Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Event: Meet-the-Author - Sharon Saw

Photos from the Meet-the-Author event with Sharon Saw, author of The Promise: A Tsem Rinpoche Biography, published by Kechera Media and Publications.

The event was held on Saturday, July 28, 2012 at our Armenian Street bookstore.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Event: Face-to-Face with Salil Tripathi

These are photos from the Face-to-Face session with Salil Tripathi, held on Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at Select Books.

Born in Bombay, India, Salil Tripathi is director of policy for the London-based Institute for Human Rights and Business. His most recent book deals with freedom of speech issues. The book, Offence: The Hindu Case explains how Hindu fundamentalists are succeeding in intimidating artists, journalists and historians, seeking bans on art, cinema, cultural works and in academia.

He is a veteran journalist who has covered economic, political and cultural issues for major news publications around the world, including Indian Post, India Today, Business Times, Asia, Inc, Far Eastern Economic Review, Asian Wall Street Journal, Wall Street Journal Europe, The New Statesman and Index on Censorship. His articles have also appeared in The Guardian, The Times, The Literary Review, Asiaweek, Shinchosa, The Canadian Forum, Tank, and Asian Business

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Books on Orchids

This is a selection of a range of titles that we stock on orchids:

Orchids of Borneo. Vol. 4 by J.J. Wood. This, the fourth volume in the series, contains a miscellaneous selection of taxa. It revises the classification of Borneo orchids, brings the nomenclature published in prior parts up to date, and describes and illustrates a further 100 taxa from a wide array of genera.

The Genus Coelogyne: A Synopsis by Dudley Clayton. Coelogyne is a large genus of Asiatic orchids widely distributed from India and Sri Lanka across southern Asia and the Malaya Archipelago to the Philippines, New Guinea and the south-west Pacific Islands. The genus, as currently conceived, comprises some 190 species, two subspecies and 12 varieties. This account, the first for over 90 years since that of Pfitzer and Kraenzlin (1907), attempts to summarise all of the available information on the genus. The author re-assesses sectional limits, and provides keys to the sections, species and infraspecific taxa. Distribution maps are provided for each section. He also provides a comprehensive account of each species that includes a full description, distribution, habitat, altitudinal range, flowering time and taxonomic notes. Most of the species are illustrated by one or more colour photographs and a black-and-white line drawing of the lip, a critical feature in the genus, is provided for almost every species. Most orchid growers have at least one Coelogyne in their collection. This book will certainly whet readers' appetites for more of these beautiful orchids. The author provides detailed information on how to grow coelogynes and on their hybridisation, based on his extensive experience cultivating them in his own collection.

The Wild Orchids of Hong Kong by Gloria Barretto; Phillip Cribb and Stephan Gale. 126 species and varieties representing all five orchid subfamilies have been recorded from Hong Kong, a staggering figure given its diminutive size. This book provides descriptions and discusses the discovery of all the native species, and the conservation status of each is assessed. Every species is illustrated with a line drawing, and almost all are depicted in photographs taken in Hong Kong.

The Essential Guide to Growing Orchids in the Tropics by Chia Tet Fatt and David Astley. This manual for growers of outdoor orchids in tropical climates follows an illustrated step-by-step approach. Guidance is given on the structure, growth, habits, selection, nutrition, propagation, basic needs, diseases and upbringing of both natural and man-made orchid genera. 200 colour photographs indicate the diversity and delights of the orchid world. 

Native Orchids of Peninsular Malaysia by Chris K. H. Teo. This volume catalogues more than 66 species in 32 genera of the native orchids of Peninsular Malaysia. Research for this book was based on fresh orchid specimens. For this reason, minor details, not discernible in dried herbarium species, have been described and recorded for the first time. The text is fully illustrated by more than 85 colour photographs in close-up, and provides a scale indicating their actual size.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Event: Meet-the-Authors: Sharon Saw and Jamie Khoo

Select Books is pleased to invite you to a Meet-the-Authors session with Sharon Saw and Jamie Khoo, authors of The Promise: A Tsem Rinpoche Biography.

