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27 Dec 2014: Moving Pictures – The Rickshaw Art of Bangladesh December 29, 2014 – Posted in: Newsletters

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 the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Although the flat terrain of Bangladesh is suitable for bicycles, people prefer to commute by cycle rickshaws, a mode of public transport which swiftly replaced the horse drawn carriage after the Partition. Auto…

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19 Dec 2014: The Fiction of Colonial Malaya – Posted in: Newsletters

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 Rashidi Pakri British colonialism roughly describes the period between the 18th and 20th centuries when Malaya came under British rule. Before surrendering the nation, however, the British wanted to ascertain that their influence and interests would remain intact beyond 31 August 1957.…

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11 Dec 2014: Malay Weddings Don’t Cost $50 – Posted in: Newsletters

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 stereotyping. Years of co-existing as a harmonious unit is no guarantee that one will not commit the mother of all social blunders. One surefire way of avoiding such gaffes is through education, which brings us to our book-of-the-week –…

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04 Dec 2014: The Straits Shophouse – George Town & Malacca December 11, 2014 – Posted in: Newsletters

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 connected to our past. They are a unique part of Malaysia’s cityscapes, “without parallel anywhere in East and South Asia.” These structures were in many ways the predecessors of urban public dwelling, with the five-foot ways fronting the entrance serving…

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Living Landscapes, Connected Communities December 8, 2014 – Posted in: Reviews

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 language? The challenges are many for someone putting together a book, but in the case of editor Justine Vaz, who co-edited Living Landscapes, Connected Communitieswith Narumol Aphinives, she says that it is “probably the most difficult thing” she has ever done. “I’m…

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