Essays on Malaysian Struggles in the 21st CenturyAuthor/Editor:
Ooi Kee Beng
New Pb 137 pp.Subject:
This selection of articles written over the last three years by Ooi Kee Beng, and which were published in The Edge Malaysia, The Edge Review and in Penang Monthly, is a succinct expression, not only of trends that the region and the world are experiencing, but more specifically of stubborn issues immediately affecting Malaysia.
In essence, Malaysia has reached a crossroads. The bankruptcy of racialist politics maintained for too long by race-based parties through racially-justified policies has become too obvious to deny. On the one hand, this has generated strong opposition from the depths of Malaysian society—from Malaysians who had customarily been evasive of conflicts, who now sense that serious political transformation can be postponed only at great peril to the country’s inter-ethnic cohesion and to its economy. And on the other hand, as a direct response to this challenge to the old order, we witness a disheartening rise in incoherent racism and Islamist zealotry.
But Malaysia’s problems are not all that unique. What is needed is for Malaysia to discard its sense of exceptionalism and fatalism, if the country is to fulfil the promise that the attainment of Merdeka once held.
About the author
Ooi Kee Beng is the Deputy Director of the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS), Singapore. He is editor of Trends in Southeast Asia (ISEAS); and also founder-editor of Penang Monthly, ISEAS Monitor, and ISEAS Perspective.
He writes extensively on Malaysian politics and history, and on Asian nation building. His The Reluctant Politician – Tun Dr Ismail and His Time (2006) won the “Award of Excellence for Best Writing Published in Book Form on Any Aspect of Asia (Non-Fiction)” at the Asian Publishing Convention Awards 2008, while Continent, Coast, Ocean: Dynamics of Regionalism in Eastern Asia (co-edited with Ding Choo Ming), was named “Top Academic Work” in 2008 by the ASEAN Book Publishers Association (ABPA).
His noted studies of Singapore include In Lieu of Ideology: An Intellectual Biography of Goh Keng Swee (2010).
Other major works include The Eurasian Core and Its Edges – Dialogues with Wang Gungwu on the History of the World (2015); Lim Kit Siang – Defying the Odds (2015); Young and Malay: Growing Up in Multicultural Malaysia (2015); Malaya’s First Year at the United Nations (2009); March 8: Eclipsing May 13 (2008); and Lost in Transition: Malaysia Under Abdullah (2008).
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