Weekly Newsletters Archives

7 Jan 2017: Bangsawan – a Social and Stylistic History of Popular Malay Opera

The term teater tradisional (traditional theatre) has been used in Malaysia to denote entertainment which has existed for many generations, especially one which contains cultural elements of the Southeast Asian region. Bangsawan, formerly called Teater…

25 Dec 2016: Nonya Heritage Kitchen: Origins, Utensils and Recipes

Here is an extraordinary and practical cookbook that reveals new information about the wide-spread and global roots of Nyonya food. What makes a cookbook great is its total package, combining practical recipes, sublime photography, narratives…

17 Dec 2016: Yangon Echoes: Inside Heritage Homes

“The rich tapestry of multicultural Yangon is reflected wonderfully in this brilliant book, a fusion of intangible and tangible heritage that is often overlooked in architectural studies of cities.” – William Logan, Professor Emeritus, Deakin…

10 Dec 2016: Megat Terawis – Journey to Our Roots

There have been insinuations that Megat Terawis was ‘a soldier of fortune’, someone who would do anything for reward, or that he acquired the office of Perak Bendahara by force of arms, as told…

01 Dec 2016: The Sustainability Shift – Refashioning Malaysia’s Future

Following the successful launch on 29 November of its latest publication The Sustainability Shift: Refashioning Malaysia’s Future in Kuala Lumpur, Areca Books hosted the Penang launch on 4 December with Emeritus Professor Mohd. Nordin Hasan, Director, International Council for…

12 Nov 2016: Road To Dawn《夜‧明》commemorative DVD (2016)

In commemoration of Dr Sun Yat Sen’s 150th birthday on 12 November 2016, the Sun Yat Sen Museum Penang is proud to present the new Road To Dawn《夜‧明》commemorative DVD (2016), a 2007 Chinese historical film…

10 Nov 2016: Shophouse / Townhouse: Asian Perspectives

The shophouse typology is a quintessential urban vernacular form in Southeast Asia. It is an ubiquitous architectural form that has assumed diverse appearances and meanings. Shophouses are a familiar sight throughout Asia ‒ they are…

30 Oct 2016: Two biographies – Mubin Sheppard & Ezrin Arbi

Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so. – Charles de Gaulle ‘Two biographies – Mubin Sheppard & Ezrin Arbi‘, the subject…

24 Oct 2016: Our Malaysia – Multicultural Activity Book for Young Malaysians

We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and…

09 Oct 2016: Ikat Limar and Ukiran Kayu Melayu Tradisi

Traditional Malay arts and crafts can be classified according to the techniques employed and the different materials used in their production. Two popular forms include Ikat Limar and Ukiran Kayu Melayu Tradisi, or textile weaving…

02 Oct 2016: The Chettiar Role in Malaysia’s Economic History

This meticulously researched book represents a noteworthy contribution to our understanding of the ’subaltern’ economy of Malaysia during the colonial period and to our appreciation of the changing role of the Chettiar in modern…

03 Sep 2016: Panicrama and Asian Lives

Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary. – Cecil Beaton, photographer Sublime photography…

27 Aug 2016: Masjid – Selected Mosques and Musollas in Malaysia

He who builds a masjid in the way of Allah, God will build a house for him in paradise. – Sahih Muslim Continuing from the theme of ATSA Architects’s previous publications, this week’s featured book…

20 Aug 2016: Penang Hokkien-English Dictionary

There are over 6,500 languages in the world and almost half are in danger of extinction. – The Star, 7 Aug 2016 Although it is unlikely for someone to completely forget his or her native tongue,…

13 Aug 2016: Province Wellesley, A Pictorial History

Words and pictures are the only things that last forever; they are more durable than the eternal hills. Beneath the deceptively prosaic and unadorned title lies a time capsule containing many things vital to the history of Penang. At long last,…

30 July 2016: The Memories of Dr. Wu Lien-teh – Plague Fighter

Lives of great men all remind us, we can make our lives sublime, and, departing, leave behind us, footprints on the sands of time. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow For as long as anyone can remember, the…

23 July 2016: Street Art Penang Style

l came to live in Penang in 2011 and quickly discovered its vibrant mixture of wall murals, steel sculptures, and Indian kolams. Art, it seemed, was everywhere. Some of this artwork, l soon learned,…

16 July 2016: The Peasant Robbers of Kedah

Stories of bandits and their legends have an endless fascination for many people all over the world. Bandits are seen as romantic figures, or as free spirits leading adventurous lives. They are the subjects…

09 July 2016: The Memoirs and Memorials of Jacques de Coutre

Scholars and teachers will welcome this translation of the travels of Jacques de Coutre in Southeast Asia in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. Informative and entertaining…richly illustrated and extensively annotated, it will…

