Wednesday, July 28, 2010

New Distribution Title: Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam

Pilgrimage and Faith: Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam is a new title that we distributing in Singapore for Serindia Publications.

This lavishly illustrated volume is edited by Virginia C. Raguin and Dina Bangel with F.E. Peters. It explores pilgrimage as experienced in Buddhist, Christian, and Muslim faith communities. It addresses shared goals of personal development and communal solidarity as deep human needs. Unique in scope, this richly illustrated catalogue addresses religious diversity in a global perspective.

Dating from the 12th century to the present day, ninety-five historical objects and mementos of present-day pilgrimages are beautifully presented in their context with a collection of essays by leading international scholars.

Fine examples include sculptures in wood and limestone from France and copper and bronze from Tibet, a pilgrimage itinerary book from Japan, stained glass from the Middle Ages, a Renaissance enameled chalice from Italy, a lavish embellished Quran from Iran, and Islamic prayer scrolls in silver amulet casings. By studying objects of supreme artistic skill along with mass-produced objects and personal acquisitions such as stones or soil from the holy place, the scholars shed new light on the continuity of pilgrimage and faith – the past and the present and the motivations and experiences of persons of all social strata.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

New Distribution Title: Hidden Treasures of the Himalayas

This is a new distribution title published by Serindia: Hidden Treasures of the Himalayas: Tibetan Manuscripts, Paintings and Sculptures of Dolpo by Amy Heller

In 1999, a hidden library was found in the Nesar Temple at a remote village of Bicher, in Dolpo, Nepal. It contains more than six hundred volumes of Tibetan manuscripts, ranging in date from the late 11th to the early 16th century.

This library in many ways constitutes a cultural history of Dolpo in this period thanks to some sixty volumes with historical prefaces explaining the commission of the manuscripts for the Nesar Temple, while more than one hundred other volumes have illuminations of the scenes of the life of the Buddha and episodes from the Prajnaparamita (Perfection of Wisdom) texts. These illuminations inform us about the donors, their costumes, their Buddhist rituals while the dedications tell us about the systems of patronage and donation.

Some illuminations reflect the ancient manuscripts of Tabo and Th¬oling, others reflect the sophisticated Newar aesthetic of Kathmandu and all these diverse tendencies reached Dolpo where they were appreciated.

By studying these texts within and examining the styles of the manuscript illuminations, Amy Heller was able to shed light on the history of this remote Tibetan enclave, the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayas and its artistic legacy. Th¬e manuscripts, sculptures and mural paintings discovered in Dolpo are the concrete expression of the complex economic, political, artistic and religious interactions between the people of Dolpo and their neighbours in India, Nepal, and Tibet.

In addition to the illuminations selected for publication, the reader will find in this volume a complimentary DVD that includes photographs of all volumes with historic dedications, all the illuminations and historic documents preciously conserved in Bicher village. A combination of Amy Heller’s fine contributions, beautifully illustrated photographs, and a useful and accessible DVD makes this volume an important addition to the library of every scholar, collector, and academic institution with an interest in Himalayan studies.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Launch: Growing Carnivorous Plants in the Tropics

Growing Carnivorous Plants in the Tropics, our latest publication, was officially launched at the Singapore Garden Festival, on Saturday, July 17, 2010, at Suntec Singapore. The Guest of Honour for the book launch was Dr Leong Chee Chiew, Dy CEO, National Parks Board.

Here are some photos from the launch:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Asian Literature

