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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

Malaysia’s Post-2020 Future Must Be Built from Below

By OOI KEE BENG, for The Edge Malaysia, 26 February 2022 How has Covid changed you? It’s been two whole years now since Covid-19 began affecting the lives of all of us in Malaysia. The first MCO, which lasted four weeks, began on 18 March 2020. “2020”, the year that had held so much promise … Continue reading

Is Man’s Ultimate Success His Ultimate Failure?

By OOI KEE BENG, Penang Monthly Editorial, February 2022 THROUGHOUT THE history of life, all life forms have had to adapt to environmental conditions beyond their control as best they can. Where environmental changes have been fast and catastrophic, species go into extinction. Homo sapiens seem clearly to be a different breed. Through the use … Continue reading

Beasts are ‘Us’: The Merging of Man, Nature and Animal in Zodiac Systems

By OOI KEE BENG, Penang Monthly Feature, February 2022 THE CRUCIAL position that animals have in human civilization is an intriguing one. Taming animals for labour and transport or for food and company is a criterion of civilization, as is the worship or contempt, as the case may be, of chosen animals in certain cases. … Continue reading

With Covid Easing, Malaysia’s Big Reset Appears Imminent

By OOI KEE BENG, For THE EDGE MALAYSIA, 29 January 2022 THE FEDERAL government’s inability—or unwillingness—to inspect, assess and reform the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), and its flat-footedness, incompetence and uncaringness on show during the recent flood incidents throughout the peninsula, took away whatever remaining doubts there had been that Malaysia does need a “reset”. … Continue reading

What Are the Tropics If Not Naturally Diverse?

Window into History Feature By OOI KEE BENG, Penang Monthly, January 2022 1-3 Attacus atlas 4-6 Rothschildia hesperus 8-9 Xyleutes strix 10-11 Draconia peripheta 18-19 Entheus priassus. Very large tropical moths from South-East Asia and tropical America. Albertus Seba, Plate from Thesaurus Cabinet of Natural Curiosities: Locupletissimi rerum naturalium thesauri (4 Vol.), 1734-1765. Koninklijke Bibliotheek, … Continue reading

Revealing the Wonderful World of Biodiversity

By OOI KEE BENG, Penang Monthly Editorial January 2022 FOR ONCE IN my life, let me quote from The Bible to make a weighty point of contrast. In Genesis 7:9, it is stated: “There went in two and two unto Noah into the Ark, the male & the female, as God had commanded Noah”. The … Continue reading

Smaller Powers Have a Laudable History Shifting Global Paradigms

By OOI KEE BENG, for The Edge Malaysia, 26 December 2021. IT SEEMS NATURAL that discourse on international relations should be largely about the big powers of the world and how they happen to relate to each other. After all, even in the age of rampant social media, it is largely the US, still the … Continue reading

The B-Movie – A Welcomed Mental Asylum

By Ooi Kee Beng Penang Monthly, Editorial November 2021 I DON’T LOVE them; I don’t hate them. But I think they are indispensable. They are very much a necessary by-product of the film industry, the way any form of art spills out items generally considered inferior in quality. Yet, these items are not without value, … Continue reading

Pakatan Harapan Must Rejuvenate or Perish

By OOI KEE BENG This article first appeared in Forum, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on November 29, 2021 – December 05, 2021. One can, of course, say Pakatan Harapan (PH) did badly in the Melaka state election because of the low voter turnout. And that Covid-19 is to blame for people staying home or for Melakans not … Continue reading

The Intriguing Invention of “Zero” and “One”

By Ooi Kee Beng Penang Monthly, November 2021 EDITORIAL ZEROES AND ONES fill our world today. The binary code that powers our computers could of course have been signified by other, even arbitrary, symbols, but they are not. Instead, they are based on Zeros and Ones. But what is “O”, and what is “1”? Imagining Zero … Continue reading