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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 250 posts for Wikibeng

Why the opposition has a shot at toppling the Barisan Nasional with Mahathir at the helm

With the announcement that Mahathir is the opposition’s pick for prime minister should they win the next election, UMNO can expect a credible challenge on its home turf, says Penang Institute’s Dr Ooi Kee Beng. By Ooi Kee Beng, for Channel News Asia, 08 Jan 2018 KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s parliament will be dissolved sometime during … Continue reading

Growing Old and Staying Young in a Brave New World

OOI KEE BENG, Editorial for Penang Monthly, January, 2018. The ICT revolution has been taking place all my adult life: I bought my first home computer in 1990 when I was 35, my first mobile phone a decade later, and then my first smartphone about a decade after that. I am already into my fifth … Continue reading

We are equal only through our vote

By Ooi Kee Beng The Edge Malaysia December 25-31, 2017 Freedom cannot be understood apart from power. Like with all good dichotomies, it is never clear where the one turns into the other, or lives off the other. Today, it is a staple in management courses and sloganeering to talk about empowering employees. “Empower” is … Continue reading

Enough with Penang Food Already! What about the Drinks?

By Ooi Kee Beng, Editorial, Penang Monthly, December, 2017 Yes, Penang has amazing food, be it fusion or hybrid, street or mall, traditional or accidental. And yes, it has amazing desserts too, like the Penang Road teochew chendol for one. Even the age-old ais kacang. Even the humble bebola ais. And don’t get me started … Continue reading

This is the Moment of Truth for Malaysia’s Race-based Politics

By Ooi Kee Beng, “This Week in Asia” in South China Morning Post, 6 December 2017. AFTER ALL the analysing done by pundits on Malaysia’s political dynamics in the post-Mahathir period, the country has now come to the strange point of being in a potential pre-Mahathir period. There is now the more-than-theoretical possibility that 92-year-old … Continue reading

Undermining extremism by telling individual stories

By Ooi Kee Beng for The Edge Malaysia Weekly, November 27, 2017 – December 03, 2017. Strangely, moderation is not a subject that needs to be discussed and elaborated upon. It is the default position in any stable society. Instead, it is the nature of extremism — especially when it is happily growing within a … Continue reading

What the Penang Floods Say about Malaysian Politics (and It’s Not Just about Climate Change)

By OOI KEE BENG, South China Morning Post, 16 November 2017. EXTREME WEATHER hits most places on Earth every now and then, and recently more than ever. But when freak storms appear with an intensity stronger and more devastating than living memory can recall, it is wise to conclude that we should not take blue … Continue reading

No need to let bigots dictate policy

By OOI KEE BENG, for The Edge Malaysia, 23 October 2017. A nation starts building itself long before the nation-state is established. There were Germans before Germany was established, and there were Italians before Italy was founded. There were definitely Malayans with a sense of being Malayans before Malaya was founded in 1957. Where the … Continue reading

Is Capitalism without Socialism Sustainable?

By Ooi Kee Beng, Editorial in Penang Monthly, October, 2017 The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the communist experiment, and to the extent that the experiment was an application of Marxist ideas about class conflict as the driver of human development, the reunification of Germany that followed also meant for many … Continue reading

The Art of Dismantling Cultural Pluralism

By OOI KEE BENG, “Picking on the Past”, column in Penang Monthly, October 2017. (Published on Merdeka Day, 31 August 2017 in The Malaysian Insight). MALAYSIA is a special place for its natural geography and its human history, but most importantly of all, because of its demographic complexity. The peninsula is on the western receiving … Continue reading