Culture & People

Featured Titles
Tolstoy Family's Ark, The by Davis, Fumiko

In the autumn of 1910, the celebrated Russian writer Leo Tolstoy secretly left his estate in Yasnaya Polyana in the dark hours of the night. A few days later, he died in a train station, at the age of 82. Why did he leave his family, and where was he headed? Through a detailed study of the diaries and letters written by the people close to the events, Fumiko Davis investigates the unusual circumstances leading to Tolstoy's disappearance, and unveils a touching story about the private life of a man regarded as one of the greatest writers of all time.

Chrysanthemum And The Sword: Patterns Of Japanese CultureChrysanthemum And The Sword: Patterns Of Japanese Culture by Benedict, Ruth

The Chrysanthemum and the Sword is the highly-influential, timeless work behind much of our past and present understanding of Japanese culture. Why is it seemingly so self-contradictory and How and why does Japanese culture differ from our own are just some of the questions addressed in this landmark 1946 study. Its focus on the very heart of Japanese social structure including hierarchy, marriage and family, filial piety, self-discipline, and other core values illuminates the fact that while much of the culture has changed, much will stay the same.

It's All Chinese To Me: An Overview Of Culture & Etiquette In ChinaIt's All Chinese To Me: An Overview Of Culture & Etiquette In China by Ostrowski, Pierre; Gwen Penner Et Al

It's All Chinese to Me is a fun and authentic introduction to Chinese culture that allows readers, tourists, and business travelers to experience what ultimately makes China so unique-its people. Learn about Chinese customs, proper etiquette for all types of situations, and how to interact effectively while traveling China.

Roger Dahl's Comic Japan: Best Of Zero Gravity Cartoons From The Japan TimesRoger Dahl's Comic Japan: Best Of Zero Gravity Cartoons From The Japan Times by Dahl, Roger

The humorous cross-cultural observations in this graphic novel, drawn from a long-running comic in The Japan Times, will delight visitors to Japan and armchair travelers alike.

"We Love Mr King": Malay Muslims Of Southern Thailand In The Wake Of The Unrest by Anusorn Unno

This book is an ethnography of the Malay Muslims of Guba, a pseudonymous village in Thailand's Deep South, in the wake of the unrest that was primarily reinvigorated in 2004. It argues that the unrest is the effect of the way in which different forms of sovereignty converge around the residents of this region and the residents at the same time have cultivated themselves and obtained and enacted agency through the sovereigns. Rather than asking why the violence is increasing and who is behind it, like most scholarly works on the topic, it examines how different forms of sovereignty - ranging from the Thai state and the monarchy to Islamic religious movements, the insurgents and local strongmen - impose subjectivities on the residents, how they have converged in so doing and what tensions have followed, and how the residents have dealt with these tensions and cultivated themselves and obtained and enacted agency through the sovereigns.

Guards Gone Wild!Guards Gone Wild! by Loh Teck Yong

Guards Gone Wild! is Teck Yong's memoir of his experiences in the security industry. There's plenty to tell. Scams perpetrated by security agencies and guards. Intense confrontations with delinquents and work colleagues. Funny moments to make you laugh and frustrating moments that made him cry! Perhaps his story will cause you to form a new opinion about security guards.

Destination ShanghaiDestination Shanghai by French, Paul

For the privileged a cosmopolitan pleasure ground; For the desperate a port of last resort. A pot of gold at the end of an Oriental rainbow; A thick slice of hell denounced from the pulpit. The start of a journey for many; The end of the road for some. A place to find fame, or to seek anonymity; Rogues, chancers, showgirls, criminals... For so many people from so many lands, there was one phrase that sent a tingle of hope or a shiver of anticipation down every spine: "DESTINATION SHANGHAI".

