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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 360 posts for Wikibeng

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

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

Sunzi and the Art of Bad Leadership

By OOI KEE BENG. This article first appeared in Forum, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on May 31, 2021 – June 06, 2021. LAMENTING OVER the lack of leadership grows more common by the day, especially during a crisis, be it 1997, 2008 or 2020. This is true in Malaysia and in most parts of the world — … Continue reading

The Future of Work Will Include Clubbing

By OOI KEE BENG, Penang Monthly Editorial, June 2021 IN THE FIRST decade or two following Covid-19, which parts of our daily life will go back to the way they were, and which will not? It’s anyone’s guess. And since anyone and everyone is guessing, I might as well do the same. Macroeconomic and geopolitical changes, … Continue reading

A Synergic Platform is Something Penang Almost Already Has to Build Back Better

EDITORIAL, May 2021, by Ooi Kee Beng THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC has obliged us to rethink the personal, the present and the proximate. Shaken by the arresting of our ambitions, stirred by disruptions to our daily habits, and stumped in our reasoning by the pressing demands of public safety, each of us has had to reconsider … Continue reading

Nicol David: So Much Done, So Much to Do

By OOI KEE BENG, April 2021, Penang Monthly DATO’ NICOL DAVID was the first famous personality to be profiled by Penang Monthly. This was in February 2010, in the magazine’s third issue, in an article titled “Meeting a Legend that Grows and Grows”. Much ink has been printed since then, and much water has flowed under the bridge. Ooi … Continue reading

Anwar Fazal: Seeing New Possibilities for Social Activism Post-Pandemic [PART TWO]

PENANG PROFILE: Anwar Fazal Ooi Kee Beng Penang Monthly, May, 2021 PENANG MONTHLY CONTINUES the conversation with Penang’s most prolific social activist, Dato’ Seri Dr. Anwar Fazal, on social activism, on having a positive mind-set, and on the importance of communication. [PART ONE was published in April 2021] Galactic Organising Can we talk about your use of ABC, … Continue reading

Anwar Fazal: Seeing New Possibilities for Social Activism Post-Pandemic [PART ONE]

PENANG PROFILE: Anwar Fazal By OOI KEE BENG, Penang Monthly April 2021 A HEALTH PANDEMIC lays bare the bones of human society. So, if Covid-19 has not riled up your interest in how the world works, in how that world will now change, and in what your place in it will be in the future, … Continue reading

Economics Understood as Soft Power Makes More and More Sense

By OOI KEE BENG, for THE EDGE MALAYSIA, 2 May 2021 “Soft Power”, the highly influential article written by Joseph Nye, published in Foreign Policy No. 80 in Autumn 1990, ends with the sentence: “The problem for U.S. power after the Cold War will be less the new challengers for hegemony than the new challenges … Continue reading