02 July 2016: Limbang Rebellion

Limbang Rebellion is a great story, beautifully told. The events drew remarkable qualities of bravery, devotion to duty, friendship and loyalty and saw acts of both individual and collective courage and heroism. The book…

25 June 2016: The Malay Archipelago & Syair Lampung Karam Revisited

…van Wyhe’s annotated edition of The Malay Archipelago offers both interesting material for the general reader and a valuable research aid that will serve Wallace scholars for decades to come. – Dr. Will Abberley The Krakatau…

18 June 2016: Perniagaan Haji di Pulau Pinang dan Dokumentasi Sultan Kedah

The hajj trade flourished from the 19th century to the 1970s in Lebuh Acheh, George Town, transforming the enclave into a hive of entrepreneurial opportunities for the Malay-Muslims, Chinese and Indians. The correspondences of…

12 June 2016: Phoenix Rising – Narratives in Nyonya Beadwork from the Straits Settlements

“Nyonya beadwork provides snapshots of the changes in society and culture as the ideas, attitudes, and aspirations of the producers and consumers of beadwork were distilled into these intricately worked items.” Phoenix Rising: Narratives in…

04 June 2016: The Jewelry of Southeast Asia

Lavish colour illustrations…For collectors of Asian jewellery as well as contemporary jewellery designers seeking inspiration, there is everything. – Jeweller Because of the way it’s sometimes presented, in a pedantic and dry retelling of things…

28 May 2016: Pearly’s Nyonya Pantry

Penang Nyonya cuisine is famous for its Thai, Malay and lndian influences. To me, this is the true beauty of Penang and Nyonya food, how a vibrant community made up of different cultures and…

21 May 2016: Wanderer to Brunei and Beyond

“I don’t have enough words to praise Mr. Gallop. What he has written, what he has done, the amount of questions he asked, the places he has been in Brunei are all marks of…

14 May 2016: World War II – Bukit Brown

“The stories have taken us to the Endau Settlement in Johor, to Taiping and to the battle fields of Europe in ways so unexpected they took our breath away. It is a slow and at…

07 May 2016: Slowly Seeking Seberang Perai

Become an active participant today in the production of our upcoming book Province Wellesley, A Pictorial History. We are calling for supporters to take part in the realisation of this important project via mystartr.com. Sejarah Bergambar…

01 May 2016: Taming the Wild

The question of who is indigenous, and the role racial identification plays in indigeneity, permeate the discussions raised in Taming the Wild. It is part of a longer history of racial politics involving the…

24 April 2016: Penang & Nyonya nostalgia

There is not, probably, any part of the world, where, in so small a space, so many different people are assembled together, or so many languages spoken. – Sir George Leith on Penang Nostalgia sells.…

17 April 2016: Earth Day 2016 special

Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. – Rumi Each year, April 22 marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern…

10 April 2016: Penang Hill Funicular Railway – Remembering an engineering feat 1923-2010

The tales of the hills of Penang are many. This book by Ric Francis tells the remarkable story of the earliest hill station of its kind in British colonial history, and explains how Penang…

03 April 2016: ‘The Right to Brand’ and ‘Managing Yaa-hoos!’

“True change is not in adopting new practices. It is in applying age-old principles in the changing landscapes of life.“ Taking bold steps towards growth and success are the main themes behind our two…

27 March 2016: Penang authentic Nyonya cuisine

Bee Lee Tan’s critically acclaimed cookbooks brought her recipes and culinary skills into the kitchens of both Western and Asian homes. By articulating the culture and cuisine of the Peranakan community, she has enlivened…

Syed Thajudeen – A Retrospective

The core human values like love, compassion, faith, filial piety, honesty and trust feature prominently in Syed Thajudeen’s works. They are an affirmation of the good self, of togetherness, love and mutual nurture. The Penang…

13 March 2016: Celebrating all things Taiping

“Taiping has undergone numerous changes but yet managed to retain its distinctive character.” This week we celebrate all things Taiping – the town of everlasting peace. From history and heritage, landmarks to businesses, we…

06 Mar 2016: The Blue Mansion & The Penang Colouring Book

With a lively interaction between text and illustration, Drawing the Blue Mansion and The Penang Colouring Book artfully captures the heritage of Penang and stimulates the reader’s dimensional imaginations. Picture books are no longer seen as the…

24 Feb 2016: Book launch and talk on the Big Five Hokkien clans: Khoo, Cheah, Yeoh, Lim & Tan

Penang Institute together with Areca Books is proud to jointly organise the upcoming book launch and forum on Penang Chinese Commerce in the 19th Century by Dr Wong Yee Tuan. Date   :   Saturday, 27 February…

21 Feb 2016: The Valley of Hope

The history of the Sungai Buloh leprosy settlement has been vividly captured in a series of books and videos produced by a team of researchers. Featuring many old photographs, brief histories, family reunions and…

