Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Sound Recollections: ‘Apache over Singapore’ by Joseph C. Pereira

Apache over Singapore by Joseph C. Pereira is subtitled ‘The story of Singapore 60s music’. The first of 2 books, Volume 1 covers the first five years of the decade which saw the local music scene reach a level of activity unparalleled before or since. Bands like The Quests and The Jets vied for places on the Singapore and Malaysia pop charts alongside The Beatles. Major labels like Philips and EMI were snapping up local bands to recording contracts. Even an act with no recorded output, Ronnie & The Burns, could sell out a concert at the Singapore Conference Hall.

Author Joseph C. Pereira devotes individual chapters to major acts of the period, and serves up an encyclopedic document on the bands and musicians: from the stories behind their formation and dissolution, to the respective discographies and even shows and tours undertaken. Being a latter period band member himself, Pereira is able to offer insights on the sounds and methods of the day. While the movement was undoubtedly catalysed with a plethora of bands imitating The Shadows, there was no shortage of creativity and experimentation as the musicians developed beyond simple party shows. New sounds and technologies were eagerly adopted, like the fuzzbox (as used by the Rolling Stones) and 16 track recording equipment (this at the time when the Beatles were recording on 4 track). For an idea of the proficiency of the time, consider Jimmy Appudurai (Meltones, Motif) commenting on his guitar tone: ‘I used a 1962 or 1963 Strat and the studio’s Dynachord amplifier…A clean split sound, from the bottom toggle switch, mixed in between the last 2 pickups.’

As the stories of the bands unfold, so too is a picture of Singapore society woven indelibly as backdrop. This was still Singapore the exotic third world port of call, a cauldron of British colonial expatriates, American personnel on R&R from Vietnam, and seafarers unleashed on shore leave. Within the local populace, gangsterism, communism and racial friction would soon rupture the fragile social fabric. As Patrick Seet of the Echo Jets recalled, trouble makers sometimes showed up at gigs and caused bloody fighting on the dancefloors, and for the intimidated bands, ‘the only thing we could do was to keep on playing’.

Emerging too from the narrative are reminders of a bygone era, where youths flocked to Sunday Tea Dances, and movie theatres such as the Lido and now defunct Capitol hosted live band and variety shows. This in part sustained the demand for beat bands, which would fill nightclubs and venues like the Singapore Badminton Hall and National Theatre in a way the present-day Esplanade Theatre would surely wish. It consequently made Singapore an exporter of performers to the regional entertainment circuits in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Vietnam, a mantle since assumed by the Philippines.

Reading between the lines, one is struck by a sense of excitement and possibility in the air at the time. Consider the story of The Flying Phantoms: a jamming band which took an on-looking schoolboy as singer - within several months of formation they were performing on national television! And those who think the Asian consumer market is a contemporary phenomenon may reflect that, back in the sixties, local bands were having their string backing tracks recorded in Holland, while The Crescendos, fronted by Singapore’s first teen superstar Susan Lim, was charting in the Philips International Top Ten alongside The Four Seasons and Dusty Springfield.

More than just a memento for nostalgic aficionados, Apache over Singapore serves up loads of fascinating anecdotes while enhancing our peripheral vision of a pivotal period in Singaporean history. Groovy indeed.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Books on Globalization

Here are several recent titles addressing the challenges and opportunities of globalization in various fields:

Asian Cities: Globalization, Urbanization and Nation-Building by Malcolm Mckinnon. Asian Cities challenges Western paradigms of urban growth with a fresh and stimulating look at cities in developing Asia. It questions the status accorded globalisation in explaining contemporary Asian cities, arguing instead that they are being transformed by three major forces - urbanisation and nation-building as well as globalisation. The latter two are not dependent variables of globalisation, although all, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries, are shaped by capitalism. The book reaches beyond the usual focus on metropolitan centres to examine urban life in a sample of middle-sized cities representative of hundreds of such urban centres throughout the Asian continent. An introductory chapter outlines the arguments and introduces the sample cities. Chapters two and three explore two principal facets of urbanisation: the material transformation that comes in its train and the impact that it has on the lives of the newly-urbanised. Chapters four to seven explore the way that the national framework shapes cities - including business enterprises, migrantion, travel and commercial popular culture. In a final chapter the book surveys likely trends in Asian cities over the next quarter century and considers the implications of the study for our understanding of globalisation generally.

Globalization: Power, Authority, and Legitimacy In Late Modernity by Antonio L. Rappa. Second 2011 edition of this exploration of the nature and impact of profound changes which are taking place in today's world of late modernity. The pivotal impact in Asia of US patterns neo-liberalism is overviewed and analysed often with reference to Singapore. The chapters look at: money, terrorism, culture, norms and values, technology and population, and war. Bibliography and index.

