Tuesday, March 30, 2010

New Titles

These are recent titles that we have stocked:
  • The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History Of Upland Southeast Asia by James Scott. For two thousand years the disparate groups that now reside in Zomia (a mountainous region the size of Europe that consists of portions of seven Asian countries) have fled the projects of the organised state societies that surround them - slavery, conscription, taxes, corvĂ©e labour, epidemics, and warfare. This book, essentially an "anarchist history," is the first-ever examination of the huge literature on state-making whose author evaluates why people would deliberately and reactively remain stateless. Among the strategies employed by the people of Zomia to remain stateless are physical dispersion in rugged terrain; agricultural practices that enhance mobility; pliable ethnic identities; devotion to prophetic, millenarian leaders; and maintenance of a largely oral culture that allows them to reinvent their histories and genealogies as they move between and around states. In accessible language, James Scott tells the story of the peoples of Zomia and their unlikely odyssey in search of self-determination. He redefines our views on Asian politics, history, demographics, and even our fundamental ideas about what constitutes civilization, and challenges us with a radically different approach to history that presents events from the perspective of stateless peoples and redefines state-making as a form of "internal colonialism." This new perspective requires a radical re-evaluation of the civilisational narratives of the lowland states.)
  • Changing Agrifood Markets In Southeast Asia: Impacts On Small-Scale Producers edited by Larry Digal and Felicity Proctor et al. Agrifood markets are in an unprecedented state of flux, and are generating intense policy debate worldwide. The primary drivers are market liberalisation, a reduced role of the state and shifts into market-driven policy, changes in consumer preferences and purchasing power, rising energy and food prices, climate change and its implications, and the modernisation of food processing and retail itself. This book is based on the work of the Regoverning Markets Programme (2005-2008), an intensive multi-partner collaborative research and policy support programme. The Programme examines the keys to inclusion into agrifood systems under different degrees of restructuring. It works on deepening the research on implications and opportunities for small-scale producers and SMEs. It tries to understand what is the practice in connecting small-scale producers with dynamic markets and brings these findings into the wider policy arena. Overall, the programme provides strategic advice and guidance to the public sector, agrifood chain actors, civil society organisations and development agencies and approaches that can anticipate and manage the impacts of the dynamic changes in local and regional markets. While the program covers nine regions in the world, this book covers only the research done in Southeast Asia.
  • The Global Economic Crisis: Implications for ASEAN. In June 2009, the ASEAN Studies Centre of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung organised the ISEAS annual roundtable, this time on the subject of "The Global Economic Crisis: Implications for ASEAN". The roundtable concluded that the crisis had a significant impact on the region, and ASEAN needed to have a better co-ordinated approach if it was to weather the storm. The region had taken into account the fact that the developed countries like the US and the EU would take a longer time to come out of the crisis. Hence, while export-led growth policies had served the region well in the past, governments now had to adopt policies that were oriented more to the domestic or regional markets. Another conclusion of the roundtable had to do with the notion of security. The current economic crisis was considered as a new kind of insecurity. Hence, the future treatment of regional security should be reconceptualised, so that there could be better prospects of anticipating future threats from the economic realm. Lastly, the roundtable judged that ASEAN had not fully addressed the implications of the current crisis on the poor. In the light of the tendency of the crisis to push increasing number of people to become poor, ASEAN cooperation in labour and social protection needed to aim at preventing the crisis from causing further social damage.
  • Six Countries, Six Reform Models: The Healthcare Reform Experience Of Israel, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Singapore, Switzerland And Taiwan - Healthcare Reforms Under The Radar Screen edited by Kieke Okma and Luca Crivelli. This book presents the healthcare reform experiences of six small- to mid-sized, but dynamic, economies spanning the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Europe. Usually not given serious consideration in major international comparisons because of their small size, each in fact provides a fascinating case study that illuminates the understanding of the dynamics of healthcare reform. Although dissimilar in historical and cultural backgrounds, they share some important features: all faced very similar pressures for change in the 1970s and 1980s; all considered a very similar range of policy options; and all did not only discuss but actually implemented fundamental changes in their healthcare funding, organization, contracting and governance structures with strikingly different outcomes. The analytic frameworks used by the authors reflect their broad range of professional and disciplinary backgrounds in health economics and political science. Beyond mere descriptions of reform processes and superficial analyses based on aggregate data from the usual OECD or WHO sources, they seek to understand - and explain - the variations in country experiences by examining the politico-socio-economic factors driving health reform as seen through the respective country lenses.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Books on Vietnam

