Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Event: Talk by photojournalist Debby Ng, titled Life of My Sisters

Photos from the talk by photojournalist Debby Ng, titled Life of My Sisters, on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 3:00pm.

This is a link for the book Life of My Sisters.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Books on Asian Cinema and Films

This is a selection of titles on Asian cinema and films:

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, Tilman. 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.

Japanese Cinema Goes Global: Filmworkers' Journey by Yoshiharu Tezuka. Japan's film industry has gone through dramatic changes in recent decades, as international consumer forces and transnational talent have brought unprecedented engagement with global trends. With careful research and also unique first-person observations drawn from years of working within the international industry of Japanese film, the author aims to examine how different generations of Japanese filmmakers engaged and interacted with the structural opportunities and limitations posed by external forces, and how their subjectivity has been shaped by their transnational experiences and has changed as a result. Having been through the globalization of the last part of the twentieth century, are Japanese themselves and overseas consumers of Japanese culture really becoming more cosmopolitan? If so, what does it mean for Japan's national culture and the traditional sense of national belonging among Japanese people?

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.

Children of Marx and Coca-Cola: Chinese Avant-Garde Art and Independent Cinema by Lin Xiaoping. Children of Marx and Coca-Cola affords a deep study of Chinese avant-garde art and independent cinema from the mid-1990s to the beginning of the 21st century. Informed by the author's experience in Beijing and New York - global cities with extensive access to an emergent transnational Chinese visual culture - this work situates selected artworks and films in the context of Chinese nationalism and post-socialism and against the background of the capitalist globalisation that has so radically affected contemporary China. It juxtaposes and compares artists and independent filmmakers from a number of intertwined perspectives, particularly in their shared avant-garde postures and perceptions.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Event: Inaugural imag(in)e sea talk, by Malaysian photographer Eiffel Chong

Photos from the inaugural imag(in)e sea talk, by Malaysian photographer Eiffel Chong, titled Photographing Institutions, on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 4:00pm.

imag(in)e sea is a series of talks featuring talented individuals who work with photography in Southeast Asia. It takes place whenever/wherever the opportunity arises, providing a space for different photo-based practices to meet/collide. Occasionally, it aims to highlight the work of notable individuals beyond the region. It is supported by Select Books and Invisible Photographer Asia. imag(in)e sea is initiated and moderated by Zhuang Wubin, a photographer and curator based in Singapore. 

Wubin has a brief recap of the talk on his blog.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Event: Select Face-to-Face - Felix Cheong and Boey Kim Cheng

Photos from the Select Face-to-Face event with Felix Cheong and Boey Kim Cheng held at Select Books on Saturday, January 19, 2013, at 2:00pm.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Books on Myanmar

These are recent additions to our comprehensive stock of books on Myanmar:

Myanmar's Transition: Openings, Obstacles and Opportunities edited by Nick Cheesman; M. Skidmore and T. Wilson. With the world watching closely, Myanmar began a process of political, administrative and institutional transition from 30 January 2011. The 2011 Myanmar/Burma update conference considered the openings offered by these political changes and media reforms and the potential opportunities for international assistance. Obstacles covered include impediments to the rule of law, the continuation of human rights abuses, the impunity of the Army, and the failure to end ethnic insurgency.

Burma: Nation at the Crossroads by Benedict Rogers. This up to date and forcefully written account of Burma today is written by a senior journalist who in the last 15 years has often been in the country. Interviews and a wide range of contacts highlight some of the hideous cruelty and oppression in the recent history of Burma's people and also some tentative signs of possible changes in recent official policy. The government 's largely inhumane handling of the 2008 Cyclone Nargis disaster and the views of Aung San Suu Kyi are discussed. The future is viewed with a measure of hope for change from Thein Sein's promise of some reform. With glossary, bibliography, list of concerned organisations, and index.