About the authors
Sharon Saw spent many years writing for magazines and television before joining Kechera Media Publications full-time as a writer and senior editor. She has authored and edited very comprehensive box sets on Buddhist practice as well as many other titles on spiritual philosophies.

Jamie Khoo has had much experience in various media – newspapers and magazines – and is now a senior editor with Kechera Media Publications. She has a biography, Call Me Paris, and is a regular blogger.

About the Book
The Promise: A Tsem Rinpoche Biography tells the most unusual, extraordinary life story of Tsem Tulku Rinpoche, a radiant Buddhist teacher who literally traversed continents and lifetimes to fulfil a lifelong commitment to the world.

This fascinating pictorial story features many personal photographs of Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s life, including images that have never been published before. The book crosses four countries, five cities, countless cultures, and is the result of years of travel and research by Tsem Tulku Rinpoche’s students, crossing China, Taiwan, India and the United States.

Saturday, 28 July 2012, 3pm - 5pm
Select Books
51 Armenian Street
Singapore 179939
Tel: 62513798

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Event: Face-to-Face with John Sharpley and Robert Yeo

These are photos from the Face-to-Face with John Sharpley and Robert Yeo held on Saturday, July 21, 2012 at our Armenian Street bookstore.  The event also featured musical performances by Anna Ivanenko and Satsuki Nagatome.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Event: Joint Book Launch of Cordelia and Ubin Dreaming

Photos from the joint book launch of Cordelia by Grace Chia and Ubin Dreaming by David Leo, published by Ethos Books, held on Friday, 20 July, 2012, at our Armenian Street bookstore.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Event: Face-to-Face with John Sharpley and Robert Yeo

Select Books is pleased to invite you to 

John Sharpley and Robert Yeo

featuring musical performances by Anna Ivanenko and Satsuki Nagatome

Saturday, 21 July 2012, 5:30pm

Select Books
51 Armenian Street


Please come join us for casual conversation with the composer and librettist of Singapore's latest opera, set amidst the tumultuous decade of the 1960s. Excerpts from the opera will be performed by members of the cast.

About the Opera - Fences

Steven Lee, from Singapore, and Nora Ibrahim, from Kuala Lumpur, meet in Malaya Hall in London in the early 60s and fall in love. At the same time, Singapore and KL are involved in negotiations for the city state to be a part of Malaysia.

Steven is charming and flirtatious, Nora devout but has also liberal views. Both return home, tell their parents and meet with objections from their fathers, though their mothers are sympathetic. Nora's father, Ibrahim, arranges for a suitor for Nora and Steven is hurt in riots in Geylang Serai. Mrs Lee informs Nora and she manages  to  go Singapore and is met in the Tanjong Pagar Railway by Steven. During this period, Singapore-KL relations take a turn for the worse.

Steven's father confronts the couple in the railway station and as a result of the stress, dies of a heart attack. Singapore separates from Malaysia. Both Steven and Nora decide that their homelands are not conducive places to live in as a married couple and decide to migrate to Australia.

This story is a take on the Romeo and Juliet theme in the tumultuous 60s when race, religion and politics threaten the lives of the lovers.

About the Composer

JOHN SHARPLEY, composer, performer and teacher, possesses a unique and multi-faceted career that spans geographic and cultural borders. Born in Houston, Texas, USA, he earned a Doctorate in Music Composition from Boston University; a Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Houston; and, diplomas for piano, violin, and composition at the National Conservatory of Music in Strasbourg, France. He was composer-in-residence for the Singapore Symphony Orchestra 2004 season. He is co-founder and Artistic Director of OperaViva (www.operaviva.com.sg) and currently teaches at both Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts and LaSalle College of the Arts.

Sharpley's compositions include orchestral works, opera, music for theatre, film and dance scores, chamber music, songs, and solo piano works. The Singapore Symphony Orchestra, the China Philharmonic Orchestra, the Houston Symphony Orchestra, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Novosibirsk Philharmonic, the Sheffield Winds (Chicago), the Huqin Quartet, the T’ang String Quartet are some of the prominent ensembles which have performed Sharpley's compositions. He also worked with the famous rock group R.E.M., composing an arrangement for the song Lotus. His song cycle for soprano, children’s choir and piano, The Wild Child, was recorded for the Australian Broadcast Corporation (ABC) in 2007 by the Young Voices of Melbourne. His choral work Dream Within A Dream premiered and toured in the US in 2008. His opera Kannagi was premiered in an Indian Temple in Singapore (2009). His choreographed piano work Toccata premiered in Singapore and Delhi, India (2009).

