Friday, February 5, 2010

Books on Malaysia. From Selections 99

This is a selection of books on Malaysia from Selections No. 99:
  • Ipoh: When Tin Was King by Ho Tak Ming. This considerable volume is about Ipoh's Golden Age, which began in earnest in 1884. The abundance of tin gave Ipoh more millionaires than any Malayan town. This book opens with a history of the founding of the town and goes on to discuss the roles of some of the well known sons and daughters of Ipoh - wealthy merchants, writers, councillors and war heroes - as well as the less glamorous contributions of coolies, ironsmiths, dulang washers and many others. Illustrated with black-and-white photographs. Indexed.
  • The Malaysian Indians: History, Problems And Future by Muzafar Desmond Tate. This book is an introduction to the Indians of Malaysia. It is a balanced, scholarly yet highly readable account of the origins, economic and political contributions, and continuing divisions and problems faced by this diverse community. The focus is on those who migrated or were brought to work in colonial plantations and the civil service in the late 19th and early 20th century. The book also traces the key contributions of Indian individuals and groups in the making of Malaya as well as Malaysia. With detailed notes, bibliography and index.
  • The Silent Roar: A Decade Of Change by Raja Petra Kamarudin. Prominent blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin, a.k.a. RPK, is someone whom you either love, or love to hate. Compiled from his popular website, Malaysia Today, The Silent Roar is not only a compilation of selected articles, commentaries and essays on unfolding developments and issues in Malaysia, it also features new and unpublished writing exclusive to this publication. RPK describes the vast changes that transformed the landscape of Malaysian politics leading to March 8, 2008, and its aftermath. In his characteristic candid and controversial prose, RPK takes serious aim, bringing all of his incisiveness, wit and signature exasperation to the question of why the fight for a better Malaysia has only just begun.
  • What Your Teacher Didn't Tell You: The Annexe Lectures (Vol 1) by Farish Noor. Farish A. Noor might just be Malaysia's hippest intellectual. His gifts are on full display in these expanded versions of public lectures that he delivered at the The Annexe Gallery, Central Market Kuala Lumpur in 2008 and 2009, plus a bonus chapter. Find out how 'racial difference' became a big deal in Malaysia and contrast this against the way our distant ancestors lived. Discover the hidden stories of the keris, Hang Tuah and PAS. There's also quite a bit of sex. Erudite, impassioned and often plain naughty, What Your Teacher Didn't Tell You is a stimulating plunge into aspects of Malaysia's past. More of Farish's thoughts can be found at The Other Malaysia.
  • Yasmin Ahmad's Films by Amir Muhammad. In order to deal with the grief of her passing, Amir Muhammad, fellow Malaysian filmmaker and friend, watched anew Yasmin Ahmad's six feature-length films (Rabun, Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin, Muallaf, and Talentime), as well as several of her most popular commercials. Neither an obituary nor a conventional work of film criticism, this book was written just a month after her funeral and is Amir's personal look at the stories, but with quite a few tangents of his own. Chatty and informative, Yasmin Ahmad's films can be devoured not only by established fans but newcomers to her work. It is also a tribute to one of Malaysia's most amazing daughters.

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