Saturday, March 31, 2012

Books on Asian Film and Cinema

This is a selection of books we stock on Asian film and cinema:

Glimpses of Freedom: Independent Cinema in Southeast Asia edited by May Adadol Ingawanij and Benjamin Mckay. Since the late 1990s, a vivid new sphere of cinematic practice in Southeast Asia has emerged and been identified as independent. What exactly does this term mean in relation to the way films and videos are made, and the way they look? How do issues of festival circulation, piracy, technology, state and institutional power, and spectatorship apply to practices of independent cinema throughout the diverse region? The authors who speak in this volume - contemporary filmmakers, critics, curators, festival organizers - answer these questions. They describe and analyze the emerging field of Southeast Asian cinema, which they know firsthand and have helped create and foster. Glimpses of Freedom is the outcome of a project collaboratively conceived by a new generation of scholars of cinema in Southeast Asia, inspired by the growing domestic and international visibility of notable films and videos from the region. Contributors include internationally esteemed independent filmmakers, critics, and curators based in Southeast Asia, such as Hassan Abd Muthalib, Alexis A. Tioseco, Chris Chong Chan Fui, and John Torres. International scholars such as Benedict Anderson, Benjamin McKay, May Adadol Ingawanij, and Gaik Cheng Khoo contextualize and theorize Southeast Asia's "independent film cultures." The interaction between practitioners and critics in this volume illuminates a contemporary artistic field, clarifying its particular character and its vital contributions to cinema worldwide.

Southeast Asian Independent Cinema edited by Tilman Baumgartel. The rise of independent cinema in Southeast Asia, following the emergence of a new generation of filmmakers in this region, is among the most significant recent developments in global cinema. The advent of affordable and easy access to digital technology has empowered startling new voices from a part of the world rarely heard or seen in international film circles. The appearance of fresh, sharply alternative, and often very personal voices has had a tremendous impact on local film production. This book documents these developments as a genuine outcome of the democratization and liberalization of film production. Contributions from respected scholars, interviews with filmmakers, personal accounts and primary sources by important directors and screenwriters collectively provide readers with a lively account of dynamic film developments in Southeast Asia. Interviewees include Lav Diaz, Amir Muhammad, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Eric Khoo, Garin Nugroho, Nia Dinata and others.

Chinese Connections: Critical Perspectives on Film, Identity, And Diaspora edited by Tan See-Kam; Peter X Feng and Gina Marchetti. Chinese Connections is a valuable new anthology that provides a prismatic look at the cross-fertilisation between Chinese film and global popular culture. Leading film scholars consider the influence of world cinema on China-related and Chinese-related cinema over the last five decades. Highlighting the neglected connections between Chinese films and American and European cinema, the editors and contributors examine popular works such as Ang Lee's The Hulk and Olivier Assayas' Irma Vep to show the nexus of international film production and how national, political, social and sexual identities are represented in the Chinese diaspora. With talent flowing back and forth between East and West, Chinese Connections explores how issues of immigration, class, race and economic displacement are viewed on a global level, ultimately providing a greater understanding of the impact of Chinese filmmaking at home and abroad.

Reorienting Global Communication: Indian and Chinese Media Beyond Borders edited by Michael Curtin, Michael and Hemant Shah. Emphasising the global nature of Indian and Chinese films, television and digital media, this book provides a diverse mix of alternative perspectives that collectively shift the discussion of media globalisation away from Hollywood and New York. Fourteen individually referenced essays cover topics such as the influence of Bollywood productions, the rise of made-in-China blockbusters, the development of pan-Asian cinema, and migrants' use of the Internet to maintain connections with their homelands. Indexed.

The South Korean Film Renaissance: Local Hitmakers, Global Provocateurs by Choi Jinhee. For the past decade, the Korean film industry has enjoyed a renaissance. With innovative storytelling and visceral effects, Korean films not only have been commercially viable in the domestic and regional markets but also have appealed to cinephiles everywhere on the international festival circuit. This book provides both an industrial and an aesthetic account of how the Korean film industry managed to turn an economic crisis - triggered in part by globalising processes in the world film industry - into a fiscal and cultural boom. Jinhee Choi examines the ways in which Korean film production companies, backed by affluent corporations and venture capitalists, concocted a variety of winning production trends. Through close analyses of key films, Choi demonstrates how contemporary Korean cinema portrays issues immediate to its own Korean audiences while incorporating the transnational aesthetics of Hollywood and other national cinemas such as Hong Kong and Japan. Appendices include data on box office rankings, numbers of films produced and released, market shares, and film festival showings.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Select Books is Moving!

Select Books will be moving to new premises after 36 years at Tanglin Shopping Centre. 

