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.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This is a selection of books on feminism:

Feminism is Queer: The Intimate Connection between Queer and Feminist Theory by Mimi Marinucci. Feminism is Queer is an introduction to the intimately related disciplines of gender and queer theory. Guiding the reader through complex theory, Mimi Marinucci develops the original position of queer feminism, which presents queer theory as continuous with feminist theory. While there have been significant conceptual tensions between second-wave feminism and traditional lesbian and gay studies, queer theory offers a paradigm for understanding gender, sex, and sexuality that develops solidarity between those interested in feminist theory and those pursuing lesbian and gay rights. An essential guide to anyone with an interest in gender and sexuality, this accessible and comprehensive textbook carefully explains nuanced theoretical terminology and provides extensive suggested further reading to enable a full and thorough understanding of both disciplines.

Sex, Love and Feminism in the Asia Pacific: A Cross-Cultural Study of Young People's Attitudes by Chilla Bulbeck. 'Sex, love and feminism' are three aspects of the rapidly changing gender relations that shape young people's lives in the Asia Pacific region. Much has been written about rapidly changing countries in Asia, most recently China and India. With the global spread of capitalist production and neo-liberal ideologies, the claim that the rest of the world's women are treading the path to enlightenment and development forged by women in the West has been revived. This book explores that contention through a comparative analysis of the attitudes of young middle class urbanites in ten countries: the USA, Australia, Canada, Japan, Thailand, South Korea, India, Indonesia, China and Vietnam. Drawing on detailed empirical research, the study describes and compares attitudes towards the women's movement, sexual relations and family arrangements in the countries considered. It explores young peoples' image of feminists and what they feel the women's movement has achieved for women and men in their country. The book discusses young people's attitudes to controversial gender issues such as role reversal, sharing housework, abortion rights, same sex sexual relations, nudity and pornography. Through a comparative analysis of the gender vocabularies by which young people understand gender issues, the book highlights the role of differences in history, culture, economics and political leadership.

Women's Movements in Asia: Feminisms and Transnational Activism edited by Mina Roces and Louise Edwards. Women's Movements in Asia is a comprehensive study of women's activism across Asia. With chapters written by leading international experts, it provides a full overview of the history of feminism, as well as the current context of the women's movement in 12 countries: the Philippines, China, Indonesia, Japan, Burma, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia, Hong Kong, Korea, India and Pakistan. For each of these countries the manner in which feminism changes according to cultural, political, economic and religious factors is explored. The contributors investigate how national feminisms are influenced by transnational factors, such as the women's movements in other countries, colonialism and international agencies. Each chapter also considers what Asian feminists have contributed to global theoretical debates on the woman question, the key successes and failures of the movements and what needs to be addressed in the future.

Translating Feminisms in China edited by Dorothy Ko and Wang Zheng. This special issue (Vol. 18.3) of the journal Gender and History is made up of 8 substantial referenced articles on women's issue and policies in China. Among the many areas explored by scholars in China and elsewhere are: concepts of Women's Rights in modern China; Chinese Feminists of the 1905-1915 period; the influential Ladies' Journal of Shanghai 1915-25; the New Life movement: women's Liberation and the Great Leap Forward 1958-61; gendered division of labour in the 1950s; Iron Girls and the Cultural Revolution 1966-76; body writing, the controversial 1999 novel 'Shanghai Baby' and associated tensions. Index.

Women Shaping Islam: Reading the Qur'an in Indonesia by Pieternella Van Doorn-Harder. Muslim women's movements have existed in Indonesia for over a century and many Muslim women have had considerable influence in the country's secular development as well as in Islamic education. This book explores the contemporary grassroots networks of Muslim women, their roles in promoting social change and their relations to the rise of radical Islamism and to Islamic feminism. With glossary, bibliography and index.

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Distribution Title: The Singapore Mistletoe Story

The Singapore Mistletoe Story: An Expose of a Botanical Marvel by Francis Lim L K. The Singapore Mistletoe Story is an account of a personal quest to seek out and document the varieties and lives of a little-known group of plants—our native mistletoes. It is a journey of discovery of the many fascinating features of this enduring species—their semi-parasitic nature, where they are found, how they reproduce and the myriad remarkable communities whose lives have
become intertwined with it.

The author’s numerous mistletoe-spotting adventures present an infectious read, and are sure to inspire the curious gardener that dwells inside each one of us.

Lavishly illustrated with nearly a hundred pictures, this volume is like a botanical novel. Gardeners, field botanists, teachers and students will find it a valuable and fruitful addition to their collection.

