious and economic change are discussed, with clarifying graphics and systematic referencing. With bibliographic, glossary, and index.
  • Privatization In Malaysia: Regulation, Rent-Seeking And Policy Failure by Jeff Tan. In recent years, privatisation has fallen out of favour in many countries because the underlying political factors have not been well understood. This book examines Malaysia's privatisation programme, focusing on how political constraints resulted in the failure of four major privatisations: the national sewerage company (IWK), Kuala Lumpur Light Rail Transit (LRT), national airline (MAS), and national car company (Proton). It considers why developing countries such as Malaysia might want to embark on privatisation, the factors that lead to policy failure, and what is needed to make it work. It shows clearly that political motives driving privatisation often dominate purely economic considerations, and thus it is necessary to analyse privatisation within the specific country context. It argues that failure in the Malaysian case was due to political considerations that compromised institutional design and regulatory enforcement, leading to problems associated with corruption. It concludes that privatisation does not necessarily improve incentives for efficiency or enhance the finance available for capital investment, and that successful privatisation depends on the state's institutional and political capacity to design and manage an appropriate set of subsidies.
  • I, Too, Am Malay by Zaid Ibrahim. 2010 English edition of the thoughtful 2009 Malay account of the life and ideas of Zaid Ibrahim (b. 1951), lawyer, former UMNO leader and briefly in 2008, Minister of Law. Part I discusses many aspects of his 23 years' involvement with UMNO and the hegemonistic trends which led to his sacking in December 2008. There are thoughtful insights into ongoing issues. Part II traces his career from its beginnings in a Kelantan kampong and shows how his commitment to Islam, the law and to human needs has developed. In Part III, many recent issues are explored, including the fate of the judges sacked in 1988, fascism, communism and liberty in the contemporary scene, the future of Malays and interesting comments on Malay and non-Malay leaders in Malaysia. With photographs.
  • Islamization and Activism in Malaysia by Julian Lee. Islamization and Activism in Malaysia examines aspects of the increasing political and social profile of Islam in Malaysia and describes how different kinds of activists in Malaysia have sought to protect fundamental liberties and to improve the state of democracy in Malaysia. In particular, focus is paid to activists who engage with electoral process, the law and the public sphere, and in particular, to movements that cut across or combine these realms of action. Spanning the period of the Prime Ministership of Abdullah Badawi, Julian C.H. Lee's grounded analysis examines the most important issues of that period including the freedom of religion case of Lina Joy, the Islamic state debate, and events surrounding the 8 March 2008 general elections.
  • Ethnic Relations and Nation Building: The Way Forward edited by Maya Khemlani David and James Mclellan. Most of these 13 papers by social scientists of different disciplines were given at the 2008 conference at the University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur. Based on research or experience in Malaysia, and also in Thailand and Myanmar, many problems of nation-building are addressed and also related to everyday situations and forward planning. The papers are grouped as dealing with: the search for National Identity, using work done in Malaysia; Ethnic Identity of Minorities, using work done in: Burma with Rohingya, Karen and Shan-related minorities; with Hill Tribes in North Thailand; with children of Bidayuh-Indian marriages in Sarawak; and with Malaysian Indians. The third section on National Integration explores several of Malaysia's areas of ethnic sensitivity and perceptions of otherness - including politeness (and or its opposite) in the Malaysian Parliament. Index.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Asian Nature and Ecology Titles from Selections 103

Selections 103, the latest issue of our catalogue of new titles has just been released.