About the Librettist

ROBERT YEO, one of the pioneers of Singaporean drama in English, is also a poet, editor, novelist, literary critic, (former) lecturer at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University, and (present) teacher of creative writing, Singapore Management University. He received the Public Service Medal in 1991 for services to drama. 

Yeo has published three poetry collections: Coming Home, Baby (1971); And Napalm Does Not Help (1977); and A Part of Three (1989). He is one of the five poets in Five Takes (1974). Leaving Home, Mother (1999) is a selection of eighty-five published poems. Ironic and conversational, many poems located abroad interrogate nation-building in Singapore and the Vietnam War while the local poems probe family ties and materialism. “Nothing is new but what is forgotten” is a refrain in a good number. Yeo’s only novel, The Adventures of Holden Heng (1986), is a bildungsroman concerned with the sexual education of its antihero.

Yeo has written six plays. The Singapore Trilogy (2001) comprising “Are You There, Singapore?” (1974), “One Year Back Home” (1980) and “Changi” (1996), dramatises tensions between individual freedoms and constraints exercised by the state, the need for an Opposition in Parliament, and the costs of friendship. In 1974, “Are You There, Singapore?” made history by breaking all box office records for a theatre performance in Singapore. “One Year” was given a performance licence only after almost eighteen months of negotiation with official authorities. It was published in Manila in 1990-after Singaporean publishers turned it down, perceiving it as political dynamite. “Second Chance” (1988) is Yeo’s foray into the “Great Marriage Debate” which was initiated in 1983 when Lee Kuan Yew, then Prime Minister, lamented the fact that many graduate women were not marrying (and replacing themselves). Unlike these naturalistic plays, the interpretive aspects of history engage  “The Eye of History” (1992), a back-to-the-past fantasy played out in scenes between key figures like Munshi Abdullah (Malay historian), Stamford Raffles (founder of colonial Singapore), and Lee Kuan Yew  (“founder” of the modern republic). Yeo’s most recent play, “Your Bed is Your Coffin,” based on a schizophrenic friend, has yet to be staged. 

Yeo has edited collections of short fiction, plays and textbooks. A self-confessed compulsive writer, he is working on the libretto for “Separation”, an opera on the effects of the 1965 separation of Singapore from Malaysia, and “Routes”, his postmodernist memoirs.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Asian Art Titles from Selections 108

Selections 108, the latest issue of our bi-monthly catalogues of new titles has been released.  These are some Asian Art titles from the catalogue:

Masterworks of Pre-Columbian, Indonesian, and African Gold: The Glassell Collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston by Frances Marzio. One of the world's top hundred art collectors, Alfred C. Glassell, Jr. (1913-2008), was fascinated by gold, but not for its monetary value. Glassell valued instead the spiritual significance that gold held in many ancient cultures, particularly those of Africa, South America, and Indonesia. Over the years, he acquired an astonishing number of artworks, assembling the largest privately held collection of Pre-Columbian gold. From 1997 to 2004, Glassell donated works of African and Indonesian gold to the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Upon his death in 2008, he bequeathed his collection of Pre-Columbian gold to the museum. Masterworks of Pre-Columbian, Indonesian, and African Gold explores two hundred of these dazzling works, many published here for the first time. Spanning from 2000 B.C. to A.D. 1600, these precious objects reflect a variety of cultures, such as the Calima, Quimbaya, Sicán, Moché, and Coclé, and a range of geographic locations, from Mexico to Argentina and from Africa to Indonesia. The book offers fresh insights into the enduring appeal of gold and its artistic manifestations in diverse cultures.

