5. Local Studies: Hong Kong & Overseas


Abraham, Terry and Priscilla Wegers. "Respecting the Dead: Chinese Cemeteries and Burial Practices in the Interior Pacific Northwest." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.147-173.


Ackerman, Susan E. "Divine Contracts: Chinese New Religions and Shamanic Movements in Contemporary Malaysia." Journal of Contemporary Religion 16(2001)3: 293-311.


Ackerman, Susan E. "Falun Dafa and the New Age Movement in Malaysia: Signs of Health, Symbols of Salvation." Social Compass 52(2005) 4: 495-511.

Abstract: Falun Dafa entered Malaysia in the mid-1990s as a spiritual movement for the mind-and-body development market that attracts middle-class consumption-oriented Malaysians. Its self-presentation as a New Age product tends to obscure its connections with Chinese popular religion. The movement's similar profile to other Chinese sectarian groups is accompanied by claims to absolute difference from these groups. Development of Falun Dafa during the phase of persecution and exile since 1999 has involved an ongoing encounter with new symbols and signs. The symbols of human rights, democracy and salvation are transacted with the Western media and the signs of New Age lifestyle products. These address identity needs within the diverse Malaysian Chinese community. (Source: article)


Aijmer, Göran. "Writ in Water: Ancestry among Cantonese Boat Populations." Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society Hong Kong 56 (2016): 67-91.

Abstract: This article explores the ancestral cult among boat-dwelling fishermen on the South China coast, based on ethnographies of Hong Kong and Macau. What seems to differ from ritual practices ashore can tentatively be shown to be a cultural transformation, in which ‘rice’ has been exchanged for ‘fish’ as the semantic core of the iconic grammar. Fishermen and peasants appropriate their ancestors somewhat differently but for similar ends. (Source: http://www.gu.se/english/research/publication?publicationId=241660)


Anderson, E.N. “Meeting the Goddess: Religion, Morality, and Medicine in a Fishing Community in Hong Kong Forty Years ago.” In: Deepak Shimkhada & Phyllis K. Herman [eds.], The Constant and Changing Faces of the Goddess: Goddess Traditions of Asia. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2008. Pp. 122-134.


Baker, Hugh. Ancestral Images: A Hong Kong Collection. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2011.

Abstract: This new revised edition collects in one place the articles from the three volumes of Hugh Baker's Ancestral Images originally published in 1979, 1980 and 1981. The 120 articles and photographs explore everyday life, customs and rituals in Hong Kong's rural New Territories. They investigate religion, food, language, history, festivals, family, strange happenings and clan warfare. The book documents much that can no longer be found. But it also provides an understanding of a world which has not yet entirely disappeared, and which still forms the background of life in modern urban Hong Kong and its neighbouring cities. Esoteric nuggets of information are scattered through the book: How do you ascend a pagoda with no staircase? How can you marry without attending the wedding? When is it wrong to buy a book? Hugh Baker answers these and many other questions in this well-rounded picture of a vibrant, quirky people painted with affection and informed by many years of scholarship and research. (Source: publisher's website)


Broy, Nikolas. "Maitreya's Garden in the Township: Transnational Religious Spaces of Yiguandao Activists in Urban South Africa." China Perspectives 2019, no. 4: 27-36.

Abstract: This paper seeks to explore the spaces created by practitioners of the Taiwanese-Chinese religious movement Yiguandao 一 貫 道 (“Way of Pervading Unity”) in urban South Africa. Drawing on ethnographic data from fieldwork conducted in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Cape Town in late 2017 as well as on published Yiguandao materials, this contribution analyses how these spaces are created, maintained, and charged with meaning. It investigates the uses of these spaces as well as how and why various actors engage in them. By proposing a preliminary typology that is based on the location, function, and mobility of these spaces, this contribution argues that Yiguandao religious spaces represent more intense arenas of transcultural interaction than most other – and predominantly economic – Chinese spaces in Africa.

Broy, Nikolas. "American Dao and Global Interactions: Transnational Religious Networks in an English-Speaking Yiguandao Congregation in Urban California." In Transnational Religious Spaces: Religious Organizations and Interactions in Africa, East Asia, and Beyond, edited by Philip Clart and Adam Jones, 263–282. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2020.

Broy, Nikolas. "Global Dao: The Making of Transnational Yiguandao." In Chinese Religions Going Global, edited by Nanlai Cao, Giuseppe Giordan, and Fenggang Yang, 174–193. Annual Review of the Socviology of Religion, vol. 11. Leiden: Brill, 2021.

Chace, Paul G. "On Dying American: Cantonese Rites for Death and Ghost-Spirits in an American City." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.47-79.


Chadwin, Joseph. “‘Because I am Chinese, I do not Believe in Religion’: An Ethnographic Study of the Lived Religious Experience of Chinese Immigrant Children in Vienna.” In Religion in Austria, Volume 6, edited by Hans Gerald Hödl, Astrid Mattes, and Lukas Pokorny, 1–31. Vienna: Praesens, 2021.

Chadwin, Joseph. “An Ethnographic Study of How Chinese University Students in Vienna Observed Spring Festival during Covid-19.” In Religion in Austria, Volume 6, edited by Hans Gerald Hödl, Astrid Mattes, and Lukas Pokorny, 33–66. Vienna: Praesens, 2021.

Chadwin, Joseph. “Parental Popular Religion and Filiality: An Ethnographic Study of the Religiosity of Chinese Parents in Vienna.” In Religion in Austria, Volume 6, edited by Hans Gerald Hödl, Astrid Mattes, and Lukas Pokorny, 67–112. Vienna: Praesens, 2021.


Chan, Cheris Shun-ching, Hong Kong in Reenchantment: A Case Study of the New Religious Discourse. Shatin: Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1996.


Chan, Cheris Shun-Ching. "The Sacred-Secular Dialectics of the Reenchanted Religious Order--the Lingsu Exo-Esoterics of Hong Kong." Journal of Contemporary Religion 15(2000)1: 45-63.


Chan, Hong Y. "The Hungry Ghost Festival in Singapore: Getai (Songs on Stage) in the Lunar Seventh Month." Religions 11, no. 7 (2020): 356. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070356

Abstract: This paper examines the interaction between state power and the everyday life of ordinary Chinese Singaporeans by looking at the Hungry Ghost Festival as a contested category. The paper first develops a theoretical framework building on previous scholars' examination of the contestation of space and the negotiation of power between state authorities and the public in Singapore. This is followed by a short review of how the Hungry Ghost Festival was celebrated in earlier times in Singapore. The next section of the paper looks at the differences between the celebrations in the past and in contemporary Singapore. The following section focuses on data found in local newspapers on Getai events of the 2017 Lunar Seventh Month. Finally, I identify characteristics of the Ghost Festival in contemporary Singapore by looking at how Getai is performed around Singapore and woven into the fabric of Singaporean daily life.


Chan, Kwok-shin. “Temple Festivals, Social Networks, and Communal Relationships: The Development of a Local Cult in Macau.” In China Networks, edited by Jens Damm and Mechthild Leutner, 118–126. Berlin: Lit, 2009. (Berliner China-Hefte/ Chinese History and Society, vol. 35)


Chan, Margaret. Ritual is Theatre, Theatre is Ritual: Tang-ki Chinese Spirit Medium Worship. Singapore: Singapore: Wee Kim Wee Centre, Singapore Management University, SNP Reference, 2006.


