Friday, January 6, 2012

Books on Social Issues

This is a selection of titles addressing social issues, such as domestic violence, the sex industry, and poverty among others, in Asian countries.

Nightingale Songs: Survival Stories from Domestic Violence by Kendra. In Nightingale Songs: Survival Stories from Domestic Violence, Singapore-based counsellor and mental healthcare professional, Kendra, speaks to survivors of abuse and the professionals who help those impacted by violence in the home. The diversity of stories reflects Singaporean society, illustrating that this social problem is not limited to one class or ethnic group but crosses all boundaries of race, religion, education, and socio-economic background. Private stories are revealed for the purpose of raising public awareness about violence in the home. Kendra presents domestic violence as a social issue needing to be understood and addressed at the community level. This book provides useful information for those considering working in the field of domestic violence, especially the importance of self-care, and will resonate with anyone whose life has been personally touched by this issue.

Many Roads Home - Stories from the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home edited by Stephanie Ho, Jaime Koh et al. Since 1989 the Muhammadiyah Welfare Home (MWF) has cared for Muslim children in need. This account of the Home's origins and work shows how the government, Courts, Muslim community and volunteers of many of backgrounds have come together in providing care and support for children families who have experienced all kinds of problems and disasters. Twenty residents or former residents tell of their life in the Home, of their plans or ideals, and of some of the burdens they carry. The role of the staff, future plans for the Home, the contribution of volunteers of many backgrounds are all described, with the help of lively drawings and illuminating photographs. Profits to MWH.

Hearts of Resilence: Singapore's Community Engagement Programme by Asad-Il Iqbal Latif. Singapore's government-sponsored Community Engagement Programme (CEP) was set up after London's incident of fatal terrrorist violence in July 2005 to foster the local development of inter-community cohesion and understanding. The CEP's aims and programme and the ideas of its leading personalities are set out. Twelve Singaporeans who are actively engaged in encouraging community interaction in their own local context are then introduced with photographs and biographical sketches which show how hearts and minds can and are promoting social cohesion in Singapore's diverse society.

Dangerous Sex, Invisible Labor: Sex Work and the Law in India by Prabha Kotiswaran. This is a widely based exploration of contemporary sex work and related law in India based on substantial investigation and field study of many of the elements involved in the industry and its management and funding. Part One looks at theories which have and do influence sex work perceptions, inside and outside India, including exploitative, legal, abolitionist, materialist-feminist religious and medical constructions. Part Two offers indepth studies of the work patterns and life prospects of travelling sex workers of Tirupati and of brothel workers in Kolkata. Part 3 explores regulation, the workings of the law and pressures for its reform. The possible construction of a postcolonial materialist-feminist theory of sex work is related to the Indian and international scene. With notes, bibliography and index.

Invisible People: Poverty and Empowerment in Indonesia by Irfan Kortschak and Poriaman Sitanggang (Photo). Who are Indonesia's invisible people? They include people with physical disabilities in Aceh; people from a village with a very high rate of congenital deafness in Bali; malnourished children and their parents in West Timor; widows and female heads of households in Lombok; people with leprosy- related disabilities in South Sulawesi; women surviving domestic abuse and communal violence in Ambon; people with HIV and AIDS in Papua; children in a village in West Java without access to a secondary school; sex workers in West Kalimantan; and transgendered persons in East Java. As this book shows, through first hand interviews with members of vulnerable groups in Indonesia, these people are not passive victims, merely waiting for assistance. They are actively working to improve their own lives. With more than 100 photographs, Invisible People tells the sometimes heartbreaking but often heartwarming stories of their lives.

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