Journeys: Tamils In Singapore 1800-PresentJourneys: Tamils In Singapore 1800-Present by Murugaian, Nirmala

This book takes a detailed look at the arrival of the Tamils to Singapore from the 19th century, the growth of the community in the decades that followed, the social and political role Tamils played in the tumultuous 50s and 60s, and some of the challenges facing the community in more recent times, such as educational issues, the need for Indian self-help group SINDA, and assimilating the second wave of Indian immigrants. It successfully merges historical accounts with anecdotes and lively descriptions, and the chapters are enlivened by the use of archival and some rarely-seen photographs of the early Tamils from a variety of sources including the National Archives of Singapore.

Meaning Of Rice, The: A Culinary Tour Of JapanMeaning Of Rice, The: A Culinary Tour Of Japan by Booth, Michael

Food and travel writer Michael Booth and his family embark on an epic journey the length of Japan to explore its dazzling food culture. They find a country much altered since their previous visit ten years earlier, which resulted in the award-winning international bestseller Sushi and Beyond. Often venturing far off the beaten track, the author and his family discover intriguing future food trends and meet a fascinating cast of food heroes, from a couple lavishing love on rotten fish, to a chef who literally sacrificed a limb in pursuit of the ultimate bowl of ramen, and a farmer who has dedicated his life to growing the finest rice in the world… in the shadow of Fukushima.

Lost At 15, Found At 50: A MemoirLost At 15, Found At 50: A Memoir by Ashwini Devare

From Russia's Iron Curtain to Burma's Bamboo Curtain, Sikkim to South Korea, this biography follows the struggle of a young girl whose life was a cross-continental roller coaster ride that soared and plunged from one country to another. By the time she was 15, Ashwini Devare had lived in 5 countries.

Blurring Boundaries: The Chindian Identity QuestBlurring Boundaries: The Chindian Identity Quest by Chandran, Rona

The results of a fascinating study of one of Malaysia's many forgotten minorities, the Chindians, descendants of Chinese and Indian ancestors. As with many of mixed race, both the Chindians and the society in which they live and which they support struggle with trying to pigeon hole them. The book looks at various aspects of identity including ethnicity. language, religion and family.112 pages with a bibliography, index and figures and tables.

Heritage Dim Sum: A Teacher RemembersHeritage Dim Sum: A Teacher Remembers by Koh Kong Chia

Through engrossing, easy-to-read anecdotes, a pioneer-generation Singaporean recounts the significant milestones in his life, including his varied experiences as a classroom teacher, university tutor, vice-principal, senior lecturer, assistant director, Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation International civil servant, specialist advisor and newsletter editor. Koh Kong Chia taught English in Singapore, Port Moresby, Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Chengdu and Beijing over a span of 33 years. The sights, sounds and charms of old Singapore as seen through his perspective growing up in the post-war colonial period are also lovingly conveyed, as is his lifelong fascination with Chinese dialect opera. This book hopes to provide a unique appreciation of Singapore's heritage and culture through the lens of someone who had a ringside seat witnessing the birth of modern Singapore from the 1940s onwards.

Quest For Freedom, AQuest For Freedom, A by Raman, G.

A Quest for Freedom - freedom from poverty, freedom to learn, freedom to live - without fear or favour. This has been the quest of Gopalan Raman, known to most of his friends and fellows in the legal fraternity as G Raman. His critical mind and outspoken nature led to his arrest and detention without trial whilst he was still a practising lawyer. Despite the ordeal, he returned to practising, and teaching younger entrants to the hallowed profession, one which he still upholds in the highest regard.

Home Is Not HereHome Is Not Here by Wang Gungwu

One of Asia's most important public intellectuals, Wang Gungwu is best-known for his explorations of Chinese history in the long view, and for his writings on the Chinese overseas. In this book the historian of grand themes turns to the intimate scale of a single life history: his own.

