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 414 posts for Wikibeng

The Anatomy of Disunity in Malaysia

By Ooi Kee Beng, in The Edge Malaysia (Picking on the Present), 26-31 March 2023 WE GET TO know what White is by knowing what Black is, and then deepen our understanding of them by fathoming how the two interact. The same goes for Unity, the operative term in Malaysian governance today, and understanding it … Continue reading

Generating Knowledge for a Multipolar World: Ooi Kee Beng in conversation with Danny Quah (Part 2)

For Penang Profile in Penang Monthly, March 2023  PENANG MONTHLY continues its interview with Penang boy, Danny Quah, recognised by Stanford University to be among the 100 most influential academics in government in the world. He studies “the supply and demand of world order, i.e. on the one hand, what international system the world’s superpowers provide, … Continue reading

Happy Accidents that Bred Academic Impact and Excellence: Ooi Kee Beng in conversation with Danny Quah (Part 1)

Penang Monthly, January 2023 One of the most influential academics and economists in the world today is Penang boy, Danny Quah. A citation impact study done in 2020 by Stanford University placed him in the top 1% of scientists in the world, in effect recognising him to be among the 100 most influential academics in … Continue reading

Words and Music—Two Sides of the Sense of Hearing

By Ooi Kee Beng, Editorial for Penang Monthly, March 2023  MUSIC HAS ALWAYS been a phenomenon to savour for the great thinkers. One can sense how these master craftsmen of words relished being stumped when it came to analysing music. Compared to how eloquent they could be about almost anything else, they were simply at … Continue reading

Malaysia’s Moral Revival is Anwar’s Bridge Between Divergent Discourses

“There has thus been a strong push in Malaysian political life since 1998 for systemic changes, which has profoundly informed the political thinking of a generation or two of Malaysians. A proper culmination has been necessary. We thought 2018 was that culmination, but it was not. Now we hope that 2022 is that culmination.” By … Continue reading

Why Cultures Co-Exist Better Than Ethnicities

By Ooi Kee Beng, Feature in Penang Monthly, March 2023 ABOUT 30 YEARS ago, a very influential Malaysian scholar wrote the following incisive and insightful paragraphs: “I contend that, like most social phenomena, identity formation takes place within what I would call a ‘two social reality’ context: first, the ‘authority-defined’ social reality, one which is … Continue reading

CPO Shuhaily Zain: Beyond Mere Enforcement of the Law (Part One)

Ooi Kee Beng in conversation with CPO Shuhaily Zain (Penang Monthly, February 2023) DATO’ MOHD SHUHAILY ZAIN became Penang’s Chief Police Officer (CPO) during the Covid-19 pandemic. He was quickly recognised locally as a dynamic leader who is highly conscious of the important role in social development that the police has, or should have. Penang … Continue reading

The Dubious Grouping of Ages

By OOI KEE BENG I ASSUME THAT he who sees a cup as half empty will try to conserve what he has, while he who sees a cup as half full will proceed to fill it further. I also assume that those who have lived longer tend to be more conscious of what has been … Continue reading

What Are We to Do With You Millennials?

By OOI KEE BENG, February 2023 Editorial, Penang Monthly. I HAVE TO admit something. Before returning to Penang to work in 2017, I had hardly ever used the word “millennial”. Looking back, I think that was because I was in academia and was then, for a long time, attached to an established think tank in … Continue reading

Anwar Must Pull Malaysia out of its Self-made Hole

By Ooi Kee Beng, “Picking on the Present”, column for The Edge Malaysia, 28 January to 3 February 2023 It had seemed obvious to some observers of Malaysian politics back in 2008, after the fateful elections that saw five states fall into the hands of the opposition and the Barisan Nasional (BN) lose its super-majority … Continue reading