Thursday, June 30, 2011

New Distribution Titles: July 2011

This is a selection of our new distribution titles for July 2011.

Paths of Origins: The Austronesian Heritage in the Collections of the National Museum of the Philippines, The Museum Nasional of Indonesia, and The Netherlands Rijksmuseum Voor Volkenkunde edited by Purissima Benitez-Johannot, Purissima. Much has transformed our understanding of Southeast Asian prehistory in the last 40 years. The history and ties that bind the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Madagascar, the Pacific islands, and mainland Southeast Asia can now be traced to the big bang out of a homeland in Taiwan some 4,500 years ago. While archaeology had previously established irrefutable connections among peoples of these regions, more recent advances in historical linguistics and molecular genetics have provided an approximate timeline for the rapid dispersion of what archaeologists describe as colonizing farmers. This publication will focus on art and artefacts, features that stand witness to these peoples' relatedness today. With bibliography and index.

Royal Nepal Through the Lens of Richard Gordon Matzene by Marcella Sirhandi. In 1930, the celebrated American photographer Richard Gordon Matzene made a unique series of portraits of the ruling families of Nepal. The handsome aristocrats and sumptuously adorned women in his immaculate portraits are here identified and their biographies fitted into the panoply of Nepalese court drama and intrigue. Local and regional conquests, two world wars, a devastating earthquake, and the rampant malaria that challenged the regime are all part of this story. With index.

Taylor Camp by John Wehrheim. In 1969 Howard Taylor, brother of Elizabeth, bailed out a rag-tag band of thirteen young Mainlanders jailed on Kauai for vagrancy and invited them to camp on his oceanfront land. Soon waves of hippies, surfers and troubled Vietnam vets found their way to Taylor Camp and built a clothing-optional, pot-friendly tree house village at the end of the road on the island's North Shore. In 1977, after condemning the village to make way for a 'State Park', government officials torched the camp - leaving little but ashes and memories of the 'best days of our lives'. Powerfully evocative photographs from the Seventies reveal a community that rejected consumerism for the healing power of Nature, while the story of Taylor Camp's seven-year existence is documented through interviews made thirty years later with the campers, their neighbours and the Kauai officials who finally evicted them.

Masterpieces of Islamic Art: The Decorated Page from the 8th to the 17th Century by Oleg Grabar. In this volume, Greg Grabar, a world-renowned specialist on Islamic Art, introduces a wide range of illuminated manuscripts from the 8th to the 17th century, placing them in their temporal and spatial context as well as identifying the main centres of artistic creation. Illuminated manuscripts of the Koran, epic poetry, and scientific works are accompanied by a text explaining the subject, describing it particular visual features, and highlighting its artistic qualities. The working methods of the artists and calligraphers are reconstructed. The author also highlights the key moments in history, society, faith, devotion, and other aspects of the Islamic world which are represented in the images. With bibliography.

Men of Rajasthan by Waswo X. Waswo. Working in collaboration with a team of Indian artists, Waswo playfully recreates and examines the tradition of vintage studio portraiture. Waswo's chief accomplice in this endeavour is Rajesh Soni, a third generation Rajasthani hand-colourist whose grandfather was once court photographer to the Maharana Bhopal Singh of Mewar. Soni's careful and highly talented painting of each photograph adds a vintage feel to work that hovers enigmatically between the retro and the contemporary. Men of Rajasthan contains fifty images annotated with delightful commentary by the photographer himself and further uncovers the male-centric universe of a uniquely mysterious place.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our latest publication, Women Artists in Singapore, was launched on June 6, 2011 at the Singapore Art Museum.

The Guest of Honour for the event was Dr. Cheong Koon Hean, CEO, Housing & Development Board and Deputy Secretary (Special Duties), Ministry of National Development.

We were honoured to have many distinguished guests, as well as many of the featured artists, join us at the book launch.

These are some photos from the event:





Thursday, June 9, 2011

New Publication: Women Artists in Singapore

Select Books is pleased to announce the publication of our latest title: Women Artists in Singapore by Bridget Tracy Tan.


Women Artists in Singapore is a survey of some of the most recognised female artists in Singapore. Featuring 37 artists and more than 170 exquisitely rendered images of their artworks, this publication is a milestone: a book dedicated to Singapore’s women artists and their contributions to the local art scene has been long overdue.

With insight and passion, the achievements of artists spanning an impressive period of time and range of art media are celebrated. Bridget Tracy Tan provides intimate biographical portraits of the artists, drawing attention to key influences and milestones in their individual journeys.