Free Burma: Transnational Legal Action and Corporate Accountability by John G. Dale.  When the military's ruling party violently quashed Burma's pro-democracy movement, diplomatic condemnation quickly followed-to little effect. But when Burma's activists began linking the movement to others around the world, the result was dramatically different. This book is the first to explain how Burma's pro-democracy movement became a transnational social movement for human rights. Through the experience of the Free Burma movement, John G. Dale demonstrates how social movements create and appropriate legal mechanisms for generating new transnational political opportunities. He presents three corporate accountability campaigns waged by the Free Burma movement. The cases focus on the legislation of "Free Burma" laws in local governments throughout the United States; the effort to force the state of California to de-charter Unocal Oil Corporation for its flagrant abuse of human rights; and the first-ever use of the U.S. Alien Tort Claims Act to sue a corporation in a U.S. court for human rights abuses committed abroad. Dale's work also raises the issue of how foreign policies of so-called constructive engagement actually pose a threat to the hope of Burma's activists-and others worldwide-for more democratic economic development.

Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma by Chie Ikeya. Refiguring Women, Colonialism, and Modernity in Burma presents the first study of one of the most prevalent and critical topics of public discourse in colonial Burma: the woman of the khit kala - "the woman of the times"- who burst onto the covers and pages of novels, newspapers, and advertisements in the 1920s. Educated and politicized, earner and consumer, "Burmese" and "Westernized" she embodied the possibilities and challenges of the modern era, as well as the hopes and fears it evoked. In Refiguring Women, Chie Ikeya interrogates what these shifting and competing images of the feminine reveal about the experience of modernity in colonial Burma. She marshals a wide range of hitherto unexamined Burmese language sources to analyze both the discursive figurations of the woman of the khit kala and the choices and actions of actual women who-whether pursuing higher education, becoming political, or adopting new clothes and hairstyles-unsettled existing norms and contributed to making the woman of the khit kala the privileged idiom for debating colonialism, modernization, and nationalism. The first book-length social history of Burma to utilize gender as a category of sustained analysis, Refiguring Women challenges the reigning nationalist and anti-colonial historical narratives of a conceptually and institutionally monolithic colonial modernity that made inevitable the rise of ethnonationalism and xenophobia in Burma. The study demonstrates the irreducible heterogeneity of the colonial encounter and draws attention to the conjoint development of cosmopolitanism and nationalism. Ikeya illuminates the important roles that Burmese men and women played as cultural brokers and agents of modernity. She shows how their complex engagement with social reform, feminism, anti-colonialism, media, and consumerism rearticulated the boundaries of belonging and foreignness in religious, racial, and ethnic terms.

Politics of Silence: Myanmar's NGOs’ Ethnic, Religious and Political Agenda by Lois Desaine. This IRASEC study of NGOs in Myanmar is based on primary sources mainly, contacts and interviews in 2010 and 2011. Part 1 explores religious and ethnic dimensions of Myanmar NGOs including the emergence of an active Myanmar civil society and the 2008 impact of cyclone Nargis. Part 2 looks at the power and legitimacy of NGOs and their activities at higher, central and local levels. After two case studies in Kachin State, perceptions of the NGOs in the ongoing period of political transition are discussed. Their permanent presence on the Myanmar scene is affirmed. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Face-to-Face with Boey Kim Cheng and Felix Cheong

Come join two of the most outstanding English-language writers that Singapore has produced since independence in this latest installment of Face-to-Face at Select Books on Saturday, January 19, 2013, at 2:00pm.

Former classmates at NUS but now engaged in creative pursuits in different lands, the two Young Artist Award winners will read from the latest works and converse with each other and the audience on topics related to literature and home. Felix Cheong is the author of Vanishing Point (Ethos Books, 2012) and Boey Kim Cheng is the author of Clear Brightness (Epigram Books, 2012)

About Boey Kim Cheng
Born in Singapore in 1965, Boey Kim Cheng is regarded as one of the best poetic voices to have emerged the post-independence republic. His four poetry collections - three of which have won national awards - address his own disquiet about Singapore’s rapid change, and the sense of displacement and dislocation that have arisen from that. In 1996, Kim Cheng received the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in recognition of his artistic contribution to Singapore’s literary scene. He currently resides in Australia, where he teaches creative writing at the University of Newcastle.

About Felix Cheong
Prolific writer Felix Cheong is the author of eight books, four collections of poetry and, most recently, a collection of short stories, Vanishing Point. Cheong has been invited to writers’ festivals all over the world, from Edinburgh to West Cork, from Austin to Sydney, where he reads his wide-ranging, all-encompassing works. He received the National Arts Council’s Young Artist Award in 2000 and was nominated for the Singapore Literature Prize in 2004. He currently lectures at various tertiary institutions in Singapore.

