Wednesday, December 16, 2009

History of Malaysia

History of Malaysia -- A Children's Encyclopedia by Tunku Halim (RM 68.00)

Every member of the family will enjoy this engaging encyclopedia. Its richly illustrated pages not only bring Malaysian history to life, but its clear and comprehensive explanations make it an essential resource. It helps children understand the country's history and how it relates to today's news. It records a dazzling panorama of peoples, cultures and events from the Stone Age until the present day. The main sections include regional maps, an encyclopedic A to Z, beginners to advance quizzes, a historical time chart, a chronology and glossary.

Other new Malaysian titles:

1)1 Funny Malaysia by ZUNAR (RM 20.00)
2)Building Bridges, Crossing Boundaries Edited by Francis Loh Kok Wah (RM 40.00)
3)Meor Sembang Tepi Jalan by Meor Yusof Aziddin (RM 20.00)
4)Laut Lebih Indah Dari Bulan: Antologi Skrip Teater Nam Ron (RM 15.00)
5)IPOH: When Tin was King (Hardback) by Ho Tak Ming (RM 120.00)
6)What Your Teacher Didn't Tell You, Vol 1 by Farish A Noor (RM 40.00)

Monday, November 30, 2009

Remembering Yasmin Ahmad

Yasmin Ahmad's Films by Amir Muhammad (RM 30.00)

Yasmin Ahmad left a vibrant legacy, and it is still strange to talk about her in the past tense.

In order to deal with his grief, Amir Muhammad, fellow Malaysian filmmaker and friend, watched anew her six feature-length films (Rabun, Sepet, Gubra, Mukhsin, Muallaf and Talentime), as well as several of her most popular commercials. Neither an obituary nor a conventional work of film criticism, this book was written just a month after her funeral and is Amir's personal look at the stories, but with quite a few tangents of his own.

Chatty and informative, Yasmin Ahmad's Films can be devoured not only by established fans but newcomers to her work. It is also a tribute to one of Malaysia's most amazing daughters.

Other new Malaysian books:
1. Planter Upriver by Mahbob Abdullah
2. Penang Under the East India Company 1786-1858 by Andrew Barber
(All these books are available at the Silverfish Online Bookstore).

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Taste of Terengganu

Kulit Manis: A Taste of Terengganu's Heritage by To' Puan Rosita Abdullah -- Yayasan Prihatin (RM250.00)

Kulit Manis: A Taste of Terengganu's Heritage, is an unusual cookbook in that it is a 252 page literary 'heirloom'. Kulit Manis is a labour of love, a painstaking journey which reconnects the author, To' Puan Rosita, to her beloved state. Indeed, the author discovered many things that she had forgotten or never knew about Terengganu.

Kulit Manis takes a look at Terengganu's heritage from its culinary history. It delights readers with anecdotes and stories on personalities behind the recipes. It is a respectful appreciation of history, culture, places, nature and the citizens of Terengganu. The eighty-eight recipes in the book represent the true flavour of Terengganu; be it Malay, Chinese or Indian, or an amalgamation of all the three cultures. The recipes are unusual in that most of them require the chef to be instinctive: most have no precise measurements -- with a pinch of this and a dash of that. But they are all works of love.

The beautiful and energetic To' Puan Rosita Abdullah is as keen and passionate about cooking, as she is excited about Terengganu's heritage and culture.

Kulit Manis took three years to complete, juggling her roles as a housewife and mother, and interviewing strangers for recipes and history. She made many friends as she discovered new secrets about her home state. And the more she learned, the more she loved Terengganu.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Qur'an and Cricket

qur'an and cricket: Travels through the madrasahs of Asia and other stories by Farish A Noor. RM40.00

This book is a travelogue by Farish Noor that spans the period from 2004 to early 2009. Versions of many of these pieces have appeared elsewhere before, but many have been completely rewritten. Here is an excerpt from the book:

However, in the course of the same research I have also visited some rather dodgy institutions that can hardly be called madrasahs. Once in Pakistan I had to interview some students while in the corner of the room played a videotape of the gruesome murder and decapitation of the American journalist Daniel Pearl. The boys I was speaking to were between seven to ten years of age, and were smiling and laughing -- while others lay asleep. I tried to look away as long as I could, resisting the urge to puke.
(From Santri: Another Look at the Pesantren al-Mukmin of Abu Bakar Ba'ashir.)

Farish A Noor, academic, activist, traveller extraordinaire, visits, lives and interviews students (and others) in 'jihad factory' madrasahs (Islamic seminaries) from Patani to Pakistan and from Kashmir to Cairo, and comes away dazed and confused. In attempting to make sense of it all, he ends up confronting his own demons and nightmares.

