Monday, January 25, 2010

Books on The Philippines

Here are five books on the Philippines from our latest issue of Selections:
  • Give Jesus A Hand! Charismatic Christians: Populist Religion and Politics in the Philippines by Christl Kessler and Jurgen Ruland. This book explores the surge of Charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity in the Philippines. The authors question common perceptions of Charismatic Christians as under-privileged masses and depict the Charismatic success as a genuinely religious phenomenon, which nevertheless might have political repercussions. With notes, bibliography and index.
  • A Nation Aborted: Rizal, American Hegemony, and Philippine Nationalism by Floro C. Quibuyen. This book traces the trajectory of the Philippine nationalist movement from its inception in the late nineteenth century to its deformation and co-optation by U.S. imperialism in the early years of the twentieth century - through a genealogy of the rise and fall of the symbol of Rizal, the national hero. This revised second edition includes an expanded Chapter 10 as well as a new Chapter 11, which explores the place of Japan and America in the postcolonial consciousness. With notes, bibliography and index.
  • Philippine English: Linguistic and Literary Perspectives edited by Lourdes Bautista and Kingsley Bolton. This volume provides an overview and analysis of the role of English in the Philippines, and is composed of four parts. Part I deals with the sociolinguistic context with contributions from Philippine scholars drawn from fields such as anthropology, education, linguistics and literary studies. Part II focuses on linguistic description of the features of Philippine English. Part III deals with the literary creativity of Philippine writers in English, with chapters on colonial education, postcolonialism and nationalism, poetry, short fiction and novel, regional writers and diasporic Philippine literature. Part IV comprises a research bibliography.
  • The U.S. and the War On Terror in the Philippines edited by Patricio Abinales and Nathan Gilbert Quimpo. This collection of individually referenced essays explores the theme of the US and the "war on terror" in Mindanao, from various perspectives and levels of analysis. The topics covered include: nature and significance of the terrorist threat; history and dynamics of terrorism in the southern Philippines; the armed conflict between the Philippine government and Muslim separatists; joint US-Philippine efforts to wipe out the Abu Sayyaf; and controversy over and public perceptions of the fights against terrorism.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Golden Warisan: Books on Brunei's History

In this post, we highlight two recently published books on Brunei’s history and heritage. They are by prominent Bruneian civil servant and blogger Rozan Yunos, currently the Permanent Secretary of the Brunei Ministry of Development. The books are essentially a compilation of articles by Rozan Yunos published in the Golden Legacy, a weekly column in one of Brunei's national newspaper, The Brunei Times. The articles are on Brunei's history, culture and heritage.

The Golden Warisan Brunei Darussalam: Vol. 1. This first volume features topics on: origin of the name Brunei Darussalam; the Pengalu in Brunei history; Musabaqah Tilawatil Al-Quran; history of Brunei's newspapers; the history role of Bandar Seri Begawan; Istana Manggalela and the Sabah link; and more. With black-and-white photographs.

The Golden Warisan Brunei Darussalam: Vol. 2. The topics covered in the articles in Volume 2 include: Berjanawari: The River Regatta Festival; family relationship monikers in Brunei; the tobacco smoking tradition in Brunei; Maulidur Rasul Processions in Brunei; Awang Semaun: Tale of a Brunei Warrior; how Brunei lost its northern province; the Brunei Sultan who died in China; centuries-old Brunei weaving industry and more. There are black-and-white photographs, as well as a bibliography for Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

The Duggars: 20 and Counting! is the first book by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, the now famous couple featured on the Discovery Health Channel. Arkansas parents Jim Bob and Michelle have eighteen children, with the most recent addition to the family in January 2010. Many of us have trouble bringing up two, but they have, through a strong belief in simple principles and values, brought up their family lovingly and efficiently.

There are many useful pointers in the book about organising systems for a clutter-free home with so many children; practical financial lessons as we learn how Jim Bob and Michelle built their own business from scratch amidst finding the time (and money!) to raise a big family and to homeschool all the children; as well as how to build good and strong relationships with children.

But, for me, the biggest takeover is how the most important thing in their lives is their love for their family, and how their lives revolve around the children. The other big takeaway is how a strong values system, particularly in the values of diligence and care with spending and investing money, and resourcefulness can make a difference in all our lives.

