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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 367 posts for Wikibeng

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

Are We Witnessing the Bankruptcy Proceedings of the Malay Agenda?

By Ooi Kee Beng For the first elected government since independence that is not based around the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to fall within 20 months, one has to blame betrayal and claim treachery. But then, such terms are ethical ones, and therefore do not mean much in Malaysian politics, or maybe in politics … Continue reading

Farizan bin Darus (Part One): A Lifetime Serving Penang and the Civil Service

By Ooi Kee Beng, July 2021 PENANG PROFILE AFTER A LIFETIME in the civil service, Dato’ Seri Haji Farizan bin Darus finally retired from the powerful position of State Secretary for Penang State in 2019. Married to an engineer attach to the Public Works Department (JKR), and with long experience serving in Penang in various districts … Continue reading

With E-learning, Universal Education Finally Comes of Age

By OOI KEE BENG, Editorial in Penang Monthly, July 2021. LIKE SO MANY generations before me have done, I associate learning with schools. With buildings to which little uniformed boys and girls trudge before the day gets warm. With teachers who share knowledge generously but who keep doubting themselves. With exams that hang like a … Continue reading

Working in Silos Becomes the Norm when Merit Systems are Shunned

By OOI KEE BENG Recently, former trade minister Rafidah Aziz entertained Malaysia with her comment that the idea that Malaysians like to working in silos was not really accurate since silos are places huge enough for significant things to happen. Chimneys, she thinks, is a better description of the country’s professional preference to keep things … Continue reading