This is a book that only Farish A Noor will attempt and can write. He visits locations we would like to avoid even in our worst nightmares. Although he writes with his sense of humour firmly in place throughout, that does not obscure the seriousness of the subject. Is the world ready for some truth?

quran and cricket is now available in all major bookstore in Malaysia, or you may buy it online from

Also available (at Silverfish Books only) are a set of six postcards with photographs and drawings by Farish A Noor. These are priced at RM5.00 a set, but will be given away free with every purchase of quran and cricket (at Silverfish Books only) while stocks last.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

History of Penang

Penang and Its Region ( The Story of an Asian Entrepot ) edited by Khoo Salma Nasution, Loh Wei Leng, Neil Khor, Yeoh Seng Guan (RM 45.00)

From its beginnings in the late eighteenth century, the vibrant colonial port of Penang attracted a diverse range of peoples, enabled pioneering commercial enterprises, and fomented inter-ethnic collaboration and inter-cultural borrowings. The island came to be known as the "Pearl of the Orient", and for many travellers it was their first port of call in Southeast Asia. In the early nineteenth century, Singapore displaced Penang in international trade, but the island remained a major focus of regional trade. For this reason, the story of Penang's relations with the Malay Peninsula and other parts of Southeast Asia reveal a great deal about conditions within the region.

This collection discusses the personal networks that have linked prominent individuals in Penang with neighbouring areas, and then considers the position of the island as a whole within the Southeast Asian region. Specifically, the authors write about local entrepreneurs, mutual help associations, and cross border trading and political networks, and aspects of how the cosmopolitan population of the island negotiated the transition from British colony to Malaysian state.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Strait talk

Straight Talk by Tunku Abdul Aziz (RM 40.00)

The vintage articles in the New Straits Times by Tunku Aziz have been keenly read within Malaysia and appreciated for his incisive commentary on the socio-political foibles of the nation, clearly in the throes of crony feudalism in the exercise of power. His serious, fearless and critical opinions were published at a time when radical transformations away from bad practices were being desired by the electorate and observers who wish for achievable ideals in national progress.

Other new Malaysian titles:

1. Penang and Its Region edited by Yeoh Seng Guan, Loh Wei Leng, Khoo Salma Nasution and Neil Khor (RM 45.00)

2. Tangerin&Nikotin by Mimi Morticia (RM 15.00)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anwar on trial

Anwar on Trial( In the Face of Injustice ) by Pawancheek Marican -- RM50.00

The Anwar Ibrahim trials during the late Nineties left the landscape of Malaysia's judiciary forever changed. Convicted to a six-year prison term on charges that many believe to have been trumped, Anwar has become the symbol of a new generation of Malaysians determined to seek truth and justice.

'Anwar on Trial: In the Face of Injustice' gives readers a cogent look into the detailed workings of the 1998 corruption trial of Anwar Ibrahim. Captured through the lens of a lawyer who was present throughout the proceedings, this book presents a first-hand account of the goings-on in court and outside it.

Pawancheek Marican examines the way that the Malaysian judiciary was systematically emasculated and turned into a pawn of the executive, the consequences of which will linger for many generations to come.

From the trial judge who forbade Anwar to argue his defence of conspiracy to the abuse of the Attorney-General's chambers, this book lays bare the political machinations taking place behind the scenes by those in power to remain in power.

The information contained within this book comes at an opportune moment as Anwar Ibrahim faces yet another sodomy trial in 2009- this time, however, from the freedom of his own home and as the Opposition Leader and Member of Parliament for Permatang Pauh in Penang.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Malaysian Human Rights Report 2008

Malaysian Human Rights Report 2008: Civil & Political Rights by SUARAM (RM 22.00)

SUARAM's annual Human Rights Report on Malaysia is widely recognised as the most objective, comprehensive and dependable source of information on the state of human rights in Malaysia. It documents the human rights violations as well as the struggles of human rights defenders that take place in Malaysia during the year.

In this 2008 report, we note that the new political realities brought about the the unprecedented results of the 12th General Elections, in which the ruling Barisan Nasional (BN) suffered its biggest loss in Malaysian electoral history since 1969.

Despite this setback, the BN government continued to use outdated and draconian laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA), the Emergency Ordinance (EO) and the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA) to detain individuals without trial. Other restrictive and repressive laws, including the Police Act, the Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA), the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and the Sedition Act continued to be invoked by the government to suppress voices of dissent and curb basic freedoms of expression, assembly and association.

The establishment of the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) as recommended by the Royal Police Commission a few years ago remained unfulfilled. This has led to numerous abuses of power by the police throughout the year.

