Category for All Reviews

Finding Arina

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,…

Ipohworld’s World review of “Perak Postcards 1890-1940”

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…

Postcard Journeys

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…

Reclaiming Nature and the Planet for All

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…

Traditional Wisdom

“Scholars and researchers have documented how traditional societies have managed their natural resources through their cultural practices. Many have now advocated the application of traditional wisdom in the area of natural resources management, conserving…

Living Pathways: A Cosmology of the Possible

In recent times, the search for sustainability has become imperative for the survival of human beings and other species. Why? Nadarajah’s book offers deep insights worth engaging with at both personal and political levels,…

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 beautifully, M. Nadarajah brings us face-to-face with of the…

Rarely Writings Combine the Spirit and the Body

The first thing that struck me about this book, when it came to me for a review, is its visual appeal. It is layered with photographs and graphics which have, not so obvious, resonance…

Living landscapes connected communities: Culture, environment, and change across Asia

This reference details the collaborative activities of the Regional Project implemented by the Nippon Foundation Fellowships for Asian Public Intellectuals, or API Fellowships Program (API). The API project was designed to foster greater awareness of…

Promoting Asian perspectives on sustainable development

WORLD leaders will once again congregate in New York from Sept 25 to 27 this year. They will adopt the Post-2015 Development Agenda, aiming to change the world in 17 steps with the Sustainable…

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 Pouring a sample of river water into a sedimentation cone for measuring silt level, to prove the high levels of pollutants contained in the Klang river, 1981 (NST) Pressing the…

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 A young Gurmit (far left) and his friends on a cycling trip up Penang Hill in 1962 – nature had called to…

Sutan Puasa: Founder of Kuala Lumpur

Buy the book Sutan Puasa: Founder of Kuala Lumpur by Abdur-Razzaq Lubis Who was the founder of Kuala Lumpur, the capital city of Malaysia? Textbook history credits the Bugis chief of Klang, Raja Abdullah, while…

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…

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 Colleagues’ Choice Award presented to Khoo Salma Nasution by Prof Purnendra Jain of Adelaide University     The Chulia in Penang wins ICAS Colleagues’ Choice Award 2015   Areca Books is delighted to announce that The Chulia in Penang:…

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…

“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…