Fluidity of Place: Globalization and the Transformation of Urban Space by Naoki Yoshihara. Fluidity of Place presents an interdisciplinary conversation with theories of space-time, place and globalization at the cutting edge of social theory. Focussing on the construction of urban space in the context of hyper-mobility, Yoshihara examines the social relations that form place in a globalized world. The first half of the book discusses globalization theory and looks at place in relation to the fluidity brought about by recent technological advances. The second half details the construction of understandings of Asian mega-cities, particularly Jakarta, and examines the realities behind narratives of overurbanization in light of globalization and the concomitant fluidity of place. Yoshihara makes a compelling argument about the competing claims to place in a world where the nation-state has lost control of its borders.

The Poor under Globalization in Asia, Latin America and Africa edited by Machiko Nissanke and Erik Thorbecke. Globalisation and poverty are two of the most pressing contemporary international development issues. Despite the enormous potential of globalisation to accelerate economic growth and development, through greater integration into the world economy, the spread and transfer of technology, and the transmission of knowledge, its impact on poverty reduction has been uneven and even marginal in some regions. Both the prevalence and depth of poverty in many parts of the developing world remain unacceptably high. This volume presents thirteen studies selected from the three regional conferences organised under the auspices of UNU-WIDER. They illustrate the differential effects of globalisation on growth, inequality, and poverty in Asia, Latin America, and Africa. Distinct processes of institutional and socio-political change, as well as significant differences in initial conditions, such as natural resource endowment, the quantity and quality of human capital, institutional framework, and the quality of governance, have had diverse effects on the poor in these regions. Focusing on distinct manifestations of globalisation and their affect on poverty, these case studies cover the spectrum from broad macroeconomic regional and country analyses to micro-oriented village studies in each of the three continents. This volume clearly illustrates that the impact of globalisation on poverty is extremely context specific, reflecting the heterogeneous and complex nature of the globalisation-poverty nexus.

Tort, Custom, and Karma: Globalization and Legal Consciousness in Thailand by David M. Engel and Jaruwan S. Engel. Changing perceptions of the interrelationship of injury, legal process and negotiation, and religious relevance by people in a changing area of Northern Thailand are explored in this socio-legal study. The book includes two detailed case studies, field observations in the mid-1970s and again in the 1990s, as well as court records of industrial accident claims. The authors indicate that there is a pattern in which the law is seen to be increasingly remote from what actually happens or is perceived by those injured or otherwise involved.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Books on Asian Art

These are five recent additions to our well-regarded collection of Asian Art titles:

Mongolian Buddhist Art: Masterpieces from the Museums of Mongolia - Vol.1 Thangkas, Appliques And Embroideries Part 1 And 2 edited by Zara Fleming and J. Lkhagvademchiq Shastri. Mongolian Buddhist Art: Masterpieces from the Museums of Mongolia presents for the first time 441 masterpieces of Mongolian Buddhist art from five major Mongolian museums: the Bogd Kahn Palace Museum, the Choijin Lama Temple Museum, the Zanabazar Museum of Fine Arts, the Erdene Zuu Museum and the Danzanravjaa Museum. Selected by the Centre for Cultural Heritage in conjunction with the curators of the participating museums, these pieces were chosen for their religious and historical importance, their aesthetic and technical quality, their uniquely Mongolian characteristics and their rarity. Volume 1: Thangkas, Appliqués and Embroideries is divided into eight chapters - encompassing within these three media the visual realms of the Buddhas and his disciples, mahasiddhas, Indian, Tibetan, and Mongolian scholars, previous reincarnations, yidams, dakinis, protectors and sacred architecture. Although constrained by the rules of Buddhist iconography and strongly influenced by Tibetan art, the Mongolians have succeeded in creating many works that are uniquely Mongolian, a highly expressive and vibrant tradition that can be seen in this volume. Dating from the late 17th to the 20th century, these examples provide rich materials for the present and future studies of Buddhist art and its heritage in Mongolia. This very substantial volume is itself divided into two separate parts and sold in a slip case.

Uncommon Wisdom: Works by Chng Seok Tin from 1966-2011. This catalogue of Chng Seok Tin's works was published in conjunction with an exhibition held at the Nayang Academy of Fine Arts in 2011. Chng Seok Tin (b. 1946) studied art in Singapore, UK, France and the US. Her works include drawing, painting, collage, mixed media, textile, photography, ceramic, sculpture and installation. She has held 25 solo exhibitions and participated in more than 100 group exhibitions in Singapore and abroad.

Sanyu: Catalogue Raisonné Oil Paintings: Volume Two by Rita Wong. Sanyu (1901-1966) was a Chinese artist from Sichuan province who lived and died in Paris. Integrating traditional Chinese aesthetics with Western modernist tenets, Sanyu has created a unique painterly language that is all his own. Dedicated to discovering as much as possible about Sanyu, the author has interviewed Sanyu's friends and gathered records pertaining to Sanyu's life. This is the second volume of her catalogue, which in addition to listing Sanyu's works, attempts to construct Sanyu's life in the form of an extended chronology.

