Monday, October 29, 2012

Event: Book Reading of Incognito by Lata Gwalani

Photos from the book reading event with Lata Gwalani on Sunday, 28 Oct 2012 at 3pm.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Meet-the-Author: Ian Burnet, author of Spice Islands

Select Books is pleased to invite you to a Meet-the-Author session with Ian Burnet, author of Spice Islands, on Friday, 9 November 2012, at 7:30pm.

About the Author
Ian Burnet has spent more than twenty years, living, working and travelling in Indonesia. Fascinated by the history of the archipelago, he thought the story of the tiny islands of Ternate and Tidore, and their effect on world history had to be told. His recently published book Spice Islands has received critical acclaim and been described as "a wonderful book- a triumph of passion and scholarship".

About Spice Islands
From earliest times, traders sailed from the Spice Islands across vast oceans in leaky boats to bring these clove buds and nutmegs to markets around the world. The spices travelled half way round the world and the profits and taxes extracted at each stage meant that when demand was highest, these simple buds and seeds were said to be worth their weight in gold.

Ian Burnet takes us on an exotic journey, tracing the lucrative spice trade that led explorers such as Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Magellan to dream of bypassing the Spice Route by sailing directly to the Spice Islands.

Date and Time
Friday, 9th November 2012, 7:30pm

Select Books 
51 Armenian Street, Singapore 179939
Tel: (65) 6337 9319

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Book Launch: My Burning Hill by Rosaly Puthucheary

Select Books and Ethos Books are pleased to invite you to the book launch of My Burning Hill by Rosaly Puthucheary on Saturday, 3 November, 2012, at 5pm at Select Books.

About My Burning Hill
My Burning Hill is a long poem in fifty-six sections. Dr Rosaly Puthucheary wrote this long poem while taking on the perspective of her late brother, Dr James Puthucheary who played a major role in Singapore’s fight for independence from the British. Dr Rosaly puts into lyrical form, the motivation and actions of the towering figure of a man driven by a great purpose.

In this reflective and retrospective musing, the writer moves from one pertinent moment in the political history of Singapore since 1942 to another. By interlacing these political events with the depth of memory, the writer exalts the significance of each moment, both pleasant and unpleasant. The reader will also understand the sacrifices and struggles that are expected from individuals who have dedicated their lives to a great purpose.

About the Author
Rosaly Puthucheary, a Singaporean with roots in Johor Bahru taught English Literature in Anglo Chinese Junior College from 1984 to 2001. She retired from teaching in 2001. The degree of Doctor of Philosophy was conferred on her in February 2006 from the National University of Singapore. Different Voices, published by the Institute of South East Asian Studies (ISEAS), and her first novel, The Tessellated Path, was launched together in 2009.

Dr Rosaly Puthucheary has been writing poems since 1952. Two volumes of poems, Pillow Your Dreams (1978) and The Fragmented Ego (1978), were reissued under the title Mirrored Mirages in 2008. Dance on His Doorsteps (1992), her third volume, was followed by her fourth, Footfalls in the Rain, in 2008. Her second novel, In the Wake of Terror, was published in 2012.

Saturday, 3 November, 2002

Select Books
51 Armenian Street
Singapore 179939
Tel: 63379319

Monday, October 22, 2012

Book Launch: Telling It Straight by Marina Mahathir

Select Books and Editions Didier Millet are pleased to invite you to the book launch of Telling It Straight by Marina Mahathir on Saturday, 3 November, 2012, at 7pm at Select Books.

About Telling It Straight
An outspoken commentator on Malaysia's social and political affairs, Marina Mahathir takes on the issues, ideas and institutions of the day in her latest book, Telling it Straight. She highlights unpalatable truths, derides tired old ways and challenges the status quo. She asks the questions that need to be asked – and is unafraid of proposing solutions.

In Telling it Straight, she touches on subjects as diverse as human trafficking, the underclass, flashmobs, Islamic law enforcement, corruption and plain idiocy. She defends the rights of the discriminated, and makes clear her stand for individual integrity and her respect for diversity and dissent.

Marina’s fortnightly column has been published in The Star newspaper for more than 20 years. Telling it Straight contains the best of her columns published from 2003 to 2012 as well as the original versions of several pieces that were banned, spiked or censored. Her columns are presented thematically, many of them with specially written introductions that provide context to the issues with which they deal. The book also includes a foreword by renowned political scientist and historian Dr Farish Noor.