These are a few of the titles on Asian nature and ecology from the catalogue:
  • A Selection of Plants for Greening of Waterways and Waterbodies in the Tropics by Jean W.H.Yong and Tan Puay Yok et al.. This book is the fruit of cooperative efforts by specialists concerned in different ways with plant life in the waterways of Singapore. Plants can of course add great beauty to running or still waters but they can also remove some of the pollutants, improve water quality, facilitate maintenance of water sites and adjacent land, and provide wildlife habitats and useful products. Informative data, with hundreds of colour photographs give information and guidance on plant selection and zonation, the types of water plants, and botanical usage data on some 250 plant species. With references and bibliography, glossary, botanical and general indexes.
  • The Ecology of Tropical East Asia by Richard Corlett. Tropical East Asia is home to one billion people and faces massive human impact from its rising population and rapid economic growth. It has already lost more than two-thirds of its forest cover and has the highest rates of deforestation and logging in the tropics. The relentless trade in wildlife products threatens all its large and many smaller vertebrates. Despite these problems, the region still supports an estimated 15-25% of global terrestrial biodiversity and is therefore a key area for conservation. Effective and efficient conservation action at the local and regional levels depends on an understanding of the ecological patterns and processes in the region, but information is currently scattered among a large number of elusive publications in several different languages. The Ecology of Tropical East Asia is the first book to describe the terrestrial ecology of the entire East Asian tropics and subtropics, from southern China to western Indonesia. It deals with plants, animals, and the ecosystems they inhabit, as well as the diverse threats to their survival and the options for conservation. This book provides the background knowledge of the region's ecology needed by both specialists and non-specialists to put their own work into a broader context. The accessible style, comprehensive coverage, and engaging illustrations make this advanced textbook an essential read for senior undergraduate and graduate level students studying the terrestrial ecology of the East Asian tropics, as well as an authoritative reference for professional ecologists, conservationists, and interested amateurs worldwide.
  • Photographic Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand by Merel Cox, Peter Paul Van Dijk et al.. This is the 2010 edition of the 1988 photographic pocket guide to the snakes and other reptiles of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. Two hundred and twenty of the area's 325 known species of snakes, lizards, crocodiles and turtles are illustrated with colour photographs and information on size, identifying characteristics, distribution, attitude, habitat and scientific names. Advice on locating, identifying, recording and photographing specimens found, and thoughtful discussions of conservation and protection issues and of snakebite are part of the text. With glossary, reading list and index.
  • Natural History Drawings: The Complete William Farquhar Collection - Malay Peninsula 1803-1818 with essays by John Bastin and Kwa Chong Guan. For the first time ever, 477 drawings of the flora and fauna of the Malay Peninsula commissioned by William Farquhar when he was the British Resident and Commandant of Melaka from 1803 to 1818, are published in one volume. Covering a wide spectrum of species - comprising plants, birds, mammals, reptiles, invertebrates and fish - the evocative paintings were rendered in brilliant watercolour by Chinese artists who employed both Chinese and Western painting techniques. Authoritative essays by John Bastin and Kwa Chong Guan provide insight on the background of the drawings and of Farquhar himself. This volume is a colourful and fascinating record of the flora and fauna in the Malay Peninsula over a century ago, and is a must-read for anyone with a keen interest in the natural history of the region.
  • A Field Guide to Reptiles of South-East Asia by Indraneil Das. This impressively presented field guide gives scientific information on all the recorded reptiles of mainland Southeast Asia and the islands of Greater Sunda. Some 700 species are presented with colour illustrations and identification details. The full listings of 1000 species of crocodiles, turtles, lizards and snakes include local and scientific names, habitat, distribution, status and physical data for each species. With practical advice on snakebite, bibliography, glossary, Internet listings and index.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Select Books, the tourist destination!

Over the years, in addition to being acknowledged as a specialist on Asian books, Select Books has also acquired a modest reputation as a tourist destination in Singapore. Here are several reviews:
  • In the Things to Do in Singapore section of nileguide. Help to rate us there.

Monday, October 4, 2010

We are pleased to announce that we have been appointed by National Library Board, Singapore as the distributor for a number of their publications.

Here, we feature three of the titles:

Singapore: The First Ten Years of Independence 1965 to 1975. Covering the first 10 years of nation building, Singapore: The First Ten Years of Independence is a guide that focuses on the Republic of Singapore’s first Cabinet, the key ideas and the major personalities who helped shape a nation. Starting with the challenges that the Prime Minister and his Cabinet faced at the point of independence in 1965, the guide looks at the key transformations that took place in the nation’s security, economy and society over the decade that followed, at the same time casting an eye on the individual ministers who worked together to oversee these remarkable changes. The guide includes a resource list of speeches and newspaper articles from the period, as well as a selection of oral history interviews, audiovisual materials and further reading.