Chan, Margaret. “Bodies for the Gods: Image Worship in Chinese Popular Religion.” In: The Spirit of Things: Materiality and Religious Diversity in Southeast Asia, ed. Julius Bautista. Ithaca, N.Y.: Southeast Asia Program, Cornell University, 2012. Pp. 197-215.

Chan, Margaret. “The Spirit-mediums of Singkawang: Performing 'Peoplehood'.” In Chinese Indonesians Reassessed: History, Religion and Belonging, ed. Siew-Min Sai & Chang-Yau Hoon. London; New York, NY: Routledge, 2013. Pp. 138-157.


Chan, Selina Ching. "Creepy No More: Inventing the Chaozhou Hungry Ghosts Cultural Festival in Hong Kong." Review of Religion and Chinese Society 6, no. 2 (2019): 273-296.

Abstract: Ever since the classification of Hong Kong's Chaozhou Hungry Ghosts Festival as a national-grade intangible cultural heritage in 2011, a series of conservation activities have been initiated by some local Chaozhou communities, ngos, and the Hong Kong government. One of these activities is the Chaozhou Hungry Ghosts Cultural Festival, and this paper discusses the heritagization of religious festivals by examining the invention of this festival. The Cultural Festival reveals how the elite-cum-businessmen attempt to educate the general public, to promote the festival so as to reverse its decline in popularity, and to celebrate ethnic culture and Chinese culture. To overwrite the old-fashioned stereotypical creepy images associated with the traditional Hungry Ghosts Festival, new programs featuring spectacular and fun elements have been invented. This paper delineates how these newly invented programs highlight and promote moral and cultural meanings and capture the attention of the general public, especially the younger generation, thereby attracting wider participation in the festival. I will discuss how the spectatorial, participatory, and educational aspects of the Cultural Festival are meant to attract domestic visitors as well as international tourists. Nevertheless, the majority of worshippers and local organizers do not have a significant role in the Cultural Festival. (Source: journal)

Chan, Selina Ching. “Heritage Conservation and Ethnic Associations: The Chaozhou Hungry Ghosts Festival in Hong Kong.” In Heritage and Religion in East Asia, edited by Shu-Li Wang, Michael Rowlands, and Yujie Zhu, 125–147. London: Routledge, 2021.


Cheng, Christina Miu Bing, "Beyond a Cultural Register: The Charm of Tian Hou." China Perspectives 26(1999): 72-81.


Cheu Hock Tong, "The Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods in Malaysia. Myth, Ritual, and Symbol." Asian Folklore Studies 55(1996)1:49-72.


Cheu, Hock Tong, Malay Keramat, Chinese Worshippers: the Sinicization of Malay Keramats in Malaysia. Singapore : Dept. of Malay Studies, National University of Singapore, 1997. (Seminar Papers, no.26).


Cheu Hock Tong, "The Sinicization of Malay Keramats in Malaysia." Journal of the Malaysian Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 71(1998)2: 29-61.


Cheung, Neky Tak-ching. “Women’s Salvation and Collective Order: A Penitential Ritual for Deliverance from the Lake of Blood Performed in Hong Kong.” Journal of Chinese Studies 2014, no. 58: 287-314.


Chia, Caroline. “'Negotiation' Between a Religious Art Form and the Secular State: Chinese Puppet Theater in Singapore and the Case Study of Sin Hoe Ping.” Asian Ethnology 76, no.1 (2017): 117-144.

Abstract: Traditional art forms often face rapid decline if they are not able to keep pace with a changing society. This article will examine puppet theater as performed by Chinese descent groups in temples and public spaces in Singapore as a case study of the adaptation of particular ethnic traditions at a time of an intense process of modernization. The island state of Singapore comprises various ethnic groups from different religious backgrounds living together in an advanced economy. On the one hand, the government ensures that the ethno-religious framework is protected through policies and laws. On the other, it seeks to maintain social cohesion by not favoring any religious group and by downplaying religious and ethnic divides. As discussed here, notions of “Chineseness” need to be accommodated within state policies based on the “harmonization” of racial and religious differences. The traditional art form investigated here, Chinese puppet theater, is characteristically linked to ethnicity and religion. How, then, does this ritual art form “negotiate” with a state that emphasizes secularism and seeks to elide multiracial and multi-religious differences? This study proposes a distinction between the “state-regulated realm” and the “state-tolerated realm” to suggest how Chinese puppet theater has engaged in negotiation with the Singaporean state to enable it to survive and even flourish. The focus will be on the Sin Hoe Ping Puppet Troupe, which has demonstrated considerable flexibility in adapting to secularized Singapore. (Source: journal)


Chia Meng Tat, Jack. "Ah Ma and her Beliefs: The Migrant Experience and Religious Practices of a Chinese Immigrant Woman in Twentieth Century Singapore." Marburg Journal of Religion 12 (May 2007)1: http://web.uni-marburg.de/religionswissenschaft/journal/mjr/art_chia_2007.html.


Chia, Jack Meng-Tat. “Sacred Ties across the Seas: The Cult of Guangze Zunwang and its Religious Network in the Chinese Diaspora, 19th Century—2009.” M.A. Dissertation, Department of History, National University of Singapore, 2009. Website: https://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/bitstream/handle/10635/16305/ChiaMT.pdf?sequence=1

Abstract: Large scale Chinese emigration began in the mid-nineteenth century and lasted through the first half of twentieth century. The migration of the Nan'an people contributed to the religious spread of Guangze Zunwang's cult from Southeast China to Southeast Asia in general, and Singapore and Malaysia in particular. The arrival and settlement of the Nan'an migrants prompted the establishment of Guangze Zunwang temples in the two host countries. This study examines the cult of Guangze Zunwang and its religious network connecting Southeast China and the Chinese communities in Singapore and Malaysia from the early nineteenth century to 2009. It argues that the diasporic religious network of the Guangze Zunwang's cult has a significant role in the trans-regional movement of resources between China and the Chinese overseas. As this research will illustrate, temples were important institutions for the Chinese diaspora, in which they served as important nodes in this diasporic network.


Chia, Jack Meng-Tat. "Managing The Tortoise Island: Tua Pek Kong Temple, Pilgrimage, and Social Change in Pulau Kusu, 1965-2007.” New Zealand Journal of Asian Studies 11, 2 (December 2009): 72-95.

Abstract: This article examines the Tua Pek Kong Temple and religious activities in Pulau Kusu as they intersect with the larger forces of social change, state management, and development of the Southern Islands since the independence of Singapore, from 1965 to the present. It argues that the state’s interest in the economic potential of the Tua Pek Kong Temple, and the attempt to seek profit from its religious activities, particularly over the last two decades, has very much affected the temple and contributed to the commercialization and “touristization” of the island. State authorities in mainland Singapore have tried to exert more control over the temple through the management of the island. Profit was made from the island’s religious activities through the authorities’ monopoly of goods and services, promotion of commercial activities, and their attempt to transform the island into a tourist site.