Copies of the authors' works will be available for sale at the event.

Date and Time
Saturday, January 19, 2013

Select Books and Cafe
51 Armenian Street
Singapore 179939
Tel: 6337 9319

Friday, January 11, 2013

Talk: Life of My Sisters by photojournalist Debby Ng

Select Books is pleased to invite you to a talk by photojournalist Debby Ng, titled Life of My Sisters, on Saturday, January 26, 2013 at 3:00pm

About the Talk
Title: Life of My Sisters
Only a mere 28% of girls in Nepal are literate, and less than three out of ten can read. Without essential skills, these girls risk falling victim to prostitution rings and child trafficking networks. Others are forced to live on the streets. Education is the best hope these girls have of a normal life - a life of independence and true freedom. For more than a decade, Little Sisters Fund ( has been giving Nepalese girls a glimmer of hope through scholarships for underprivileged girls in Nepal. Photojournalist Debby Ng entered the home of these little girls, and shares evocative photographs and the inspiring stories of these girls - Nepal's hope for a better future.

About Debby Ng
Debby Ng grew up in Singapore and graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic where she studied Journalism and Documentary Production (1999 – 2002), and recently read Conservation Biology at Duke University (2010). Formative years spent in one of Singapore's last kampungs left an enduring appreciation for the lost synergies that people once enjoyed with the natural environment. The environmental challenges of the region and the need for increased social awareness were pivotal in her decision to become a photojournalist. Debby has worked extensively in outlying villages and remote locations across the Indonesian archipelago, Nepal, China, Malaysia, and Tanzania, and completed brief assignments in India, Mauritius, New Zealand, Australia, and Thailand. She is also committed to doing work in Singapore and is the founder of Hantu Blog (, a registered marine protection organisation that does has been doing research and public outreach for the past decade.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

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

Monday, January 7, 2013

Inaugural imag(in)e sea Talk: Photographing Institutions - A Talk by Eiffel Chong

Select Books is pleased to invite you to the inaugural imag(in)e sea talk, by Malaysian photographer Eiffel Chong, titled Photographing Institutions, on Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 4:00 pm.

About imag(in) sea
imag(in)e sea is a series of talks featuring talented individuals who work with photography in Southeast Asia. It takes place whenever/wherever the opportunity arises, providing a space for different photo-based practices to meet/collide. Occasionally, it aims to highlight the work of notable individuals beyond the region. It is supported by Select Books and Invisible Photographer Asia.

imag(in)e sea is initiated and moderated by Zhuang Wubin, a photographer and curator based in Singapore. 

Photographing Institutions
A Talk by Eiffel Chong
"My grandmother passed away in 2005, the year I started photographing hospitals. Her passing changed my way of taking photographs forever. Going to the hospitals after her passing was difficult for me simply because she spent her last moments in an A&E department and I was one of the few family members who was with her at that time.

"Since 2009, I started going to the zoos in Malaysia. Visiting the zoos brought happiness to me when I was young. I am sure it still brings joy to the children who visit them now. I want to experience the same happiness and this time round, I brought my camera along.

"In 2011, I came across an abandoned police station in KL. Surprisingly, I found passport photographs of police personnel scattered in the building. They had been destroyed by the humid weather in Malaysia. I started re-photographing them.

"These three bodies of work fall into my ongoing interest in institutionalized spaces. Increasingly, I feel that institutions are failing the people and ironically, the people who run these institutions are the cause of their failure."

About Eiffel Chong
Eiffel Chong (b. 1977; Kuala Lumpur) graduated with a MA in International Contemporary Art and Design Practice from the University of East London. His work considers abstract concepts of life and death through the banal details, silent landscapes and curious obsessions he observes from daily life.
Selected solo and group exhibitions: This Used to Be My Playground, Artify Gallery, HK, 2012; Before the World Fell to Pieces, Valentine Willie Fine Art, Kuala Lumpur, 2012; Tanah Ayer: Malaysian Stories from the Land, Selasar Sunaryo Art Space, Bandung, 2011; Angsana: Southeast Asian Photographers Taking Flight, 2902 Gallery, Singapore; 2011; Al-Kesah: Once Upon A Time In Malaysia, Map White Box, Kuala Lumpur, 2010; and A New Wave of Responsive Images, Nikon Ginza Gallery, Tokyo, and Sabanci University, Istanbul, 2008; Singapore International Photography Festival, LASALLE College of the Arts, 2008.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