Plaited Arts from the Borneo Rainforest edited by Bernard Sellato, Bernard. Many of Borneo's finest works of art are made from perishable plant materials such as rattan, bamboo, and pandanus gathered in the rainforest and worked by hand with various plaiting techniques. Falling between enduring works made of stone or bronze and the necessarily ephemeral works of installation art, plaited arts have a short lifetime, especially in tropical conditions, but this in no way lessens their interest and value. For millennia this "humblest of crafts" was employed to produce functional objects that featured in all aspects of everyday life, and the ordinariness of the products probably accounts for the neglect of the skills and artistic achievement of those who created them. The omission is the more remarkable because such weaving traditions are particularly strong in Southeast Asia, and the island of Borneo arguably has the richest, most diverse, sophisticated, and aesthetically enticing plaitwork in the world. Plaited Arts from the Borneo Rainforest gives long overdue recognition to the woven masterpieces created by Borneo's rainforest artists. It aims to stimulate appreciation of the aesthetic qualities of ingenious and attractive everyday utensils that hidden from sight in a kitchen or a barn, yet are part and parcel of the island's cultures, and are indispensable to the lives of their makers and to the social life of the communities that produce them. These long overlooked plaited objects, unsurpassed in their combination of beauty, form, and function, provide a unique window on the way of life of Borneo's inhabitants. The lavish illustrations make the book rich and compelling for collectors and scholars alike.

Ancestors of the Lake: Art of Lake Sentani and Humboldt Bay, New Guinea edited by Virginia-Lee Webb, Virginia-Lee. After Dutch expeditions reached New Guinea's Lake Sentani island and Humboldt Bay in the mid-1800s, Western visitors began collecting works by local artists. Ancestors of the Lake is a stunning look at the region's distinctive art, such as its highly stylized wooden sculptures and decoratively and abstractly designed barkcloths. This beautifully illustrated volume brings together many of these important historic pieces for the first time, including the landmark collection of French writer and art dealer Jacques Viot, along with photographs by Paul Wirz. The book also explores how European Surrealist artists found inspiration in the art of New Guinea, highlighted by rarely seen photographs by Man Ray of Sentani sculpture.

Firecrackers! An Eye-Popping Collection of Chinese Firework Art by Warren Dotz and Jack Mingo. Firecrackers, sparklers, and rockets offer maximum flash for minimum cash, and over the years, manufacturers have created dazzling labels to hype their pyrotechnic products. This book pays tribute to this eye-popping art form, featuring some of the most vibrant and eccentric labels from the 1950s and 1960s. Conjuring memories of outdoor celebrations and childhood mischief, this scintillating collection of pop culture artifacts will kindle the imaginations of advertising art aficionados, paper ephemera collectors, and fireworks enthusiasts alike. Featuring more than 180 rare vintage Chinese firecracker labels from one of the largest collections in the United States, this is a great resource for graphic artists, designers, and collectors of paper ephemera or advertising art.

Immortal Nature: Ink Paintings by Zhang Leiping by Bridget Tracy Tan. This catalogue complements the November 2010 NAFA exhibition of works by China's celebrated artist Zhang Leiping held to mark the 20 years of full diplomatic relations between China and Singapore. Introductory commentaries on Professor Zhang's work are followed by 25 colour plates of the paintings exhibited. Bilingual in Chinese.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Joint Book Launch: Ubin Dreaming and Cordelia

Select Books is pleased to invite you to the joint book launch of two new titles published by Ethos Books:

- Ubin Dreaming by David Leo
- Cordelia by Grace Chia

Ubin Dreaming by David Leo
Ubin Dreaming is David Leo’s fourth collection of poetry.  The poems are characteristic of David Leo’s earlier works; though personally experiential, the poems evoke “a quality of universality beyond their immediate milieu” (Tara Dhar Hasnain, Interlogue, Studies in Singapore Literature, Volume 2: Poetry, Ethos Books, 1999).

David Leo is one of Singapore’s most prolific writers. He has produced a repertoire of works of poetry and prose that have won awards, including the Publishers Prize for fiction, NBDCS commendation and Singapore Literature Prize commendation.

Cordelia by Grace Chia
Cordelia, Grace Chia’s second poetry collection, excavates from the imagery of life, art and modernity to create a mélange of fragmented colours in remembering the past, musing on the present and imagining the fantastic.  The voice of the poet is visceral yet contemplative, sensual and surreal; it lingers with a satisfying piquancy long after it’s heard.