Here’s a particularly meaningful passage from the book:
But, having gone through them [bringing up little ones] seventeen-going-on-eighteen times, we urge you to take time to enjoy these days, despite your frustrations and exhaustion. Leave the house a mess now and then, and simply spend the day playing and enjoying your children. Because here’s the truth we’ve learnt by heart: each day may pass slowly when you’re tired and weary, but the years pass quickly. Today your children are totally dependent babies; tomorrow they will be grown and gone.

One day we were driving down the road when all of our children were small and buckled in their car seats. Jim Bob looked back at all those little faces and said to Michelle, “These are the best days of our lives, and we don’t even know it!”
How true for many of us, especially those with small families. We are so busy trying to get ahead in our lives that we don’t even realise that these are the best days in our lives. And years later, we regret we had not done differently. So, cherish what you have now.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Books on Thailand

Here are 5 recent books on Thailand:
  • Divided Over Thaksin: Thailand's Coup And Problematic Transition edited by John Funston. These 13 papers were selected from those given by senior analysts from Thailand and the region at the 2006 and 2007 seminars of the National Thai Studies Centre at the Australian National University. The Coup of 2006 and other turbulent events were more or less in progress during the seminars so some of the papers have the flavour of immediacy. Among the subjects addressed are: the Constitutions of 1997 and 2007 and their impacts; the policies, fall and possible future impact of Thaksin Shinawatra, Prime Minister 2001-2006; four papers are on aspects of the ongoing insurgency in Southern Thailand; and the final three papers focus on the economy with discussion of the impact of political uncertainty on business. With much tabulated data, and index.
  • Conspiracy Of Silence: The Insurgency In Southern Thailand by Zachary Abuza. This referenced study of the sectarian-based ongoing insurgency in Southern Thailand examines the origins and nature of the increasingly deep conflict (3400 dead from January 2004 to December 2007), the seemingly confused policies of the Thai government which, in the author's view, avoid the realities of the Muslim discontent. The author shows how the present unresolved bitterness could open the country and area to international terrorist involvement and documents the damaging extent of economic decline and of Buddhists' migration from the area. With appended documents and index.
  • The Politics Of Uneven Development: Thailand's Economic Growth In Comparative Perspective by Richard Doner. A substantial and wide-ranging comparative analysis of the technological development and structural change of recent years which have been part of the development of the political economy of Thailand. Three main sectors, the sugar, textile and auto industries, are among the areas explored, and also compared with parallels in the economies of Indonesia, Taiwan, Brazil and South Korea. With graphics, bibliography and index.
  • Chronicle Of Thailand: Headline News Since 1946 edited by Nicholas Grossman et al. Chronicle of Thailand is the story of Thailand during the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Beginning on the day he was crowned, 9 June 1946, the book presents a vivid eyewitness account of Thailand's development through the major news events of the last 64 years. Offering a grandstand view of events as they unfolded - the coronation of Rama IX, the suppression of Communism, the Vietnam War era, the October 1973 uprising, economic boom, great sporting moments, cultural firsts, unforgettable tragedies - and quirky aspects of daily life that just happened to make the news. Along with a year-by-year review of the major news stories in Thailand, there is also a timeline of international events, including developments in other pasts of the region. The book features thousands of rare and fascinating pictures and illustrations, representing one of the most comprehensive photo collections of Thailand ever produced. Research sources for the book included Thai and English-language newspapers. Photographs too came from a variety of archives. Interspersed throughout are cartoons, advertisements, album covers, film posters and other visual material, that greatly enliven the 'slice of life' the book provides.
  • Thai Law For Foreigners (Bilingual English-Thai) by Benjawan Poomsan Becker and Roengsak Thongkaew. This accessible handbook to the law of Thailand contains both an English-language edition and a Thai-language edition. The English edition itself is divided into five major sections. The first introduces the reader to the history and development of Thai law, the structure of Thai government, and the Thai court system. It also explains how to choose a lawyer, Thai lawyers' ethics and how to work with lawyers and interpreters. The second section describes legal procedures for both criminal and civil matters. This is followed by a section that deals with family matters, including the legal implications of Thai citizenship, marriage, the prenuptial agreement, the wedding ceremony, making a will, and divorce procedures. The fourth part covers the law governing the needs of the resident in Thailand, such as the renting of property, car licences, and work permits. The final part focuses on visas and immigration. Includes a glossary and sample forms in Thai and English.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Books on Malaysia History and Heritage