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

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Books on Tibet

These are selected titles from our collection of books on Tibet:

Geopolitical Exotica: Tibet in Western Imagination by Dibyesh Anand. Geopolitical Exotica examines exoticized Western representations of Tibet and Tibetans and the debate over that land's status with regard to China. Concentrating on specific cultural images of the twentieth century-promulgated by novels, popular films, travelogues, and memoirs-Dibyesh Anand lays bare the strategies by which "Exotica Tibet" and "Tibetanness" have been constructed, and he investigates the impact these constructions have had on those who are being represented. Geopolitical Exotica is the first book to explore representational practices within the study of international relations. Anand challenges the parochial practices of current mainstream international relations theory and practice, claiming that the discipline remains mostly Western in its orientation. His analysis of Tibet's status with regard to China scrutinizes the vocabulary afforded by conventional international relations theory and considers issues that until now have been undertheorized in relation to Tibet. In this masterfully synthetic work, Anand establishes that postcoloniality provides new insights into themes of representation and identity and demonstrates how IR as a discipline can meaningfully expand its focus beyond the West.

Waiting for the Dalai Lama: Stories from All Sides of the Tibetan Debate by Annelie Rozeboom. Why does the issue of Tibet rouse such passions on both sides? And is there any way to find common ground? Chinese-speaking journalist Annelie Rozeboom worked as a foreign correspondent in China for ten years. During that time she was able to interview numerous Tibetan people inside and outside Tibet, as well as Chinese residents, Western observers and the Dalai Lama himself. As these people explain their life stories, it becomes clear to the reader why they think the way they do. The book also shows how history washed over this remote kingdom and how the Tibetans and the Chinese came to take such opposing positions. Waiting for the Dalai Lama is a uniquely valuable book which approaches the emotive issue of Tibet from all angles.

The Ninth Panchen Lama (1883-1937): A Life at the Crossroads of Sino-Tibetan Relations by Fabienne Jagou; translated by R B Buechel. This biography of the Ninth Panchen Lama, the second highest spiritual authority in Tibetan Buddhism, offers new insights into the tumultuous history of the relations between China and Tibet at the start of the 20th century. It demonstrates how the Panchen Lama's flight from his monastery on the night of December 22, 1923, remains an essential characterizing event of Tibet's modern history. In China, the Panchen Lama became entwined with not only the Republican government, but also the world of international politics. By the 1930s, the prelate was to find himself a pawn in a diplomatic game played by China, Lhasa, and England for control of Tibet. His flight from his country set the stage for Chinese Republican, and later Communist, control over the selection of his successors, with repercussions even today for Sino-Tibetan relations.

Bayonets to Lhasa: The British Invasion of Tibet by Peter Fleming. Softback reissue of Peter Fleming's 1961 account of the 1904 British politico-military expedition to Lhasa. Based on official documents and recently available personal archives and correspondence by some of the leading figures involved, the account reads in places like a fictional thriller. Mixed motivations and now outmoded attitudes and political beliefs as well as high idealism and individual gallantry are shown to form the background and foreground of the seven weeks' occupation of Lhasa and the subsequent Treaty which led to the British departure. The confused scapegoating and name-calling which featured in the British military and civilian power groups in India and London, and the stance of the Russian and Chinese interests are all overviewed. The subsequent influence/occupation by China until 1911 and the proclamation of the independent Republic of Tibet is noted. Repercussions of this chapter of the Great Game of Imperial Britain and Tsarist Russia are still felt today.

Among the Tibetans by Isabella Bird. In this facsimile reissue of the 1894 account of her 1889 travels in Tibet, Isabella Bishop (nee Bird) the already well known travel writer tells of her last visit to Asia. She travelled by horseback and used a tent, but went in some style from Sinigar to Ladakh. Descriptions of people she met and situations - some hair raising - she experienced include a focus on Christian missionaries and their simple way of life in places far remote from their fellows. Visits to Nubra, Leh were hazardous and the final chapter includes descriptions of the manners and customs of the area. With black-and-white drawings.