2008 also saw growing religious intolerance, mostly clearly demonstrated in warnings issued by Muslim leaders against non-Muslims who discussed matters relating to Islam and the ban on non-Muslims from using certain words deemed to be the exclusive right of Islam. The rights of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants continued to be seriously violated by the government.

Malaysia's credibility at the international level took a further blow for its lack of commitment in promoting and protecting human rights, as illustrated in the possible downgrading of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) by an international governing body.

Other new Malaysian titles:

1)Multiethnic Malaysia: Past, Present and Future edited by Lim Teck Ghee, Alberto Gomes, Azly Rahman (RM 60.00)
2)Speaking for the Reformasi Generation by Liew Chin Tong (RM 35.00)
3)Mother of All Scandals: The RM12.5 Billion Rip-off by Lim Kit Siang (RM 15.00)
4)Najib's First 100 Days: No Honeymoon by Oon Yeoh (RM 20.00)
5)New Era College Controversy: The Betrayal of Dong Jiao Zong by Kua Kia Siong (RM 20.00)
6)Anwar on Trial: In the Face of Injustice by Pawancheek Merican (RM 50.00)
7)Memoir Abdullah C.D. (Bahagian Ketiga): Perjuangan di Sempadan dan Penamatan Terhormat (RM 38.00)
8)Making and Unmaking the Asylum: Leprosy and Modernity in Singapore and Malaysia by Loh Kah Seng (RM 28.00)
9)Politik Malaysia di Persimpangan: Praktik Politik dalam PRU 2008 dan Kontemporari by Muhamad Nadzri Mohamed Noor (RM 20.00)

All the books above are available for purchase online at

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Double fantasy

Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology edited by Jerome Kugan and Pang Khee Teik (RM 34.00)

Body 2 Body: A Malaysian Queer Anthology is the first of its kind: a compilation of original creative writing on the gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals and transvestites of the country.

Long denied a voice in the mainstream, the queers of Malaysia are boldly and fabulously represented in 23 stories, fiction and non-fiction. From coming out to coming home, breaking up to breaking down, changing sex to changing heart, the stories are different from anything you may have read in – or about – Malaysia.

Matanya Teleskop, Hatinya Kapal Dalam Botol Kaca by Sufian Abas (RM 15.00)

Manusia dalam himpunan cerita ini dingin-dingin belakakerna hati mereka sudah hangus dek api berani yang meluluh segala isi dalaman diri hingga yang tinggal hanya lohong kosong seluas bima sakti.

Dunia kini gurun, pari-pari rupa-rupanya kertas, si buta memimpin si tempang, inilah apokaliptika perasaan yang paling lazat.

Other Malaysian titles:

Kayangan by Ruhayat X (RM 10.00)

Lost in KL by Bernice Chauly (RM 10.00)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Overwhelming Terror

Overwhelming Terror: Love, Fear, Peace and Violence Among Semai of Malaysia by Robert Knox Dentan (RM 30.00)

This powerful ethnography of a people believed to be the least violent in the world explores how they maintain peaceful relations even under the most dire circumstances. Robert Knox Dentan, the world's foremost scholar of Semai, brings its members vividly to life. His book includes translations of their poetry, dramatized accounts of particular events, and narratives in their own words. Throughout, the author highlights the mechanisms and costs of peace, underscoring their relevance to everyday life in all societies. Students and scholars of peace studies, conflict revolution, ethnography, and Southeast Asia will find this unique work an invaluable and compelling study.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Many shades of good

Toni Kasim: A Tribute edited by Kua Kia Soong -- RM20.00

Zaitun Mohamed Kasim, better known as Toni Kasim, served the community on a broad range of issues for more than twenty years, fifteen of those years in Malaysia. She firmly believed in the principles of justice and equality for all, regardless of differences in gender, race, religion, sexualities, disabilities and access to wealth and resources.

Toni Kasim ran as the first independent women's parliamentary candidate in the 1999 General Elections on a gender platform. Instead of narrowing her advocacy to political party priorities, Toni Kasim raised issues that reverberated across communities and constituents, such as discriminatory laws, health issues, employment and wealth distribution.

A tireless leader, Toni Kasim devoted much of her life advancing the rights of diverse communities in Malaysia, and no one's reality was too marginal to be captured in her advocacy for collective justice. She was going to run for elections in 2008 when she had to be hospitalised. After months of battling cancer, she left us at the dawn of Wed 4 June, 2008, 5.30am, in her sister's arms. She was 41.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Young new writing talent

Lethal Lesson and other stories by Adeline Lee Zhia Ern (RM 30.00)

One day, mother said to me, "Do you want to go to Malaya?" I stared at her stupidly. Am I going to follow the other girls who have gone? Am I going to be married off? Mother told me that our neighbour, Lau, had a son in Malaya who needed a wife. I had only seen Yuan when he was a little boy, thus the impression of his face was fuzzy in my mind. "You're already twenty-one. You should have been married a long time ago. Do you want to go?" I was not sure. If I were to go, I knew life would be extremely different there. But as a daughter, I knew my mother wanted her request obeyed. I was somehow intrigued by the idea of going to a new country. "Lau has promised three cows in exchange for your marriage to his son. I think it's a good transaction." I nodded. So it was settled. -- Extract from Belonging Somewhere.