Chia, Jack Meng-Tat. “A Recent Quest for Religious Roots: The Revival of the Guangze Zunwang Cult and Its Sino-Southeast Asian Networks, 1978-2009.” Journal of Chinese Religions 41.2 (2013): 91-123.

Abstract: This article examines issues surrounding the revival of the cult of Guangze Zunwang and its religious networks between Southeast China and the Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore from 1978 to 2009. It reveals that the quest of overseas Chinese for the religious roots of Guangze Zunwang’s cult has contributed to the rebuilding of the Shishan Fengshan Si in particular and the cult’s sacred sites in general. The resurgence of diasporic religious networks has facilitated the transnational movement of financial resources and allowed overseas Chinese to make regular pilgrimages and participate in the cult’s religious activities in China. I argue that, on the one hand, this renewal of religious ties, which has led to the proliferation of pilgrimages and religious excursions to the cult’s sacred sites in China, and expeditions from China to Malaysia and Singapore, has benefited both the Shishan Fengshan Si and the overseas temples; on the other hand, it led to religious competition and inter-temple rivalries between the different principal sites of the cult in China. (Source: journal)


Chia, Jack Meng-Tat. “Who is Tua Pek Kong? The Cult of Grand Uncle in Malaysia and Singapore.” Archiv orientální 85, no. 3 (2017): 439-460.

Abstract: The arrival and settlement of Chinese migrants contributed to the spread of Chinese religious beliefs and practices from China to Southeast Asia. However, the arrival of Chinese beliefs and practices was more complex than being just a single-direction dissemination process. Chinese migrants not only transferred popular deities and native-place gods from China to Southeast Asia, but also invented their own gods in the migrant society. This article builds on Robert Hymes’s concept of the “personal model of divinity” to examine the multifaceted nature of the Tua Pek Kong cult in Malaysia and Singapore. It argues that in the absence of an imperial bureaucracy in Southeast Asia, the “personal model” aptly explains the proliferation of Tua Pek Kong’s cult among the Overseas Chinese communities. Tua Pek Kong was far from being a standardized god in a bureaucratic pantheon of Chinese deities; the deity was considered as a “personal being”, offering protection to those who relied on him. This article presents the multifaceted cult of Tua Pek Kong in three forms: a symbol of sworn brotherhood, a Sino-Malay deity, and a Sinicized god. (Source: journal)


Chia, Jie L. „State Regulations and Divine Oppositions: An Ethnography of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Singapore.“ Religions 11, no. 7 (2020): 330. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070330

Abstract: Studies of popular Chinese religions in Singapore have mostly focused on the relationship between Chinese religious practitioners and state regulations delimiting land for religious uses. Local scholars have also studied the state's active construction of a domain within which local religions can operate, often rationalized as a means of maintaining harmonious relations between ethnic and religious groups. However, little attention has been paid to the symbolic spatial negotiations that exist between the gods and the Singaporean state. Through an ethnographic study of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival as organized by the Choa Chu Kang Dou Mu Gong (蔡厝港斗母宫), I analyze the tensions between the impositions of state authority upon the temple's annual festival and the divine authority of the Nine Emperor Gods, as reproduced in the festival's rituals and in the bodies of their spirit mediums. Borrowing Marshall Sahlins' idea of inclusive "cosmic polities," I argue that the Nine Emperor Gods, devotees, and state actors do not exist in separate "secular" and "divine" dimensions but rather, co-participate in the same complex society. By serving as a fertile ground upon which the divine bureaucracy of the Nine Emperor Gods is reproduced, the festival's articulations of divine sovereignty provide a potent challenge to state-imposed imaginations of space and expand devotees' understandings of agency from state-defined and into the larger cosmological order.

Choi Chi-Cheung, "Reinforcing Ethnicity: The Jiao Festival in Cheung Chan." In: David Faure & Helen F. Siu [eds.], Down to Earth: The Territorial Bond in South China. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995.


Choi, Chi-cheung. "Ancestors Are Watching: Ritual and Governance at Peck San Theng, a Chinese Afterlife Care Organization in Singapore." Religions 2020, 11, no. 8 (2020): 382. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11080382

Abstract: Kwong Wai Siew Peck San Theng 新加坡廣惠肇碧山亭 (hereafter PST) is a non-profit organization registered under Singapore's Societies Ordinance, founded in 1870 by Chinese immigrants from three prefectures of Guangdong province: Guangzhou 廣州, Zhaoqing 肇慶 and Huizhou 惠州. Until the mid-1970s, it managed more than 100,000 graves spread over 324 acres of land. After the Singapore government acquired its land for urban development PST continued its service to the departed by managing a columbarium that accommodates urns and spiritual tablets. PST's governing body is formed by regional associations of the three prefectures although these associations receive neither dividends nor shares from PST. Besides annually celebrated activities such as ancestral worship at halls, grave sweeping at tombs every spring and autumn and the Hungry Ghost festival PST has, since 1922, organized irregularly a Grand Universal Salvation Ritual (the Wan Yuan Sheng Hui 萬緣勝會) for both ancestors and wandering spirits. The ritual was held not only to generate income but was also designed to serve the afterlife of the homeless overseas migrants and also as an informal sanction to regulate the behavior of committee members. Based on PST's institutional archives and participant observations, this paper analyzes the ritual over a period of 90 years. It argues that formal institutional behavior is checked and balanced by informal sanction constructed in the form of ancestors watching from above. This paper further argues that while filial piety is an essential Chinese cultural value, the Chinese people of Singapore rely on institutions such as PST to integrate their ancestors with individual characteristics into collective ancestors taken care of by the institutions, releasing them from the burden of daily ancestral worship. Religious charity and filial piety are equally important.


Choong Chee Pang, "Religious Composition of the Chinese in Singapore: Some Comments on the Census 2000." In: Leo Suryadinata [ed.], Ethnic Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia: A Dialogue between Tradition and Modernity. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 2002. Pp.325-336.


Chow Wai-yin. "Religious Narrative and Ritual in a Metropolis: A Study of the Daoist Ghost Festival in Hong Kong." In: Elise Anne DeVido and Benoît Vermander [eds.], Creeds, Rites and Videotapes: Narrating Religious Experience in East Asia. Taipei: Taipei Ricci Institute, 2004. Pp.187-211.


Chu, Julie Y. Cosmologies of Credit: Transnational Mobility and the Politics of Destination in China. Durham: Duke University Press, 2010. (See especially chapter 5, "For Use in Heaven or Hell: The Circulation of the U.S. Dollar among Gods, Ghosts, and Ancestors")


Chun, Allen, "The Changing Times of a Village Temple Alliance System in the New Territories of Hong Kong: An Analysis of a Tianhou Cult." In: Lin Meirong, Chang Hsun & Cai Xianghui [eds.], Mazu xinyang de fazhan yu bianqian: Mazu xinyang yu xiandai shehui guoji yantaohui lunwenji. Taipei: Taiwan zongjiao xuehui; Beigang: Chaotian Gong, 2003. Pp.57-78.


Chung, Sue Fawn & & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005.