Sequenza: Ho Chee Lick's New Ink Work edited by Teo Han Wue. This catalogue of Ho Chee Lick's (b. 1950, Singapore) works was published in conjunction with the exhibition Sequenza held at the Art Retreat Museum. It showcases the remarkable work of a contemporary Singapore artist working in an ancient traditional medium. Includes essays by Stephen Adiss, Low Sze Wee, Choy Weng Yang and Wang Zineng.

Negotiating Home, History and Nation: Two Decades of Contemporary Art in Southeast Asia 1991-2011. Assembling over 70 works from Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam, this exhibition showcases the visual brilliance and conceptual purpose of recent Southeast Asian practice. Providing regional comparisons, it illuminates the common themes, aesthetic approaches, and conceptual tendencies that have surfaced since the early 1990s. Commonalities coming to the fore include story-telling, the meshing of idea and visual seduction, and a belief in art-as-social-voice. Arguing for a view of the region's visual production on the region's terms, the curatorial references used to contextuatise the pieces are mined in Southeast Asian history, geography, and culture. The exhibition proposes the confluence of recent political history, profound social shifts, and artists' confidence vis-à-vis their deep-rooted cultural baggage as significant to the creation of the visually potent and conceptually original art of the last two decades.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Distribution Title - The Mythical Emblems of Gragodon Part 1

The Mythical Emblems of Gragodon, Part 1 is a fantasy-adventure epic novel. Far into the future, the Earth has undergone many cataclysmic upheavals. A new breed of humans inhabit the world with other evolved life-like forms. A struggle for supreme power ensues, which results in the famed mystical Gragodian Emblems being recalled from their secret sanctuaries. In this volatile setting, three young prices from their respective realms are charged with the task of coming together to battle the machinations of the evil perpetrators. Will any or all of them fall by the wayside in their quest to overcome the evil of the times.

About the Author

Venkataraman Gopalakrishnan is an ex-banker. He currently grooms primary school students for the Olympiad Mathematics Examinations in Singapore. Eight entertaining years have already passed in the conceptualization and near- completion of this trilogy and the last part will come to a close in the coming months. An erstwhile avid reader himself, Gopal nowadays puts in much time in writing his books. He lists J.R.R. Tolkien’s unique style of writing and the portrayal of his magical characters.

Gopal found inspiration for his first novel while doing a series of character sketches about an imaginary plot on a coach trip home from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore. His interest eventually took flight and he now takes to writing with fervent zeal. The author currently resides in Singapore.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Here are five new distribution titles:

Five Blessings: Coded Messages in Chinese Art by Estelle Nikles Van Osselt. This gorgeously produced book reveals the hidden meaning behind motifs in Chinese decorative arts. When any Westerner looks at Chinese art, it is immediately apparent how much the depiction of animal and plant life differs from its American or European equivalent. This exceptional world teems with flowers, trees, birds, fish, shellfish, and insects, mixed with fantastic creatures or figures taken from legend and mythology. Various motifs can appear together in one scene, and if the viewer understands the language, the images are charged with symbolism. This absorbing study explores the rich symbolic language of exquisite works in ceramic, jade, lacquer, glass, and silk from the world-renowned Baur Collection. With bibliography.

Tracing the Past, Drawing the Future: Master Ink Painters in the Twentieth-Century China by Yang Xiaoneng. This substantial volume examines a crucial turning point in the development of Chinese ink painting in the twentieth century, a change represented by the beautiful and innovative work of four artists, Wu Changshuo (1844-1927), Qi Baishi (1863-1957), Huang Binhong (1864-1955), and Pan Tianshou (1897-1971). With careers spanning over a century of radical change in China, these artists were instrumental in propelling the ancient tradition of Chinese ink painting into the modern era in the face of compelling Western influences. As a group, their work represents an alternative approach to questions of relevance and modernity. This lavish book illuminates the context in which these artists worked, describes their overall contribution to the history of Chinese art, and highlights their individual ideas and achievements. In his introductory essay, Xiaoneng Yang offers a brief historical background for the evolution of modern Chinese painting. Richard E. Vinograd analyzes the "alternative modernism" represented by these artists, each of whom worked in the brush-and-ink idiom, confronted the shift toward practices of the West, and gave new life through this confrontation to cherished traditions. Essays devoted to each artist are followed by individual entries discussing their works. Featuring more than one hundred works of both painting and calligraphy by the four artists, the book, which is published to accompany a traveling exhibition, also includes a glossary, an index and detailed bibliography.