Women Artists in Singapore is a tribute to the unbridled creativity of women, as well as the sheer diversity of their artistic output and influences. This coffee table book will appeal to all who are interested in women’s art and the history of art in Singapore.

The featured women artists are:

• Amanda Heng
• Che Cheng Lin
• Chen Cheng Mei
• Georgette Chen
• Chern Yet Siew
• Chng Seok Tin
• Cristene Chang Hoei
• December Pang
• Delia Iliesiu Prvacki
• Devaki
• Donna Ong
• Eng Tow
• Han Sai Por
• Ho Hui May
• Hong Sek Chern
• Jacqueline Ng
• Jane Lee
• Jessie Lim
• Ketna Patel
• Kit Tan Juat Lee
• Kumari Nahappan
• Lai Foong Moi
• Lee Su Lian
• Kim Lim
• Lin Hsin Hsin
• Namiko Chan Takahashi
• Neng
• Noni Kaur
• Om Mee Ai
• Parvathi Nayar
• Sandra Lee
• Sanjot Kaur Sekhon
• Suzann Victor
• Tan Yen Peng
• Tang Ling Nah
• Ye Shufang
• Yen Chua


About the Author

Bridget Tracy Tan is Director for the Art Galleries and the newly formed Institute of Southeast Asian Arts at the Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA). She currently oversees the internal and external programming for 3 galleries located on campus as well as spearheads the research into Southeast Asian modern and contemporary art across the disciplines. To date she has hosted and commissioned several important exhibitions, including new video art by rising multimedia artists and indigenous artists from Australia, the debut of Nobuyoshi Araki’s photography in Singapore, Gunther Uecker’s monumental solo exhibition as well as the work of award-winning Hong Kong designer, director and photo artist, anothermountainman (Stanley Wong). She has curated numerous exhibitions of Singaporean and international artists and has been commissioned to write on the work of Cultural Medallion artists in conjunction with their exhibitions.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

New Titles at Select Books - June 2011

Here are five recent additions to our shelves:

The May 13 Generation: The Chinese Middle Schools Student Movement and Singapore Politics in the 1950s edited by Tan Jing Quee, Tan Kok Chiang et al. The May 13 Generation was the first belonging to the immigrant communities from China to grapple with the issues of being Malayan/Singaporean, breaking irrevocably with the received wisdoms of their elders, and in a political climate where their explorations were deemed to be subversive. This book comprises the recollections penned by the participants of the era of the 1950s, where their generation was in the forefront of the anti-colonial movement, and the work of academic researchers who have examined the historical framework and context of the period, as well as how it has been made to fit in to the country's mainstream history. The researchers have also examined the students' cultural expressions, whether it is in art, drama, dance or literature and found to be socially engaged, and grappling with the question of who they were as a people. The cultural explorations of that period have been forgotten or repudiated. It is revealing just how this amnesia and silence has become so set. It is also impossible to imagine the demands that age had put on this generation of youths.

Going Global: Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea, and South Africa in International Affairs edited by Melissa Conley Tyler and Wilhelm Hofmeister. Australia, Brazil, Indonesia, South Korea and South Africa can be perceived as "middle powers" which have assumed new responsibilities within their region and in a broader global context. How these countries deal with their respective places in the world and in their regions has been analized during a forum organized by the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) and the Australian Institute of International Affairs (AIIA) during a symposium held in Jakarta, Indonesia, in May 2010. These analysis are presented in this volume, which concentrates on four topics: How do regional powers perceive and exercise regional responsibilities? How do they deal with global powers? How do they react to global challenges? How can they contribute to develop global governance in the global system?

Education in Vietnam edited by Jonathan D. London. 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.

Rectifying God’s Name: Liu Zhi’s Confucian Translation of Monotheism and Islamic Law by James D. Frankel. Islam first arrived in China over 1,200 years ago, but for more than a millennium it was perceived as a foreign presence. The restoration of native Chinese rule by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644), after nearly a century of Mongol domination, helped transform Chinese intellectual discourse on ideological, social, political, religious, and ethnic identity. This led to the creation of a burgeoning network of Sinicized Muslim scholars who wrote about Islam in classical Chinese and developed a body of literature known as the Han Kitab. Rectifying God's Name examines the life and work of one of the most important of the Qing Chinese Muslim literati, Liu Zhi (ca. 1660-ca. 1730), and places his writings in their historical, cultural, social, and religio-philosophical contexts. His Tianfang dianli (Ritual law of Islam) represents the most systematic and sophisticated attempt within the Han Kitab corpus to harmonize Islam with Chinese thought.

