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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 390 posts for Wikibeng

What Do Straits Do—Separate or Connect? [Part One]

By Ooi Kee Beng, EDITORIAL in Penang Monthly, June 20 DOES THE PENANG Strait separate Seberang Perai from Penang Island or does it connect one to the other? This question is not as glib as it may sound at first reading. We do think of bodies of water as things that separate the pieces of … Continue reading

Malaysians Must Surely Be Tired to Death of Racialism By Now

By OOI KEE BENG, for THE EDGE MALAYSIA, 28 June – 3 July 2022 The Covid-19 pandemic experience has brought with it profound changes in the mindset of all of us who have had to rethink their lives, their work, and their ambitions. The term The Great Resignation has been bandied around to denote the … Continue reading

Relating Tales of Dislocated Culture

INTERVIEW with Souvantham Thammavongsa By Ooi Kee Beng May 2022 FEATURE in Penang Monthly AUTHOR SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA’S initially hesitant demeanour over Zoom belies the writing style of her debut short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife. She mobilises everyday words and turns of phrase to rouse readers from emotional lethargy, rewarding them in the process with jabs … Continue reading

In Many Minds about Sustainability

By Ooi Kee Beng One would think that the need for sustainability in all the major processes in human life today would not be controversial. And generally, it is not. Hardly any policy maker constructs policies without exhibiting his or her cognizance of it. No ocean liner can change course immediately, and that would seem … Continue reading

Euston Quah and the Virtues of Cost-Benefit Analysis

By Ooi Kee Beng in Penang Profile for Penang Monthly May 2022  OUR EDITOR WAS stuck in Singapore for a few weeks in 2021 during the pandemic, and took the chance to meet up with one of Penang’s many famous sons living in that city state. This was Professor Euston Quah, an old Penang Free … Continue reading

On Urbanity and Wealth, and the Future of the Countryside

By Ooi Kee Beng Editorial in Penang Monthly, May 2022 URBANISATION IS AN oft-cited sign of radical socio-economic changes in a country. The process at some point could be one of necessity, where the agricultural sector has undergone such huge disruptions that unemployed agricultural workers have to leave the pastoral lifestyle to live in squalid … Continue reading

Opportunities for governance upgrade in post-pandemic phase

By OOI KEE BENG for The Edge Malaysia, April 4-10, 2022 A health pandemic hits society as a whole and therefore the lessons to be learnt from Covid-19 are many; more specifically, it tells us things about how society is organised or unorganised, whether it is managed with resilience in mind — in recognition of … Continue reading

Interview with Noor Hisham: A Digital Revolution in Healthcare Has Arrived in Malaysia

By Ooi Kee Beng in Penang Monthly, April 2022  ON MARCH 12, 2022, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Noor Hisham bin Abdullah, Director-General of Health for Malaysia, was awarded the inaugural Dr. Wu Lien-Teh Award for Leadership in Public Health by The Dr. Wu Lien-Teh Society in recognition of his leadership of the healthcare sector during the … Continue reading

The Podcast – Relief for the Distracted

By OOI KEE BENG, Editorial for Penang Monthly, April 2022 THE RADIO WAS the key vehicle for the spread of popular music during my generation. In Penang, where would all those who were in their teens have listened to good and varied pop music if we had not easily tuned in to “The Voice of … Continue reading

Respect All Persons, and Gender and Other Equalities Will Follow

By OOI KEE BENG, March 2022 Editorial for Penang Monthly. IT IS UNFORTUNATE that in most minds, the term “Feminism” more often than not, merely raises issues regarding the relatively-disadvantaged status of women as measured against male conditions and criteria. First of all, what’s gallingly wrong with this is the inherent absence of a critical … Continue reading