Here are five recent titles from our large selection of books on Vietnam.
  • Urbanization, Migration And Poverty In A Vietnamese Metropolis: Ho Chi Minh City In Comparative Perspectives edited by Luong Hy V.. This is a substantial comparative interdisciplinary study of poverty and migration in Ho Chi Minh City. The 16 specialist papers include the findings of fieldwork done mainly 1998 to 2002 in Ho Chi Minh City and in four regional areas from which migrants come. Part 1 deals with the historical contexts and research methodology. Part 2 concerns itself with migration and urbanization including the impetus to migrate and the conditions faced by migrants. Part 3 explores urban poverty including the impact of credit policies and patterns, and Part 4 sets the findings on urbanization, migration and urban poverty and transition into the Southeast Asian context. With much tabulated data, black-and-white photographs, bibliography, and index.
  • Hero And Deity: Tran Hung Dao and the Resurgence of Popular Religion in Vietnam by Pham Quynh Phuong. Hero and Deity is an eloquent and fascinating journey into the world of the worshippers and the cult of Tran Hung Dao. The legendary 14th-century hero and saviour of Vietnam has evolved as a key symbol of the nation as well as an efficacious deity in its spiritual pantheon. He is today a ubiquitous, multivalent symbol of the contradictions of contemporary Vietnamese society. Mapping the cult of Saint Tran "bottom up" and "top down" through the rituals, pilgrimages, and lives of his devotees, Pham Quynh Phuong traces and uncovers the sources of the contestations over the meanings of Tran Hung Dao/Saint Tran. Intertwined with this rich ethnography is a work of self-interrogation and engagement with the author's complex and changing "home," and with the diverse women and men - intellectuals, Communist Party cadres, and market sellers alike - whose lives are centered to a significant degree around the cult of Saint Tran and other deities.
  • Arts of Ancient Viet Nam: From River Plain to Open Sea by Nancy Tingley. Once a strategic trading post that channelled the flow of riches and ideas among countries situated along the South China Sea and places as far away as India and Rome, Vietnam has a fascinating history and an artistic heritage to match it. This lavishly produced catalogue, published to accompany an exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (September 2009 to January 2010) and the Asia Society and Museum (February to May 2010), will help introduce English-speaking audiences to Vietnam's amazing body of artwork, ranging from the first millennium B.C. to the 18th century. The authors begin by discussing, for example, the elegant burial jars, iron axes, bronze artefacts, and jewellery of the early Sa Huynh culture; the bronze ritual drums of the Dong Son; and the jewelled gold pieces, excavated from the walled center of Oc Eo in the kingdom of Fu Nan. New scholarship investigates the trade in gold and Chinese ceramics between Cham and the Philippine kingdom of Butuan. The final section is devoted to art from Hoi An, once a major international port. Of note are the ceramic wares produced in northern and central Vietnam from the 16th to 18th century.
  • 'Vietnam': A Portrait of its People at War by David Chanoff and Doan Van Toai. 2009 softback reissue of the 1986 compilation of some 50 personal reminiscences by Vietnamese civilians or combatants on their experiences during the Vietnam War. The book has become a significant landmark for anyone seeking to understand the war and its impacts on Vietnam's very diverse people.
  • Vietnam Rising: Culture and Change in Asia's Tiger Cub by William Ratliff. Vietnam, a country once known for chronic food shortages, is on the rise. At the heart of its transformation are reforms that Vietnam Communist Party officials insist merely "renovate" the economy while maintaining a commitment to socialism. What exactly are the nature and extent of Vietnam's reforms? How have the fundamental beliefs that underlie Vietnamese culture shaped its recent progress? Will Vietnam's progress continue apace? Or will the economy backslide in the face of a global financial crisis or a political and cultural backlash? East Asia historian William Ratliff examines the causes behind Vietnam's dramatic transition; assesses its legal, educational, and economic reforms; and provides insights on the further changes that must occur for Vietnam to fulfill its potential as a dynamic, emerging economy.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Myanmar: Prospect for Change

We are pleased to announce the publication of our latest title, Myanmar: Prospect for Change.