14 Feb 2016: An Inordinate Fondness for Beetles

Sochaczewski, an explorer of ideas, offers informed, sometimes edgy, always accessible illustrations of issues Wallace cared ahout deeply. This book should make everyone want to explore and experience the rainforests of Asia before they…

07 Feb 2016: The Soul of Malaya & Twilight in Djakarta

Two writers from different worlds share common ground in producing works of literature with all the makings of great classics – Henri Fauconnier’s The Soul of Malaya and Mochtar Lubis’s Twilight in Djakarta –…

31 Jan 2016: Stories and landmarks of Penang and George Town

Our featured books this week are remarkable examples of historical and cultural narratives brought to life through articulate research and sumptuous photographs of famous landmarks and peoples. Their stories are presented in a readable…

23 Jan 2016: The Chulia in Penang – historical talk & exhibition (Jan 2016)

Please join us for a historical talk on Saturday, 30 January, 2016 and an exhibition from 28th January to 28th March, 2016 in Kuala Lumpur. The events are organised by the Islamic Arts Museum Malaysia. Entrance is…

17 Jan 2016: Landmarks of Malaysia

Indeed, it has been said that without old buildings a city is like a man without a memory. It follows that Kuala Lumpur and the country as a whole are much the poorer as…

10 Jan 2016: Terengganu & Tapir tales

Laced with charming anecdotes, Kuala Terengganu in 7 Days is a treasure trove of culture, craft, dialect and food-a visual journey through a picturesque East Coast state. Tip Toe Tapir is a short and…

04 Jan 2016: Glimpses of Penang’s Past

An engaging collection of mostly rare articles have been made available to the public yet again in an attempt to provoke a fresh reinterpretation of Penang history and to supplement, wherever possible, existing gaps…

26 Dec 2015: Peranakan Tiles of Singapore

In the early part of the 20th century, decorative tiles found favour with the affluent Peranakan community of Singapore, who decorated their houses, furniture and other surfaces with them. This book attempts to showcase…

19 Dec 2015: Singapore & The Silk Road of The Sea

Replace the camel with the ship, change the dusty dry deserts to an immensity of water; instead of the caravanserai,  imagine a chain of seaports on the edge of the great Asian landmass; instead…

13 Dec 2015: Penang Chinese Commerce in the 19th Century

The study of the five clans of Penang represents a major breakthrough in the study of the Malayan Chinese. It weaves together the various strands of overseas Chinese life not only in Malaya, but also…

04 Dec 2015: Langkawi Style

Langkawi is multi-faceted; it is more than just a picture-perfect nature haven visitors come to explore. Does Langkawi have a style? Maybe…maybe not. What she has is a way of life, a mosaic of…

28 Nov 2015: Dining with Dragons

The first thing that comes to mind, when confronted with Dining with Dragons, is the assumption that it is a cook book, and then some.  The main author is, after all, none other than…

20 Nov 2015: Straits Chinese Embroidery & Beadwork

The magic of the needle and the mystery of the motifs have mesmerized many. Silks and beads work together to evoke the majesty, pomp and ceremony of an era…they invoke celestial collaboration of cosmic…

13 Nov 2015: Exquisite art—the sublime fruits of Loka Made

I believe that most artists have the urge to publish their own artbook and of course, l am one of them. Nevertheless, I hope my book will not just be an ordinary artbook but…

06 Nov 2015: Legacy of the Rawas

The stories behind culture and history should be read in as many languages as possible. A good part of Malaysia’s history has a direct and intimate kinship with the Rawas and an appreciation of…

30 Oct 2015: Lim Boon Keng on Confucianism

If we can understand the Bible without using Hebrew, Buddhism without Sanskrit, and Koran without Arabic, it is because these world religions have transcended geographical boundaries and belonged to the whole of humanity. Whether…

23 Oct 2015: Two tales of a city

Two tales of a city. Some people create a story, Elsewhere, someone else is profiicient in story telling, and another is good at story writing, The city of George Town is definitely a good start, and we…

16 Oct 2015: Peranakan Heritage Museum & Parting Glances

This house   fills me with pride, a reminder of my heritage and the rich and unique culture of the Peranakan Chinese…As I live and love the Peranakan way of life, my hope is that the…

10 Oct 2015—Malaysian festivals and celebrations

Music, dance, trance, colour, ritual, history and community involvement are all part of what makes a festival attractive to both residents and tourists alike. When you add to that mix the diversity of its…

02 Oct 2015: Macao—People and Places, Past and Present

Macao: People & Places, Past & Present evokes the city in all its richness and diversity. Full of fascinating details, unexpected anecdotes and superb photography, even those who thought they knew Macao will learn…

