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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.
Ooi Kee Beng has written 336 posts for Wikibeng

International trade remains the basis for global goodwill

By OOI KEE BENG; For THE EDGE MALAYSIA, 28 Sept – 4 Oct 2020. Is the Covid-19 pandemic the third nail being hammered into the coffin of globalisation? While the historical process connecting all of humanity under one economic umbrella cannot be stopped, it can be redirected where its decisive dynamics and its major actors … Continue reading

Digital Literacy Should be Pursued the Way Universal Literacy Once Was

By OOI KEE BENG. Penang Monthly Editorial, October 2020 AT ITS MOST basic level, literacy is about the ability to read and write. But reading and writing is a goal to an end. It was to get us educated. Literacy leads us into a world of endless knowledge – and communication. Literacy as a measure … Continue reading

Are New Forces for Change on the Rise in Malaysia?

By OOI KEE BENG There is something strange about the word “transit”. We assume that a child, for example, will someday grow—transit—to become a mature adult, and not remain psychically a child albeit in physical adult form. At the same time, we do know that all too often, physical adults do continue acting like children … Continue reading

Can “The New Normal” be “The New Age”?

By OOI KEE BENG, Editorial for September 2020, Penang Monthly. AS EXAMPLES INCREASE of countries getting new spikes in Covid-19 cases, and as some sustained green zones in Malaysia, like Penang, start turning yellow, it is understandable that the public begins to worry, and to take the SOPs more seriously again. Takeaways from restaurants seem … Continue reading

Keeping Public Space Secure is the Great Pandemic Challenge

By OOI KEE BENG, for The Edge Malaysia, 2-9 August 2020. Now when Covid-19 is on the loose and the movement of the public, practically throughout the whole world, is controlled, traced and monitored, in principle every moment of the day whenever an individual is out and about, the very notion of public space becomes … Continue reading

Refining Daily Social Behaviour is How We Individuals Get to Define the New Normal

By OOI KEE BENG, Penang Monthly Editorial, August 2020 THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS that causes Covid-19 has been going about its deadly business for six months now. To date (July 10, 2020), 12,414,853 people have officially been infected by it, and since the first week of May, the seven-day moving average for deaths per day globally … Continue reading

Will Covid-19 bring crucial epiphanies to redeem the human species?

By Ooi Kee Beng, for The Edge Malaysia, 28 June 2020. WHAT MAKES THE Covid-19 pandemic so very different from other present-day crises that we read about is that, not only does it affect every human being on Earth, it affects them in a painfully immediate and an exasperatingly tenacious fashion. This is not a … Continue reading

Getting Back on Our Feet, and with Back Held Straight

By OOI KEE BENG, Cover story, Penang Monthly, July 2020 DISASTERS – natural or manmade – tend to affect a limited geographical area. A typhoon cutting across the Philippines, like Typhoon Vongfong in May this year, may devastate thousands of lives but humans living elsewhere will know nothing about it apart from what they read … Continue reading

How Much of a Crisis is Covid-19?

By OOI KEE BENG, Editorial, Penang Monthly, 2020. THERE ARE MANY levels to a crisis. What is sometimes called a crisis is often merely a serious problem. Personally, I would prefer that the word be reserved for when the resolution of the difficult situation signals structural and irreversible change. By definition, one cannot come out … Continue reading

Redefining the global ‘new normal’ after COVID-19

EAST ASIA FORUM Author: Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Institute, 6 June 2020 Pundits are comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to the ‘Spanish Flu’ of 1918 to tease out lessons for how to combat future pandemics. US President Donald Trump stands during a news briefing on the administration’s response to COVID-19 in Washington DC, United States, 21 … Continue reading