Myanmar: Prospect for Change
is a co-publication by Select Publishing, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and Yunnan University.

It is edited by Li Chenyang and Wilhelm Hofmeister. Dr. Li Chenyang is Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Yunnan University. Dr. Wilhelm Hofmeister is Regional Director of the Political Dialogue Program Asia, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung.

This volume grew out of the papers presented at a symposium on Myanmar issues, held on July 19-21, 2009, in Kunming, China, with the participation of international renowned scholars on contemporary Myanmar issues.

The papers examine the complex Myanmar situation in the areas of politics, economics, security, and social issues. The book is organised into four parts:

  • Myanmar’s internal affairs
  • Myanmar’s relations with China
  • Myanmar’s relations with ASEAN
  • Myanmar’s relations with other major powers
The multitude of perspectives provided by these acknowledged academics and commentators on Myanmar provide an in-depth look at the issues policy makers across the world have to consider in engaging Myanmar and its complexities.

The contributors are: Liu Xuecheng, Kevin Hewison, Susanne Prager Nyein, Zhu Xianghui, Derek Tonkin, He Shengda, Harn Yawnghwe, Zhai Kun, Song Qingrun, Andrew Selth, Shao Jian Ping, K. Thome, Larry Jagan, Li Chenyang, Lye Liang Fook, Fan Hongwei, Lu Guangsheng, Zou Chunmeng, Yang Baoyun, Zhang Xizhen, Lex Rieffel, Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Renaud Egreteau, Bi Shihong, David Steinberg, and Xavier Nuttin.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Books on Elections and Electoral Processes in Asia