Wood Sculpture in Nepal: Jokers and Talismans by Berrand Goy and Max Itzikovitz. In the 1980s, enigmatic wood masks, similar to those worn by Siberian and Eskimo shamans, began to appear in Parisian galleries that specialized in exotic art. Only the customary red wax affixed to the objects indicated that their origin was in fact Nepal. Art lovers, fascinated by the masks' expressions and the thickness of patina, enthusiastically began to collect them, though they were still shrouded in mystery. In this beautifully photographed book, Bertrand Goy and Max Itzikovitz set out to uncover the history of the masks and to determine their place in Nepalese culture. The authors also investigate western Nepal's unsophisticated, anthropomorphic wood sculptures, which can be seen today in temples, on bridges, and on the outskirts of villages. No one knows if these are protective effigies or tribute to divinities from an antiquated religion. With an insightful text and striking imagery, this book attempts to pull back the veil on one of the world's most cryptic art forms. With bibliography.

On Marginal Spaces: Artefacts of the Mundane by Peter Benz. This photo essay book is a whimsical contemplation about the things that we don't notice in our environment. Born of a quest for beauty, profundity and recurrences, Peter Benz's photographs and essays about urban objects and spaces are of especial interest to researchers of visual culture, urban studies, architecture, photography, design, art and philosophy. With bibliography.

Chinese Posters: The Iish-Landsberger Collections by Stefan Landsberger and Marien Van Der Heijden. Opening with a brief introduction to the history of graphic arts propaganda in China, this volume presents the posters chronologically, illustrating the change in subject matter following seismic changes in China's history and development. These posters are a valuable record of China's challenges and fears as well as a reflection of its cultural mores, and are a legitimate and fascinating aspect of China's artistic history.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Books on Porcelain

This is a selection of our large collection of books on porcelain:

Symbols On Chinese Porcelain: 10,000 Times Happiness by Eva Strober. The decorative details on Chinese porcelain are admired especially for their striking beauty, but the symbolic language hidden within them is less well-known in the West. From the very beginning until today Chinese culture has encompassed an enormous wealth of symbolic motifs, not only as ceramic decorations but also in painting, on textiles and varnished objects. Motifs bringing good luck like colours and numbers, mythical beings, animals and plants represent the striving for cosmic harmony, health and beauty, a long life, wealth, a happy marriage and numerous male descendents. The intellectual playfulness and the pleasure of deciphering are traditionally an important element of the appreciation of art in China. This publication shows around 80 masterpieces spanning 1000 years. They belong to the internationally significant collection of Chinese ceramics at the Keramiekmuseum Princessehof, the Dutch National Museum of Ceramics. The 'hidden' meanings of these objects' symbols have been explained and interpreted for the first time. An indispensable reference book that not only presents the most important and interesting Chinese porcelain objects from the Princessehof collection, but also constitutes a 'handbook' of Chinese symbols and visual imagery.

Chinese Porcelain.  This compact hardback offers high quality illustrations of single exampes of Chinese porcelain artefacts of different styles and periods. Provenance details and a short note accompany each of the 100 or so articles from different sources or collections.

Iznik Pottery by John Carswell. Some of the greatest glories of Ottoman art are the luxurious ceramic vessels and splendid tiles made to decorate newly founded mosques and palaces by the Turkish pottery at Iznik (ancient Nicaea). Their designs combine purely Turkish motifs with elements ingeniously transposed from imported Chinese blue-and-white porcelain. This book tells the story of Iznik ceramics through a wealth of illustrations, including 83 colour and 25 black-and-white and line illustrations. Most of the pieces are drawn from the world-famous collection of the British Museum. With index.

Mounted Oriental Porcelain in the J. Paul Getty Museum (Revised Edition) by Gillian Wilson. Beginning in the Middle Ages Europeans mounted exotic objects such as oriental porcelain in settings of precious or semiprecious metal as a tribute to the rarity and value of the pieces. At the beginning of the eighteenth century, it became increasingly fashionable in Parisian society to decorate the interiors of houses with Far Eastern materials such as lacquer and mounted porcelain. The marchands-mercier, the merchants of the luxury markets, devised settings of silver, gold, and gilt bronze, many examples of which are in the collection of the Getty Museum and illustrated in Mounted Oriental Porcelain. In this revised edition, thirty-two items are catalogued, ranging in date from 1665 to 1785. Gillian Wilson, curator of decorative arts at the Getty Museum, provides commentary on each object, along with information on marks, provenance, exhibitions, and publications. The introductory essay is by the late Sir Francis Watson, who was director of the Wallace Collection in London and surveyor of the Queen's works of art.