Abstract: [...] Chinese American Death Rituals examines Chinese American funerary rituals and cemeteries from the late nineteenth century until the present in order to understand the importance of Chinese funerary rites and their transformation through time. The authors in this volume discuss the meaning of funerary rituals and their normative dimension and the social practices that have been influenced by tradition. Shaped by individual beliefs, customs, religion, and environment, Chinese Americans have resolved the tensions between assimilation into the mainstream culture and their strong Chinese heritage in a variety of ways. [...] [Source: publisher's website.]


Chung, Sue Fawn, Fred B. Frampton, and Timothy W. Murphy. "Venerate These Bones: Chinese American Funerary and Burial Practices as Seen in Carlin, Elko County, Nevada." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.107-145


Chung, Sue Fawn & Reiko Neizman. "Remembering Ancestors in Hawai'i." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.175-194.


Clarke, Ian, "Ancestor Worship and Identity: Ritual, Interpretation, and Social Normalization in the Malaysian Chinese Community." Sojourn: Social Issues in Southeast Asia 15 (2000)2: 273-295.


Clart, Philip, "Opening the Wilderness for the Way of Heaven: A Chinese New Religion in the Greater Vancouver Area." Journal of Chinese Religions 28 (2000): 127-144.


Cohen, Erik. The Chinese Vegetarian Festival in Phuket: Religion, Ethnicity and Tourism on a Southern Thai Island. Bangkok: White Lotus, 2001.


Cohen, Erik. “Kuan To: The Vegetarian Festival in a Peripheral Southern Thai Shrine.” In: Pattana Kitiarsa [ed.], Religious Commodifications in Asia: Marketing Gods. London: Routledge, 2008. Pp.68-88.


Cook, Ryan J., "Chen Tao in Texas: A New Religious Movement, its Host Community, and Mass-Mediated Adaptation." 1999. http://www.cesnur.org/testi/bryn/chen_cook.htm


Cook, Ryan J. "News Media and the Religious Use of UFOs: The Case of Chen Tao--True Way." In: James R. Lewis [ed.], Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2003. Pp. 301-320.


Crowder, Linda Sun. "The Chinese Mortuary Tradition in San Francisco Chinatown." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.195-240.


Dean, Kenneth. “The Role of Temple Networks in the Construction of the Minnan Coastal ‘Empire:’ Transnational Spaces of the Overseas Xinghua Chinese.” In Chen Yiyuan [ed.]. 2009 Minnan wenhua guoji xueshu yantaohui lunwenji. Tainan: Guoli Chenggong Daxue Zhongwenxi / Jinmenxian Wenhuaju, 2009. Pp. 759-787.


Dean, Kenneth. “The Return Visits of Overseas Chinese to Ancestral Villages in Putian, Fujian.” In: Tim Oakes & Donald S. Sutton [eds.], Faiths on Display: Religion, Tourism, and the Chinese State. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2010. Pp.235-263.


Dean, Kenneth. “Conditions of Mastery: The Syncretic Religious Field of Singapore and the Rose of Hokkien Master Tan Kok Hian 陳國顯.” Cahiers d’Extrême-Asie 25 (2016): 219-244.


Dean, Kenneth. "Spirit Mediums and Secular–Religious Divides in Singapore." In The Secular in South, East, and Southeast Asia, edited by Kenneth Dean and Peter van der Veer, 51–81. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019.


Dean, Kenneth. "Opium for the Gods: Cheang Hong Lim (1841–1893), Headman and Ritual Libationer of the Hokkien Community, Leader of the Singapore Great Opium Syndicate (1870-1882)." Archives des sciences sociales des religions, no. 193 (2021): 107–130.

Abstract: In China, as in India, ritual roles are distributed across the entire social field, rather than being confined to a religious field that is competed over in a quest for the monopolization of its powers. This essay explores the ritual roles of a leader of the Chinese diaspora in Singapore in the second half of the 19th century, drawing on stone inscriptions he wrote in several temples he built or restored, and his burial record, composed by the Chinese Consul General to Singapore, Huang Zunxian (1848-1905). These sources reveal how intricately entangled were the secular, commercial, political and religious realms at the end of the golden age of the Chinese temple network in Southeast Asia.


DeBernardi, Jean, "Tasting the Water." In: Dennis Tedlock & Bruce Mannheim [eds.], The Dialogic Emergence of Culture. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1995. Pp.234-254.


DeBernardi, Jean, "On Trance and Temptation: Images of the Body in Malaysian Chinese Popular Religion." In Jane Marie Law [ed.], Religious Reflections on the Human Body. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1995. Pp.151-165.


DeBernardi, Jean, "Teachings of a Spirit Medium." In: Lopez, Donald S., Jr. [ed.], Religions of China in Practice. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996. Pp.229-238.


DeBernardi, Jean, "Ritual, Language, and Social Memory in a Nineteenth-Century Chinese Secret Sworn Brotherhood." In: Linguistic Form and Social Action (= Michigan Discussions in Anthropology 13), 1998. Pp.103-125.


DeBernardi, Jean, "Spiritual Warfare and Territorial Spirits: The Globalization and Localisation of a 'Practical Theology'." Religious Studies and Theology 18(1999)2: 66-96.


DeBernardi, Jean, "Malaysian Chinese Religious Culture: Past and Present." In: Leo Suryadinata [ed.], Ethnic Chinese in Singapore and Malaysia: A Dialogue between Tradition and Modernity. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 2002. Pp.301-323.


DeBernardi, Jean, Rites of Belonging: Memory, Modernity, and Identity in a Malaysian Chinese Community. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2004.

Abstract: In what is today Malaysia, the British established George Town on Penang Island in 1786, and encouraged Chinese merchants and laborers to migrate to this vibrant trading port. In the multicultural urban settlement that developed, the Chinese immigrants organized their social life through community temples like the Guanyin Temple (Kong Hok Palace) and their secret sworn brotherhoods. These community associations assumed exceptional importance precisely because they were a means to establish a social presence for the Chinese immigrants, to organize their social life, and to display their economic prowess. The Confucian "cult of memory" also took on new meanings in the early twentieth century as a form of racial pride. In twentieth-century Penang, religious practices and events continued to draw the boundaries of belonging in the idiom of the sacred.

Part I of Rites of Belonging focuses on the conjuncture between Chinese and British in colonial Penang. The author closely analyzes the 1857 Guanyin Temple Riots and conflicts leading to the suppression of the Chinese sworn brotherhoods. Part II investigates the conjuncture between Chinese and Malays in contemporary Malaysia, and the revitalization in the 1970s and 1980s of Chinese popular religious culture. [Source: publisher's website]


DeBernardi, Jean. The Way that Lives in the Heart: Chinese Popular Religion and Spirit Mediums in Penang, Malaysia. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2006.

Abstract: The Way That Lives in the Heart is a richly detailed ethnographic analysis of the practice of Chinese religion in the modern, multicultural Southeast Asian city of Penang, Malaysia. The book conveys both an understanding of shared religious practices and orientations and a sense of how individual men and women imagine, represent, and transform popular religious practices within the time and space of their own lives.

