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 371 posts for Wikibeng

The Intriguing Invention of “Zero” and “One”

By Ooi Kee Beng Penang Monthly, November 2021 EDITORIAL ZEROES AND ONES fill our world today. The binary code that powers our computers could of course have been signified by other, even arbitrary, symbols, but they are not. Instead, they are based on Zeros and Ones. But what is “O”, and what is “1”? Imagining Zero … Continue reading

The New Normal Will Be More Complicated Than We Think

By Ooi Kee Beng, THE EDGE, 30 October 2021 A crisis would not be a crisis if it does not generate strong anxiety and powerlessness. And with powerlessness comes a relentless search for a way out; for knowledge about the cause of the crisis and about the enemy or enemies at the gate, and for … Continue reading

Nationhood is Born of Inclusiveness in Politics and Integrative Dynamics in Economics

By Ooi Kee Beng Defining terms at the start of an important discussion is necessary if one is not to get lost in misunderstandings. With that brief preamble, let me take issue with the term “Nation Building” and the dangers of it being used as loosely as is done in Malaysian discourses. We tend to … Continue reading

Having had So Much Time to Think Recently, We Should Now Be Able to Act Smarter

By Ooi Kee Beng. Editorial in Penang Monthly, October 2021 WISDOM COMES MOST easily to the recluse; that’s a process long been recognised and advocated throughout human history, and in most societies and civilisations. But that epiphanic effect, by its very nature, is not for sharing with the rest of society, and cannot but befall … Continue reading

Introducing the Penang Walk Zones Project

By Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Monthly, Cover Story, September 2021  IF THERE IS one motto that Penang Monthly can use to describe its mission and vision, it is “Knowing Penang”. That means capturing to the best of its ability all there is to know about Penang: Its past and prospects, its people and places, and its dreams … Continue reading

Deepening the Here and the Now

By Ooi Kee Beng, EDITORIAL, Penang Monthly September 2021 IN THE FEEDBACK which has come to my attention to Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s Penang2030, which he launched on August 29, 2018, just three months after the federal government was toppled for the first time in Malaysian history, one item stands out in my … Continue reading

Farizan bin Darus (Part Two): Disruptions Await Society and the Civil Service

By Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Monthly: Penang profile, September 2021 THIS IS PART Two of an interview Penang Monthly’s editor Dato’ Dr. Ooi Kee Beng had with Dato’ Seri Haji Farizan bin Darus on April 15, 2021. Farizan retired as State Secretary for Penang State in 2019, and is now CEO for the Penang Infrastructure … Continue reading

Pedestrians of the World, Unite!

By Ooi Kee Beng, August 2021 EDITORIAL in Penang Monthly WE SAY THAT birds fly and fish swim. We think of reptiles as crawlers and monkeys as climbers. But what about us? What about man? What is our default physical activity as a species? Sleeping doesn’t count. We sleep in order to be able to do … Continue reading

Leaders who Divide to Rule End up too Divided to Rule

By Ooi Kee Beng, for The Edge Malaysia, August 30- Sept 5, 2021 ONE HEARS ABOUT countries that are ungovernable. These are societies too divided, too unintegrated and too unregimented for a government to knit together. We can call them failed states for being on the verge of crumbling into separate political entities or we … Continue reading

The Future Belongs to the Young, But Only If They Fight for It

By Ooi Kee Beng, in The Edge Malaysia, 31 July 2021 Max Planck, the German scientist whose discoveries in Physics laid the foundations for quantum theory, famously said that “a new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents die, and a new … Continue reading