Thursday, April 28, 2011

Books on Tibet

This is a selection of books on Tibet:

Tibet Unconquered: An Epic Struggle For Freedom by Diane Wolff. In Tibet Unconquered, East Asia expert Diane Wolff explores the status of Tibet over 800 years of history. From the Mongol invasion to the emergence of the Dalai Lama, Wolff investigates the history of political and economic relations between China and Tibet. Looking to the long rule of Chinggis Khan as a model, she argues that by thinking in regional terms, both countries could usher in a new era of prosperity while maintaining their historical and cultural identities. Wolff creates a forward-thinking blueprint for resolving the China-Tibet problem, grounded in the history of the region and the reality of today's political environment, that will guide both countries to peace.

The Tibetan Book of the Dead [Illustrated Edition] by Glenn H. Mullen and Thomas Kelly (Photos). The Tibetan Book of the Dead, or Bardo Todol, is one of the great classics of Tibetan literature. The Bardo Todol is as relevant a guidebook to daily living as it is to a successful death and transmigration. This volume is a fresh look at this timeless classic. It brings together a range of stunning images with a contextual analysis and abridged translation.

Tibet in Exile by Jane Perkins and Raghu Rai (Photos). Revised and extended edition of the 1990 book with fine photography which overviews the history of Tibet and traces the course of the traumatic events, violence and betrayals which led to the 1959 escape to India of the Dalai Lama and followers. Summary accounts are given of the Tibetans' reception in India where there are now 57 agricultural settlements. The four schools of Tibetan Buddhism are now represented by 600 centres throughout the world. Photographs present the situation in Tibet including the violent repressions of 1987 and 2008, and also the internationally welcomed educational role of the Dalai Lama.

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 Tholing, 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. The 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.

Women In Tibet edited by Janet Gyatso and Hanna Havnevik. Filling a gap in the literature, this volume explores the struggles and accomplishments of women from both past and present-day Tibet. Here are queens from the imperial period, yoginis and religious teachers of medieval times, Buddhist nuns, oracles, political workers, medical doctors, and performing artists. Most of the essays focus on the lives of individual women, whether from textual sources or from anthropological data, and show that Tibetan women have apparently enjoyed more freedom than women in many other Asian countries. The book is innovative in resisting both romanticisation and hypercriticism of women's status in Tibetan society, attending rather to historical description, and to the question of what is distinctive about women's situations in Tibet, and what is common to both men and women in Tibetan society.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Books on Chinese Art

This is a selection of books on Chinese art:

Confucius His Life and Legacy in Art by Lu Wensheng and Julia K. Murray. A landmark exhibition on the extraordinary philosopher, statesman and teacher known as Confucius (551- 479 BC) is on view at China Institute Gallery from February 11 through June 13, 2010. Confucius is one of the most influential teachers in history, and his teachings are deeply rooted in Chinese life and thought. Yet, aside from his famous philosophy, little is known in the West about this teacher's life. Confucius: His Life and Legacy in Art focuses on the teachings and continuing influence of Confucius, who has become increasingly synonymous with Chinese culture. This exhibition is the first show in the US to explore the culture of Confucius. Accompanying the exhibition, a fully-illustrated scholarly catalogue presents an extensive collection of works from the world of Confucius and his ennobled descendants, including hanging scrolls, album leaves, bronze vessels, stone carvings, jade ceremonial implements, wood-block prints and textiles. The works are on loan for the first time in the US from the Shandong Provincial Museum in Jinan and the Confucius Museum in his hometown of Qufu. The catalogue incorporates images and artifacts that illuminate Confucius as an historical figure and how he has been venerated for the past 2,000 years.