Our last day of operations at Tanglin Shopping Centre will be on Sunday, April 8, 2012.

We will be making our new home at 51 Armenian Street, Singapore 179939.

The building has historical significance as the location of Sun Yat Sen’s United Chinese Library from 1911 to 1987 and sits in an area with a rich intellectual and cultural heritage. 

We welcome you to visit our new bookstore.  We will start operations there on Monday, April 16, 2012.

With more space in our new premise, as well as an in-store cafĂ©, we will also be organising and hosting more book events.  If you are interested in having a book event at our new bookstore at Armenian Street, just drop us an email.

Stay tuned for more information about our new bookstore and our re-launch activities.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Books on Asian Antique Furniture

These are some selected titles on Asian antique and classic furniture:

Javanese Antique Furniture and Folk Art: The David B. Smith and James Tirtoprodjo Collections by Bruce Carpenter. Quirky, enigmatic and uniquely beautiful, the art and furnishings of Central and East Java's villages and palaces are little known to the art historians, museum curators and collectors of the world. Armed with all the charm and characteristics of folk art - bright, bold colours; na?ve forms and compositions; flattened perspective; anonymous origins; functionality; humour and social commentary - it is the product of a complex and ancient culture renowned for its ability to pick and choose from outside influences without impairing the integrity of the original. Javanese Antique Furniture and Folk Art celebrates this delightful art form with more than 300 colour photographs, while insights from experts reveal the history and fascinating culture embodied in one of the world's most impressive collections of Javanese art.

Chinese Classical Furniture: The Complete Illustrated Guide for Collectors by Hu Desheng and Song Yongji. The Chinese have crafted furniture in the same manner for at leat 2000 years. The hallmark of the classical pieces prized by collectors is a clean, functional style that leaves a blank slate for ornamentation, which can take the form of relief carvings, fretwork, and lacquered painting. In this volume, the study of Chinese classical furniture is divided into five major sections, each exploring: Different types of structure and joints; decorative techniques; motifs, material; and furniture by use or function. This survey is aided by colour photographs on every page and further enhanced by the inclusion of substantial appendices offering an extensive glossary bilingual in English and Chinese; an illustrated table which summarises distinguishing features of furniture by historical period (before 771 BC to 1949); and a record of notable auctions that have taken place in the last decade and the settled prices.

Straits Chinese Furniture: A Collector's Guide by Ho Wing Meng. One hundred colour photographs enrich this account of the fusion of Chinese Qing dynasty furniture with that of early 19th century British styles which together formed the ornate and highly usable furniture of the Straits Chinese, also known as the Peranakans. Includes pointers to dating, glossary and bibliography.

Essence of Style: Chinese Furniture of the Late Ming and Early Qing Dynasties by Robert Hatfield Ellsworth. Essence of Style showcases 44 superb examples of Chinese furniture created between the sixteenth and mid-eighteenth centuries. Made of rare hardwoods or lacquered softwoods, crafted as elegant forms with solid structure but simple lines, this selection emphasises the aesthetic and technical concerns reflected in Ming and Qing decorative arts. With bibliography.

Asian Furniture: A Directory and Sourcebook edited by Peter Moss. This major volume will serve as a sourcebook and directory of pre-contemporary Asian furniture. After the 14th century the mingling of European and Asian ideas led to the development of hybrid styles of domestic furnishing. The distinctive trends and characteristics of furniture favoured in eight Asian countries (India, Indonesia, Thailand, China, Tibet, the Philippines, Korea, and Japan) are discussed by specialists. Fine photography presents articles and examples from collections and owners throughout the world. With short articles on woods and on tools, 450 colour illustrations and index.

Wooden Wonders: Tibetan Furniture in Secular and Religious Life by David Kamansky. This is a catalogue of an exhibition which opened in Nov 2004 at the Pacific Asia Museum in Pasadena, California. This catalogue does not merely follow the genre's traditional format but seeks to communicate both the aesthetic significance of these exceptional works of art and the important role they have played over the centuries in the daily and spiritual lives of the people of Tibet. The works in the exhibition therefore were selected both for their aesthetic and historical importance, and most are being publicly displayed for the first time. All are lavishly illustrated in colour, and each is accompanied by details of type, date, dimensions and description of decoration and materials.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Books on East Timor

This is a selection of books on East Timor:

New Nation: United Nations Peace-Building in East Timor by Geoffrey C. Gunn and Reyko Huang. The UN's 1999-2005 pioneer peace-building efforts in East Timor had to deal with major political, linguistic and anthropological differences which were (or are) major factors in any attempts to build Timor Leste as a functioning nation. The authors were involved in various areas of the post-1999 reconstruction efforts. Using their experiences, they detail the East Timor scenario and also highlight principles of democratic peacemaking and nation-building which could be applied in other situations. With bibliography, website details and index.