This work is original in three ways. First, the author investigates Penang Chinese religious practice as a total field of religious practice, suggesting ways in which the religious culture, including spirit-mediumship, has been transformed in the conjuncture with modernity. Second, the book emphasizes the way in which socially marginal spirit mediums use a religious anti-language and unique religious rituals to set themselves apart from mainstream society. Third, the study investigates Penang Chinese religion as the product of a specific history, rather than presenting an overgeneralized overview that claims to represent a single "Chinese religion." [Source: publisher's website]


DeBernardi, Jean. "'Ascend to Heaven and Stand on a Cloud:' Daoist Teaching and Practice at Penang's Taishang Laojun Temple." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour in Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 143-186.


DeBernardi, Jean. " Wudang Mountain and Mount Zion in Taiwan: Syncretic Processes in Space, Ritual Performance, and Imagination." Asian Journal of Social Science 37.1 (2009): 138-162.

Abstract: In this paper, I develop a detailed consideration of ways in which Chinese religious practitioners, including Daoists, Christians, and spirit mediums, deploy syncretism in complex fields of practice. Rather than focusing on doctrinal blending, this study emphasises the ways in which these practitioners combine elements from diverse religious traditions through the media of ritual performance, visual representation, story, and landscape. After considering the diverse ways in which syncretic processes may be deployed in a field of practice, the paper investigates three ethnographic cases, exploring ritual co-celebration at Wudang Mountain in South-central China, charismatic Christian practices in Singapore, and the recent development of Holy Mount Zion as a Christian pilgrimage site in Taiwan.


DeBernardi, Jean. "On Women and Chinese Ritual Food Culture in Penang and Singapore." Min-su ch'ü-i / Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 168 (2010): 111-155.


DeBernardi, Jean. “Commodifying Blessings: Celebrating the Double-Yang Festival in Penang, Malaysia, and Wudang Mountain, China.” In: Pattana Kitiarsa [ed.], Religious Commodifications in Asia: Marketing Gods. London: Routledge, 2008. Pp.49-67.


Deeg, Max. “Zwischen kultureller Identität und universalem Heilsanspruch. Chinesische religiöse Diaspora-Gemeinden im Wandel moderner gesellschaftlicher Verhältnisse: Das Beispiel der »Mile-dadao (Yiguan-dao)«- und »Foguang-shan«-Gruppen in Wien,” in: Hartmut Lehmann (ed.), Migration und Religion im Zeitalter der Globalisierung. Göttingen: Wallstein Verlag, 2005. Pp. 49–63.


Duara, Prasenjit. “Religion and Citizenship in China and the Diaspora.” In: Mayfair Mei-hui Yang [ed.], Chinese Religiosities: Afflictions of Modernity and State Formation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Pp. 43-64.


Evans, Grant, "Ghosts and the New Governor: The Anthropology of a Hong Kong Rumour." In: Grant Evans & Maria Tam [eds.], Hong Kong: The Anthropology of a Chinese Metropolis. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1997. Pp.266-296.


Formoso, Bernard, "Hsiu-Kou-Ku: the Ritual Refining of Restless Ghosts Among the Chinese in Thailand." Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Incorporating Man 2(1996)2:217-234.


Formoso, Bernard, "Chinese Temples and Philanthropic Associations in Thailand." Journal of Southeast Asian Studies 27(1996)2: 245-260.


Formoso, Bernard, "Le jambe pour le coeur. Les prestations matrimoniales chez les Teochiu de Thaïlande." L'Homme 141 (1997): 55-82.


Formoso, Bernard. "Les adeptes de Ji Gong le 'bonze fou' en Malaise et a Singapour." Aseanie 12(2003): 73-104.


Formoso, Bernard. "Ethnicity and Shared Meanings: A Case Study of the 'Orphaned Bones' Ritual in Mainland China and Overseas." American Anthropologist 111.4 (2009): 492–503.

Abstract: Several theories of ethnicity emphasize the analysis of intergroup relations. They neglect, however, the conflation of ideas and values structuring these relations—notably the cross-cultural aggregates of shared cultural meanings that underlie forms of cooperation and competition between interacting groups. In this article, I explore this kind of process through a multisite ethnography of the Xiu gugu (“refining of orphaned bones”), a ritual that the Chaozhou people of northeast Guangdong province, an ethnic subgroup of the Han, perform periodically. The celebration of this rite in Chaozhou is compared to versions resulting of the ritual in Malay Muslim and Thai Buddhist contexts. In the latter case, close conceptions of malevolent death underlie a fascinating interethnic cooperation, with most of the unfortunate dead whose bones are “refined” during the Chaozhou ritual being Thai.


Formoso, Bernard. De Jiao - A Religious Movement in Contemporary China and Overseas: Purple Qi from the East. Singapore: NUS Press, 2010.

Abstract: De Jiao ("Teaching of Virtue") is a China-born religious movement, based on spirit-writing and rooted in the tradition of the "halls for good deeds," which emerged in Chaozhou during the Sino-Japanese war. The book relates the fascinating process of its spread throughout Southeast Asia in the 1950s, and, more recently, from Thailand and Malaysia to post-Maoist China and the global world. Through a richly-documented multi-site ethnography of De Jiao congregations in the PRC, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand, Bernard Formoso offers valuable insights into the adaptation of Overseas Chinese to sharply contrasted national polities, and the projective identity they build with relation to China. De Jiao is of special interest with regard to its organization and strategies which strongly reflect the managerial habits and entrepreneurial ethos of the Overseas Chinese businessmen. It has also built original bonding with symbols of the Chinese civilization whose greatness it claims to champion from the periphery. Accordingly, a central theme of the study is the role that such a religious movement may play to promote new forms of identification with the motherland as substitutes for loosened genealogical links. The book also offers a comprehensive interpretation of the contemporary practice of fu ji spirit-writing, and reconsiders the relation between unity and diversity in Chinese religion. [Source: publisher's website]


Formoso, Bernard. “A Wishful Thinking Claim to Global Expansion? The Case of Dejiao.” In Xuezhe guan Dejiao 学者观德教. Edited by Chen Jingxi 陈景熙 and Zhang Yudong 张禹东, 521-546. Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe, 2011.


Formoso, Bernard. “From Bones to Ashes: the Teochiu Management of Bad Death in China and Overseas.” In Buddhist Funeral Cultures of Southeast Asia and China, ed. Paul Williams & Patrice Ladwig. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pp. 192-216.


Formoso, Bernard. “Spirit-Writing and Mediumship in the Chinese New Religious Movement Dejiao in Southeastern Asia.” Anthropos 109, no.2 (2014): 539-550.


Goh, Daniel P.S. "Chinese Religion and the Challenge of Modernity in Malaysia and Singapore: Syncretism, Hybridisation and Transfiguration." Asian Journal of Social Science 37.1 (2009): 138-162.

