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Philosophy

This category contains 93 posts

Keeping Public Space Secure is the Great Pandemic Challenge

By OOI KEE BENG, for The Edge Malaysia, 2-9 August 2020. Now when Covid-19 is on the loose and the movement of the public, practically throughout the whole world, is controlled, traced and monitored, in principle every moment of the day whenever an individual is out and about, the very notion of public space becomes … Continue reading

Refining Daily Social Behaviour is How We Individuals Get to Define the New Normal

By OOI KEE BENG, Penang Monthly Editorial, August 2020 THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS that causes Covid-19 has been going about its deadly business for six months now. To date (July 10, 2020), 12,414,853 people have officially been infected by it, and since the first week of May, the seven-day moving average for deaths per day globally … Continue reading

How Much of a Crisis is Covid-19?

By OOI KEE BENG, Editorial, Penang Monthly, 2020. THERE ARE MANY levels to a crisis. What is sometimes called a crisis is often merely a serious problem. Personally, I would prefer that the word be reserved for when the resolution of the difficult situation signals structural and irreversible change. By definition, one cannot come out … 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

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

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

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