Saturday, May 15, 2010

Penang German Community

More Than Merchants ( A History of the German-speaking Community in Penang 1800s-1940s ) by Khoo Salma Nasution (Areca Books, RM60.00)

One hundred years ago, the port of Penang attracted German and Swiss traders to make their fortunes here. This mercantile community had their own German club, beautiful suburban residences and prominent trading offices along the harbour front.

They made immense contributions to public life, engineering, architecture, photography and postcard publishing in this part of British Malaya, and unduly influenced Anglo-Siamese politics in Southern Thailand.

The S.M.S. Emden’s daring raid on the Penang harbour during the First World War is often recounted, but less well known is the fact that Penang served as a secret U-boat base during the Second World War.

More Than Merchants relates the social history of the German-speaking community in Penang through the stories of individuals, families and companies. Also featured are famous visitors to Penang such as Karl May, Count Friedrich M. von Hochberg, Hans Sturzenegger and Herman Hesse.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Stamford Raffles

In the Footsteps of Stamford Raffles by Nigel Barley (RM 39.90)

Stamford Raffles is that rarest of things — a colonial figure who is forgotten at home but still remembered with affection abroad.

Born into genteel poverty in 1781, he joined the East India Company at the age of fourteen and worked his way up to become Lieutenant Governor of Java when the British seized that island for some five years in 1811. There he fell in love with all things Javanese and vaunted it as a place of civilization as he discovered himself as a man of science as well as commerce. A humane and ever-curious figure, his administration was a period of energetic reform and boisterous research that culminated in his History of Java in 1817 and it remains the starting-point of all subsequent studies of Indonesian culture.

Personal tragedy and ill-health stalked his final years in the East. Yet, though dying at the early age of 44 and dogged by the hostility of lesser men, he would still find time to found the city-state of Singapore and guide it through its first dangerous years. Here, mythologised by the British and demonised by the Dutch, he is more than a remote founding father and remains a charter for its independence and its enduring values.

In this intriguing book, part history, part travelogue, Nigel Barley re-visits the places that were important in the life of Stamford Raffles and evaluates his heritage in an account that is both humorous and insightful.

Other new Malaysian titles (we  received over 30 new titles this week, but we are listing only ten.):

1. Three Thousang Miles to Freedom by Brig MM Pillai, MC (RM 45.00)
2. Metafizik & Kosmopolitanisme (RM 25.00)
3. Apa itu Pencerahan? (RM 15.00)
4. Tiada Paksaan dalam Agama (RM 25.00)
5. Gelombang Kebangkitan Asia (RM 20.00)
6. Nathan Yang Bijak (RM 35.00)
7. Polemik Islam & Dasar Pemerintahan (RM 25.00)
8. Islam & Dasar Pemerintahan (RM 20.00)
9. Menuju Reformasi Rerundingan Islam (RM 35.00)
10.Pengalaman Bertuhan (RM 10.00)