Elections and Constitution Making in East Timor by Dionisio De Costa Babo Soares and M. Maley et al.. These five papers on the 2001 and 2002 Elections in East Timor were given at a public seminar at Australian National University in December 2001. The authors were participants or observers of these elections and incorporate in these papers much firsthand experience of the complex challenges and constitutional issues facing the newly-independent country.

East-Timor: How to Build a New Nation in Southeast Asia in the 21st Century? edited  by Christine Cabasset-Semedo and Frederic Durand. Thirteen specialists contribute to this overall study of today's East Timor and the problems and potentials ahead in the 21st century. Three papers in Part 1 explore aspects of East Timor's transition towards new nationhood - multidimensional identity construction; statehood and humanitarian assistance, reconciliation and media roles. Part 2 looks at: socio-cultural identities and translations; policies and identity; and village-level identities and national identity. Part 3 discusses aspects of politics, legitimacy and electoral processes. Part 4 looks at the future of Timorese society, issues of human security and dissent, grassroots relationship and potential in tourism development. With a clear chronology of events 1974-2009, black-and-white photo insets, tables, glossary and bibliography.

Gender and Transitional Justice: The Women of East Timor by Susan Harris Rimmer. Gender and Transitional Justice provides the first comprehensive feminist analysis of the role of international law in formal transitional justice mechanisms. Using East Timor as a case study, it offers reflections on transitional justice administered by a UN transitional administration. Often presented as a UN success story, the author demonstrates that, in spite of women and children's rights programmes of the UN and other donors, justice for women has deteriorated in post-conflict Timor, and violence has remained a constant in their lives. This book provides a gendered analysis of transitional justice as a discipline. It is also one of the first studies to offer a comprehensive case study of how women engaged in the whole range of transitional mechanisms in a post-conflict state, i.e. domestic trials, internationalised trials and truth commissions. The book reveals the political dynamics in a post-conflict setting around gender and questions of justice, and reframes of the meanings of success and failure of international interventions in the light of them.

If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die: How Genocide Was Stopped In East Timor by Geoffrey Robinson. This is a book about a terrible spate of mass violence. It is also about a rare success in bringing such violence to an end. If You Leave Us Here, We Will Die tells the story of East Timor, a half-island that suffered genocide after Indonesia invaded in 1975, and which was again laid to waste after the population voted for independence from Indonesia in 1999. Before international forces intervened, more than half the population had been displaced and 1,500 people killed. Geoffrey Robinson, an expert in Southeast Asian history, was in East Timor with the United Nations in 1999 and provides a gripping first-person account of the violence, as well as a rigorous assessment of the politics and history behind it. Robinson debunks claims that the militias committing the violence in East Timor acted spontaneously, attributing their actions instead to the calculation of Indonesian leaders, and to a "culture of terror" within the Indonesian army. He argues that major powers - notably the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom - were complicit in the genocide of the late 1970s and the violence of 1999. At the same time, Robinson stresses that armed intervention supported by those powers in late 1999 was vital in averting a second genocide. Advocating accountability, the book chronicles the failure to bring those responsible for the violence to justice.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Asia Travelogues

Here are 5 titles from our wide collection of books on travelling and living in Asia

A Fork in Asia's Road: Adventures Of An Occidental Glutton by John Krich. The peripatetic author tells of his eating experiences througout Asia. He eats at thronged markets, street stalls and restaurants great and small and tell of what he finds, including the people who produce gourmet delights sometimes in surprising circumtanees and from unexpeected ingredients.

Operation Nasi Kerabu: Finding Patani in an Islamic Insurgency by Zan Azlee. The news from Patani is like a movie: smoke, bombs, a near civil war. Yet just over the northern border, the people are Muslim, Bahasaspeaking, baju-wearing Malays. With this in mind, documentary-maker Zan Azlee set off to find the real Patani, trying to separate the kedai kopi from the Humvees, the gunfights from the nasi kerabu. It's hard to make new friends and man a camera while looking over your shoulder for suicide bombers. But he was determined to ask the question: how do people live their lives in a warzone? With his resulting film banned for political reasons, this is Azlee's first chance to share what he found.

