This category contains 341 posts

Relating Tales of Dislocated Culture

INTERVIEW with Souvantham Thammavongsa By Ooi Kee Beng May 2022 FEATURE in Penang Monthly AUTHOR SOUVANKHAM THAMMAVONGSA’S initially hesitant demeanour over Zoom belies the writing style of her debut short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife. She mobilises everyday words and turns of phrase to rouse readers from emotional lethargy, rewarding them in the process with jabs … Continue reading

In Many Minds about Sustainability

By Ooi Kee Beng One would think that the need for sustainability in all the major processes in human life today would not be controversial. And generally, it is not. Hardly any policy maker constructs policies without exhibiting his or her cognizance of it. No ocean liner can change course immediately, and that would seem … Continue reading

On Urbanity and Wealth, and the Future of the Countryside

By Ooi Kee Beng Editorial in Penang Monthly, May 2022 URBANISATION IS AN oft-cited sign of radical socio-economic changes in a country. The process at some point could be one of necessity, where the agricultural sector has undergone such huge disruptions that unemployed agricultural workers have to leave the pastoral lifestyle to live in squalid … Continue reading

The Podcast – Relief for the Distracted

By OOI KEE BENG, Editorial for Penang Monthly, April 2022 THE RADIO WAS the key vehicle for the spread of popular music during my generation. In Penang, where would all those who were in their teens have listened to good and varied pop music if we had not easily tuned in to “The Voice of … Continue reading

Respect All Persons, and Gender and Other Equalities Will Follow

By OOI KEE BENG, March 2022 Editorial for Penang Monthly. IT IS UNFORTUNATE that in most minds, the term “Feminism” more often than not, merely raises issues regarding the relatively-disadvantaged status of women as measured against male conditions and criteria. First of all, what’s gallingly wrong with this is the inherent absence of a critical … Continue reading

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

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