This category contains 48 posts

Does the National Economy Exist?

By Ooi Kee Beng for The Edge Malaysia, 31 July 2016. The income gap, technically defined, is quite an easy concept to comprehend. One can compare Gross Domestic Product per capita or per household within a given country; and collectively, one can use the Italian sociologist Corrado Gini’s measure of statistical dispersion developed in 1912 … Continue reading

Capitalism is the Exercise of the Power of Excess

By Ooi Kee Beng Editorial in Penang Monthly, June 2016. This morning (May 20, 2016), my 12-year-old daughter asked me “what is Capitalism?”. Since the Cold War is over, this is actually a harder question to answer than one may think. So if you, dear reader, do not mind, I shall use this space to … Continue reading

The Family Reunion – An Annual Pilgrimage

By Ooi Kee Beng Editorial, Penang Monthly, January 2016 So it’s that time of year again. The Lunar New Year arrives, and we witness the happy congregation of dispersed Chinese at the home of their family elders. They perform tuan yuan (reunion). In essence, they return from all corners of the land, the region and … Continue reading

The Hills ‘R’ Us

By Ooi Kee Beng, editorial for Penang Monthly, December 2015. Natural resources are always good to have. If rightly used, they are the basis not only for an economy’s path of growth, but also for its international identity. Having said that, it is not always easy to recognize a valuable natural resource. Something that is an asset … Continue reading

Malaysia—Where Politics Must be Ethnically Inclusive and Exclusive at the Same Time

By OOI KEE BENG The Edge Malaysia, 26 October 2015 What any Malaysian knows at heart is that the Malay community will always dominate the politics of the country. This means in concrete terms that Malaysia’s key leaders will always nominally and in reality be Malay Muslims. However, the country’s population is a very mixed … Continue reading

One Country’s Merdeka is Another’s Damage Control

By Ooi Kee Beng For Penang Monthly, October 2015. [Also published in Digital Edge Weekly, 31 August 2015 as “Merdeka – Unfinished Liberation”] It takes two hands to clap; there is no shore unless there is sea; and one man’s ceiling is another man’s floor, as the poet rightly claims. You get the point. There … Continue reading

Is democracy in practice reaching its limits?

By Ooi Kee Beng For The Edge Malaysia | July 7, 2015 I have always enjoyed the story — almost certainly a false and libellous one, but that does not matter here — about the tragic French Queen Marie Antoinette watching in consternation from a palace window as rebels rioted on the streets of Paris … Continue reading

The More Individual Stories We Acknowledge, the More Authentic Our National History

PENANG MONTHLY, Feature Story February 2015 by Ooi Kee Beng Cultures are defined by their literature. In fact, in Chinese – classical or modern – the same term is used for both. What this tells us is that a country’s self-consciousness is vibrant and alive only if writing is strongly encouraged among its population. See … Continue reading

Southeast Asia – Peripheral No More

By Ooi Kee Beng, for The Edge Malaysia, 27 October 2014. South of China, east of India and north of Australia, much is about to happen. This is besides the endless outbreaks of diplomatic antipathy and maritime scuffles between claimant states in the South China Sea, all poignantly signifying Beijing’s inevitably enhanced role in East … Continue reading

Unwise for Singapore and Malaysia to Have Bad Ties in the Future

By Ooi Kee Beng For Commentary, The National University of Singapore Society (NUSS). Volume 23, 2014. IF ONE DOES NOT go back too far, one could divide relations between Singapore and Malaysia into the Mahathir period and the Post-Mahathir period. Malaysia’s long-term Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed retired on 30 October 2003, after 22 … Continue reading