The Bei Shan Tang Legacy: Gifts of Chinese Art edited by Peter Lam. The Bei Shan Tang collection, the personal collection of Chinese art of JS Lee was very comprehensive - ranging from painting, calligraphy, ink rubbings, jade, ceramics, to sculpture, scholar objects, bamboo carvings, seals and bronzes. This catalogue was published to accompany the large scale tribute exhibition "Bei Shan Tang Legacy: Gifts of Chinese Art" organized by the Chinese University of Hong Kong Art Museum, introducing the creams of the Bei Shan Tang gifts to the Museum over the years. The 113 selected gifts of Chinese art are sorted by categories: epigraphy, rubbings, calligraphy, painting, bronze and jade, ceramics, and others; with detailed descriptions in Chinese and English, and illustrated in colour plates.

New China New Art by Richard Vine. Contemporary Chinese art has exploded onto the international scene, attracting intense critical attention and soaring market responses. Here for the first time in a medium-by-medium critical survey, Richard Vine, a leading authority on the new Chinese art, provides an insider's introduction to this vitally important artistic field. With index of names.

Chinese Art by Wu Heng. This is a collection of essays introducing major aspects of Chinese culture and customs, including pointing, calligraphy, music, Chinese opera, customs of marriage and traditional festivities. With colour photographs. Bilingual in English and Chinese.



Emperor's Private Paradise: Treasures from the Forbidden City by Nancy Berliner. This account with some 300 illustrations of the Qianlong Garden in Beijing's Forbidden City (Palace Museum) is published to complement the ongoing exhibition at the Peabody Essex Museum. Ninety artefacts which have never before left Beijing are illustrated. These include screens, furnishings and paintings chosen by or for the Emperor who ruled 1732-95. There are illustrated articles on: the Garden and on other gardens of the Emperor Qianlong; timelines; the work and plans of the World Monuments Fund; on the surviving records and Coda; a glossary and translation guide; a catalogue of the exhibition; bibliography and index.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Distribution Title: Our Lands Within

Our Land Within: Passages Through Southeast Asian Communities by Liew Suet Fun; SC Shekar (photographer) is a new distribution title.

Southeast Asia is a physical space marked by sky, water and land. Within this space, 11 nations live in peaceful co-existence. It is a space marked by breathtaking ethnic diversity; a space that astonishes, inspires and confounds the traveller yet endows its society with unusual capacity to embrace a bewildering range of experiences.

Our Land Within takes you on a journey into this complex yet fascinating society. Filled with compelling personal narratives and spell-bounding images, it offers a rare glimpse from within, giving voice to a people while narrating the flux of history that shaped their lives.

Through four chapters of compelling narrative and strikingly beautiful photographs, focusing on music, cuisine, belief and physical space, Suet Fun and Shekar negotiate passages through various communities. They take you into the hearts of the people of Southeast Asia and creates a voice for them.

Liew Suet Fun is a full-time writer and author of 10 other books, including Of Ants, Water and Man, Looking at Laogan – A Journey through Loagan Bunut National Park, Sarawak and a series of books on top Singaporean chefs.

SC Shekar is widely known in the Asia Pacific region for his documentary work and his ability to portray his subjects with great empathy and sensitivity, qualities honed while working as a photojournalist in Malaysia and abroad. His images have appeared in magazines and books. He was commissioned by the government of India to capture images of emerging India to be used as permanent exhibits at the Indian Cultural Centre in KL, Malaysia.

The book was featured on BFM radio. Click here for the podcast of the interview.

Friday, April 15, 2011

This is a selection of titles focusing on health and healthcare in Asia.

Journeys In Systemic Psychotherapy: Theory, Practice And Research edited by Tan Boon Huat and Christine Lim. These ten papers are by counsellors associated with the family therapy work of the Counselling and Care Centre, Singapore. They explore many aspects of the workers' use of the self and of the goals of the relationship with the client. Many aspects of the theories and practice of "systemic psychotherapy" and of personal and family expectations in different cultures and contexts are discussed. Case material enriches much of the discussion which includes the relevance of concepts of forgiveness, approaches to divorce and parental expectations and concepts of gender roles. Ongoing research and pointers for future research are among the many matters raised. With reading list.

