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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 306 posts for Wikibeng

Are SDGs Enough to Moderate Neoliberal Excesses?

By Ooi Kee Beng for The Edge, Malaysia. July 28, 2019. In the period between the world wars—or more precisely, in the wake of the October Revolution in Russia and the fall of empires throughout the world; and in the midst of the 1930s’ Great Depression—a search for moderation between the capitalist world and the … Continue reading

Things Gain Value as They Disappear

By Ooi Kee Beng Editorial in Penang Monthly, July, 2019 What did heritage conservation look like or sound like in the pre-modern age when things changed slowly, and conservatism was not an ideology but a social default; when great changes that eradicated what we would today call tangible and intangible cultural heritage came only through … Continue reading

Asean’s nation-region nexus under great strain

By Ooi Kee Beng for The Edge Malaysia, July 1-7, 2019 Introvertedness is so much a part of nationalist discourses that we are often blind to it. This is as true of Malaysia as of any other country, including major powers like the US and China. The resilience of the collective state of mind that … Continue reading

Do You Remember Having a Memory?

By Ooi Kee Beng Editorial, Penang Monthly June 2019 Have you noticed that one easy way to look cool nowadays is to carry a book with you? It can sit leisurely in your hand or be lightly squeezed under your armpit. And it should preferably be a thick one. And if you don’t have a … Continue reading

Flying the Jalur Gemilang again, and not the Jolly Roger

By Ooi Kee Beng, for The Edge Malaysia, 6 June 2019. It is not as yet clear that Shared Prosperity 2030 will be the wherewithal for federal policy-making in the coming decade. The chosen goals are socioeconomic — that much is apparent — but building a nation is much more complicated a task than can … Continue reading

After a year in power, has Pakatan Harapan learnt enough to save Malaysia from itself?

By Ooi Kee Beng, for CNA, 9 May 2019. PENANG: The big debate in Malaysia one year after the change in government on May 9, 2018, concerns the unfolding nature of Pakatan Harapan (PH). No one seriously doubts that it has charted a vastly different path for the country from that set by the Barisan … Continue reading

Should Malaysia ride the coming EV disruption or stay with the norm?

By OOI KEE BENG. For The Edge Malaysia Weekly, April 29, 2019 – May 05, 2019. The advent of electric vehicles (EV) offers opportunities for cities and countries to limit and reverse the use of unclean and non-renewable energy sources. But for that to happen, quite a bit of imagination in policymaking and public behaviour … Continue reading

Mothers, Thy Name is Worry

By OOI KEE BENG Penang Monthly Editorial for May 2019. Women may not all have been born multitaskers, but mothers, whether working mums or not, definitely are. In fact, it may not be possible to define motherhood any other way, which is why we react with such deep shock when we hear of mothers neglecting … Continue reading

A Democracy is Only as Mature as Its Voters Manage to Become

By Ooi Kee Beng for The Edge Malaysia, 31 March 2019. Malaya was born a democracy in 1957. The first general election held on the peninsula had taken place just two years earlier, on 27 July 1955. In fact, the first ever proper election was the municipal one held in George Town on 1 December … Continue reading

Fleeting Squatters in Public Spaces

By Ooi Kee Beng; Penang Monthly Editorial, March 2019 As the Batu Kawan township comes into being, new hope is raised that the quality of life in the state of Penang will be affected positively, and that the bar for urban liveability will be raised. Being a greenfield project, the area promises to show how … Continue reading