All Reviews Archives

The Exile and The Promise

A personal reflection by E V Ratnam. Somewhere in his book, A Malaysian Journey, a conversation arises between Rehman Rashid and a friend regarding an individual’s destiny. Each person, according to Azman, an ex-soldier Rehman…

Dedication and Personal Choices ‘are the key’ to a Healthy Environment

If there’s a key lesson in conservation, it’s this: you need to keep at it. So says Gurmit Singh, a veteran Malaysian environmentalist who has just published his Memoirs of a Malaysian Eco-Activist. “Everyone thinks planting trees is…

True Blue Activist

ENVIRONMENTALIST Gurmit Singh has spent his life educating Malaysians on the real cost of preserving nature. Although he is not always successful in creating deep change, the man described as a ‘true blue activist’…

Maintenance key to addressing environmental issues, says activist

by Terence Toh, The Star “Maintenance key to addressing environmental issues”, says veteran activist Gurmit Singh. “Most of the problems pertaining to the environment in the country today stem from issues of poor maintenance.” Speaking at…

The unwavering eco-activist

The unwavering eco-activist by Elena Koshy, NST Pressing the doorbell to the headquarters of the Centre for Environment, Technology and Development Malaysia (Cetdem), I’m mentally going over my notes and questions. The gate opens and the first…

This man has been fighting to save Malaysia’s environment for half a century

This man has been fighting to save Malaysia’s environment for half a century by Terence Toh, The Star For most of his adult life, Gurmit Singh K.S. has campaigned tirelessly for the nation’s green soul. He’s written books…

Sutan Puasa: Founder of Kuala Lumpur

  Sutan Puasa: Founder of Kuala Lumpur by Abdur-Razzaq Lubis Synopsis Who is the real founder of Kuala Lumpur? This issue has been debated passionately for almost a century. The official version or ‘Malay’ version credits Raja…

Heritage Trees of Penang—Kew Bulletin review

As Head of the Arboretum at Kew where I curate the outdoor temperate tree collections in the UK, this work is not the normal subject of a book that you will find in my…

‘Living Landscapes’ review by Creighton Connolly

Living Landscapes Connected Communities: Culture, Environment and Change across Asia Justine Vaz and Narumol Aphinives (eds). Areca Books, George Town, 2014, pp. xxviii + 344 (ISBN 967-571-911-7). This ambitious book is derived from a multiyear project titled ‘Community-based…

Review of ‘The Chulia in Penang:Patronage and Place-Making around the Kapitan Kling Mosque 1786–1957′ by Barbara W. Andaya

The Chulia in Penang: Patronage and Place-Making around the Kapitan Kling Mosque 1786–1957. Khoo Salma Nasution Penang: Areca Books, 2014, 560 pages, 200+ maps, photographs and illustrations, ISBN 978-967-5719-15-8. RM$135.00 It is very hard in this short…

Review of ‘Heritage Tree of Penang’ by S.K. Ganesan

The  Gardens’ Bulletin, Singapore Vol. 64(1 ) 2012 ISSN 0374-7859 Centenary Issue, Singapore Botanic Gardens pp. 271—272 BOOK REVIEW. Heritage Trees of Penang. Simon Gardner, Pindar Sidisunthorn & Lai Ee May. 2011. Penang, Malaysia: Areca Books. 27.3cm x 21.7cm,…

Review of Sacred Spaces by Samina Quraeshi

Sacred Spaces: A Journey with the Sufis of the Indus, by Samina Quraeshi, Peabody Museum Press, 2009. 298 pp., 300 color illustrations. Review by Anna Bigelow, North Carolina State University, anna_bigelow@ncsu.edu Samina Quraeshi’s Sacred Spaces is…

The Chulia in Penang wins ICAS Colleagues’ Choice Award

    The Chulia in Penang wins ICAS Colleagues’ Choice Award 2015   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 Nasution has won the Colleagues’…