Successful Breastfeeding: A Practical Guide by Kang Phaik Gaik. This comprehensive and friendly instructional guide to successful breastfeeding is by a Singapore nursing sister/lactation consultant who has had wide experience of local traditions and medical policies. The practical advice, Q&As and photographs together show how breastfeeding can be a happy and important experience for fathers and other relatives, as well as for mother and child. With practical advice on common problems, returning to work, diet, the location of breastfeeding places in Singapore and support groups, relevant websites, a book list and index.

Voices from the Heart: Living with Dementia - A Resource Book for Dementia Patients and their Caregivers by Chong Mei Sian, Lim Wee Shiong et al.. Dementia and its most common form, Alzheimer's Disease, are increasingly the concern of today's society at all levels. The informative and human approach of the healthcare professionals who have written this book for families and carers is both welcome and timely. There are insights, advice, and alternative suggestions on patients' needs, and clearly set out guidelines for patients and their families. The needs of caregivers, role of professionals, and sources for equipment and support services, FAQs of patients and those involved are all discussed. The humane and sensitive but also realistic local scene is also illuminated by high quality photographs.

Asian Longevity Secrets: Seven Breakthrough Steps to Youthful Health and Vitality by Wu Ping and Taichi Tzu. Taking the best from Western and Traditional Chinese Medicine, this book proposes seven "protocols" that will help each follower live longer. The seven principles use 'live energy' food, anti-stress techniques, and meditation to restore each person's natural vitality, leading to a longer and healthier life. The authors are both trained in Western and Chinese science and medicine.

Patients Beyond Borders (Singapore Edition): Everybody's Guide to Affordable, World-Class Medical Tourism by Josef Woodman. Singapore is one of the world's leading medical travel destinations (more than 400,000 patients from 60 countries come for treatment each year). This is a comprehensive guide for such travellers. Part one presents information and advice to enable patients and their families to make wise and cost-efficient decisions about healthcare. Part two gives accessible and practical details, with case illustrations, about safeguards, procedures, institutional and other healthcare facilities in Singapore. There are also notes on hotels, general information about the country, specialist travel agents, glossary, address and website list, and index.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Distribution Title: Liu Kang: Essays on Art & Culture

This is a new distribution title recently published by The National Art Gallery, Singapore - Liu Kang: Essays on Art & Culture.

Liu Kang: Essays on Art and Culture is a testament to the inexorable passion of an artist who knew no boundaries. This collection of 80 essays, which Liu Kang wrote over 44 years, offers an insight into the artist’s myriad interests: interior design, music, literature, dance, photography, medical science, and the visual arts.

Throughout the essays, Liu Kang’s contributions as a first generation Nanyang artist and art educator come to the fore through his thoughts and ideas about art societies, exhibitions, artists, the development of art education, and the growth of art in Singapore and the region.

Liu Kang wrote his essays in Chinese. There are two versions to the book. One version comprise the original essays in Chinese. The second version has the essays translated into English. Both versions are accompanied by commentaries that help contextualise one’s reading.

The book also contains snapshots of the artist’s life – from old photographs of Liu Kang travelling or painting, to that of the people he wrote about in his essays.


About the Authors

Liu Kang. Like the others of his pioneering generation, Liu Kang (1911 – 2004) did much to realise the Nanyang style, giving birth to an art that drew upon the tropics for inspiration. The Nanyang style has come to be recognised as a milestone in Singapore art history. Liu Kang was a prolific artist who travelled widely to gain inspiration for his art. He also dedicated 33 years of his life to art education, teaching in various schools in Singapore and Malaya. Besides this, he also assumed leadership positions in art societies, such as the Society of Chinese Artists and Singapore Art Society.

Translated by Yow Siew Kah. Yoh Siew Kah is an educator, writer and researcher specialising in the visual arts. His diverse interests include Singapore art history. He has written and lectured on Singapore artists such as Liu Kang, Ng Joon Kiat and Tan Kai Syng.

