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Articles, Commentaries, Penang Monthly [formerly Penang Economic Monthly]

Penang Monthly goes free in June


Editorial of Penang Monthly, May 2015


Spread the good news!

Penang Monthly will be a free magazine from June 2015 onwards. Next month, you will be able to pick up a copy at selected locations throughout Penang. Gerakbudaya Penang (78, Jalan Masjid Kapitan Keling, opening hours 11am-8pm) and Chocolate Passion Cafe (233E Jalan Burma, opening hours 11am-11pm, closed on Monday) are the first two confirmed collection points.

You can also get your copy from Penang Institute (10, Jalan Brown) during office hours of course. For more information, please write to business@penangmonthly.com.

There will be a delivery service for those who wish to have a copy mailed to their home, at postage cost. Subscribers who have been supporting us all these years will have their remaining subscription value turned into postage cost under the new regime. They are, of course, most welcome to postage-subscribe in the future.

The magazine will thus be surviving on donations and advertisements. All support is welcome. A new website will be launched in June as well, making Penang Monthly in effect also an online magazine to which advertisers can turn.

Penang Monthly began with a preview version in September-December 2009, going into steady production in January 2011. Originally named Penang Economic Monthly, following a research brief that had been produced for 11 years before that, it made quite a splash from the very beginning.

Since then, the word “Economic” has been dropped because we found that readers tended to misunderstand that the magazine is purely about economics. It is not, of course. Our ambition is to provide a platform for much more than that. We wish to capture Penang in all its splendour – and dinginess.

Let me reproduce our original Mission Statement here as a reminder to our readers about what this magazine is all about. A proud city must have a magazine to be proud of.

The Penang Economic Monthly, a think tank magazine that has been around for 11 years, has been overhauled and commercialised. This endeavour is in response to the growing insight among Penangites and Penang lovers that the downward trend in the state’s fortunes cannot be successfully reversed unless they themselves get seriously involved. The goal is to inspire positive action among readers towards attaining a “Penang Renaissance”.

The Socio-Economic and Environmental Research Institute (now Penang Institute) is therefore creating a print product that will do the following simultaneously:

Offer reliable socio-economic data for the benefit of decision makers in government and the private sector;
Supply Penangites with knowledge about significant issues that will promote public participation;
Encourage discussion about various aspects of Penang’s fate and fortune;
Provide information about Penang personalities who have contributed, sometimes in very unassuming but critical ways, to the reputation and wellbeing of the state;
Place the spotlight on ordinary Penangites who are otherwise unnoticed and ignored, but who nevertheless define the culture of the state in essential ways;
Highlight the importance of the island as a generator of culture, education, industry and cosmopolitanism;
Emphasise present trends in the arts, industry, politics and economics that are prominent in Penang, and that affect the immediate future of the state and country; and
Discover and display Penang’s multifaceted history. This monthly magazine seeks, in the final analysis, to capture, present, enhance and represent the positive dynamism of Penang state and its people.
This monthly magazine seeks, in the final analysis, to capture, present, enhance and represent the positive dynamism of Penang state and its people.

Looking back, over these five years, it is with great pleasure that we note that Penangites and Penang lovers have indeed been doing much to reverse the fortunes of the state. The goals listed above remain what they are today, and the participation of Penangites and Penang lovers will be essential to the future of the magazine, as are advertisements and donations from companies, big and small.


About Ooi Kee Beng

Dr OOI KEE BENG is the Executive Director of Penang Institute (George Town, Penang, Malaysia). He was born and raised in Penang, and was the Deputy Director of ISEAS - Yusof Ishak Institute (formerly the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, ISEAS). He is the founder-editor of the Penang Monthly (published by Penang Institute), ISEAS Perspective (published by ISEAS) and ISSUES (published by Penang Institute). He is also editor of Trends in Southeast Asia, and a columnist for The Edge, Malaysia.


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