26 Sept 2015: Heritage Trees of Penang (reprint 2015)

This is a superb piece of work…the pages successfully combine stunning photographs and vivid botanical illustrations with just the right amount of text. It will appeal to the informed layperson as well as professionals…

18 Sept 2015: 50 Years of the National Mosque

The National Mosque of Malaysia will be acknowledged as our national effort to elevate the religion to greater heights…and be regarded as an icon to symbolise the solidarity of Malaysia which is made up of…

12 Sept 2015: Fourth Presidency of India Vol. 2

Gorgeously illustrated with rare paintings, sketches, engravings and maps, ‘Fire, Spice & Edifice is the next authoritative reference for historians and general readers. Its ultimate aim as a rich historical resource is equalled only…

5 Sept 2015: Little India of George Town

Little India holds a very special place in the heritage of not just the state of Penang, but also of Malaysia as a nation. This is where the values of our past are fused…

29 Aug 2015: George Town’s Historic Commercial & Civic Precincts

This guide updates the built heritage of George Town’s multicultural commercial and civil precincts at a crucial juncture where its unique identity is under threat from development. It aims to assist visitors to better…

22 Aug 2015: Ancestral Home of Tun Tan Siew Sin

111 Heeren Street is the ancestral home of two Malacca-born leaders who played pivotal roles in shaping Malaysia’s history. Detailed narratives accompanied by luscious watercolours provide for a highly enjoyable virtual tour of the…

15 Aug 2015: Sacred Spaces—A Journey with the Sufis of the Indus

The writer’s vision builds on the centuries-old Sufi tradition of conveying mystical messages of love, freedom and tolerance, of building cultural and spiritual bridges between people of different faiths. Sufism, although originating from Islam, is…

7 Aug 2015: Penang historical talks & exhibition (Aug 2015)

Please join us for two talks on 15 & 16 August and an exhibition from 13–16 August, 2015. The talks are organised by the Penang Heritage Trust and the exhibition is organised by Areca Books…

01 Aug 2015: Masjid—Selected Mosques from the Islamic World

This pictorial book features a selection of the various mosque styles and designs that have been built throughout the past 1435 years. The field of mosque architecture has progressed immensely, featuring various influences and…

27 July 2015: Malaysian architectural talks (Aug 2015)

Please join us for two talks on Malaysian architecture on 1st & 2nd August 2015, Penang Town Hall: 5 Architects, 5 Houses Townhouse, Shophouse, Melaka-Penang World Heritage Site 5 Architects, 5 Houses Date: Saturday, August 1, 2015 Time: 9:30 AM…

17 Jul 2015: July 2015 Updates from Areca Books

Book on Tamil Muslim community wins prestigious international award Areca Books is delighted to announce that The Chulia in Penang: Patronage and Place-Making around the Kapitan Kling Mosque 1786–1957 by Khoo Salma Nasuton has won…

11 July 2015: Penang Shophouses—A Handbook of Features & Materials

Penang’s architectural heritage is one of the finest in Southeast Asia. Whether you are interested in interior design, preserving a shophouse or simply exploring architectural history, this book is a valuable resource. The historic and…

04 July 2015: Winged Wonders–Malaysian Heritage

Winged Wonders: Malaysian Heritage showcases the spectacular beauty and remarkable drama of our resident and migratory birds from the common to the rare. Over 200 bird species featured in this lavishly illustrated book. The cover…

27 June 2015: Tanjong Life

Tanjong Life features the cheeky adventures of Joe G as he explores Penang’s nooks and crannies; sampling the best food, visiting secret scenic spots, and experiencing all the fun that the island has to…

20 June 2015: Personal & Profane–50 Years of Verse

Cecil’s poems are like the multiverse wonders of music and paintings, songs and parts of great speeches. They often provide deep insights, inspiration and even ignite people’s conscience into action. – Anwar Fazal, Director, Right…

13 June 2015: The Singapore House 1819-1942

The Singapore House is a comprehensive study of the various domestic architectural styles that thrived in Singapore from 1819 until outbreak of the Pacific War. It marks a major attempt to document a rich…

06 Jun 2015: The Babas

This new edition is every bit as exceptional and groundbreaking as the original, rejuvenated with a lively and stimulating cocktail of text and illustrations narrating the origin, language, practices, festivities and character of the…

30 May 2015: Mission Pioneers of Malaya

This book pays special tribute to the incomparable legacy of the La Salle and Infant Jesus Institutes in Malaysia and Singapore. With the other Missions, they gave to our cities places of honour. — Keith…

15 May 2015: Just for the Love of it — Popular Music in Penang, 1930s-1960s

Hello reader, Just for the Love of it: Popular Music in Penang, 1930s-1960s is a fascinating and absorbing story of the evolution of the musical scene in Penang. This easy-to-read but very comprehensive book covers musical…

