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25 Feb 2013: Special announcement “Penang, The Fourth Presidency of India 1805-1830” October 27, 2014 – Posted in: Newsletters

In Areca Book’s newest title, Penang, The Fourth Presidency of India 1805-1830, author Marcus Langdon proves that little islands can be just as worthy of historical interpretation as major empires. Written in an easily accessible style, the book tells the story of how the tiny settlement of Pulau Pinang came to be an administrative seat of one of the most powerful trading companies in the world. In this initial volume of a three-part series, Langdon…

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3 February 2013: “Black and White, The Singapore House 1898-1941” February 14, 2013 – Posted in: Newsletters

“Three conditions architecture must accomplish: Utilitas (utility), Firmitas(permanence) and Venustas (beauty).” -Marcus Vitruvius Pollio (fl. 46-30 BC), De Architectura In the early years of twentieth-century Singapore, a newly-created, singular style of house stood in stark contrast to the verdant background of the island’s tropical surroundings. Juxtaposed against the lush jungle, still very much present in the city’s last century, the black and white houses appeared to be as anomalous as any architectural design could possibly be. But dissimilar as…

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25 January 2013: “Straits Chinese House” – Posted in: Newsletters

“Their house can be said to symbolise [the Straits Chinese] vibrancy of culture and heritage. It is the setting in which Straits Chinese art, ritual and tradition are most clearly expressed.” Having firmly established themselves in the Malay archipelago as early as the seventeenth century, the Straits Chinese, also known as Baba Nyonya or Peranakan Chinese, rose to prominence in the region and developed a complex and fascinating material culture. With many Peranakan men involving…

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14 January 2013: “Malacca, Voices from the Street” – Posted in: Newsletters

“We began by listening to the voices of ordinary Malaccans. We listened to the city’s streets, as we searched out hidden corners and abandoned alleyways. Listened to houses and temples, ruins and cemeteries… And we heard them speak.” Excerpt from the book In the early 1400s, a small port on the west side of Malaysia was waking up to what would be a long, colourful, and at times violent history. Over the course of its…

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4 January 2013: “Recollections” – Posted in: Newsletters

“This attempt to record a part of Penang’s unique history through the lives of a local family sheds details on the people who contributed to its growth and development during the 20th century… through the lives of the extended [Baba Nyonya] clan members are rare insights into their genteel world.” From the Preface of Recollections The elegant culture of the Baba Nyonyas, that heritage so fundamentally stitched into the fabric of George Town’s past and present,…

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27 December 2012: “The Way Home” – Posted in: Newsletters

“All those who had been excluded, who had been silenced, and who were invisible actually did not go away. They are the unhealed wounds that cause us dull pain. This book reveals their existence.”  Leung Man Tao, Hong Kong Social Commentator The Sungai Buloh Settlement in Selangor, Malaysia, once the second largest leper colony in the world, was created to separate those infected with leprosy from the rest of society. In the process of separation, those…

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6 December 2012: “Penang Trams, Trolleybuses and Railways – Posted in: Newsletters

“The impressive and comprehensive documentation of that glorious period of public transport in Penang will hopefully serve to restore our legacy and lead to a regeneration of public transport.” – Anwar Fazal Today, Penang’s streets are congested at all hours of the day with motorbikes, cars and the occasional bicyclist. In the busiest of jams, it seems as though every person in the state is on the road, in their own individual vehicle. Indeed, one look…

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