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25 August 2013: Three Malay titles – Performing arts October 30, 2014 – Posted in: Newsletters

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 is akin to choosing just three paintings to describe Rembrandt. One risks oversimplification when describing his talents ­­­– actor, teacher, performer, scriptwriter, choreographer and producer of Malay performing arts. Many remember his legendary performances which cut across social, culture…

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18 July 2013: Perak Postcards – Posted in: Newsletters

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 by old photographs, talks about “better times and better men.” Indeed, nothing stirs the imagination and awakens buried memories like old photographs. Distilled within those images are myriad stories and experiences all waiting to be told. Even old postcards of…

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04 July 2013: My Days in the Sun – Posted in: Newsletters

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 self-portrait of his first 40 years. Mark Y.S. Soo was born in 1933 into a Cantonese family who divided their time between business interests in Malaya and Hong Kong. As a precocious child, Mark was an eyewitness to the Battle of Kampar, the Japanese occupation of…

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25 July 2013: Muar – Tributaries and Transitions – Posted in: Newsletters

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 and its UNESCO World Heritage status has attracted more visitors. The senior folk are happy with the slower pace of life there but heritage buildings are at risk of damage from being readapted for swiflet farming. Will Muar share the…

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26 June 2013: The Dulang Washer – Posted in: Newsletters

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 likes of Scarlett O’Hara and Rose Sayer. Thus it is very interesting to see how author Paul Callan juxtaposes stereotype with diversity in his novel The Dulang Washer. The protagonist of this well paced roman à clef is a Hakka-conversant…

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07 August 2013: Things Chinese – Posted in: Newsletters

Every item covered has a written history of its own, and Kapp’s approach to history is comprehensive. – The Nation The traditional arts and crafts of China are a perennial source of fascination for many, and have served as muse for a diverse range of subjects and interests over the years, from the music of Bartók to the movies of Bertolucci to the catwalks of St. Laurent. As evidenced in the book Things Chinese, the…

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

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 19th century. On one side, there was an industrial revolution which resulted in a growing demand for tin, and on the other, a country that was rich in alluvial tin deposits. Both sides would benefit from the business arrangement that would…

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10 July 2013: Tjong Yong Hian, Legacy of a Great Leader – Posted in: Newsletters

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 and Penang was significant, yet with the passing of time, his name has slowly begun to fade from collective memory. Not much has been written heretofore about the life of this illustrious lieutenant, major, vice-consul, businessman and philanthropist. Thus his…

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29 May 2013: Convergence – Posted in: Newsletters

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 lens of a camera. Through carefully composed and thoughtfully compiled photographs, photographer Wei Leng Tan breathes life into difficult topics like diaspora, identity and the effects of cultural displacement. Resembling an attractive personal photo album, Convergence is filled with images…

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20 May 2013: Mission Schools of Malaya – Posted in: Newsletters

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 camaraderie. To some, they are vestiges of a colonial past; to others, they are places of collective memory, living or historical, where friendships were made, wisdom was acquired and honour was taught.” This introduction by author of Mission Schools of…

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