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Philosophy

This category contains 88 posts

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

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

In Lieu of Race and Religion

By Ooi Kee Beng, in the column, “Picking on the Past”, first printed in The Edge Malaysia, 27 May – 2 June, 2018. One can easily see how southern Southeast Asia, being largely maritime, ethnically very diverse and historically and geo-economically a collection of trade routes, in dividing itself into zealous and jealous nation states … Continue reading

Is Capitalism without Socialism Sustainable?

By Ooi Kee Beng, Editorial in Penang Monthly, October, 2017 The fall of the Berlin Wall marked the end of the communist experiment, and to the extent that the experiment was an application of Marxist ideas about class conflict as the driver of human development, the reunification of Germany that followed also meant for many … Continue reading

The Art of Dismantling Cultural Pluralism

By OOI KEE BENG, “Picking on the Past”, column in Penang Monthly, October 2017. (Published on Merdeka Day, 31 August 2017 in The Malaysian Insight). MALAYSIA is a special place for its natural geography and its human history, but most importantly of all, because of its demographic complexity. The peninsula is on the western receiving … Continue reading

The Diminishing of Humans Through Identity Politics

By Ooi Kee Beng, “Picking on the Past”; Column in Penang Monthly, November 2017 (earlier version published in Forum, The Edge, Malaysia, 25 September 2017). Who am I? A simple question to ask oneself, and yet, no simple answer suggests itself. As long as the issue is about the singular person, it appears to be … Continue reading

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