About the Author

Francis Lim is, foremost, a zoologist at heart, having spent almost four decades working in the zoology department at the Singapore Zoo.

Though he retired in 2010, his passion for all things of Nature remains undiminished as he pursues his dream of writing and conducting outreach programs for educational institutions in Singapore.

Francis has published a number of scientific papers and articles in journals and magazines as well as several books, including Once a Zookeeper.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Books on Migrant Workers in Asia

These are titles focusing on migrant workers in Asia:

The Path to Remittance: Tales of Pains and Gains of Overseas Filipino Workers by Papias Generale Banados. The Philippines is the world's largest exporter of labour - both male and female - and their remittances have helped to keep afloat the Philippines economy for the past three decades. Successful Filipino leaders have praised the Overseas Filipino Workers - or the OFWs as they are popularly known - as modern heroes of the nation. Yet exploitation of OFWs by unscrupulous employment agencies at home and abroad; and by ruthless employers abroad goes on unabated.The Path to Remittance is a book which sheds light on the hidden issues of the OFW phenomena, which political leaders and government agencies tend to ignore at best or condone at its worse.

The Long Road Home: Journeys of Indonesian Migrant Workers by Sim Chi Yin. In today's globalized world, the story of migrant labourers is the story of our era. In this book, award-winning photographer and essayist Sim Chi Yin tells the intimate stories of Indonesian women who work overseas as domestic. Some fall prey to sadistic bosses, while others are luckier and work for kind employers. But all suffer the loneliness and frustrations of living far from their loved ones, unsure if their sacrifices are really helping their families-and especially their children-escape their fate. Told with great sensitivity and empathy, The Long Road Home is a story at once specific to Southeast Asia but universal in the migrant's tale of loss and hope.

Migrant Workers in Asia: Distant Divides, Intimate Connections edited by Nicole Constable. This book provides rich and provocative comparative studies of South and Southeast Asian domestic workers who migrate to other parts of Asia. These studies range from Hong Kong, Macau, and Singapore, to Yemen, Israel, Jordan, and the UAE. Conceptually and methodologically, this book challenges us to move beyond established regional divides and proposes new ways of mapping inter-Asian connections. The authors view migrant workers within a wider spatial context of intersecting groups and trajectories through time. Keenly attentive to the importance of migrants of diverse nationalities who have laboured in multiple regions, this book examines intimate connections and distant divides in the social lives and politics of migrant workers across time and space. Collectively, the authors propose new themes, new comparative frameworks, and new methodologies for considering vastly different degrees of social support structures and political activism, and the varied meanings of citizenship and state responsibility in sending and receiving countries. They highlight the importance of formal institutions that shape and promote migratory labour, advocacy for workers, or curtail workers rights, as well as the social identities and cultural practices and beliefs that may be linked to new inter-ethnic social and political affiliations that traverse and also transform inter-Asian spaces and pathways to mobility.

Factory Girls: Voices from the Heart of Modern China by Leslie T Chang, Leslie. China has 130 million migrant workers - the largest migration in human history. In Factory Girls, Leslie T. Chang, a former correspondent for the Wall Street Journal in Beijing, tells the story of these workers primarily through the lives of two young women, whom she follows over the course of three years as they attempt to rise from the assembly lines of Dongguan, an industrial city in China's Pearl River Delta. As she tracks their lives, Chang paints a never-before-seen picture of migrant life - a world where nearly everyone is under 30; where you can lose your boyfriend and your friends with the loss of a mobile phone; where a few computer or English lessons can catapult you into a completely different social class. Chang takes us inside a sneaker factory so large that it has its own hospital, movie theatre, and fire department; to posh karaoke bars that are fronts for prostitution; to makeshift English classes where students shave their heads in monk-like devotion and sit day after day in front of machines watching English words flash by; and back to a farming village for the Chinese New Year, revealing the poverty and idleness of rural life that drive young girls to leave home in the first place. Throughout this riveting portrait, Chang also interweaves the story of her own family's migrations, within China and to the West, providing historical and personal frames of reference for her investigation.

Migrant Workers in China by Han Changfu. Han, since 2009 China's Minister of Agriculture, has written this important study of China's rural-urban migration which now involves some 200 million migrants. After an overview of China's post-1968 industrialising scene, population trends and residency restrictions, the migration patterns in Brazil, United States and elsewhere are reviewed. Many aspects of migration and its impacts on industrialisation, agriculture, family stability, education and political balance are discussed. The need for social support programmes and a general overhaul of the present official and company employment requirements is urged and possible practical measures are outlined, with supporting data. Other practical measures to promote the stable absorption of migrants into urban life are outlined. Index.