Grace Chia is the author of womango, a poetry collection published in 1998, and two non-fiction books. Her poetry and short stories have been widely anthologised in Singapore, the US, Australia, Germany, France, and Serbia.  A recipient of many awards from the Singapore International Foundation and National Arts Council, she is the NAC-NTU National Writer-in-Residence for 2011-2012.

Friday, 20 July 2012, 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Select Books
51 Armenian Street

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Books on Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945

These are titles on the Sino-Japanese war of 1937-1945.  Unfortunately, a number of these are older titles that we do not stock anymore.

The Japanese Wartime Empire, 1931-1945 edited by Peter Duus; Ramon H. Myers and M. R. Peattie. This is Volume 3 of a 3-volume series on modern Japanese colonialism and imperialism by Japanese and international specialists. Part 1 explores aspects of Japan's wartime empire and the formal colonies of Korea and Japan. The 4 essays in Part 2 deal with Northeast Asia including the cultural construction of Manchukuo, the management of Manchuria, and the economic integration policies for Japan, Manchuria and North China. Part 3 looks at the Southward Advance of 1936-41, Thailand's role, and the Occupation Elites in Southeast Asia after 1941. The final section has reflective studies on Comfort Women, the Post-War Legacy and a comparative study of the Japanese and German Empires of WWII. With black-and-white photographs and index.

The Battle for China: Essays on the Military History of the Sino-Japanese War of 1937-1945 edited by Mark Peattie and Edward Drea et al.. The Sino-Japanese War has inspired numerous specialised studies-some analysing diplomatic relations, some addressing specific incidents, and still others documenting the rise of Communism in China. The war itself, however, has usually been presented from the perspective of the West. Departing from this tradition, The Battle for China brings together Chinese, Japanese, and Western scholars of the first rank to provide a comprehensive and multifaceted overview of the military operations that shaped much of what happened in political, economic, and cultural realms. Given the volatility of the events covered and their disputed histories, the volume's diverse contributors have taken pains to sustain a scholarly, dispassionate tone throughout their analyses of the course and the nature of military operations, ranging from the Marco Polo Bridge Incident of 1937 to the final campaigns of 1945. They present Western involvement in the war, but in Sino-Japanese contexts, and establish the war's place in World War II and world history in general.

Resisting Japan: Mobilizing for War in Modern China, 1935-1945 edited by David Pong and Peggy Denning. Unique among foreign wars in modern Chinese history, the Sino-Japanese War stands out not only as the longest war fought on Chinese soil, but also the longest confrontation in the run-up to it. The process dates back to at least the conclusion of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-05, when the Japanese firmly established a foothold on the Chinese mainland in the Northeast (Manchuria). With a base on continental China, the Japanese could more easily infiltrate, penetrate, and occupy other regions of China, purposes that colonial Taiwan could not serve as well. The War and its prologue provoked at least as many forms of resistance as there were forms of Japanese aggression. If China's military resistance was less than vigorous overall, the Chinese did mobilise often scant resources to oppose or undermine Japanese aggression with sporadic success. Besides fresh perspectives on the War, these studies further provide an important background to the contest for power after the War. To the extent that we are still living with the consequences of the War, the socio-political forces that came into existence during the period of resistance continue to have relevance.

The Fall of Hong Kong: Britain, China and the Japanese Occupation by Philip Snow. On Christmas Day 1941, the Japanese captured Hong Kong and Britain lost control of its Chinese colony for almost four years. The Japanese Occupation was a turning point in the slow historical process by which the British were to be expelled from the colony and from four centuries of influence in East Asia. In this powerful narrative, Philip Snow unravels the dramatic story of the occupation from the viewpoint of all the key players - the Hong Kong Chinese, the Japanese, and the mainland Chinese - and reinterprets the subsequent evolution of Hong Kong.