Aksara: The Pasage of Malay Scripts. The written form of the Malay language has gone through several phases of adoption and adaptation. This publication, in English and Malay, traces the evolution of the Malay scripts revealing the extensive interactions between the Malay community and other civilisations. The Indianisation period saw the Malays using and adapting Indian scripts. With the coming of Islam, the Malays adopted the Arabic script. Subsequently after the European conquest, romanised script was introduced.

Zheng He and Maritime Asia. Published as a companion to the Zheng He and Maritime Asia exhibition, Zheng He and Maritime Asia chronicles the development of China’s maritime history before the Ming dynasty, with its beginning in the Tang dynasty, through the Song and Yuan dynasties. Filled with colourful photographs and illustrations, the thread-bound book takes readers through the establishment of the Ming dynasty and Emperor Yongle’s ascent to the throne, as well as the birth of famed Chinese explorer Zheng He and his rise to Grand Eunuch. Accompanied by interesting details and little-known facts about the maritime trade, Zheng He and Maritime Asia offers a captivating insight into the building of the treasure fleet and ancient Chinese shipbuilding and navigation techniques, including the use of navigation chart and water compass.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Salted Fish

We posted recently about our appointment as the exclusive distributor in Singapore and Malaysia for The National Art Gallery, Singapore (TNAG)

Among serious publications about art, TNAG will also be embarking on an ambitious children’s book publications programme. Their first children’s book has just been published.

Salted Fish is the first title of the Dreaming Art Series, which celebrates the enduring legacy of Asian artists through the creation of new art in picture books. For each title, a writer and an artist/ illustrator work together to produce a story featuring an iconic work of art.

Featured artworks, beyond serving as inspiration, come to life through fresh new interpretation and response. The series aims to provide fun and engaging avenues of introducing art to children. With every book, we aim to reach out to new audiences and enrich their connection with Asian writing and visual arts.

In Salted Fish, Lynn visits the National Art Gallery for the first time with her favourite toy Cotton Bunny. Both of them notice a funny smell in one of the rooms, and it seems to be coming from one of the paintings! What will they find when they look more closely? Come along with Lynn and Cotton Bunny as they embark on an unforgettable journey!

In conjunction with the launch of the book, there will be a Children’s Book Party to be held at the Singapore Art Museum on Saturday, October 2, 2010.

The programme includes story-telling performances, interactive art activities and admission to the exhibition.

Admission fee: $35 for a child and an accompanying parent. Each additional adult pays $12. The admission includes a pre-autographed copy of Salted Fish as well as a colouring book based on the artworks of the pioneer artist Cheong Soo Pieng.

Children's Book Party: Salted Fish
Date: Saturday, 2 October 2010
Time: 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Venue: Singapore Art Museum, Glass Hall)
Suitable for Children ages 4-7.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hike It! Singapore River

We are pleased to announce the publication of the latest title in our Autumn Wonders imprint: Hike It! Singapore River.

This is the second book in the Hike It! series of walking guides, which is supported under the National Heritage Board’s Heritage Industry Incentive Programme.

Featuring beautiful illustrations, and written in the form of an explorer’s journal, the Hike It! series will appeal to Singaporeans, tourists and expatriates alike and will be the perfect gift for families, the young and the young-at-heart. The walking trails in the Hike It! series have been carefully designed so that readers can experience the historical and cultural aspects of Singapore while having a great time.

This second book features the Singapore River area. The recommended walks in the book will take readers through and describe in very absorbing details places such as The Old Parliament Building, the Asian Civilisation Museum, Clarke Quay, Lim Bo Seng Memorial and lots more.