Indispensable to every Malaysian and everyone who wants to know Malaysia, Telling it Straight is a lively exploration into the nation’s psyche and a common sense manifesto for a better future.

About the Author
Marina Mahathir has worked as a journalist, public relations practitioner, television producer and as a women's rights and HIV/AIDS activist. She served as president of the Malaysian AIDS Council for 12 years from 1993–2005. She is also the daughter and eldest child of the Malaysia's longest-serving prime minister. In 2010 she was named UN Person of the Year by the United Nations in Malaysia.

Date and Time
Saturday, 3 November, 2012

Select Books
51 Armenian Street
Singapore 179939
Tel: 6251 3798

Friday, October 19, 2012

Event: Book Reading of Incognito, a novel by Lata Gwalani

Select Books and Leadstart Publishing is pleased to invite you to the book reading of Incognito, a novel by Lata Gwalani on Sunday, 28 Oct 2012 at 3pm.

About the book
Incognito, a psychological thriller, tells the story of the lead character Anjali. Her plain and staid life suddenly turns into a whirlpool when she befriends four very different individuals, leading distinct lifestyles. Slowly and steadily, they entrap Anjali into their lives. Anjali becomes the nucleus of their existence. She witnesses their lives from the ringside, and draws vicarious pleasure in their passionate love affairs. Then Anjali inadvertently becomes a mute witness to their plotting of four bizarre murders. Will Anjali be able to extricate herself from the tentacles of her four friends, or is the fabric of their relationship so intricately woven, that Anjali can only be drawn deeper into the sinister labyrinth? 

Four separate stories! Four strong women! Four independent lifestyles that, are as different as chalk and cheese. These women are captured very interestingly into intriguing plots of exotic and surreal locales, blossoming romance and finally a murder-intent.

About the Author
Lata Gwalani is a behavioural and skills facilitator, and a motivational speaker. Lata has a rich work experience of 22 years, having worked in the fields of journalism, advertising, and technical writing. She spent more than 7 years in active journalism having written hundreds of articles on varied subjects.

Sunday, 28 October 2012, 3pm

Select Books
51 Armenian Street
Singapore 179939
Tel: 63379319

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

New Published Title: Revisiting the Development Agenda in Southeast Asia

We are pleased to announce the publication of our latest title: Revisiting the Development Agenda in Southeast Asia.
Revisiting the Development Agenda in Southeast Asia is co-published with Majlis Ugama Islam Singapura and edited by Professor Syed Farid Alatas. 

Post September 11, issues in Muslim societies have been framed into issues of terrorism. Such issues have been understood through an Orientalist lens that looks unfavourably on Muslim culture and its compatibility with democracy and the other aspects of the modern world. This has often provoked nativist responses that assert the immutability of Islam. 

Both these reactions are mirror images of each other, essentializing the Islamic world and preventing mature discussion through stereotyping or apologia.

This book attempts to frame the problems of the Muslim world, specifically Southeast Asia, as part of the challenges facing societies everywhere, namely the problem of development. 

By framing development itself as a model of inquiry, this book proposes three aspects as crucial. First is the need to understand the shifting dynamics of the world economy. This means a grasp of the major global shifts in the financial and political sectors. Second is the need for a rigorous and critical engagement with the different tools, factors and methods of development. This should encompass a rigorous critical self-reflection on long-held beliefs of the causes and strategies of development through a critical look at the historical process of development itself. Third is to identify and nurture the appropriate agents to apply such strategies suitable to the local context. This trinity of factors represents an appropriate model to conceptualize development.

This book is thus a unique collection of essays from a diverse range of economists, sociologists, political scientists and policy analysts. Through discussing the problems of Islamic societies in such a universal framework, this book will appeal to those wishing to know about Southeast Asian Muslim societies and will also provide insights into the problems of development applicable to many other contexts.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Books on the Spice Trade in Asia

This is a selection of titles on the spice trade in Asia:

Spice Journeys: Taste and Trade in the Islamic World. Islam is as closely tied to trade as it is to hospitality. Spices and aromatics provide unlimited opportunities for both activities. Since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, the Islamic world has had vital role to play. The story of Muslim cultivators and merchants is seldom told but has been shaping the world for centuries and continues to do so. Spice Journeys: Taste and Trade in the Islamic World takes readers into this generally uncharted territory.