It was a surprise to know of the writer's age after I read her book. The mastery of the language, the creativity, and the fact that it was not a sappy teenage love story made the reading enjoyable. He passion must be encouraged. This is a good start to a writing career. Good Luck. -- Dina Zaman author of I am Muslim.

Fresh, unafraid and disarmingly unpretentious. Adeline lets her imagination rule her stories. Adeline also writes with a clarity that will surely serve her well in her writing future. -- Shih-Li Kow author of Ripples and other stories.

Other new Malaysian titles:

All the Beloveds by Alina Rastam (RM 35.00)
D is for Depression by Choong Khuat Hock (RM 25.00)
33 Food Hotspots: Kuala Lumpur's Ultimate Food Guide (60.00)
Kathakali: Kumpulan Cerpen Bahasa Malaysia by Uthaya Sankar SB (RM 20.00)

(Institit Terjemahan Negara Malaysia Berhad has recently supplied Silverfish Books with more than 130 titles, which we are currently processing.)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Taxi Tales

Taxi Tales on a Crooked Bridge by Charlene Rajendran (RM 28.00)

"So what are you?" he asks, as the drive to somewhere begins.

The short answer: someone trying to figure out what the question means, in taxi.

Charlene Rajendran is one of the many Malaysians who lives in Singapore, and she choose not to own a car. This book chronicles her conversations with some of the 'driving philosophers' she has met on the hundreds of taxi rides she has taken. Ethnicity, gender, nationhood, religion and more are discoursed in short trips across the island state. Seemingly transient and anonymous, but never lonely, the space of a taxi might be the ideal place for both passenger and driver to ponder the world that is literally passing by.

Monday, June 01, 2009

The Indian Dilemma

The Malaysian Indian Dilemma by Janakey Raman Manickam (Hardback - RM 62.50 / Paperback - RM 50.00)

This book delves into the existence of the Indian community since the time of their arrival in Malaya as indentured labour 150 years ago, to the present day. It is an explication of the struggles, pain, agony that they suffered as a result of treachery, deception, trivialization and contempt by those who claimed to have their best interest at heart. This account exemplifies the vicious cycle of the loss of faith, hopelessness, frustration and decadence experienced by the Indian community for the 150 years of dwelling in this country. It is an Indian attempt to seeking the wound gangrenous that afflicted his people. This is the voice of an ailing community.

Other new books / items:

Taxi Tales on a Crooked Bridge by Charlene Rajendra (RM 28.00)
Slaughter and Deception at Batang Kali by Ian Ward and Norma Miraflor (RM 55.00)

Malaysian Gods: A Year that Shook the Nation (DVD) by Amir Muhammad (RM 20.00)
Ah Kew the Digger (VCD) by Khoo Eng Yow (RM 14.00)

The Elephant and the Sea (DVD) by Woo Ming Jin (RM 20.00)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Folk Tales from Malaysia and Germany

Kisah Dongeng dan Cerita Rakyat Malaysia& Jerman edited by Holger Warnk & Volker Wolf (RM 30.00)

Antologi dwibahasa ini memperkenalkan pembaca kepada kisah dongeng dan cerita rakyat Malaysia dan Jerman. Kisah dongeng dan cerita rakyat Malaysia dan Jerman ini membantu pembaca memahami budaya lain di samping memberikan keseronokan estetika apabila yang tersembunyi dalam aliran peristiwa sehari-hari yang dilukiskan melalui kisah yang dipaparkan. Buku ini diselenggarakan oleh Holgar Warnk dan Dr Volker Wolf dan diterbitkan oleh Institut Terjemahan Negara Malaysia dengan kerjasama Goethe-Institut Malaysia.

Other new books:

  • Tribal Communities in the Malay World edited by Geoffrey Benjamin & Cynthia Chou (RM 145.00)
  • Unmasking Najib by Lim Kit Siang (RM 20.00)
  • Najib's Challenge: Glory or Oblivion by Barry Wain (RM 10.00)
  • Malaysia at the Crossroads: A Socialist Perspective by Jeyakumar Devaraj (RM 15.00
  • Ceritalah 3: Malaysia A Dream Deferred by Karim Raslan (RM 32.00)