Ethereal Elegance: Porcelain Vases Of The Imperial Qing - The Huaihaitang Collection edited by Peter Lam Y.K. This exhibition catalogue, published by the Art Museum, showcases a total of 143 pieces of imperial porcelain vases of the Qing dynasty, selected from the Huaihaitang Collection of the world-renowned collector, Mr. Anthony K. W. Cheung. Production of porcelain reached its peak in the Qing dynasty. While inheriting tradition, the Imperial Factory of Jingdezhen also revealed its creativity and refined ceramic technology. This catalogue features an array of such masterpieces, highlighting the fine craftsmanship and the extravagance of the imperial collection. With slipcase.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Books on Education in Asia

This is a selection of books on education in Asia:

Education as a Political Tool in Asia edited by Marie Lall and Edward Vickers. This book offers a fresh and comparative approach in questioning what education is being used for and what the effects of the politicisation of education are on Asian societies in the era of globalisation. Education has been used as a political tool throughout the ages and across the whole world to define national identity and underlie the political rationale of regimes. In the contemporary, globalising world there are particularly interesting examples of this throughout Asia, ranging from the new definition of Indian national identity as a Hindu identity (to contrast with Pakistan's Islamic identity), to particular versions of nationalism in China, Japan, Singapore and Vietnam. In Asia education systems have their origins in processes of state formation aimed either at bolstering 'self-strengthening' resistance to the encroachments of Western and/or Asian imperialism, or at furthering projects of post-colonial nation building. State elites have sought to popularise powerful visions of nationhood, to equip these visions with a historical 'back-story', and to endow them with the maximum sentimental charge. This book explores all of these developments, emphasising that education is seen by nations across Asia, as elsewhere, as more than simply a tool for economic development, and that issues of national identity and the tolerance - or lack of it - of ethnic, cultural or religious diversity can be at least as important as issues of literacy and access. Interdisciplinary and unique in its analysis, this book will be of interest to scholars of political science, research in education and Asian Studies.

Education Reform in Singapore: Critical Perspectives edited by William Choy and Charlene Tan.  Many ongoing developments in the world of educational theory and practice are considered in these 15 thoughtful essays on the processes of reform and reevaluation of Singapore's education system at present taking place. Eight papers deal with institutional reform, three with school leadership and teacher development and three with organisational management.

Education in Vietnam edited by Jonathan London, Jonathan.  Vietnam is a country on the move. Yet contemporary Vietnam's education system is at a crossroads. Rapid economic growth has permitted rapid increases in the scale and scope of formal schooling, but there is a prevailing sense that the current education system is inadequate to the country's needs. Sunny assessments of Vietnam's achievements in the sphere of education have given way to a realisation that the country lacks skilled workers. Some have even spoken of an "education crisis". These are not abstract concerns. What is occurring in Vietnam's education system today has broad implications for the country's social, political, economic, and cultural development. Featuring contributions from scholars and policy analysts from within and outside Vietnam, Education in Vietnam addresses key issues pertaining to the political economy of education, the provision and payment for primary and secondary education, and the development of vocational and tertiary education.

Education, Economy and Identity: Ten Years of Educational Reform in Thailand by Audrey Baron-Gutty and Supat Chupradit.  This IRASEC study of educational reform in Thailand is based on field study mainly in the North of the country and focusses on the changes and reforms which have followed the 1999 National Education Act. Chapter 1 on curriculum implementation uses data collated by Chiang Mai University. Ethnic minorities and identity/cultural tensions are then discussed. The pattern and intergration of vocational and technical education and the role of local "Fix It Centres" are then exposed. Then the potentials and possibility of implementing "co-op education" at tertiary level are raised. The final critique calls for the implementation of fundamental rethinking and changes to enable firm patterns of "co-op education" to meet the needs of "knowledge-based" society. Bibliography and glossary.

The Changing Role of Schools in Asian Societies: Schools for the Knowledge Society by Kerry J. Kennedy and John Chi-Kin Lee.  Walk into a classroom in Tokyo, New York, London or Rotterdam, and the similarities in structure, activity, purpose and style will outweigh differences in language, dress and ethnic characteristics. Learning is regulated and rationed, teaching is a process or one-way transmission of knowledge, students need to be docile and conformist, assessment needs to sift and sort the bright from the not-so-bright, and rewards will be given to those who successfully negotiate this regime. But are these the kinds of places that can meet the needs of the 'net generation'? This volume is concerned with the debate about the nature of modern schooling in Asia. Traditionally schools are historical constructions reflecting the social, economic and political needs of the societies that invest in them. As Asia faces the challenges posed by the 'knowledge economy', its schools have taken on a new and quite different importance. This informative book outlines the broad policy contexts in which these transformations are taking place and the practical strategies that are needed to meet this objective. The authors argue that the future of Asian societies depends on a transformation that requires a fundamental restructuring of schools as we know them while maintaining their long-held cultural values. This book provides an overview of educational issues in Asian societies, establishes a broad theoretical framework in which these issues can be understood, contextualises issues by providing country case studies, and acknowledges the important role of culture influencing educational priorities.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Books on the History of the Philippines

This is a selection of books on the history of the Philippines:

Swish of the Kris: The Story of the Moros by Vic Hurley.  Facsimile reissue of the significant 1936 account of the Moros - the traditionally fierce Islamic warriors of Mindanao and the southern Philippines. The author, a scholarly rubber planter, lived in the area for seven years and writes sympathetically of Moro history since their arrival as a largely nomadic people probably in the first century BCE. The Moros, with their kris, kept at bay successive invaders - Portuguese, British, Chinese, Japanese, and Dutch, as well as the governing Spanish and Americans. Details are given of the 1915 agreement with the US authority which proved to be a non-durable basis for stability and peace in the area. With historical notes and glossary.

Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines by Linda Newson. This volume illuminates the demographic history of the Spanish Philippines in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and in the process, challenges the long-held assumption that the Spanish colonial rule had only a limited demographic impact on the Philippines. Newson asserts that the Filipino suffered a significant decline in the early colonial period, and argues that the sparse population of the islands meant that Old World diseases could not become endemic in pre-Spanish times. She also shows that the initial conquest of the Philippines was far bloodier than has often been supposed and that subsequent Spanish demands for tribute, labour, and land brought socio-economic transformations and depopulation that were prolonged beyond the early conquest years. With notes, bibliography and index.

Between Tiger and Dragon: A History of Philippine Relations with China And Taiwan by Claude Haberer. This is an updated translation from the original French is a study of Philippine-Taiwan-China relations from 1946-2000. A background chapter shows how Chinese trading-based communities were established in the Philippines in the pre-1946 Colonial period. The 1946-65 period is seen as a time when in the shadow of the US-Philippine relations with Taiwan and some local unrest with Communist and quasi-Communist elements, relations with China were limited. Chapter 3 deals with 1965-75, when official relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Philippines were established and only informal relations remained with Taiwan, and the status of local Chinese became uncertain. Many changes are seen to have taken place in the 1975-86 period and the author details the ongoing disputes over the Spratley Islands, which are being approached by both the PRC and Philippines in a piecemeal fashion. With bibliography, appended documents and index.

The Forest: A Personal Record of the Huk Guerrilla Struggle in the Philippines by William J. Pomeroy. While writing a book on the Hukbalahap, a wartime anti-Japanese resistance movement in the Philippines, William "Bill" Pomeroy met and fell in love with Celia Mariano, one of its most active women members. The Forest tells the story of the two years - 1950-1952 - Bill and Celia spent in the mountains with the Huks. But more than a vivid account of the physical hardship of guerrilla life, the book is a moving story of their love and their courage in the fight for freedom. Considered a classic with various English editions and translations into several languages, The Forest ends with Bill and Celia's capture. In its sequel, Bilanggo: Life as a Political Prisoner in the Philippines, 1952-1962, Pomeroy writes with the same passion and heart, whether about his commitment to the liberation struggle or about his love for his wife and comrade.

Child of War: A Memoir of World War II Internment in the Philippines by Curtis Whitfield Tong. Hours after attacking Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Japanese bombers stormed across the Philippine city of Baguio, where seven-year-old Curt Tong, the son of American missionaries, hid with his classmates in the woods near his school. Three weeks later, Curt, his mother, and two sisters were among the nearly five hundred Americans who surrendered to the Japanese army in Baguio. Child of War is Tong's touching story of the next three years of his childhood as he endured fear, starvation, sickness, and separation from his father while interned in three different Japanese prison camps on the island of Luzon. Written by the adult Tong looking back on his wartime ordeal, it offers a rich trove of memories about internment life and camp experiences. Child of War is an engaging and thoughtful memoir that presents an unusual view of life as a World War II internee-that of a young boy. It is a valuable addition to existing wartime autobiographies and diaries and contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the Pacific War and its impact on American civilians in Asia. With bibliography.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Among our November new distribution titles are four titles that aim to provide comprehensive and accessible insights into real estate investment as well as business management:

The Ultimate Guide to Commercial Real Estate Investment in Singapore by Roy Chong. Commercial Real Estate is increasingly becoming the next favourite asset class in Singapore. With the recent introduction of cooling measures from the government on Residential Real Estate, more investors are beginning to see how Commercial Real Estate can be an alternative investment vehicle. Yet, Commercial Real Estate can be a totally different ball game. This book presents a guide on crucial aspects of commercial real investment that all investors must know.  Author Roy Chong is the head of PropNex’s Commercial and Industrial department. He is regularly interviewed by the media for his insights into the commercial real estate scene and also conducts real estate seminars.

Property Valuation: Secrets of the Roman Decision Model by Eric Alagan. This book teaches readers to ignore "Affordability" and look at "Fair Value." It teaches how to value a property objectively and within reason - whether as a buyer, a seller, an agent or an owner who wants to keep track. The Roman Decision Model uses: ROI, Market Size, Real Tenure, Risk Appetite and Time Value of Money. It incorporates flexibility, and compensates for changing risk appetite and fluctuating mortgage rate. Author Eric Alagan is a former managing director of a MNC.