Hong Kong: State Of Mind 37 Views of a City that Doesn't Blink by Jason Ng. Hong Kong is a mixed bag of a city. It is where Mercedes outnumber taxi cabs, partygoers count down to Christmas every December 24, and larger-than-life billboards of fortune tellers and cram school tutors compete with breathtaking skylines. Hong Kong State of Mind is a collection of essays by a popular blogger who zeroes in on the city's idiosyncrasies with deadpan precision. At once an outsider looking in and an insider looking out, Ng has created something for everyone: a travel journal for the passing visitor, a user's manual for the wide-eyed expat, and an open diary for the native Hong Konger looking for moments of reflection.

Kosher Chinese: Living, Teaching, and Eating with China's Other Billion by Michael Levy. The author of this informal memoir tells of his 2005-2007 posting as a Peace Corps volunteer teacher of English (and baseball) at a university in Guiyang, Guizhou Province in Central China. He writes with humour of how he, a Jew from New Hampshire, taught, ate, socialized and multi-tasked amongst people and students who often found he - and they - confounded each other's ideologies and expectations. He notes that on a short return visit in 2010, Guiyang seemed unchanged.

Not Quite Paradise: An American Sojourn in Sri Lanka by Adele Barker. Insights are given in to the turmoil, delights and surprises of past and contemporary life in Sri Lanka 2001-2002 when the US author was teaching in the Central Highlands at Peradeniya University. Thoughtful descriptions are again given in the aftermath of the December 2004 tsunami when 40000 Sri Lankans were drowned, and the author visited with thoughtful perceptions of the damaged areas in Jaffna and the southern coastal areas of the war-torn country.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Books on Goh Keng Swee

This is a list of books on Goh Keng Swee, one of modern Singapore’s founding fathers:

Goh Keng Swee: A Public Career Remembered edited by Barry Desker and Kwa Chong Guan. Dr Goh Keng Swee (1918-2010) will of course always been seen as a giant among the founding fathers of independent Singapore. This compilation, which includes many archival photographs, presents memories of Dr Goh from 38 people. These friends, colleagues or fellow Singaporeans knew him as student, politician, civil servant, economic architect, Defence Minister, Education Minister, in the world of cultural development, or in retirement. Together the contributors make clear the immense range of Dr Goh's often highly-individual contributions to public life which so many ways live on today.

Working for Dr Goh Keng Swee: Collection of Anecdotes by S Samuel Dhoraisingam. The author, a Former Assistant Director of Education, Singapore, writes informally of Dr. Goh Keng Swee (1919-2010) under whom he worked for 11 years in the Staff College when Dr. Goh was Minister of Defence and as a Senior Inspector in the Ministry of Education when he was Minister there. These anecdotes highlight many of the methods, aims and attitudes which enabled Dr. Goh's vast range of achievements on which so much of Singapores life economy and defence has been and is still built upon. With archival photographs, personal photographs and amended documents.

In Lieu of Ideology: An Intellectual Biography of Goh Keng Swee by Ooi Kee Beng. Dr Goh Keng Swee (1918-2010) is of course generally recognised as one of modern Singapore's three founding giants. This is not a biography but an account of Dr Goh's writings and thought. These were the basis of his public actions and policies which directed and formed so much of today's Singapore. Dr Goh retired from policies in 1984 and his subsequent roles in China including as Economic Advisor to the State Council of the People's Republic of China until 1998, are discussed. With bibliography and index.

Goh Keng Swee: A Portrait by Tan Siok Sun. This biography of one of Singapore's most major founding fathers Goh Keng Swee (1918-2010) is by his daughter-in-law. It includes anecdotes and personal insights as well as an account of his life from its frugal beginnings in Malacca. The remarkable national tributes which marked Dr Goh's recent death indicate the immensity of his contribution to Singapore's post-Colonial development. An account is given of Dr Goh's childhood in Singapore, education at Anglo-Chinese School and Raffles College, civil service work, and after the Occupation, study at London School of Economics and research into Singapore's social conditions which helped to ignite his commitment to political change and the People's Action Party. After 1959, he is shown to have played a very major part in the country's developments Minister of Finance, of Defence and of Education. His trenchant and courageous sagacity and his innovative policies became pivotal to Singapore's life and international standing until his retirement from politics in 1986. With photographs, chronology, bibliography and index.

Goh Keng Swee and Southeast Asian Governance by Ian Patrick Austin. This book is aimed at readers who may have a limited, or indeed no knowledge of the policy work carried out by Goh Keng Swee on the development of Singapore and the decisive influence his thinking continues to have on contemporary Singapore governance. The book further explores how Goh's developmental thinking and practices may be utilised by policy-makers in developing economies within the Southeast Asian region and further abroad. Goh's work in fact makes clear that developmental success is transferable between nations given the presence of pragmatic policy-makers. Ultimately, the central aim of this book is to encourage further study and consideration of the words and work of one of Southeast Asia's premier thinkers on development.