Here are six books selected from our wide range of books on elections and electoral processes in Asia:
  • Elections in Asia: Making Democracy Work? by Simon Tay and Yeo Lay Hwee. This book explores the significance of elections and the implications for the development of democracy in Asia. Individual chapters contributed by experts and observers focus on recent elections in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Taiwan and India, while three other essays discuss the wider issues of democracy at work in Asia. The contributions discover how elections pave the way for working systems of democracy and if recent elections across the region have improved the conditions for democratic governance and the lives of ordinary citizens. The contributors also discuss the future of democracy - whether it will continue to progress in Asia, or face major setbacks. This book also looks beyond theories of democracy and the politicking to examine the rules of democracy as practised in Asian countries, and offers an assessment of the longer-term implications of elections and progress of democracy in Asia.
  • The Hidden Costs Of Clean Election Reform by Frederic Charles Schaffer. In this book, Federic Schaffer examines how tinkering with the electoral process, in an effort to "clean up" elections, can easily damage democratic ideals instead. Drawing on evidence from the Philippines as well as other countries, Schaffer investigates why citizens sometimes find themselves alienated or abruptly disenfranchised, and how election reforms have, whether intentionally or accidentally, harmed the quality and experience of democracy. These cases include anti-vote-buying civic education campaigns and voter registration reform in the Philippines, efforts to insulate voters from outside influence in nineteenth-century France, the purge of supposed felons from the voter roles of Florida ahead of the 2000 US presidential election, and debates over the reliability and security of electronic voting machines. With references and index.
  • Days of Being Wild: GE2006, Walking The Line With The Opposition by Dana Lam. An innovative approach to Singapore's 2006 General Elections and the country's electoral history is demonstrated in this well presented and unusual book. The first section, "Come On and Shout" is an account of GE2006 interwoven with apt quotations from participants and commentators that offer insights into personal, often ignored reactions and other undercurrents. The history of the Workers' Party is set out and there is a detailed diary of the Party's planning and activities until, despite an overall increase in support, only one Workers' Party member was elected on 6 May 2006. A great deal of information and tabulated data on election procedures, Singapore's political history, the course of party politics, and access to politically relevant written and Internet resources is included.
  • Old vs New Politics in Malaysia: State and Society in Transition by Francis Loh Kok Wah. These 27 thoughtful essays were written 1986-2006 in the monthly 'Aliran' by the Penang academic and political scientist Francis Loh Kok Wah. Written for non-specialists they address some urgent and/or ongoing issues. The sections are on: Politics: old and new; Elections and electoral process; Politics in Sabah; Human Rights and freedom; Ethno-religious relations; and Media, education and development.
  • Electoral Processes and Governance in South Asia edited by Dushyantha Mendis. This book contains papers presented by experts at an international conference on electoral processes and governance in South Asia organised by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies, Sri Lanka in 2002. Countries selected for study were Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The papers explore the electoral processes as they actually operate in South Asia, and discuss the reasons for the flaws in these systems and the degrees of success or failure in attempts at reform. With notes, bibliography and index.
  • Elections as Popular Culture in Asia by Chua Beng Huat. Conventional political science depicts legitimate elections as rational affairs in which informed voters select candidates for office according to how their coherently presented aims, ideologies and policies appeal to the self-interest of the electorate. In reality elections, whether in first world democracies, or in the various governmental systems present in Asia, can more realistically be seen as cultural events in which candidates' campaigns are shaped, consciously or unconsciously, to appeal to the cultural understanding and practices of the electorate. The election campaign period is one in which the masses are mobilised to participate in a range of cultural activities, from flying the party colours in noisy motorcycle parades to attending political rallies for or against, or simply to be entertained by the performances on the political stage, and to gambling on the outcome of the contest. The essays in this book analyse electioneering activities in nine Asian countries (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, India, South Korea, and Japan) in terms of popular cultural practices in each location, ranging from updated traditional cultures to mimicry and caricatures of present day television dramas. In presenting political election as an expression of popular culture this book portrays electoral behaviour as a meaningful cultural practice. As such this book will appeal to student and scholars of political science and cultural studies alike, as well as those with a more general interest in Asian studies.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

READ ASIA - Book Initiative Capsule

As part of the National University of Singapore Art Festival (NAF) 2010, held frmo Mar 05-21, 2010, the NUS Museum, in collaboration with the Industrial Design Programme at the Department of Architecture, Department of English Language and Literature, and Central Library, has put up READ ASIA.

This is a Book Initiative Capsule where design and books play a part.
The project stems from a desire to improve the built environment, and this capsule serves as a prototype mobile library and lab that promotes the culture of reading. Design and content are driven by evolving concepts of Asia, with literary imagination referencing colonial, modern and contemporary writings by Western, Asian and Singapore writers.

Select Books was approached to be one of the collaborators and we have provided the books for sale at the capsule.

The capsule is being displayed at:
NUS Centre For the Arts University Cultural Centre
50 Kent Ridge Crescent

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Executive's Journey

The Executive’s Journey: Of Making a Difference Beyond the Transient Identity, written by Wendy Ruth Tan, is a new book that we are distributing.

The Executive’s Journey has been written especially for the corporate executives who dedicate their time and energy to building their careers. In it, Wendy hopes to persuade readers to ask themselves key questions: Is there life beyond what we experience in our power suits? Is there more to wealth than just meeting your obligations and purchasing your wants?

Through this process, and through sharing her own experience, Wendy attempts to show that there is more, much more, to life. She shares with readers ideas such as the seven dimensions of wealth and the three dimensions of self awareness. The conventional notions of work, wealth and self are challenged and she takes readers on a journey in search of a lasting and fulfilling identity in the corporate executive – one of real personal power and one of making a real difference.

Wendy Ruth Tan is a full-time Executive Search Consultant in the Asia Pacific region and a part-time Sociology tutor at a local university.

Part of the sales proceeds of this book will be donated to Boys’ Town, a charitable organisation dedicated to providing guidance, shelter, education, vocational training and practical living skills to youths.

