Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Malaysian Indians

MalaysianIndians The Malaysian Indians: History, Problems and Future by Muzafar Desmond Tate -- RM 40.00.

The Malaysian Indians comes at an important juncture in the history of this significant minority group in Malaysia. Written several years before the Hindraf rallies of 2007, this book is a much-needed introduction to the Indians of Malaysia.

It is a balanced, scholarly yet highly readable account of the origins, economic and political contributions, and continuing divisions and problems faced by this diverse community.

The focus is on those who migrated or who were brought to work in colonial plantations and the civil service in the late 19th and early 20th century. Both the educated and poor labouring classes came to this nation seeking their fortunes, and became part and parcel of its growth, prosperity and political upheavals.

Readers are also reminded of the important, century-old, pre-colonial ties between India and Southeast Asia -- links that deeply influenced kingship, religion, culture and trade, including in the Malay world. This book also traces the key contributions of individuals and groups in the making of Malaya as well as Malaysia. It is hopes that this book will be the springboard for more research, rational discussion, and informal public debates and policies about the Malaysian Indians, including its poorest, most marginalized, sections.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Malay magic

SusukSusuk: the Evil Within by Amir Hafizi -- Marshall Cavendish -- RM 29.90.

Beauty has a price. Soraya is a young trainee nurse who is starting to feel disaffected by her life. A chance introduction to the world of glamour piques her ambition to be a star. She does nor succeed at first, but then she is told of the forbidden practice of susuk. Should she stay the way she is, or cross the line? Meanwhile, Suzana is a dive with an air of mystery. She has long used the extreme susuk keramat. Every time she violates a taboo, a human life is required. We follow the eventful lives of these two women until we get to the secret of this dreaded charm.

Susuk is the forbidden practice of inserting and embedding foreign objects under a person's skin to increase their allure. The wearer will have to respect a few taboos, failing which the consequences will be dire. More dangerous is a variant called susuk keramat.

Susuk is also available in Malay, written by Nizam Zakaria (RM 24.90)

Monday, September 01, 2008

Politics and a tsunami

March 8March 8: The Day Malaysia Woke Up by Kee Thuan Chye -- Marshall Cavendish -- RM 39.90.

The day of the underdogs, the real Merdeka, a political tsunami, the perfect storm -- by any name, March 8, 2008, will go down in history as a turning point in Malaysian politics.

With their votes, Malaysians dealt a blow to the Barisan Nasional government that had held almost absolute power for 50 years. Denying it the all-important two-thirds majority in Parliament and the control of five states has certainly made the political scenario more vibrant.

Although surprised that there was such power in the vote they cast, Malaysians woke up to the true meaning and practice of democracy. They now face the present reasonably free from fear, free from the spectre of May 13.

This book is about that historic day and the change that came with it -- an expression of hope for a brighter future, with many Malaysian voices speaking their thoughts frankly. There are also eyewitness accounts, interviews with key people, and articles never published before, written by fledgling and established writers.

Balik MalaysiaDi Balik Malaysia: Dari Majapahit Ke Putrajaya by Farish A Noor (RM 35.00)

Di Balik Malaysia: Dari Majapahit Ke Putrajaya mengandungi koleksi artikel pilihan oleh Farish A Noor, seorang sarjana / penganalisis politik dan sosial yang bukan sahaja kritis tetapi berterus terang.

Buku ini mengambil pendekatan dengan menyorot beberapa tokoh erkenal
dalam sejarah nasionalisme Melayu dan bagaimana pemikiran mereka dilihat masih relevan sehingga sekarang. Keistimewaan Dr Farish juga dilihat bagaimana ia mengaitkan sumber-sumber daripada naskah Melayu klasik sebagai latarbelakang justera mengesahkan proses sosialisasi penyatuan antara kaum di negara ini sebenarnya telah lama wujud.