Penang has produced many economists who have made substantial impact on the global stage. Prof Woo Wing Thye of Thean Teik Road is one of the foremost among them. As a young boy, he was curious about the outside world, and managed to clear his own path to the top, always helped, as he humbly admits, by the instinctive generosity of others, especially of strangers. Penang Institute was honoured to have him as the first speaker in its Penang in Asia Lecture Series.
Penang used to have exciting libraries which young boys and girls could visit to learn about the outside world. As we know, such institutions can be great class levellers. The world-renown economist Prof Woo Wing Thye is living proof of that. He travels endlessly around the world to advise governments on economic issues.
Wing Thye was born at home on Thorpe Road off Green Lane in 1954. When he was 10, his family moved to live in the Gurney Drive area, and then (most happily) on Carnarvon Street. They finally settled permanently on Thean Teik Road. His father was a liquor salesman and his mother has always been a housewife.
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