Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Rhino Extinction

A moment's tribute to a brave local publishing venture that sadly went belly-up a few years back ... apparently because of problems with distribution.

Do you remember the Black & White series produced by Rhino Press? If your memory needs jogging, you can still find copies of these mini-books at Silverfish. (Snap them up, they might become valuable ...)

Rhino Press, was founded by Bernice Chauly and Fay Khoo, and the titles of the first ten little books were:
Kamal and
Nadiah Bamadhaj Aksi Write

Bernice Chauly Going There and Coming Back

Mahani Gunnell Mother Material

Rahel Joseph Beginnings

Fay Khoo A Little Book of Love And Loss

Jit Murad 2 Things

Mira Mustapha Speak Louder! Darling

Dain Said Surabaya Johnny

Aziz Salim A Stroll Through The Other Forest

Dina Zaman night & day
I bought my books from Guardian Pharmacy in BSC (in the days when they still sold books - remember?), and read them over a coffee. after shopping. They were just the right length for a coffee break. Cost just RM6.99. And made my heart happy because they captured on the page the Malaysia I recognised. For the first time.

I particularly loved Dina Zaman's Night & Day, recognised some of the characters in it (including my egg lady!) from the streets around Central Market.

Some of these writers are still going strong (Dina, Jit, Bernice) but I wonder what happened to the rest?


Ted Mahsun said...

What if Rhino Press were to be revived again? The local publishing industry surely must have improved lots since 1997 with our local bookstores much more willing to help out local authors. Granted, I don't really know what the scene was like back then... was more worried about teenagey things :D

It really is a pity. They look like such nice books! And for RM6.99! I know a couple of friends who'd love those sort of books! (They're the sort of people who collect the Penguin limited edition covers, just because.)

lil ms d said...

do u know i dont even have a copy of it? i would love one, so i can transcribe everything back into a CD rom. lost a lot of things when i had to make The Move That Changed My Life :D

i dont know if i am going strong. brains all dead. fingers tired. see you soon!

bibliobibuli said...

ted - it would be great, wouldn't it? but i'm not sure if it is possible ...

i guess silverfish, neohikayat and suara-suara have stepped in to fill the gap, but no-one is producing such dinky little books (the size is exactly the same as the penguin '70's)

but marketing and distribution are vital and you really have to think that aspect through

vending machine??? free gift with soap powder?

well, if i have some money a little further down the line, i may take a project like this on, but as raja ahmad says it has to be a passion thing, you aren't necessarily going to make money on it

dina - i treasure my copy of your book but you may borrow it!!!! the stories are so good you should look at reissuing it

lil ms d said...

how much does it cost to pay a typist to retype stories into cd rom?

i am working on the stuff you edited :)

bibliobibuli said...

shouldn't cost much, dina, and scanning it in would make the process much faster

is there anyone out there who wants the job???? (the book 90 little pages long)

but have you checked in raman's shop? i'm not sure which titles he still has ...

glad you are working on your stories. wanted to ask you when you wanted to meet ... we need to move on this, girl!!!

sympozium said...

I remember the days when Guardian usually had a Times bookshop connected to it...

Lydia Teh said...

I bought Rhino's B&W series at a Mother's Conference where Bernice Chauly was a speaker. Was very impressed with her. Imagine seeing her on tv now on the Gol&Gincu series. Some people are multi-talented :)

bibliobibuli said...

i remember guardian used to be the only place to buy books in bangsar ... and that wasn't so long ago

we're really spoiled now!!

bibliobibuli said...

lydia - loved seeing her as the datin in 'gol dan gincu'! i felt like shouting hey i know her, when i was on the plane flying to uk! bernice is also an excellent photographer

i have still to find out what my talents are!!!

Lydia Teh said...

Sharon, Writing comes to mind. And your fantastic people-skill.

Speaking of acting, I really don't know how people do it. Actors are worth their money. Whenever I act in a skit (in church), I always burst out laughing.

Anonymous said...

It's simple lydia, it's just preparation. I bet you act every day, you just don't know it. All the world's a stage, right ? people act polite in front of some other people, they act nice in front of others, I think everyone does that. I mean, sometimes you can't be totally honest, right ? so there you are, everyone acts. It's just that they don't know they're acting. Now all you have to do is do what everyone's done all their lives. Act. It's very simple. Like this :

"Oh hello, fancy meeting you here."

(oh no, not him again.)

"So how are the kids ?"

(when they're not tearing around upsetting stuff and making a deuce of a noise.)

"Heard about your skiing accident. Spot of bad luck, what ?"

(Serves you right. How old did you think you were, 16 ?)

"Well, gotta go. Nice seeing you again."

(If I see you again, it will be too soon.)

See, that's acting. And it's easy. Everyone does it.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and just for spam, are Dins and Jit and Bernice still writing ? Dins is into speaking now isn't she ? and Jit is an actor, and Bernice is a lecturer in a college now right ?

bibliobibuli said...

anonymous - you haven't dropped by in a while! yes all three are writing. jit's an actor but writes plays of course which i hope will be published in book form soon and has a novel in the pipeline (he read out an extract at one of our readings), dina is editing a collection of fiction, bernice lectures to earn a crust but was working on a play and some short pieces.

Lydia Teh said...

Anon, if you put it that way, then yes, I guess I'm a bit of an actor myself. But give me an audience and I'll crumble.