Abstract: The past fifty years have seen continuing anthropological interest in the changes in religious beliefs and practices among the Chinese in Malaysia and Singapore under conditions of rapid modernisation. Anthropologists have used the syncretic model to explain these changes, arguing that practitioners of Chinese "folk" religion have adapted to urbanisation, capitalist growth, nation-state formation, and literacy to preserve their spiritualist worldview, but the religion has also experienced "rationalisation" in response to the challenge of modernity. This article proposes an alternative approach that questions the dichotomous imagination of spiritualist Chinese religion and rationalist modernity assumed by the syncretic model. Using ethnographic, archival and secondary materials, I discuss two processes of change — the transfiguration of forms brought about by mediation in new cultural flows, and the hybridisation of meanings brought about by contact between different cultural systems — in the cases of the Confucianist reform movement, spirit mediumship, Dejiao associations, state-sponsored Chingay parades, reform Taoism, and Charismatic Christianity. These represent both changes internal to Chinese religion and those that extend beyond to reanimate modernity in Malaysia and Singapore. I argue that existential anxiety connects both processes as the consequence of hybridisation and the driving force for transfiguration.

Goh Ze Song, Shawn. 2020. "Making Space for the Gods: Ethnographic Observations of Chinese House Temples in Singapore." Religions 11, no. 7 (2020): 349. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070349

Abstract: Space for religious use is highly regulated in Singapore. Specific plots of land are reserved for religious groups to bid for, and create, "official" spaces of worship. However, religious practices continue to exist within "unofficial" sacred spaces, such as house temples and wayside shrines, negotiating and resisting the overt management of religion by the Singapore state. Scholars, including Vineeta Sinha and Terence Heng, demonstrate how sacrality infused into everyday secular urban spaces defies neat binaries of "sacred/profane" and "legal/illegal", and how Chinese house temples or sintuas—temples located within public housing flats—sustain sacred spaces, despite being technically illegal under housing regulations. Drawing upon a series of ethnographic observations conducted over a year of four sintuas and their activities in Singapore, this paper explores the different ways through which sintuas produce sacred space as a response to spatial constraints imposed by the state. These include (1) re-enchanting everyday urban spaces during a yewkeng—a procession around the housing estate—with the help of a spirit medium; (2) using immaterial religious markers (e.g., ritual sounds and smells) to create an "atmosphere" of sacredness; (3) appropriating public spaces; and (4) leveraging the online space to digitally reproduce images of the sacred.


Graham, Fabian. Voices from the Underworld: Chinese Hell Deity Worship in Contemporary Singapore and Malaysia. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2020.

Abstract: In Singapore and Malaysia, the inversion of Chinese Underworld traditions has meant that Underworld demons are now amongst the most commonly venerated deities in statue form, channelled through their spirit mediums, tang-ki. The Chinese Underworld and its sub-hells are populated by a bureaucracy drawn from the Buddhist, Taoist and vernacular pantheons. Under the watchful eye of Hell's 'enforcers', the lower echelons of demon soldiers impose post-mortal punishments on the souls of the recently deceased for moral transgressions committed during their prior incarnations. Voices from the Underworld offers an ethnography of contemporary Chinese Underworld traditions, where night-time cemetery rituals assist the souls of the dead, exorcised spirits are imprisoned in Guinness bottles, and malicious foetus ghosts are enlisted to strengthen a temple's spirit army. Understanding the religious divergences between Singapore and Malaysia through an analysis of socio-political and historical events, Fabian Graham challenges common assumptions on the nature and scope of Chinese vernacular religious beliefs and practices. Graham's innovative approach to alterity allows the reader to listen to first-person dialogues between the author and channelled Underworld deities. Through its alternative methodological and narrative stance, the book intervenes in debates on the interrelation between sociocultural and spiritual worlds, and promotes the de-stigmatisation of spirit possession and discarnate phenomena in the future study of mystical and religious traditions.


Greene, Mark. "The Alchemical Lore of Wong Tai Sin and the Contemporary Pursuit of Transformational Wellbeing." Chinese Cross Currents 5, no.4 (2008): 90-102.


Greene, Mark. “Wong Tai Sin: The Divine and Healing in Hong Kong.” In Disease, Religion and Healing in Asia: Collaborations and Collisions, edited by Ivette Vargas-O’Bryan & Zhou Xun, 54-68. London & New York: Routledge, 2015.


Greenwood, Roberta S. "Old Rituals in New Lands: Bringing the Ancestors to America." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.241-262.


Guéguen, Catherine. "Discontinuities and the Maintenance of Chinese Cemeteries in Kolkata (India)." Journal of Chinese Overseas 12 (2016): 315-335.

Abstract: In India, where migrations from mainland China are not constantly renewed, the Chinese cemeteries constitute the perennial elements of cultural transmission. As they build cemeteries for their community, these overseas-Chinese people inscribe the concrete references that they hold sacred in India, and no longer look to mainland China. We shall see that there are multiple reasons that explain the Chinese cemeteries’ location on the margins of the city. However, the places for the dead are the result of a long process, cultural and spatial, specific to how they were established in Kolkata and its suburbs. The cemetery constitutes in itself a space of adaptation and a space of practice; it reflects the anchoring of the Chinese in India. (Source: journal)


Guest, Kenneth James, II., "Walking on Water: Fuzhounese Immigrant Religious Communities in New York's Chinatown." Thesis (Ph.D.), City University of New York, 2001, 283p.

Abstract: Since the 1980s, as many as 200,000 mostly rural Chinese have migrated, legally and illegally, from the towns and villages outside the city of Fuzhou, on China's southeastern coast, to New York's Chinatown, bringing with them their religious beliefs, their religious practices and even their local deities. In recent years these immigrant laborers in Chinatown's restaurants and garment sweatshops have established numerous specifically Fuzhounese religious communities, ranging from Buddhist, Daoist, and Chinese popular religion to Protestant and Catholic Christianity. This ethnographic study examines the central roles of these religious communities in the immigrant incorporation process in Chinatown's highly stratified ethnic enclave. It also explores the transnational networks established between religious communities in New York and Fuzhou, including their role in transmitting religious and social constructs from China to the United States and the influence of these new US institutions on religious and social relations in the religious revival sweeping southeastern China. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Guest, Kenneth J., "Transnational Religious Networks among New York's Fuzhou Immigrants." In: Helen Rose Ebaugh & Janet Saltzman Chafetz [eds.], Religion across Borders: Transnational Immigrant Networks. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 2002. Pp.149-163.


Guest, Kenneth J., God in Chinatown: Religion and Survival in New York's Evolving Immigrant Community. New York: New York University Press, 2003.

Abstract: God in Chinatown is a path breaking study of the largest contemporary wave of new immigrants to Chinatown. Since the 1980s, tens of thousands of mostly rural Chinese have migrated from Fuzhou, on China's southeastern coast, to New York's Chinatown. Like the Cantonese who comprised the previous wave of migrants, the Fuzhou have brought with them their religious beliefs, practices, and local deities. In recent years these immigrants have established numerous specifically Fuzhounese religious communities, ranging from Buddhist, Daoist, and Chinese popular religion to Protestant and Catholic Christianity.

This ethnographic study examines the central role of these religious communities in the immigrant incorporation process in Chinatown's highly stratified ethnic enclave, as well as the transnational networks established between religious communities in New York and China. The author's knowledge of Chinese coupled with his extensive fieldwork in both China and New York enable him to illuminate how these networks transmit religious and social dynamics to the United States, as well as how these new American institutions influence religious and social relations in the religious revival sweeping southeastern China.