Edited by Sara Siew. Sara Siew is an editor at The National Art Gallery, Singapore. She is interested in the relationship between visual arts and literature, the art of writing, and the dynamics of national and regional art historiography.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

New Distribution Title: One Dish Wonder

One Dish Wonder: A Simple Recipe to Manage Communication Risks is a new distribution title that was recently published by Write Editions.

Everything is about communications. There is nothing that we say or do that does not have a communication implication and outcome that can make or break our business success. An ill-considered management response to a crisis situation, an inappropriate campaign tagline or poor governance are all causes for bad communication consequences.

Understanding communication risks and managing communication outcomes are key organisational functions that a leader can no longer overlook on both traditional and social media platforms. How then do we plan our message, organise our marketing and manage our operations to protect corporate reputation and achieve results?

Written for busy CEOs, leaders and senior executives, One Dish Wonder is peppered with vital points and anecdotes that offer simple yet compellingly valuable advice on managing communication risks. It is a simple recipe to get your 3Ms right – message, marketing and management – so that you can convincingly connect with the people that matters most, and effectively bolster your organisation’s performance. An indispensable guide for anyone in business.

“An indispensable guide for anybody in business...
One Dish Wonder shows you how to get your message
across in a brilliant way to the people who matter.”
- Geoff Burch,Author and Business Guru

“A must-read companion for busy executives...
Her checklists are sure to provoke thought on current business practices and help to define and improve communication on many critical fronts.”
- Associate Professor May O. Lwin, Associate Chair,
Wee Kim Wee School of Communication


About the Author
Juat M. Koh is the Chief Alignment Officer of The Little Blue Dot Consultancy, a communications training, marketing planning and business advisory consultancy. For over a decade, Juat has led a wide array of communications projects and campaigns for the public, private and non-profit sectors, focussing on public relations, marketing and brand management. A perennial believer in how communications and alignment of corporate message, marketing strategy and good management practices define an organisation’s success, Juat currently provides communications consultancy and conducts corporate planning workshops.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Launch: Singapore Shifting Boundaries

The book launch for Singapore Shifting Boundaries: Social Change in the Early 21st Century was held on Saturday, March 26, at the Old Parliament House.

We had a great turnout. The formalities were held in the Chamber followed by reception at the Blue Room.

Here are photographs from the day.


Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Title: Singapore Shifting Boundaries

Singapore Shifting Boundaries: Social Change in the Early 21st Century

Edited by William S.W. Lim; Sharon Siddique; Tan Dan Feng

This book aims to depict the richly textured and nuanced fabric of social life in Singapore in the early 21st century, as Singaporeans live in a blur of shifting boundaries where past, present and future co-exist.

36 commentators, artists and activists of different ages and backgrounds share their views in stimulating and compact pieces that come in a variety of literary forms, including essays, novel and script excerpts, blog entries and presentations.

These colourful pieces touch on identity, language, culture, ethnicity, sexuality, politics, memory, religion, geography, arts and activism, painting a picture of the complex and vibrant society that is Singapore today.

The contributors are:
  • Alfian Sa’at
  • Braema Mathiaparanam
  • Amir Muhammad
  • Ng Yi-Sheng
  • Bani Haykal
  • Nirmala PuruShotam
  • Heather Chi
  • Quah Sy Ren
  • Jean Chong
  • Sha Najak
  • Chua Beng Huat
  • Haresh Sharma
  • Lucy Davis
  • Sharon Siddique
  • Noor Effendy Ibrahim
  • Jarrod Tam Chun Peng
  • John Gee
  • Alvin Tan
  • Glen Goei
  • Tan Dan Feng
  • Daniel P.S. Goh
  • Kenneth Paul Tan
  • Hong Lysa
  • Tan Pin Pin
  • Kok Heng Leun
  • Jennifer Teo
  • Lee Wen
  • Vadi PVSS
  • Lee Weng Choy
  • C.J. W.-L. Wee
  • Edgar Liao
  • Jolovan Wham
  • William S.W. Lim
  • Zai Kuning
  • Matthew Lyon
  • Zhou Zhao Cheng