Increase F&B Sales: Secrets to Boost Profits by Eric Alagan. This is a comprehensive and essential guide to any readers considering embarking on a Food and Beverage venture. The book covers all the key areas to running a successful F&B business. The details, models and methods will also benefit owners and operators of cafes and restaurants, and even F&B chains and food court operators.
Staff Selection: Secrets to Employ the Best People by Eric Alagan. This handbook takes the reader by the hand to develop a customised HR manual. It provides a simple process to identify and increase staff capabilities in a systematic way. It not only tells readers why but more importantly how to achieve improved hirings. It covers areas such as Need for Additional Headcount; Which Positions to Fill; Calculating Return on Investment; Increasing Talent Pool; and more.

Friday, November 11, 2011

New Published Title - Apache Over Singapore: The Story of Singapore Sixties Music

Select Books is proud to announce the publication of our latest title: Apache Over Singapore: The Story of Singapore Sixties Music, Vol 1 by Joseph Pereira.

The Cliff Richard and the Shadows concert in November 1961 opened the floodgates for Singapore pop music as youngsters who attended the concert got the blueprint for pop music: a four-piece backing group fronted by a singer, male or female. Soon hundreds of groups were formed. Meanwhile, Beatles and Merseybeat broke through internationally and brought another sonic shift in the Singapore music scene. Then came rhythm and blues and this became the third stream.

These developments made for a very exciting pop scene in Singapore as there were releases to look forward to every week from EMI, Philips, Decca and other record companies, including local labels. With shows almost nightly and tea dances to welcome the week it was pop heaven.

This book examines why it was so. Individual profiles of the bigger acts study their careers in details and trends like rhythm and blues, the blues movement and pyschedelia are examined. The attitudes of officialdom to this phenomenon in Singapore as well as other factors like the infrastructure that helped the sixties pop music movement are also discussed.

The bands and singers featured include The Firebyrds,  The Crescendos, The Thunderbirds, Wilson David, Naomi and The Boys, The Esquires, Surfers, The Silver Strings, Sonny Bala and The Moonglows, Trailers, Stylers, The Checkmates, The Atoms, The Jets, Vigilantes, Mike and The Mysterians, Commancheros, Flying Phantoms, Easybeats, The Bee Jays, Ronnie and The Burns, The Dukes, The Echo Jets, The Quests, The Blackjacks, and The Midnighters.

About the Author

Joseph Pereira’s involvement with music took place in 1972 when he joined his first band, named Purple Harts. Till he stopped in 1992, he did twenty years in the trenches, as he puts it. The music ranged from pop, to hard rock, blues, jazz rock, top 40 pop, rock and finally blues.

His involvement with music continued in another form when he released his first book in November 1999, Legends Of The Golden Venus. Then followed work as producer of Singapore Sixties reissues – Treasures From The Past (Universal), Remember The Dukes (private), The Trailers (private), Steam Kodok (Grey Past Records), 100 Greatest (Universal) and  More Singapore Sixties (Universal). He has also written extensively on music and non-music related subjects for publications and magazines in Singapore and five other countries.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Books on Sun Yat-Sen

Here are several titles on the links between Sun Yat-Sen and Southeast Asia:

Sun Yat-Sen, Nanyang and the 1911 Revolution edited by Lee Lai To and Lee Hock Guan. In view of the 100th anniversary of the 1911 Revolution and Sun Yat-sen's relations with the Nanyang communities, the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies and the Chinese Heritage Centre came together to host a two-day bilingual conference on the three-way relationships between Sun Yat-sen, Nanyang and the 1911 Revolution in October 2010 in Singapore. This volume is a collection of papers in English presented at the conference. While there are extensive research and voluminous publications on Sun Yat-sen and the 1911 Revolution, it was felt that less had been done on the Southeast Asian connections. Thus this volume tries to chip in some original and at times provocative analysis on not only Sun Yat-sen and the 1911 Revolution but also contributions from selected Southeast Asian countries.

Sun Yat Sen in Penang by Khoo Salma Nasution. Archival photographs and records enhance this account of the legacy and contacts in Penang of Dr Sun Yat Sen (1866-1925). When Dr Sun was banned from Japan he focused his efforts on gaining support from the Overseas Chinese for the revolutionary movement. His headquarters became 120 Armenian Street, Penang now conserved. The Sun family lived in Penang 1910-1912 and his impact and legacy in Penang is shown in many of the educational and other buildings illustrated. With sketch map, bibliography, chronology and index.