08 May 2015: Born in Malaysia – A Photographer’s Journey

I felt compelled to rediscover the land of my birth. This journey of discovery would take me across the length and breadth of Malaysia. Trips to visit places I knew as a boy would…

30 April 2015: Redoubtable Reformer

The life of Cheah Cheang Lim as a spokesman for change is an inseparable part of Anglo-Chinese Malayan history. In Francis Cooray’s story and Khoo Salma Nasution’s account of socioeconomic transitions in Perak and…

24 April 2015: Malacca Style

Without roots it is impossible to embrace universal values. But belonging is not synonymous with conservatism; on the contrary, it is the prerequisite to modernity. Knowledge of local traditions is vital to producing today’s…

16 April 2015: Artistic – Who I am is how you choose to see me

Frankie would draw, and I would speak. He would dance, and I would sing. Art is his vessel, and I am his voice; we co-exist. – Angelina Lim This week’s featured book, Artistic — Who…

9 April 2015: Gayatri Rajapatni – The Woman Behind the Glory of Majapahit

This book brings to life some of the most colourful women in history. The author depicts the court which ruled the largest empire ever to appear in Southeast Asia in a believable and accurate…

28 March 2015: The Story of Hokkien Kongsi, Penang

The Hokkien Kongsi, Penang has never stopped leveraging the association’s resources…in promoting Chinese culture and heritage as well as being involved in economic and social matters. – Tan Lye Hock, The Story of Hokkien Kongsi,…

05 Mar 2015: The Penang House

The Penang House and the Straits Architect is the  irst serious attempt to de ine the architectural identity of Penang, and one that will certainly give rise to more detailed studies by others in…

13 Feb 2015: Mimi Fan

The amateur theatre anywhere in the world is the place where the future professional theatre begins. And there can be no proper theatre unless there are playwrights. – Lim Chor Pee This week’s feature book Mimi Fan…

05 Feb 2015: Tragic Orphans

Extensively researched and engagingly written, a welcome addition to the much neglected topic of the history of Indian communities in Malaya/Malaysia … an insight into the lives and challenges faced by them. – Gauri…

29 Jan 2015: Unsung Patriot

Leaders must be capable of bringing a clear-sighted and intelligent approach to life’s problems, of making just decisions based on available data, of approaching people sympathetically and in a friendly fashion, and of integrity,…

23 Jan 2015: The Mutes in the Sun

“Written with a sense of realism, and laden with elements of local colour in the setting, speech, social structure and custom – Lee’s story is truly Malaysian” So much has been said of Lee Kok Liang’s…

16 Jan 2015: Nonya Flavours

An excellent collection of Penang Nonya recipes shared among a circle of nonya ladies. Many of the dishes are photographed in beautiful, original nyonyaware to recreate their past splendours. At a casual glance, there is…

11 Jan 2015: Cultural Mapping guide and resource kit

Designed for individuals & organisations interested in innovative and challenging methods of community-based arts and culture education, and understanding the history of places, communities and their continuity. Cultural mapping is probably an unfamiliar term for…

01 Jan 2015: Prose & Poetry – a Ghulam Sarwar trio

The writer’s grasp of local nuances & a sensitive appreciation of diverse cultures and cultural manifestations are subtly coaxed into these stories. Dr. Ghulam-Sarwar Yousof’s affinity with local literature, the performing arts and theatre allows…

27 Dec 2014: Moving Pictures – The Rickshaw Art of Bangladesh

Beautifully painted and brilliantly decorated, rickshaws are a defining feature of Dhaka; turning the City of Mosques into a city of rickshaws. Hello reader, Rickshaws and their counterparts are a common sight in some Asian countries like…

19 Dec 2014: The Fiction of Colonial Malaya

The British Empire is long dead and gone, but the study of its literature remains relevant especially with respect to the elements of neo-colonialism which continues to be present in today’s world. – Mohamad…

11 Dec 2014: Malay Weddings Don’t Cost $50

An incomparable and easy-to-read guide to an assortment of Malay customs, culture and heritage, from the common to the unusual. Hello reader, There is arguably no transgression more embarrassing than cultural ignorance, and none more clichéd than…

04 Dec 2014: The Straits Shophouse – George Town & Malacca

A picturesque time capsule of 16 distinct Straits shophouses – vessels of precious memories and cultures we share of Penang and Malacca. Images of old shophouses often evoke nostalgia and memories of things that are…

27 Nov 2014: Traditional Trades of Penang

Highlights Penang’s age-old artisans and trades in vivid detail, offering rare glimpses into crafts and occupations that have endured time and tide. Areca Books is thrilled to announce its new publication: Traditional Trades of Penang, written and…

