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Syair Boria: a review December 6, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

Syair Boria, Biografi Abdullah Darus problematized the origins of boria, a performing art form peculiar to Penang to Persian Syiah beginnings arising from the murder of Hussain, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in Karbala, Iraq in the 7th century, to mark the occasion. The practice came to Penang with the arrival of sepoy soldiers from the 21st Madras Regiment. Speculations abound as to its origins that boria is derived from boriah or mat…

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An absolute must-read November 29, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

Alasdair Forbes reviews Colin Mackay’s rollicking history of Phuket 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 work. The final product is just plain superb. Mackay spent five or six years researching the book, unearthing memoirs, official documents, love letters and even an epic poem, in Thai, English, Dutch, Russian, German, Portuguese,…

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A historical book on Phuket – Posted in: Reviews

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 history, the book is so vividly written that it deserves to be a raging best-seller. Mackay covers the early waves of migration down the Malay peninsula – Negrito, Malay, Mon, Burmese, Thai –…

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Sutan Puasa, a review by the Malaysian Historical Society October 4, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

Buku berjudul Sutan Puasa: Founder of Kuala Lumpur setebal 615 halaman ditulis oleh Abdur-Razzaq Lubis dan diterbitkan oleh Areca Books. Buku ini dipercayai akan menimbulkan debat tentang siapa sebenarnya membuka Kuala Lumpur. Abdur-Razzaq menyatakan buku ini diterbitkan adalah berdasarkan maklumat baru berkaitan dengan sejarah tanah air. Buku ini memberi fokus kepada peranan Sutan Puasa, saudagar Maidaling yang terlibat dalam kegiatan awal lombong bijih timah di Kuala Lumpur di pertengahan abad ke-19. Abdur-Razzaq mempunyai data dan fakta…

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The memoirs of the last British headmaster of PFS July 23, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

2016 will surely be remembered for some momentous events. However I am not talking about Brexit or the results of US Presidential Election. I am referring instead to the bi-centenary celebrations of Penang Free School, my alma mater, which took place on 21 October 2016. Founded by Rev. Robert Sparke Hutchings in 1816 not long after the British East India Company took over the island from the Sultan of Kedah, Free School was the first…

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Resensi Buku Tulila July 2, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

Di dalam kehidupan sosial-budaya masyarakat Mandailing terdapat suatu tradisi berkencan antara pemuda dan anak gadis yang disebut markusip. Secara harafiah markusip artinya berdialog dengan cara berbisik. Pada tradisi markusip, si pemuda dan si anak gadis saling mengungkapkan isi hati dan perasaan mereka dengan cara berbisik. Dalam dialog yang dilakukan dengan cara berbisik itu tidak jarang mereka menggunakan ende-ende atau pantun. Menurut tradisi markusip hanya boleh berlangsung pada waktu tengah malam agar tidak terlihat orang lain…

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Finding Arina June 11, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

I was honoured to launch her first book, Paracosm, on Saturday, 6 May 2017, at the University of Malaya. I have nothing but praises for the 17-year-old Puteri Fateh Arina Merican Megat Suffian Merican, or Arina. She is indeed an extraordinary girl, extremely talented and ferociously opinionated. She is one of the most creative young minds in literature I have come across in recent memory. In my speech, I said that she has “a sophisticated,…

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Ipohworld’s World review of “Perak Postcards 1890-1940” June 4, 2018 – Posted in: In The News, Reviews

Once the premier state of the Federated Malay States, Perak pioneered tin mining, rubber, roads and railways in Malaya. In the early twentieth century, Europeans and Asians venturing into this frontier country bought picture postcards to send home to family, friends and pen pals all over the world. Perak Postcards 1890s-1940s represents the largest such collection ever assembled into one volume, with more than 500 picture postcards contributed by several collectors. Practically all the major Perak districts…

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Postcard Journeys – Posted in: Reviews

Every once in a while, a book comes along that surpasses expectations. Although there have been other publications about postcards in Malaysia, Penang Postcard Collection 1899-1930 is by far the most ambitious study of the subject to date. Serious collectors or scholars of postcards (deltiologists, as they are called), as well as casual readers, are sure to delight in this richly illustrated and beautifully designed volume. Packed with fascinating historical detail, this book is a…

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Reclaiming Nature and the Planet for All May 28, 2018 – Posted in: Reviews

Sustainable development has for some time animated discussions on growth, development and the future of the mankind in many quarters. Yet, for all its thrust and parry it has received little attention in policy formulations. The stranglehold of neo-liberal economics and their protagonists is too strong within the corridors of power for alternative arguments to find space outside seminar halls. M Nadarajah shifts the focus of alter-native thinking—from sustainable development to sustainable cultures of living…

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