Snapshots of Globalization’s First Wave

By SUNIL S. AMRITHJAN. 10, 2014 Every weekend in 1979, Ooi Cheng Ghee took his Leica camera out to the docks of Penang, an island off the west coast of peninsular Malaysia. Mr. Ooi, a…

Living Landscapes, Connected Communities

How does an architect talk to an actor about something an activist does? How should a teacher exchange notes with a dancer? What if this is further complicated by them not speaking the same…

Remembering days of fun in the sun

Sometimes, we have to look through another’s eyes to see something special in the ordinary. Reading the memoirs of John Michael Broome Hughes, especially the section devoted to his time in this country, one…

Endorsement of Living Pathways by D. Paul Schafer, Director, World Culture Project: “A remarkable, beautiful, and very valuable book”

Living pathways: Meditations on sustainable cultures and cosmologies in Asia is a remarkable, beautiful, and very valuable book. As the author Manickam (Nat) Nadarajah points out, it can be enjoyed in many ways –…

Book Review: M. Nadarajah: Living Pathways

BOOK REVIEW M. Nadarajah: Living Pathways: Meditations on Sustainable Cultures and Cosmologies in Asia. Penang: Areca Books, 2013, xxi+153pp., ISBN978-967-5719-09-7 The first thing that struck me about this book, when it came to me for a…

“A new thing said in a new way”: Some comments on M. Nadarajah’s Living Pathways by Gaston Roberge

A new thing said in a new way Living Pathways, by Dr. Nadarajah Comments by Gaston Roberge, 12 April 2014 Living Pathways, the new (2013) book of our friend Dr. Nat, is new in at least four…

Reviews for Tulila: Muzik Bujukan Mandailing

Tulila: Muzik Bujukan Mandailing. Edi Nasution. Penang, Malaysia: Areca Books, 2007. xx + 180 pp., photographs, maps, figures, musical ex., bibliography, index. ISBN: 978-983-42834-4-5, RM35.00. Tulila: Muzik Bujukan Mandailing (Tulila: Mandailing seduction music) is Edi Nasution’s Indonesian-language study…

A Magnificently Rich Tome on Early Penang

Review by Ooi Kee Beng of Penang – The Fourth Presidency of India 1805-1830, Volume One: Ships, Men and Mansions  There are several questions about the history of Penang that have bothered me for quite a…

Reviews for M. Nadarajah’s ‘Living Pathways’

“There is no better time for this book.” After reading Living Pathways, my first response was “This book should be placed in the hands of every head of state around the world.” Clearly, deeply and…

The ‘Pirate Priest’ – A Reappraisal

The bulk of this journal comprise a miscellany of articles and essays based on recent dedicated research into Sabah’s still nebulous past. These articles are largely tributes and descriptive accounts covering the pre-colonial and…

A History of Phuket: “An Absolute Must Read”

Review by Alasdair Forbes First, a declaration of interest: I edited an early version of Colin Mackay’s A History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region. I thought then that it was an excellent piece of…

“A Historical Book on Phuket”

COLIN Mackay’s A History of Phuket and the Surrounding Region (White Lotus, Bangkok, 2012, 418pp) is a magnificent achievement: a towering work of erudition leavened with sly humor and fascinating side-bars. While destined to be the standard reference text for the island’s…

“Some Thoughts on the Dulang Washer”

Review by Susan Abraham What a superb book The Dulang Washer, that featured the gruelling industry of Malaya’s ancient tin-mining era, turned out to be. Here then lies an expansive work of essential historical fiction,…

“Between Lives”: A Book Review

Review by Karishma Attari Between Lives begins with an intriguing prospect. A young Malaysian girl working at the Social Reconstruction Department is selected, perhaps for people skills, but probably for her knowledge of Tamil, to handle…

“The Planter’s Bungalow” Review

Review by Simon Hutchinson On first seeing this handsomely produced, lavishly illustrated book one would take it for one of those ‘coffee-table’ volumes displayed for visitors to admire and perhaps glance through rather than actually…