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Picking on the Past

This category contains 6 posts

Are We Witnessing the Bankruptcy Proceedings of the Malay Agenda?

By Ooi Kee Beng For the first elected government since independence that is not based around the United Malays National Organisation (UMNO) to fall within 20 months, one has to blame betrayal and claim treachery. But then, such terms are ethical ones, and therefore do not mean much in Malaysian politics, or maybe in politics … Continue reading

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Working in Silos Becomes the Norm when Merit Systems are Shunned

By OOI KEE BENG Recently, former trade minister Rafidah Aziz entertained Malaysia with her comment that the idea that Malaysians like to working in silos was not really accurate since silos are places huge enough for significant things to happen. Chimneys, she thinks, is a better description of the country’s professional preference to keep things … Continue reading

Redefining the global ‘new normal’ after COVID-19

EAST ASIA FORUM Author: Ooi Kee Beng, Penang Institute, 6 June 2020 Pundits are comparing the COVID-19 pandemic to the ‘Spanish Flu’ of 1918 to tease out lessons for how to combat future pandemics. US President Donald Trump stands during a news briefing on the administration’s response to COVID-19 in Washington DC, United States, 21 … 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

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