God in Chinatown is the first study to bring to light religion's significant role in the Fuzhounese immigrants' dramatic transformation of the face of New York's Chinatown. [Source: publisher's website]


Hamilton, Annette. "The Moving Zones of China: Flows of Rite and Power in Southeast Asia." In: Iwabuchi, Koichi; Muecke, Stephen; Thomas, Mandy, eds. Rogue Flows: Trans-Asian Cultural Traffic. Hong Kong: Hong Kong University Press, 2004. Pp.31-52.


Hayes, James. South China Village Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.


Heinze, Ruth-Inge. Trance and Healing in Southeast Asia Today. 2nd ed. Bangkok: White Lotus, 1997.


Heinze, Ruth-Inge. "The Nature and Function of Rituals: Comparing a Singapore Chinese with a Thai Ritual." In Ruth-Inge Heinze [ed.], The Nature and Function of Rituals: Fire from Heaven. Westport, Connecticut: Bergin & Garvey, 2000. Pp. 1-23.


Heng, Terence. Of Gods, Gifts and Ghosts : Spiritual Places in Urban Spaces. London: Routledge, 2021.

Abstract: How do individuals inscribe their spiritual identities and diasporic ethnicities in the city? Through a series of sociological and photographic essays, Terence Heng maps the various rituals, collectives, individuals and events that characterise Chinese religion practices in Singapore. From spirit mediums to the Hungry Ghost Festival, each chapter engages with the social, the spatial and the ephemeral, and in so doing it will explore the significance and relevance of Chinese religion in a secular nation-state; reveal the strategies and tactics used by diasporic individuals to perform and retain their identities; uncover the importance of flow and fluidity in the making of sacred space; and evidence the value and efficacy of the use of photographs in social research. Of Gods, Gifts and Ghosts is a ground-breaking exploration into the intersections between visual sociology, cultural geography and creative photographic practice. A visual monograph that gives equal importance to image and text, it interrogates the tensions between sacred and profane, official and unofficial, state and individual, physical and spiritual, peeling away the myriad layers of the spiritual imagination.



Hill, Ann Maxwell, "Tradition, Identity and Religious Eclecticism among Chinese in Thailand." In: Tong Chee Kiong & Chan Kwok Bun [eds.], Alternate Identities: The Chinese of Contemporary Thailand. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 2001. Pp.299-317.


Ho Yuk-ying. "Bridal Laments in Rural Hong Kong." Asian Folklore Studies 64(2005)1: 53-87.


Hsu Yu-Tsuen, Chang Wei-An, and Chang Han-Pi. “The Sarawak Dabogong Festival and Its Social Significance in the Chinese Community in Malaysia.” Review of Religion and Chinese Society 8, no. 1 (2021): 39–60.

Abstract: Dabogong is a Chinese deity with a widespread following in Sarawak; however, the connections between Dabogong temples are underdeveloped compared with that between Chinese subethnic associations.1 Therefore, Sibu Dabogong Temple proposed to establish an association to plan and oversee the Sarawak Dabogong Festival in 2009. Since then, the scope of the organization's membership and activities has become national as well as international. To learn how the social meaning of the festival is understood by the participants, we reviewed the local historical literature, conducted field research, and administered a questionnaire survey during the third Sarawak Dabogong Festival at Kuching 10 Miles in Sarawak in 2011. First, we explored the defining characteristic of Dabogong temples in Sarawak, the prominence of Dabogongin the Sarawak Chinese community, reasons for building temples, the accompanying gods in a Dabogong temple, and the timing of temple construction. Next, we examined the formation of the Dabogong Festival and the characteristics of the participants. Finally, we determined that the social significance of the festival can be attributed to its role in the transmission of Chinese tradition and the promotion of Dabogong belief.


Irons, Edward Allen, "Tian Dao: The Net of Ideology in a Chinese Religion." Thesis (Ph.D.), Graduate Theological Union, 2000, 312p.

Abstract: Tian Dao (Yiguandao) is a dynamic Chinese religious tradition which began in the early years of the twentieth century and is now found all over the world, in particular in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and southeast Asia. The current work is an in-depth description of Tian Dao through focus on what is called the ideological complex of ritual, myth, emotional tone, the panoply of deities, and doctrinal exposition.

The study is based primarily on ethnographic observation of two Tian Dao temples, one in Oakland, California, and one in Hong Kong. It seeks to highlight the ways in which individual members integrate local concerns with the temple and the overall cultural environments, and how the Tian Dao ideological perspective is translated into practice. Key to this articulation are the concepts of Daopan ("Dao, foundation") and Tianming ("heavenly decree"), as well as moral cultivation interpreted as constant self-observation and discourse practice. While the Dao, ultimate Truth and the source of the universe, is the focus of much Tian Dao discourse, the practices associate with the discourses account for group ideological cohesion.

Tian Dao leaders have been successful at reformulating cultural elements into a syncretic tradition capable of blending members' concerns with institutional impetus. This loosely organized network of temples and lineages is clearly united by their common orientation, the net of Tian Dao ideology. [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Jackson, Forrest. "April Fools: The Saucers Will not Be Landing." In: James R. Lewis [ed.], Encyclopedic Sourcebook of UFO Religions. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2003. Pp. 321-330.


Ji, Yiwen. „The Hainanese Temples of Singapore: A Case Study of the Hougang Shui Wei Sheng Niang Temple and Its Lantern Festival Celebration.“ Religions 11, no. 7 (2020): 350. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070350

Abstract: Shui Wei Sheng Niang (水尾圣娘) Temple is located within a united temple at 109a, Hougang Avenue 5, Singapore. Shui Wei Sheng Niang is a Hainanese goddess. the worship of whom is widespread in Hainanese communities in South East Asia. This paper examines a specific Hainanese temple and how its rituals reflect the history of Hainanese immigration to Singapore. The birthday rites of the goddess (Lantern Festival Celebration) are held on the 4th and 14th of the first lunar month. This paper also introduces the life history and ritual practices of a Hainanese Daoist master and a Hainanese theater actress.


Johnson, Elizabeth Lominska, "Singing of Separation, Lamenting Loss: Hakka Women's Expressions of Separation and Reunion." In: Charles Stafford [ed.], Living with Separation in China: Anthropological Accounts. London: RoutledgeCurzon, 2003. Pp.27-52. [Note: On separation laments sung by women at marriages and funerals.]


Johnson, Elizabeth Lominska. "Women as Worshippers, Women Worshipped: A Hakka Community in Hong Kong." Min-su ch'ü-i / Journal of Chinese Ritual, Theatre and Folklore 168 (2010): 79-109.

Kataoka Tatsuki. "Religion as Non-Religion: The Place of Chinese Temples in Phuket, Southern Thailand." Southeast Asian Studies 1, no. 3 (2012): 461-485.


Kawasaki Yuzo. "Separation from the Dead: A Case Study of Funeral Rites in a Teochiu Fishing Village in Malaysia." In: Suenari Michio, J.S. Eades & Christian Daniels [eds.], Perspectives on Chinese Society: Anthropological Views from Japan. Canterbury: Centre for Social Anthropology and Computing, University of Kent, 1995. Pp.156-181.