The first book in the series, Hike It! Bras Basah & Waterloo, was published in August 2009 (more on the book here, and about the book launch here), and received praise from many reviewers:

Packed with interesting facts and activities, it is a great way to experience and learn more about Singapore’s history and heritage. Fun and educational!
- Simply Her

Here’s a cool little walking guide...Have fun walking, bonding and gaining a better insight of our country at the same time!
- Singapore’s Child

Combine reading with activity via this guide’s treks of Bras Basah and Waterloo and write-ups on monuments. For parents and kids looking for shared activities to do.
- The Sunday Times

Author Chan Chi Ling is a very talented young writer, with her own blog at:

We are confident that this second book will receive similar praise and be an attractive resource for anyone interested in Singapore’s heritage.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Books on Social Issues in Asia

This is a list of recent additions to our collection of books on social issues in Asia:
  • Sex, Love and Feminism in the Asia Pacific: A Cross-Cultural Study of Young People's Attitudes by Chilla Bulbeck. 'Sex, love and feminism' are three aspects of the rapidly changing gender relations that shape young people's lives in the Asia Pacific region. Much has been written about rapidly changing countries in Asia, most recently China and India. With the global spread of capitalist production and neo-liberal ideologies, the claim that the rest of the world's women are treading the path to enlightenment and development forged by women in the West has been revived. This book explores that contention through a comparative analysis of the attitudes of young middle class urbanites in ten countries: the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, India, Indonesia, China and Vietnam. Drawing on detailed empirical research, the study describes and compares attitudes towards the women's movement, sexual relations and family arrangements in the countries considered. It explores young peoples' image of feminists and what they feel the women's movement has achieved for women and men in their country. The book discusses young people's attitudes to controversial gender issues such as role reversal, sharing housework, abortion rights, same sex sexual relations, nudity and pornography. Through a comparative analysis of the gender vocabularies by which young people understand gender issues, the book highlights the role of differences in history, culture, economics and political leadership.
  • Women's Movements in Asia: Feminisms And Transnational Activism edited by Mina Roces and Louise Edwards. Women's Movements in Asia is a comprehensive study of women's activism across Asia. With chapters written by leading international experts, it provides a full overview of the history of feminism, as well as the current context of the women's movement in 12 countries: the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Japan, Burma, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Korea, India and Pakistan. For each of these countries the manner in which feminism changes according to cultural, political, economic and religious factors is explored. The contributors investigate how national feminisms are influenced by transnational factors, such as the women's movements in other countries, colonialism and international agencies. Each chapter also considers what Asian feminists have contributed to global theoretical debates on the woman question, the key successes and failures of the movements and what needs to be addressed in the future.
  • Social Cohesion in Greater China: Challenges for Social Policy and Governance edited by Ka Ho Mok and Yeun-Wen Ku. This book critically examines the issues and challenges of social development faced by societies in Mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, with particular reference to the major strategies these societies adopt to promote social cohesion and civil harmony in the context of globalisation. It focuses on people who have been socially marginalised by the Asian financial crisis in 1997, and examines the measures Greater China has adopted to balance economic growth with social development. The book will be of interest to readers who wish to know more about societies in Mainland China, and the effects of globalisation.
  • Poverty and Social Protection in Indonesia edited by Joan Hardjono, Nuning Akhmadi et al.. This book consists of papers that present the findings of research done by the SMERU Research Institute in Jakarta, Indonesia. Most describe the effects on the poor of the Indonesian economic crisis of 1997-98 and the response of the Indonesian government in the form of a Social Safety Net consisting of poverty mitigation programs. With the gradual recovery of the economy after 2000, the Indonesian government began reducing subsidies for fuel products and has channelled budgetary savings into a new series of targeted social protection and poverty alleviation undertakings that include unconditional cash transfers. The effectiveness of Indonesia's poverty alleviation programmes has, however, been reduced by the difficulty of targeting beneficiaries accurately because of a lack of reliable, up-to-date poverty figures. In many instances unsuitable targeting methodology has been compounded by bad governance at the local level, while the introduction of regional autonomy, accompanied by the decentralisation of authority to the district level, has formed a further complicating factor.
  • Myth of the Social Volcano: Perceptions of Inequality and Distributive Injustice in Contemporary China by Martin King Whyte. Is popular anger about rising inequality propelling China toward a "social volcano" of protest activity and instability that could challenge Chinese Communist Party rule? Many inside and outside of China have speculated, without evidence, that the answer is yes. In 2004, Harvard sociologist Martin King Whyte has undertaken the first systematic, nationwide survey of ordinary Chinese citizens to ask them directly how they feel about inequalities that have resulted since China's market opening in 1978. His findings are the subject of this book.