Tongmenghui, Sun Yat Sen And The Chinese In Southeast Asia: A Revisit edited by Leo Suryadinata. These papers were given at the June 2006 international seminar by which the Sun Yat Sen Nanyang Memorial Villa and the Chinese Heritage Centre celebrated the centenary of the establishment of the Singapore branch of the Zhongguo Tongmenghui (Revolutionary League of China). After introductory speeches in Chinese, two papers in Chinese discuss the revolutionary ideas of Sun Yet Sen and of the League, and on Sun's political ideology. The five papers in English overview available writings on the period, and then make new assessments of the Sun Yat Sen/League/Chinese populace interactions in Singapore, in Malaya, in Indonesia and in the Philippines, followed by a Select Bibliography in Chinese and English. With black-and-white photographs.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Book Launch: Chinese Muslims in Indonesia

Chinese Muslims in Indonesia was launched during the Singapore Writers Festival on Wednesday, October 26, 2011. 
The event was held at the Festival Pavilion of the Singapore Writers Festival district.

After introductory remarks by Danfeng, author Zhuang Wubin talked about why he had embarked on the project and the long process he had taken to research, photograph and write the manuscript.  A very interesting Q&A followed.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

These are recent titles on the Indonesian economy:

The Indonesian Development Experience: A Collection of Writings and Speeches by Wdjojo Nitisastro. This book is a rich selection of speeches and writings of Professor Widjojo Nitisastro of the University of Indonesia, who has radically changed the command economy under Soekarno into development planning using economic analysis under Soeharto. He is one of the most respected and influential economists of the 20th century. He is also the first Indonesian demographer. This background has contributed to his wide focus on development issues such as poverty, food security, education, health, and family planning. This book provides invaluable insight for all who are interested in Indonesia's economic development. It is divided into six parts: Indonesia's Development Plan; Implementation of Indonesian Development; Facing Economic Crises; Foreign Debt Management; Equity and Development; and Indonesia and the World.

The Indonesian Economy: Entering a New Era edited by Aris Ananta, Muljana Soekarni and S. Arifin. Indonesia was relatively unscathed by the global financial crisis; current and future financial policy issues are explored in this book which is a collaboration by ISEAS, the Bank of Indonesia, and 18 economists and social analysts. The 12 papers explore: economic challenges of a New Era; Indonesia's government economic policies since the beginning of the New Order; monetary and fiscal policies including their dynamics, balancing financial stability and economic growth, fiscal policy management, and roles for fiscal stimulus; regional heterogeneity, industrial relations and decentralisation are all explored in relation to the domestic economy; and in the fourth section, new paradigms are sought in relation to the 2015 ASEAN economic integration, governance and economic performance, and Indonesia's place in the World Development Paradigm. With tables, graphics and index.

Employment, Living Standards and Poverty In Contemporary Indonesia by Chris Manning and Sudarno Sumarto.  Understanding the nexus between employment, living standards and poverty is a major challenge in Indonesia. Trends in poverty are heavily dependent on labour market opportunities and social spending in education and health. The question is how to create opportunities and spend money wisely - a subject of intense debate in Indonesia. The government has brought a renewed focus to poverty reduction since the end of the Asian financial crisis, especially under the current president, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. This book shows how Indonesia is travelling with regard to employment, social policy and poverty. It identifies promising new directions for strategies to alleviate poverty, some of which are already showing results.

Working with Nature against Poverty: Development, Resources and the Environment In Eastern Indonesia edited by Budy Resosudarmo and Frank Jotzo. With its low incomes, lagging social indicators and widespread poverty, eastern Indonesia epitomizes the problems of development in Indonesia. The challenge is to advance the economy. But this means more intensive use of natural resources, placing pressure on the region's unique ecosystems. This book explores the trade-offs and synergies between development, social concerns and the environment in Papua, Maluku and East Nusa Tenggara. It is written by leading scholars and experts on the region. They investigate the dilemmas of fishing in eastern Indonesia's seas, the strategies and challenges for mining and forestry, and the efforts to tackle biodiversity conservation and climate change. The book lays out the challenges for development, public administration and public health in Papua. It maps Maluku's road to recovery from conflict. And it examines ways to alleviate poverty in the desperately poor province of East Nusa Tenggara. The book provides an overview of the economy of each of these provinces, making it an essential resource for anyone interested in the challenges of development and environment in eastern Indonesia.

Workers and Intellectuals: NGOs, Trade Unions and the Indonesian Labour Movement by Michele Ford. After decades of repression, Indonesia's independent labour movement re-emerged in the late 1990s led by the NGO activists and students who organised industrial workers and spoke on their behalf. Worker-led trade unions returned to centre stage in 1998 when Suharto's authoritarian regime crumbled and labour NGO activists and their organisations continued to play an influential - and often controversial - part in the reconstruction of the labour movement. This book explores how middle-class activists struggled to define their place in a movement shaped by more than a century of fierce debate about the role of non-worker intellectuals. Drawing on extensive interviews, this book documents the resurgence of labour activism and explains how activists and workers perceived the position of NGOs in relation to workers and trade unions.