20 Nov 2014: Twee & the Mysterious Howl

If my books can help children become readers, then I feel I have accomplished something important. – Roald Dahl Children’s literature can be divided into two broad genres – a saccharine world of rainbows and…

08 Nov 2014: Four Retrospectives I

The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place: from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web. —…

31 Oct 2014: Reaching Out, Touching Lives

The award recipients have shown what can be accomplished when we have a vision. They are all examples of courage, wisdom and action. The Right Livelihood Award was established in 1980 by German-Swedish philanthropist Jakob…

24 Oct 2014: The White Crocodile’s Tale

His memoirs revealed how he interacted with the students … it gives us a tantalising view of how the early citizens of our country were educated. This was a story that had to be written,…

13 Oct 2014: Handmade in India

Handmade in India unravels a tapestry of the knowledge and skills of generations of India’s craftspeople in traditional and contemporary settings. UNESCO defines traditional craftsmanship as perhaps the most tangible manifestation of intangible cultural heritage.…

03 Oct 2014: Concepts of space in traditional Indian architecture

Architect and academician Yatin Pandya helps us understand the generic principles of space organization that render so many historical Indian buildings timeless. What sets traditional Indian architecture apart from other forms involves an abstract concept…

25 Sept 2014: Areca Book’s new outlet

Hello reader and welcome to Areca Books @ The Star Pitt Street Where books meet art, culture, heritage and more The Star Pitt St, Penang’s new hub for culture, arts and heritage opened on 6 September 2014.…

20 Sept 2014: Fortitude – The life and times of Heah Joo Seang

His wealth, power and influence were immeasurable, and his good works can be seen even today in his beloved Penang. One of Penang’s most significant personalities is also, paradoxically, one of the least known to…

11 Sept 2014: Bujang Valley – Kedah’s archaeological wonder

A walk along the candis of Bujang Valley will make one feel history coming back to life … and leave one with a sense of wonder that this was the site of a glorious…

29 August 2014: The Crucial C – Consumer rights

We need to create a new paradign of development and happiness that can generate a three-dimensional peace — with ourselves, with other people and with mother earth. “…We are a force for a better, kinder…

21 August 2014: Johor — Local landscapes and history 1855-1957

The legacy left to us and to future generations would be lost without such a publication. Heritage can only be appreciated through an awareness of our past. The story of how Johor was transformed, in…

16 August 2014: The Anglo-Indians – a history

The Anglo-Indians played a major role in several areas and the history of India is dotted with their contribution — railways, education, government services to name a few. Trivia: What do Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell…

08 August 2014: Culture of Indigo – that curious dye

Service to humanity is one of the strengths of the colour indigo. It symbolises a mystical borderland of wisdom, self-masteryt, and spiritual realisation. This year, George Town Festival takes inspiration from Indigo – “the blue…

25 July 2014: Winged Wonders in Malaysia

There is nothing in which the birds differs more from man than the way in which they can build and yet leave a landscape as it was before. — Robert Lynd In this day and…

17 July 2014: One Man’s Will

We have heard the cries for freedom before … to want freedom is a natural tendency, but acquiring real freedom is not easy — Dato’ Onn Jaafar In a nutshell, the name Dato’ Onn Jaafar…

03 July 2014: A Lifetime of Drawing

Nostalgic yet dreamy, nimble yet intimate, modest yet instantly engaging — the stuff of legends in the local lore of modern art. Imagine if the great cellist Pablo Casals had not ventured into a second-hand…

26 June 2014: Gedung Kuning & The Mango Tree

As the past grows evermore remote, one once again remembers the places where one played as a child. Nothing could be more devastating than losing one’s home, even for a noble cause. Even worse is when…

19 June 2014: Penang’s History, My Story

Chun Wai makes alive the many legacies of Penang in a refreshingly simple way — Anwar Fazal Someone once quipped that memory is a way of holding on to the things you love, the things…

12 June 2014: The Rumah Book Launch

The Malay rumah kampung is a cultural icon, and we should remember and hold on to the tradition that makes up our identity. — Lat Areca Books is happy to share with you the video…

03 June 2014: The Chulia in Penang

Provides a fascinating persepctive on Chulias in Penang…with evocative images that sharply capture their Indianness and Islamic cosmopolitanism. Areca Books is happy to announce a new publication The Chulia in Penang, a cornerstone study on…

14 May 2014: Simple Fieldnotes of a Mama

A collection of sketches representing the diverse yet complex cultures of Malaysia. We are happy to present a new addition to our catalogue – Simple Fieldnotes of a Mama. This remarkable book is a woman’s…

30 April 2014: Penang – The Fourth Presidency of India

An in-depth and compelling narrative of a fascinating period in Penang’s history Langdon has accomplished a book that no person interested in Penang’s past can do without. It is finely produced with an impressive array…