Nanqiao Jigong: The Extraordinary Story of Nanyang Drivers and Mechanics who Returned to China During the Sino-Japanese War. 1939 - the Sino-Japanese War was at a critical stage. Most of China's port cities including Shanghai and Amoy had fallen into the hands of the invading Japanese forces. When Canton was captured in October 1938, China found its shipping routes almost completely cut off. Essential supplies that were badly needed at the war front were piling up in Hong Kong, a British colony then. China's last hope was the treacherous 1,146-kilometre Yunnan-Burma Road, which ran from Lashio town in Burma to Kunming city in Yunnan, China. Lacking experienced drivers and mechanics to keep this lifeline open, China looked towards Nanyang (Southeast Asia) for help. There, the overseas Chinese were already actively contributing to war efforts through massive donation drives and they also responded overwhelmingly to this call. Within days of the enlistment notice, some 2,300 volunteers came forward. Between February and August 1939, some 3,200 volunteers from various parts of Southeast Asia returned to China. One-third of them eventually died in the line of duty.

Wuhan, 1938: War, Refugees, and the Making of Modern China by Stephen Mackinnon. During the spring of 1938, a flood of Chinese refugees displaced by the Anti-Japanese War (1937-1945) converged on the central Yangzi valley tricity complex of Wuhan. For 10 remarkable months, in a highly charged atmosphere of carnage, heroism, and desperation in China's wartime capital, the people of Wuhan held out against the Japanese in what would become a turning point in the war - and one that attracted international attention. Stephen MacKinnon for the first time tells the full story of Wuhan's defense and fall, and how the siege's aftermath led to new directions in the history of modern Chinese culture, society, and politics. This book includes a selection of photographs taken at that time, including a number by renowned photojournalist Robert Capa.

The Undaunted Women of Nanking: The Wartime Diaries of Minnie Vautrin and Tsen Shui-Fang by Hua-Ling Hu and Zhang Lian-Hong. During the infamous "Rape of Nanking," a brutal military occupation of Nanking, China, that began in December 1937, it is estimated that Japanese soldiers killed between 200,000 and 300,000 Chinese and raped between 20,000 and 80,000 women. In response to the atrocities, a group of westerners organised the International Committee for the Nanking Safety Zone and attempted to shelter refugees. Among these humanitarian heroes was Minnie Vautrin, an American missionary and acting president of Ginling College. She and Tsen Shui-fang, her Chinese assistant turned the college into a refugee camp. Even though both women were exhausted mentally and physically from caring for so many, they kept detailed diaries during the massacre. The Undaunted Women of Nanking juxtaposes the two women's wartime diaries day-by-day from December 8, 1937, through March 1, 1938. Both diaries provide vital eyewitness accounts of the Rape of Nanking and are unique in their focus on the Ginling refugee camp and the sufferings of women and children. Tsen Shui-fang's diary is the only known daily account by a Chinese national written during the crisis and not retrospectively. It has never before been published in English, and this is its first translation. Editors Hua-ling Hu and Zhang Lian-hong have added many informative annotations to the diary entries from sources including the proceedings of the Tokyo War Crimes Trial of 1946, Vautrin's correspondence, John Rabe's diary, and other historical documents. Also included are biographical sketches of the two women, a note on the diaries, and information about the aftermath of the tragedy, as well as maps and photos - some of which appear in print here for the first time.

Collaboration: Japanese Agents and Local Elites in Wartime China by Timothy Brook. For China and Japan, the history of collaboration in World War II has remained largely unacknowledged. In a bold, groundbreaking work, Timothy Brook breaks the silence surrounding the sensitive topic of wartime collaboration between the Chinese and their Japanese occupiers. Japan's attack on Shanghai in August 1937 led to the occupation of the Yangtze Delta. In spite of the legendary violence of the assault, Chinese elites throughout the delta came forward to work with the conquerors. Using archives on both sides of the conflict, Brook reconstructs the process of collaboration from Shanghai to Nanking. Politically unstable and morally awkward for both sides, the collaboration provoked tensions that undercut the authority of the occupation state and undermined Japan's long-term prospects for occupying China. This book was first published in hardback in 2005. With notes, sources and index.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Meet-the-Author: Sharifah Hamzah

Photos from the Meet-the-Author event with Sharifah Hamzah, author of Kampung Memories: A Life's journey, Revisited, on Saturday, 7 July 2012 at 3:00pm.