This is a selection of 5 recent books on Malaysian history and heritage that examines lesser known areas. Click here for our large online catalogue of books on Malaysian history.
  • Penang and its Region: The Story of an Asian Entrepot edited by Yeoh Seng Guan, Loh Wei Leng et al. From its beginnings in the late 18th century, the vibrant colonial port of Penang attracted a diverse range of peoples, enabled pioneering commercial enterprises, and fomented inter-ethnic collaboration and inter-cultural borrowings. The island came to be known as the "Pearl of the Orient", and for many travellers, it was their first port of call in Southeast Asia. In the early 19th century, Singapore displaced Penang in international trade, but the island remained a major focus of regional trade. For this reason, the story of Penang's relations with the Malay Peninsula and other parts of Southeast Asia reveal a great deal about conditions within the region. This collection discusses the personal networks that have linked prominent individuals in Penang with neighbouring areas and considers the position of the island as a whole within the Southeast Asian region. Specifically, the authors write about local entrepreneurs, mutual help associations, cross-border trading and political networks, and aspects of how the cosmopolitan population of the island negotiated the transition from British colony to Malaysian state.
  • Johor: Local History, Local Landscapes, 1855-1957 by Lim Pui Huen. Archival documents, maps and photographs as well as many family albums and personal memories contribute to this treasure chest, a multi-faceted account of the history of Johor, which became e a separate entity and state in 1855. The 19th century's "opening up" is shown to have included: international export of estate agricultural production of gambier, pepper and rubber; the building of modern palaces, mosques, schools and government offices in the capital Johor Bahru (formerly Iskander Puteri) and in other towns; its own military force and Civil Service; a measure of external independence as an Unfederated Malay State; a range of sports and pastimes which included a Grand Prix; to local writers and an active Press in English and other languages; and a railway that linked Johor Bahru to Penang in 1909 and on the Causeway to Singapore in 1924. Johor's confusing experiences in the period just before, during and after the Japanese Occupation 1942-45 are seen as contributing to its role in the 1957 achievement of Malaya's political independence. With bibliography, glossary and index.
  • 13 May 1969: The Darkest Day In Malaysian History by Leon Comber. In his refreshingly insightful and sensitive work, 13 May 1969, Leon Comber offers an account of the events and influences - be they social, economic or political - which culminated in the breakdown of Sino-Malay relations, and erupted into the violent racial riots of 13 May 1969. The work has been produced for the benefit of the general public. Set out in terms the layman can understand with ease, still it manages to convey the full significance of the events, and clearly defines their place in contemporary Malaysian society. Reissue of a 1983 publication.
  • Making and Unmaking the Asylum: Leprosy and Modernity in Singapore and Malaysia by Loh Kah Seng. This book recounts the entangled stories of leprosy in colonial and postcolonial Malaya/Malaysia and Singapore, the decades of heavy-handed biomedical policies and laws enacted in the name of modernity, science and development, interwoven with the personal accounts of those who were sent to the asylums. The leprosarium was a living hell for many, and it is no coincidence that the majority of patients were poor and working-class. Yet this book also richly demonstrates how patients resisted being victims - creating new families, forging friendships, working, joining unions, and actively engaging in their communal religious and cultural lives.
  • Malaya's First Year at the United Nations, As Reflected in Dr Ismail's Reports Home to Tunku Abdul Rahman compiled by Tawfik Ismail & Ooi Kee Beng. Tun Dr Ismail (1915-1973) was Malaya's first Ambassador to the United States and to the United Nations. This is a collection of his notes to Prime Minister Abdul Rahman and speeches given 1957-58 while he was a Ambassador. These, apart from dealing with urgent issues facing the newly-independent Malaya, also offer sidelights on international issues during the Cold War period and on diplomatic life and procedures. With chronology, appended documents, black-and-white photographs, bibliography and index.