The Emergence and Social Function of Chinese Religious Associations in Singapore

Marjorie Topley

Edited by Jean DeBernardi

in Cantonese Society in Hong Kong and Singapore

Published by Hong Kong University Press

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9789888028146
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9789882206663 | DOI:
The Emergence and Social Function of Chinese Religious Associations in Singapore

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One of the ways in which religious associations in Singapore differ from those in urban China is in their greater freedom to make use of religious symbols and to engage in religious activities. Chinese associations which are not directly oriented to religion have been characterized until their more recent history by the interweaving of a number of religious elements with more secular elements: by the use of symbols derived from religious sources, by the use of religious ritual in their ceremonial, and sometimes by group worship. In China, the political system dictated the broad limits of permitted belief as well as the approved forms of organization for religion. Economic and friendly associations in towns often made use of religious elements but limits were set to this, and the same was true of a number of associations that had more directly religious purposes.

Keywords: religious associations; Singapore; China; religious symbols; religion; religious ritual; group worship; political system

Chapter.  12203 words. 

Subjects: Society and Culture

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