Other Voices, Other Eyes: Expatriate Lives In Hong KongOther Voices, Other Eyes: Expatriate Lives In Hong Kong by Nunan, David

The stories of expatriates in Hong Kong - the most dynamic, dramatic and diverse city in the Asia-Pacific region - come to life in this book. Why did they come? Why do they stay? How did Hong Kong change them and their view of the world? What did they gain and what did they lose? Human beings are on the move, driven by economic globalisation, political persecution, love or simple curiosity; and this global flow defines the age in which we live. From these expat stories, larger themes loom: identities transformed; racism, naked and clothed; blended relationships; and the tensions and tolerance engendered through peoples, languages and cultures in contact.

Girls Can't Be In The Mafia: A MemoirGirls Can't Be In The Mafia: A Memoir by West, Danielle

Morbidly funny and inspiring, Danielle West's memoir is heart-breakingly honest about her years of angst and escape. Getting away from her dysfunctional family was Danielle's one mission as a child in America. After a stint of homelessness, she becomes a dominatrix and a go-go dancer, a soap-maker and a professional MMA fighter in London, a digital marketer and a novelist-all before stepping foot in Singapore, where she has made her home.

I Am Not A Label, I Am GaryI Am Not A Label, I Am Gary by Lau, Gary

An abused child. A tattooed gangster. A Boys' Town resident. A punk rock chef. A camp leader. A speaker and facilitator. A recipient of LKY Model Student Award. A tuition teacher. A trainee social worker. Gary is all of these. In this memoir, Gary recounts the events of his life with sincerity and in a straightforward way, from his childhood to present day. It details his transformation from an at-risk youth with criminal involvement into a promising young man seeking to build a career and pursue his dreams. In sharing his experiences, he also offers his thoughts about discrimination, empathy and its importance in relating to at-risk youths, as well as his experience of abuse and how it may be prevented. Can delinquents change and turn over a new leaf? Gary's story is an example of not only the possibility of transformation, but of drawing on past mistakes to fortify one's attitude and dreams of a better society.

Reward Beyond Description, AReward Beyond Description, A by Lee Gek Kim

In a teaching career spanning a period of over 50 years, Mrs Lee Gek Kim has motivated numerous students to excel in the subjects she taught and others to discover the potential they had. Mrs Lee shares the secrets of her success as an educator and reveals the joys and learning experiences she has had as well as the wonderful friendships that she has gained with her students. As someone who has a great impact on her students' lives, she continues to keep in contact with many students who organise regular gatherings with her. Her memoir demonstrates how teaching can be a fulfilling experience.

Archaeology Matters: Action Archaeology In The Modern WorldArchaeology Matters: Action Archaeology In The Modern World by Sabloff, Jeremy A.

Archaeology is perceived to study the people of long ago and far away. How could archaeology matter in the modern world? Well-known archaeologist Jeremy Sabloff points to ways in which archaeology might be important to the understanding and amelioration of contemporary problems. Though archaeologists have commonly been associated with efforts to uncover cultural identity, to restore the past of underrepresented peoples, and to preserve historical sites, their knowledge and skills can be used in many other ways. Archaeologists help Peruvian farmers increase crop yields, aid city planners in reducing landfills, and guide local communities in tourism development and water management. This brief volume, aimed at students and other prospective archaeologists, challenges the field to go beyond merely understanding the past and actively engage in making a difference in the today's world.

Always A Commando: The Life Of Singapore Army Pioneer Clarence TanAlways A Commando: The Life Of Singapore Army Pioneer Clarence Tan by Squire, Thomas A.

Best known for his role in helping to establish the Singapore Armed Forces Commando Formation and as the unit's first commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel (Retired) Clarence Tan was born on his family's rubber plantation, just ten months before the Japanese invasion of British Malaya in 1941. From leading a platoon during racial riots in Singapore to searching for communist insurgents and Indonesian infiltrators in the jungles of Malaysia during the Emergency and the Confrontation, LTC (Rtd) Tan was part of both the British and Malaysian armies before becoming a pioneer officer in Singapore's defence force.