The Executive's Journey
has a Facebook group.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Meet the Author and Illustrator of Baby Panda Finds His Way

Meet the award-winning author and illustrator team of Baby Panda Finds His Way:

at Borders - Wheelock

on Saturday, March 13, 2010

from 3:00pm - 4:00pm.

Author Emily Lim and illustrator Li Dan will be there to share their thoughts on the book, and to autograph books.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Books on Martial Arts

This is a list of some of the books that we carry on martial arts:
  • Yang Style Taijiquan: Old Style: Old Six Sets, Secrets Of Internal Power Revealed by Li Hesheng. This book by renowned Taijiquan expert Li Hesheng provides an in-depth look into the Yang Style Taijiquan, including the three levels of theories and methods of Taiji internal power. Li explains the concepts and theories of Taijiquan in detail, with accompanying photographs. Eighty-seven postures are shown and explained in detail. With accompanying CD.
  • Chi Gong: The Ancient Chinese Way To Health by Paul Dong and Aristide H. Esser. The practice of chi gong, exercises designed to stimulate and control the body's vital energy, has been used in China for thousands of years to promote health, vitality and longevity. In this book, chi gong instructor Paul Dong and pychiatrist Astride H. Esser bridge the divide between Chinese and Western systems of health care, scientific methods and spiritual practices. Combining information from scientific studies with personal insights from Paul Dong's practice, the authors explain in dpeth how the cultivation of chi can be used to strengthen one's own body as well as to treat illness in others. Part historical study, part scientific investigation, and part instruction manual, this book functions as a complete survey of this healing practice.
  • Pencak Silat In The Indonesian Archipelago by O'ong Maryono. O'ong Maryono devoted a good part of his life to the study and practice of the martial arts. For eight years starting in 1979, he was the undisputed Indonesian and international champion on pencak silat. He was also the national heavyweight tae kwon do champion in the 1980s. This book is the English translation of the revised 1998 integrated study of pencak silat, the martial art found in Indonesia and other Malay societies. Pencak silat seems to have evolved in the Riau Archipelago in the 7th century and its history is traced through to the national and international associations and forces, which practise the art today. Other aspects of the martial art are considered: performance, artistic and style conventions; the spiritual dimension; the place of masters or gurus; and pencak silat's role in contemporary society. An immense amount of cooperative work has been geared into this clearly-presented study.
  • Complete Wing Chun: The Definitive Guide To Wing Chun's History And Traditions by Robert Chu, Rene Ritchie and Y. Wu. Wing Chun is a Chinese martial art popularized by the fame of the late Bruce Lee. In particular the Wing Chun of the late master Yip Man became one of the most popular martial arts in the world. Many mistakenly assume that he was the sole inheritor of the style and that his Wing Chun was the lone version of the art. In fact, there are several different and distinct systems of Wing Chun. Illustrated with over 300 historical photographs, this book presents seldom seen information on a dozen branches of Wing Chun martial art.
  • Qigong - The Xinling Lotus Way by Wang Hong Yan. This book shares the philosophy behind Master Lin Meng Xian's Xinling Lotus school of qigong. Bilingual in English and Chinese.
  • Chi: Discovering Your Life Energy by Liao Waysun. Chi is the invisible energy of life that flows in and around us throughout the universe. Used skilfully, it can have a remarkable effect on health and vitality - to the degree that you'd be tempted to call it magical, if it weren't so completely natural. Here is a perfect introduction to chi that explains in a direct and simple way what it is and why it is essential to a healthy and vital life. It provides an easy-to-understand explanation of chi, and then helps readers recognize, develop, and strengthen their own chi through specific breathing techniques and basic exercises, all demonstrated by the author. There are many books on chi development through t'ai chi and qigong practice, but this one goes deeper to enable you to understand the fundamental principles as you cultivate it. This book is a reference for alternative health professionals such as acupuncturists and shiatsu therapists and their patients, as well as for anyone who practices t'ai chi, qigong, aikido, and other chi-based martial arts.