Domestic Tourism in Asia: Diversity and Divergence edited by Shalini Singh. Many countries have a rich tradition of domestic travel and holidaying that not only predates but exceeds mass international travel. This is particularly the case in Asia, where recent economic prosperity and trends in globalization have continued to shape traditions in domestic tourism. This book is the first to address specifically the continuities and changes in domestic tourism in Asia. It explores the ethos of domestic travel and holiday-making in order to understand the distinctive common strands that underlie conventional and contemporary tourism practices, against the local and global backdrop. A considerable range of countries is covered in the case studies, including those with patrimonial histories (namely China and India), the economically developed nation-state of Japan, the microstates of Taiwan, Singapore, Macao, and Hong Kong, the coastal countries of Malaysia, the Philippines, Laos, and Vietnam, and the land-locked countries of Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia. The book presents some of the many interfaces of Asian cultural and natural heritage with tourism, while giving due consideration to today's political and economic realities.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Here are four books that explore various facets of agriculture in Asia:

Borneo Transformed: Agricultural Expansion on the Southeast Asian Frontier edited by Rodolphe De Koninck and S. Bernard et al. Since the 1960s, Southeast Asia's agricultural sector has experienced phenomenal growth, with increases in production linked to an energy-intensive capitalisation of agriculture and the rapid development of agrifood systems and agribusiness. Agricultural intensification and territorial expansion have been key to this process, with expansion of areas under cultivation playing an unusually important role in the transformation of the countryside and livelihoods of its inhabitants. Borneo, with vast tracts of land not yet under crops, has been the epicenter of this expansion process, with rubber and oil palm acting as the spearhead. Indonesia's Kalimantan provinces and the Malaysian states of Sabah and Sarawak have all undergone major changes but the time frames have varied, as have the crops involved. Agricultural expansion in Borneo is both an economic and a political process, and it has brought about profound socio-economic transformations, including deforestation, and development of communication networks. There has also been rapid population growth, much faster than in either Indonesia or Malaysia as a whole, with attendant pressures on employment, housing and social services. Until the end of the 20th century, agricultural expansion in Indonesia and Malaysia was largely state driven, with the goal of poverty reduction. Subsequently, as in Borneo, boom crop expansion has been taken over by private corporations that are driven by profit maximization rather than poverty reduction.

Vietnam (Southeast Asian Agriculture and Development Primer Series) by Nguyen Tri Klem. This primer starts by describing Vietnam's agriculture and its significant contributions in bolstering the country's overall economy. It features the primary agricultural commodities produced for the import and export market and the market trend. Government interventions and policy reforms that have had profound impact on development efforts are also discussed. The final parts of the primer deal with the important facets that could potentially help boost the agriculture sector if addressed accordingly - public investment and research and development. This series aims to promote awareness on the state of agriculture of the Southeast Asian countries. The consistency in format and presentation of the series enables easy comparability of agriculture situation across countries and the drawing of lessons from each other's experiences. The cultural differences notwithstanding, there are many commonalities and similarities among the countries, especially in geographical characteristics, making agriculture a common priority and concern in the region.

Land to Till: The Chinese in the Agricultural Economy of Malaysia by Tan Pek Leng. Personal interviews and research have been incorporated into this account of the achievements and impact Chinese planters, farmers and labourers have had in the development and pattern of Malaysia's agricultural economy. Black-and-white archival photographs complement the text which looks at many areas of agriculture and agro-based industries in both East and West Malaysia and roles of many of the influential personalities involved. Index.

Indonesian Exports, Peasant Agriculture and the World Economy, 1850-2000: Economic Structures in a Southeast Asian State by Hiroyoshi Kano. An "Indonesian economy" first took shape in the latter part of the 19th century, consisting of a dominant export industry supported by a rural agrarian sphere. The agricultural sector provided food and labour to the export sector, which was firmly incorporated into the world economy through international trade. This economic pattern survived several shifts of the leading export industry and persisted even after Indonesia became independent in the mid-20th century. Hiroyoshi Kano uses international trade statistics to analyze three key elements in the Indonesian economy: the balance of international payments and trade, the transformation undergone by leading export industries, and the way in which the agricultural sector supplied land, labor and food. Dividing the 150-year time span covered by the book in four periods based on prevailing major expert industries, he identifies key actors and analyzes long-term changes in agricultural production and rural society, and how they shaped the national economy.