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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 285 posts for Wikibeng

Building the New Malaysian

By Ooi Kee Beng This article first appeared in Forum, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 28, 2019 – February 03, 2019. Building a new Malaysia must necessarily mean building a new Malaysian. This is because the 60 years that went before, for all its successes, bred dynamics that in the end led not only … Continue reading

Amazed, Enthused and Amused by Music

By Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Monthly Editorial February 2019 Computer-generated imagery, better remembered as CGI, has radically changed the movie industry. Anything can now be made to look extremely real on the screen; and we are left marvelling at the cleverness involved as well as the computer programming and power that lie behind this mastery … Continue reading

Malaysia goes in search of a more inclusive growth formula

By OOI KEE BENG, For ChannelNewsAsia Commentary; 5 Jan 2019 PENANG: Malaysia’s Barisan Nasional (BN) government survived the general elections of 2008 and 2013, fending off strong attacks from the Pakatan Rakyat. But then, in 2018, it suddenly fell — at the hands of the newly formed Pakatan Harapan. Certain new elements coming into play … Continue reading

Governing with a Vision: Part One

COVER STORY, Penang Monthly, January 2019 By Ooi Kee Beng It was a Monday, the beginning of a working week and the start of a hopeful time for Malaysia. At 11.10am on May 14, 2018, four days after it became official that Pakatan Harapan had won the general elections, and that it (earlier as Pakatan … Continue reading

A Tsunami of Cultural Disruptions is on the Horizon

By Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Monthly editorial, January 2019 The digital revolution that in recent years has been pigeonholed as Industry 4.0 in reality transforms modern life in more ways than merely through new products, new production processes and new consumption patterns. No doubt it has transformed the taxi industry and is undermining the hotel … Continue reading

No Bold Strategy for PH, No Real Reform for Malaysia

By Ooi Kee Beng, for The Edge Malaysia, 30 December 2018. The long-awaited change in government in Malaysia is now a fact, but the question to ask now is, how committed to across-the-board reforms can the new ruling coalition be, led as it is by a 93-year-old prime minister who is scheduled to leave within … Continue reading

Can Our Cuisine Remain the Same While We Change?

Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Monthly editorial, December 2018E Mr Ong Jin Teong, in his admirable book Penang Heritage Book: Yesterday’s Recipes for Today’s Cook (Singapore: Landmark Books, 2010), noted forlornly that many of the home-cooked dishes that he and his generation grew up with are gradually disappearing along with ageing mothers and fathers, and uncles and aunties. … Continue reading

Is Malaysian political behaviour naturally passive-aggressive?

By Ooi Kee Beng, for The Edge Malaysia, December 4, 2018. Long before Malaya could be conceived of as a nation, politics on the peninsula had been defined by identity. We blame the British for starting it all — excessively no doubt, as an easy disclaimer to please our own conscience. They supposedly divided their … Continue reading

Reading and Writing Yourself Free

By Ooi Kee Beng, Editorial for Penang Monthly, November 2018. The basis for human liberty as we understand it today was laid with the advent of universal literacy. When reading and writing stopped being the sole right of royal scribes and religious leaders in a given society, and when vernacular languages – i.e. languages actually … Continue reading

Reforming Malaysia is a Matter of Time and Timing

By Ooi Kee Beng For The Edge, 26 October 2018 Toppling a regime that had been in power for 61 years was forbidding, to say the least. But Malaysia’s voters managed to pull it off at the ballot box on May 9 this year. And it was done without any accompanying subsequent incident of violence, … Continue reading

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