19 April 2014: Straits Chinese Gold Jewellery

Showcases the Penang Nyonya’s passion for her rich heritage and all things beautiful. We are happy to present the latest addition to our catalogue – Straits Chinese Gold Jewellery. Lavishly illustrated and well written, this…

12 April 2014: Plague Fighter

A legacy that will continue to make a real difference to lives all over the world We are happy to present the latest addition to our ‘Reprints’ catalogue – Plague Fighter: The Autobiography of a…

31 March 2014: My Father in His Suitcase

An engaging and frank autobiography of an ancient scientist Much more than a biography of one of the titans of tropical botany. Meticulously researched, beautifully written, riveting. Perhaps The Fates had a hand in it –…

11 March 2014: Rumah – Ode to the Malay House

The Malay house represents the wisdom of traditional ways of building Where else would we find a place to shelter that is more peaceful, than in an abode such as this… – Lat Tenas Effendy once…

05 Mar 2014: Upcoming Areca Book Launches and Events, March 2014

Launch of Living Landscapes, Connected Communities: Culture, Environment, and Change across Asia in Kuala Lumpur Areca Books will be formally launching Living Landscapes, Connected Communities: Culture, Environment, and Change across Asia. Date: Sunday, 2 March This event is by…

05 March 2014: Living Landscapes

Living landscapes: perspectives on communities and their environment Traditional knowledge, local wisdom, values, and beliefs … are more than static forms of cultural identification. Landscapes are the silent, antediluvian results of changes wrought by the planet’s…

07 March 2014: Living Pathways

A glimpse of alternate pathways to the future This book provides a unique point of view on how spirituality is strongly connected to sustainability. Asia is gripped by a crisis of modernity. Rampant development, as exemplified…

21 March 2014: Penang Hokkien Dictionary (English-Hokkien)

A handy guide to Penang’s charming ‘rojak Hokkien’ This new edition of the Penang Hokkien dictionary is the most thorough reference guide to a unique form of Hokkien widely spoken in and around Penang today. Hokkien…

10 October 2013: Musika – Malaya’s Early Music Scene

Rediscover the groundbreaking artistes that helped to shape Malay musical heritage! If the song and the melody were separated, there would be no soul, wrote P. Ramlee in Getaran Jiwa, one of his many compositions.…

07 April 2014: Feasts of Penang

Jawi Peranakan women are masters at the art of fusion cooking. Jawi Peranakan cuisine is similar in many ways to a sublime jazz improvisation, where ingenuity in variation and harmony are crucial to the end…

25 August 2013: Three Malay titles – Performing arts

Areca Books presents three Malay titles … An Artiste for All Seasons… Trying to sum up the life of the late Mohamed Bahroodin Ahmad (or Cigku Baha to all who knew him) in a few pages…

18 July 2013: Perak Postcards

The largest collection of postcards ever assembled into one volume … a masterpiece of design. There’s a scene from the movie Enchanted April where one of the characters, the cranky and feisty Mrs. Fisher, surrounded…

04 July 2013: My Days in the Sun

Lucidly written, Dr. Soo tells his story simply and with deep sincerity. With much pleasure, I commend it to everyone. – Wang Gungwu In My Days in the Sun, a distinguished radiologist presents a candid…

25 July 2013: Muar – Tributaries and Transitions

In an attempt to discover, we found a priceless treasure. The Muar of today is at a crossroads; the lure of Singapore has drawn away the youth in search of better prospects, while nearby Malacca…

26 June 2013: The Dulang Washer

An expansive work of essential historical fiction, thoughtfully and painstakingly composed. – Susan Abraham A deluge of novels featuring strong Western heroines often give the impression that fortitude and courage are exclusive traits of the…

07 August 2013: Things Chinese

Every item covered has a written history of its own, and Kapp’s approach to histpry is comprehensive. – The Nation The traditional arts and crafts of China are a perennial source of fascination for many,…

11 June 2013: Osborne & Chappell: a short history of tin mining from colonial times

The unique story of Osborne & Chappel and the rise and fall of tin mining in Malaya… The story of how Britain became involved in Malaya’s tin mining industry takes us back to the…

10 July 2013: Tjong Yong Hian, Legacy of a Great Leader

His story is one that should not remain untold. The story of Tjong Yong Hian is one that remains relevant to many Indonesians and Penangites. The role he played in the development of North Sumatra…

29 May 2013: Convergence

This book examines how people’s ways of life are shaped by the socio-political landscape of the places they live. Convergence proves that there is nothing more sublimely interpretive than capturing life’s subtle moments though the…

20 May 2013: Mission Schools of Malaya

The Catholic Mission schools of Malaysia and Singapore were pathfinders in edication for many decades … “Here, languages, cultures, values and ethnicities met and enjoyed mutual enrichment in an atmosphere of shared respect, discovery and…