This post features six novels from our Asian Literature titles:
  • The Boat To Redemption by Su Tong. Disgraced Secretary Ku has been banished from the Party - it has been officially proved he does not have a fish-shaped birthmark on his bottom and is therefore not the son of a revolutionary martyr, but the issue of a river pirate and a prostitute. Mocked by the citizens of Milltown, Secretary Ku leaves the shore for a new life among the boat people on a fleet of industrial barges. Refusing to renounce his high status, he maintains a distance - with Dongliang, his teenage son - from the gossipy lowlifes who surround him. One day a feral little girl, Huixian, arrives looking for her mother, who has jumped to her death in the river. The boat people, and especially Dongliang, take her to their hearts. But Huixian sows conflict wherever she goes, and soon Dongliang is in the grip of an obsession for her. He takes on Life, Fate and the Party in the only way he knows…The Road to Redemption was awarded the Man Asian Literary Prize for 2009.
  • The Wasted Vigil by Nadeem Aslam. Marcus Caldwell, an English widower and Muslim convert, lives in an old perfume factory in the shadow of the Tora Bora Mountains in Afghanistan. Lara, a Russian woman arrives at the house one day in search of her brother, a Soviet soldier who disappeared in the area may years previously, and who may have know Marcus's daughter. In the days that follow, further people arrive at the house, each seeking someone or something. The stories and histories that unfold, intervening and overlapping, span nearly a quarter of a century and tell of the terrible afflictions that have plagued Afghanistan - and the love that can blossom during war and conflict.
  • The Wish Maker: A Novel by Ali Sethi. A brilliant, enthralling debut novel about a fatherless boy growing up in a family of outspoken women in contemporary Pakistan. Zaki Shirazi and his female cousin Samar Api were raised to consider themselves "part of the same litter". Together, they watched American television and memorized dialogue from Bollywood movies, attended dangerous protests and formed secret friendships. In a household run by Zaki's crusading political journalist mother and iron-willed grandmother, it was impossible to imagine a future that could hold anything different for each of them. But adolescence approaches and the cousins' fates diverge. Samar's unconventional behaviour brings severe consequences for her, while Zaki is sent out to discover the world for himself. It is only after years of separation from Samar that he is forced to confront the true nature of happiness, selfhood, and commitment to those he loves. Chronicling world-changing events that have never been so intimately observed in fiction, and brimming with unmistakable warmth and humour, The Wish Maker is the powerful account of a family and an era, a story that shows how, even in the most rapidly shifting circumstances, there are bonds that survive the tugs of convention, time, and history.
  • Sweet Offerings by Chan Ling Yap. Set between the late 1930s and 1960s, this is the tale of Mei Yin, a young Chinese girl from an improvised family. Her destiny is shaped when she is sent to Kuala Lumpur to become the ward and companion of the tyrannical and bitter Su Hei who is looking for a suitable wife for her son…and ultimately a grandson and heir to the family destiny. Sweet Offerings is not just a fictional story of the events that ripped one family apart, but a taste of Malaysia's historical, political and cultural changes during its transition from colonial rule to independence and beyond.
  • And The Rain My Drink by Han Suyin. First published in 1956, Han Suyin's magnificent novel about the Emergency Period in Malaya and Singapore evokes all the colour and conflict of a land where, in the late 1940s and early 50s, a bitter guerrilla war was fought between communist terrorists lurking in the Malayan jungles and British, Australian and New Zealand armed forces. With infinite sharpness and feeling, she writes about the intertwining lives of many people caught up in the clash of powerful forces - dogged, downtrodden Chinese rubber tappers, a pretty girl called Small Cloud for whom betrayal has become a way of life, and the stiff, aloof world of the British administrators and their "mems".
  • The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. At a cafĂ© table in Lahore, a Pakistani man converses with a stranger. As dusk deepens to dark, he begins the tale that has brought him to this fateful meeting... Among the brightest and best of his graduating class at Princeton, Changez is snapped up by an elite firm and thrives on New York and the intensity of his work. And his infatuation with fragile Erica promises entree into Manhattan society on the exalted footing his own family once held back in Lahore. For a time, it seems as though nothing will stand in the way of Changez's meteoric rise to personal and professional success: the fulfilment of the immigrant's dream. But in the wake of September 11, he finds his position in the city he loves suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez's own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and perhaps even love.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book Launch: Growing Carnivorous Plants in the Tropics

Growing Carnivorous Plants in the Tropics, our latest publication, will be officially launched at the Singapore Garden Festival, this Saturday (July 17, 2010) at 4pm, at Suntec Singapore.

Gathering together information and years of hands-on experience into a single book, Growing Carnivorous Plants in the Tropics provides friendly and detailed help on all aspects of growing carnivorous plants in tropical conditions similar to Singapore. The book covers:
  • case studies for growing carnivorous plants under different environments, including outdoors, indoors, and balconies;
  • cultivation of challenging temperate carnivorous plants, such as highland species, in extreme lowland conditions with little temperature fluctuation;
  • and information on different genera of carnivorous plants and essential knowledge on growing and propagating them.
The book launch will see the launch of two books that will be of great interest to tropical gardeners. The other book being launched is Tropical Gardeners’ Guide to Healthy Plants by Dr Fong Yok King. The Guest of Honour for the book launch will be Dr Leong Chee Chiew, Dy CEO, National Parks Board.

