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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

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

Naming Modern Means of Mass Transport

By Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Monthly editorial, October 2018 In the age of speedy technological innovations, thinking up names for totally new things that are not created by Mother Nature but by this innovative ape we call Man has been an exciting process. The “telephone”, the “telegram” and the “television” are some easy cases in … Continue reading

Listen up, Malaysians! You are now individually the agents of change

By Ooi Kee Beng, for The Edge Malaysia, 30 September 2018; and in Penang Monthly, November 2018. One of the greatest challenges that faces a society coming out of a period of authoritarian rule and bad governance is the need to break away from looking to political initiatives and to politicians as the way to … Continue reading

Taking the legacy of systemic racialism seriously

By OOI KEE BENG, for The Edge Malaysia, 1 September 2018 The intuitive conclusion drawn by many that a sea change took place when the government in Malaysia changed hands on May 9, 2018, has its merits. But as in all functioning democracies—and nowadays I count Malaysia among them—a majority vote generally means that almost … Continue reading

Now that Cavemen Have Conquered the Earth…

By Ooi Kee Beng; Penang Monthly Editorial September, 2018 When we were cavemen, we lived in caves. And in the thousands of years since then, we have lived in everything else – from lean-tos to tents to log cabins to mud huts to houses and to condominiums. But in essence, we have remained the same. … Continue reading

Mind the Young Mind

By OOI KEE BENG, Editorial in Penang Monthly, August 2018. It is often claimed that traditional Asian ways of teaching encourage students to memorise facts – so-called rote learning. The Western way, in contradistinction to this, it is claimed, is to teach children to think for themselves and to be critical – to be analytical. … Continue reading

The Deep Historical Significance of the 14th General Election*

[Published as “Revisiting national history and the significance of GE14”, in The Edge, Malaysia, 30 July 2018]. By Ooi Kee Beng Whatever one’s politics may be, one has to admit that the origins of the Federation of Malaysia are complicated and are overlaps of compromises made over time to define a middle ground that was … Continue reading

All the World’s a Stage, and Who Else but We are Responsible for the Upkeep of the Theatre

By OOI KEE BENG Penang Monthly Editorial July, 2018 All things change. We can all agree on that. But what the density and swiftness of change in modern living have taught us is that there are harsh limits. We are not passive beings in the big scheme of things; and we are not unconditionally surviving. … Continue reading

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