02 May 2013: The Peranakan Chinese Home

Like Peranakan themselves, Peranakan housing developed with many variations that reflect place, time and economic circumstances. (excerpt from The Peranakan Chinese Home) In The Peranakan Chinese Home, award-winning author Ronald G. Knapp and photographer Andrew…

26 Apr 2013: Famous Villages along the Perak River (Kampung-kampung Tersohor di Sepanjang Sungai Perak)

In revealing the features of the traditional villages, this book will not only light up nostalgia but will also tell the strength of character of a nation. (excerpt from the Foreword) The journal Danube Watch…

19 Apr 2013: Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee’s Shen Zhi Jia Shu and Hai Ji Zhan

Yeow Wooi not only interprets [the mansion’s] cultural and historical values, but also affirms the eminent status of Kapitan Chung himself. (excerpt from the Foreword) Kapitan Chung Keng Kwee’s Shen Zhi Jia Shu and Hai…

12 Apr 2013: Prescriptions of Faith

These are moving and eloquent memoirs of two remarkable lives… Sir David Todd Prescriptions of Faith is the tale of two renowned doctors’ war-torn journeys through Hong Kong to China and back, in pursuit of…

04 Apr 2013: Encounters with Ipoh – Familiar Spaces, Untold Stories

Not many towns in Malaysia can clain to have experienced so much within a hundred years … a city like Ipoh has many stories to tell. (excerpt from the book) In 2012, twenty architectural students…

28 March 2013: A History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region

“One can’t just look at events on Phuket in isolation, but should be aware of the large historical context in which they occurred.” Colin Mackay, Author With its stunning white sand beaches juxtaposed against soft, azure…

20 March 2013: Lasting Impressions, Seals from the Islamic World

“Masterworks in miniature, each of these seals leaves lasting impressions of the people who commissioned and used them, and the Islamic worlds in which they were created…” With over 100 vivid images of seals, letters,…

18 June 2013: “The Jungle is Neutral”

One of the greatest war stories of individual enterprise and adventure. – The Daily Express The year was 1941 and the place Malaya. The Japanese battalion had already entered the country via Kota Bahru and…

25 Feb 2013: Special announcement “Penang, The Fourth Presidency of India 1805-1830″

In Areca Book’s newest title, Penang, The Fourth Presidency of India 1805-1830, author Marcus Langdon proves that little islands can be just as worthy of historical interpretation as major empires. Written in an easily…

3 February 2013: “Black and White, The Singapore House 1898-1941″

“Three conditions architecture must accomplish: Utilitas (utility), Firmitas(permanence) and Venustas (beauty).” -Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (fl. 46-30 BC), De Architectura In the early years of twentieth-century Singapore, a newly-created, singular style of house stood in stark contrast to the verdant background…

25 January 2013: “Straits Chinese House”

“Their house can be said to symbolise [the Straits Chinese] vibrancy of culture and heritage. It is the setting in which Straits Chinese art, ritual and tradition are most clearly expressed.” Having firmly established themselves…

14 January 2013: “Malacca, Voices from the Street”

“We began by listening to the voices of ordinary Malaccans. We listened to the city’s streets, as we searched out hidden corners and abandoned alleyways. Listened to houses and temples, ruins and cemeteries… And…

4 January 2013: “Recollections”

“This attempt to record a part of Penang’s unique history through the lives of a local family sheds details on the people who contributed to its growth and development during the 20th century… through…

27 December 2012: “The Way Home”

“All those who had been excluded, who had been silenced, and who were invisible actually did not go away. They are the unhealed wounds that cause us dull pain. This book reveals their existence.”  Leung…

22 December 2012: “Kaleidoscope: The Memoirs of P. G. Lim”

“PG Lim is a great Malaysian: bold, brilliant, principled and utterly human. Her story is an integral part of our national narrative. Read it.” The Star Newspaper Tan Sri Dato’ Lim Phaik Gan, better known as…

13 December 2012: “Ipoh, My Home Town”

“This book provides a rich tapestry of childhood in Ipoh as it used to be and makes fascinating reading no matter how old or young you are.” -Excerpt from the Foreword, Dato Mohd Nor bin Khalid For…

6 December 2012: “Penang Trams, Trolleybuses and Railways

“The impressive and comprehensive documentation of that glorious period of public transport in Penang will hopefully serve to restore our legacy and lead to a regeneration of public transport.” – Anwar Fazal Today, Penang’s streets are…

29 November 2012: “Malaysia Bagus!”

“There’s nothing like exploring a country with a knowledgeable friend by your side, and that s exactly what Sharon does with this book.” Jaime Ee, Lifestyle Editor, The Business Times (Singapore) Since its conception as a…