The Singapore Garden Festival will be held from 15-22 July, 2010, and will feature award-winning garden and floral designers and designs from around the world. There will also be a vibrant marketplace.

As the book launch is part of the formal Singapore Garden Festival (SGF), attendees will be required to purchase SGF tickets to attend the book launch. Tickets can be bought at Suntec on the day. We hope that you will support the book and the Singapore Garden Festival and join us there!

Friday, July 9, 2010

New Books on Business

Here is a eclectic selection of titles from our large Business section:
  • Teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurship: Building on the Singapore Experiment by Charles Hampden-Turner. Is it possible to teach someone to be an entrepreneur? Is innovation something that can be assessed and taught in a classroom? Teaching Innovation and Entrepreneurship answers these and other questions by focusing on a teaching experiment in Singapore at Nanyang Technological University, wherein classes of English-speaking Singaporeans and Mandarin-speaking students from the People's Republic of China were subjected to an 'entrepreneurial eco-system'. Extending from the west coast of the USA to Singapore and Shanghai, this programme subjects students to a wide range of activities, including a four-month business simulation game where teams of students select their favourite inventions and pitch them to real venture capitalists with the inventors present. Drawing on the lessons learned from this highly successful experiment, the book argues that not only is it possible to describe the innovative process, we can also teach it, measure it, evaluate it and model it.
  • Raffles Conversations 2009 Edition: A Collection from the Business Times. Since 1992 Singapore's Business Times has had weekly personal profile interviews with a local or international newsmaker who is in or passing through Singapore. These in-depth conversations offer interesting and sometimes unexpected insights into the style, background, management methods and personal philosophies of individuals whose names alone are often familiar. In this the fourth collection of 52 Raffles Conversations, the spectrum is wide and includes of course major names in finance, commerce and IT but also local and world figures in science, social development and the arts.
  • Talk Money by Lorna Tan. Many will welcome this straightforward discussion of many of the financial issues and problems which are commonly faced by ordinary Singaporeans. Case material is used as many basic questions and problems are dealt with. The author, a senior financial journalist, has a practical and clear approach to complicated as well as simple matters.
  • Global Business Strategy: Asian Perspective by Moon Hwy-Chang. Given the rise of Asia in the global economy in recent decades, it is important to understand the uniqueness of Asian business. This book first introduces the core strategies prevalent in Western business, and then explains how they can be applied or adapted to Asian business. When necessary, modified or new business models (as developed by the author) are utilised to better explain Asian business. Furthermore, this book deals not just with the theory, but also with practice. Several real-life case studies and examples are discussed in order to compare and contrast the Asian and Western perspectives on global business strategy.
  • The Investor's Guide to Singapore: 2009 Edition by Singapore International Chamber Of Commerce. A considerable range of information is set out in the 2009 edition of the Investor's Guide of the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce. Tables and text present background summaries on the country and its structures and way of life. Provisions which relate more directly to investment and the conduct of business, and tabulated data on the economy are clearly set out. Relevant addresses and contact details are included.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

New Distribution Title: Ladakh 1974-2008: A Photographic Homage

This is a new title that we distributing for Serindia Publications: Ladakh 1974-2008: A Photographic Homage by Jaroslav Poncar.

Ladakh 1974–2008: A Photographic Homage is a rare tribute to Ladakh, the "Land of Passes" — one of the most beloved landscapes of the Himalayas. Poncar is one of the first Westerners to travel to Ladakh when it was open for visitors in 1974. His countless trips and his love for Ladakh resulted in this retrospective collection of photographs that span more than three decades. This singular volume honours the timeless Ladakh for its proud locals and unforgettable beauty.

Beautifully illustrated, with texts by John Keay and Jaroslav Poncar's personal reflections on Ladakh and his photographs.

About the author:
Jaroslav Poncar was born in Prague in 1945. He now lives in Cologne, Germany, where he was professor at the Department for Imaging Sciences at Cologne University of Applied Science from 1973 to 2010.

His countless, photographically motivated travels have usually taken him to the Himalayas, Tibet, India, Burma, Yemen and Cambodia. For twenty years he was concerned with the photographic documentation of the early buddhist all painting in the Himalayas (Alchi, Tabo, Mustang) and Tibet (Tholing). Between 1996 and 2005 he was the deputy director of the German Apsara Conservation Project in Angkor Wat, Cambodia and during this period he performed the most comprehensive photographic documentation of the largest temple in the world.