Spice Islands by Ian Burnet. Cloves and nutmeg are indigenous to the Spice Islands of Eastern Indonesia, this book tells of the many uses of these exotic spices and the history of their trade over a period of more than 2000 years. It follows the Silk Road across Central Asia and the Spice Route over the Indian Ocean and describes how the spice trade into Europe came to be dominated by Middle Eastern and Venetian merchants. Backed by the Crowns of Portugal and Spain, explorers such as Columbus, Vasco da Gama and Magellan dreamt of capturing this trade by sailing directly to the Spice Islands, driving the maritime exploration of the world known as 'The Age of Discovery'. Much of the story is told through the lives of these historical characters, as well as Sir Francis Drake, Jan Pieterzoom Coen, Pierre Poivre, and others who are lesser known but equally important. The story also revolves around the intense rivalry between the Sultans of Ternate and Tidore and their relationship with the Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch and English, who at different times occupied the Spice Islands. The book follows the growth of the Dutch and English East India Companies which were founded to profit from the spice trade and their efforts to monopolize that trade. It finishes as the Dutch East India Company goes into bankruptcy and the once splendid Sultanates sink into obscurity.

The Portuguese and the Straits of Melaka, 1575-1619: Power, Trade and Diplomacy by Paulo Jorge De Sousa Pinto. Following the fall of the Melaka Sultanate to the Portuguese in 1511, the sultanates of Johor and Aceh emerged as major trading centres alongside Portuguese Melaka. Each power represented wider global interests. Aceh had links with Gujerat, the Ottoman Empire and the Levant. Johor was a centre for Javanese merchants and others involved with the Eastern spice trade. Melaka was part of the Estado da India, Portugal's trading empire that extended from Japan to Mozambique. Throughout the 16th century, a peculiar balance among the three powers became an important character of the political and economic life in the Straits of Melaka. The arrival of the Dutch in the early 17th century upset the balance and led to the decline of Portuguese Melaka. Making extensive use of contemporary Portuguese sources, Paulo Pinto uses geopolitical approach to analyse the financial, political, economic and military institutions that underlay this triangular arrangement, a system that persisted because no one power could achieve an undisputed hegemony. He also considers the position of post-conquest Melaka in the Malay World, where it remained a symbolic center of Malay civilisation and a model of Malay political authority despite changes associated with Portuguese rule. In the process provides information on the social, political and genealogical circumstances of the Johor and Aceh sultanates.

History without Borders: The Making of an Asian World Region, 1000-1800 by Geoffrey Gunn. Astride the historical maritime silk routes linking India to China, premodern East and Southeast Asia can be viewed as a global region in the making over a long period. Intense Asian commerce in spices, silks, and ceramics placed the region in the forefront of global economic history prior to the age of imperialism. Alongside the correlated silver trade among Japanese, Europeans, Muslims, and others, China's age-old tributary trade networks provided the essential stability and continuity enabling a brilliant age of commerce. Though national perspectives stubbornly dominate the writing of Asian history, even powerful state-centric narratives have to be re-examined with respect to shifting identities and contested boundaries. This book situates itself in a new genre of writing on borderland zones between nations, especially prior to the emergence of the modern nation-state. It highlights the role of civilization that developed along with global trade in rare and everyday Asian commodities, raising a range of questions regarding unequal development, intraregional knowledge advances, the origins of globalization, and the emergence of new Asian hybridities beyond and within the conventional boundaries of the nation-state. Chapters range over the intra-Asian trade in silver and ceramics, the Chinese junk trade, the rise of European trading companies as well as diasporic communities including the historic Japan-towns of Southeast Asia, and many types of technology exchanges. While some readers will be drawn to thematic elements, this book can be read as the narrative history of the making of a coherent East-Southeast Asian world long before the modem period.

Out of the East: Spices and the Medieval Imagination by Paul Freedman. The demand for spices in medieval Europe was extravagant and was reflected in the pursuit of fashion, the formation of taste, and the growth of luxury trade. It inspired geographical and commercial exploration, as traders pursued such common spices as pepper and cinnamon and rarer aromatic products, including ambergris and musk. Ultimately, the spice quest led to imperial missions that were to change world history. This engaging book explores the demand for spices: why were they so popular, and why so expensive? Paul Freedman surveys the history, geography, economics, and culinary tastes of the Middle Ages to uncover the surprisingly varied ways that spices were put to use - in elaborate medieval cuisine, in the treatment of disease, for the promotion of well-being, and to perfume important ceremonies of the Church. Spices became symbols of beauty, affluence, taste, and grace, and their expense and fragrance drove the engines of commerce and conquest at the dawn of the modern era.