Kent, Alexandra. "Creating Divine Unity: Chinese Recruitment in the Sathya Sai Baba Movement of Malaysia." Journal of Contemporary Religion 15(2001)1: 5-27.


Khoo Joo Ee, The Straits Chinese: A Cultural History. Amsterdam, Kuala Lumpur: The Pepin Press, 1996. [Note: See chapter 2 "Religion, Customs and Festivals" & chapter 4 "Architecture"]


Kim, David W. “Intenational Moral Association (IMA): A Chinese New Religious Movement in Modern Korea.” In New Religious Movements in Modern Asian History: Sociocultural Alternatives, edited by David W. Kim, 165–185. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2020.


Koh, Keng We. "The Deity Proposes, the State Disposes: The Vicissitudes of a Chinese Temple in Post-1965 Singapore." In Singapore: Negotiating State and Society, 1965-2015, edited by Jason Lim & Terence Lee, 126-142. London; New York: Routledge, 2016.


Koh, Khee Heong; Ong, Chang Woei. "Gods and / or Ancestors: Practicing Lineage in Contemporary Singapore." Journal of Chinese Overseas 10, no.1 (2014): 3-32.


Kravchuk, L.A.; Walker, James E., tr. "Activity of the Chinese Religious Movement Falun Gong in Russia." Anthropology & Archeology of Eurasia 46.3 (2007-2008): 36-50.


Kuah Khun Eng, "Rebuilding Their Ancestral Villages: The Moral Economy of the Singapore Chinese." In: Wang Gungwu & John Wong [eds.], China's Political Economy. Singapore: University of Singapore Press & World Scientific, 1998. Pp.249-275.


Kuah, Khun Eng , "The Singapore-Anxi Connection: Ancestor Worship as Moral-Cultural Capital." In: Leo Douw, Cen Huang & Michael R. Godley [eds.], Qiaoxiang Ties: Interdisciplinary Approaches to 'Cultural Capitalism' in South China. London: Kegan Paul International in association with International Institute for Asian Studies, 1999. Pp.143-157.


Kuah Khun Eng, "The Changing Moral Economy of Ancestor Worship in a Chinese Emigrant District." Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry 23(1999)1: 99-132. [Note: On "reciprocal influences between Anxi County Fujianese, whose families and clans have migrated to Singapore, and their ancestral villages in Fujian, China." (from the article's abstract)]


Kuah Khun Eng, Rebuilding the Ancestral Village: Singaporeans in China. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000.


Kuah-Pearce Khun Eng, State, Society and Religious Engineering: Towards a Reformist Buddhism in Singapore. Singapore: Eastern Universities Press, 2003. [Note: See especially chapter 1 "Reinventing Chinese Syncretic Religion: Shenism", and chapter 2 "Communicating with Gods, Deities and Spirits".]


Kuah-Pearce, Khun Eng. "Vom chinesischen religiösen Synkretismus zum Reformbuddhismus: Religiöse Modernisierung in Singapur." In Religionsinterne Kritik und religiöser Pluralismus im gegenwärtigen Südostasien, ed. by Manfred Hutter. Frankfurt am Main; New York: Lang, 2008. Pp. 83-100.


Kuo, Eddie C.Y. & Tong Chee Kiong, Religion in Singapore. Singapore: Census of Population (1990), 1995. Monograph No.2.


Lai, Chi-Tim, "Hong Kong Daoism: A Study of Daoist Altars and Lü Dongbin Cults." Social Compass 50(2003)4: 459-470.


Lang, Graeme, "Sacred Power in the Metropolis: Shrines and Temples in Hong Kong." In: Grant Evans & Maria Tam [eds.], Hong Kong: The Anthropology of a Chinese Metropolis. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1997. Pp.242-265


Lang, Graeme & Lars Ragvald, "Spirit-Writing and the Development of Chinese Cults." Sociology of Religion 59(1998)4: 309-328.


Lee, Jonathan H.X., "Contemporary Chinese American Religious Life." In: James Miller [ed.], Chinese Religions in Contemporary Societies. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2006. Pp.235-256.


Lim, Alvin E. H. "Live Streaming and Digital Stages for the Hungry Ghosts and Deities." Religions 11, no. 7 (2020): 367. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070367

Abstract: Many Chinese temples in Singapore provide live streaming of getai (English: a stage for songs) during the Hungry Ghost Month as well as deities' birthday celebrations and spirit possessions—a recent phenomenon. For instance, Sheng Hong Temple launched its own app in 2018, as part of a digital turn that culminated in a series of live streaming events during the temple's 100-year anniversary celebrations. Deities' visits to the temple from mainland China and Taiwan were also live-streamed, a feature that was already a part of the Taichung Mazu Festival in Taiwan. Initially streamed on RINGS.TV, an app available on Android and Apple iOS, live videos of getai performances can now be found on the more sustainable platform of Facebook Live. These videos are hosted on Facebook Pages, such as "Singapore Getai Supporter" (which is listed as a "secret" group), "Singapore Getai Fans Page", "Lixin Fan Page", and "LEX-S Watch Live Channel". These pages are mainly initiated and supported by LEX(S) Entertainment Productions, one of the largest entertainment companies running and organising getai performances in Singapore. This paper critically examines this digital turn and the use of digital technology, where both deities and spirits are made available to digital transmissions, performing to the digital camera in ways that alter the performative aspects of religious festivals and processions. In direct ways, the performance stage extends to the digital platform, where getai hosts, singers, and spirit mediums have become increasingly conscious that they now have a virtual presence that exceeds the live event.


Lim, Chee-Han. “Migration as a Spiritual Pathway: Narratives of Chinese Falungong Practitioners in Singapore.” Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology 14.1 (2013): 57-70.


Lim, Francis Khek Gee. “The Eternal Mother and the State: Circumventing Religious Management in Singapore.” Asian Studies Review 36.1 (2012): 19-37.

Abstract: Most modern states have policies for the management of religion. For those with diverse religious communities, how to ensure the peaceful coexistence of the various religions becomes an important challenge for governments. Hence, modern secular states often delineate a proper “domain” for religion in society in order to properly regulate it. In response, religious groups, many transnational in nature, can adopt various strategies to respond to state regulation, ranging from resistance, to accommodation, to acceptance. This paper examines how, in its negotiations with state-imposed restrictions, the Yiguan Dao – a transnational Chinese syncretic sect that has experienced phenomenal growth in Asia and beyond – has chosen not to identify itself publicly as a “religion”, but rather adopts a more “secular” identity in its official dealings with the public and the state by emphasising its “cultural” and “scientific” aspects. Further, the sect utilises the practice of religious territoriality to transform officially secular residential properties into the sacred sites of temples in order to circumvent state restrictions on religious buildings. This paper demonstrates how a religious movement can undergo organisational change and adopt innovative territorial practices, and manage to flourish in the face of state regulations as well as the negative views of other, more “orthodox”, religions. (Source: journal)


Lin Yu-Sheng 林育生. “The Practices and Networks of Female Yiguan Dao Members in Buddhist Thailand.” Nova Religio 22, no. 3 (2019): 84–107.

Abstract: Yiguan Dao’s similarity to Buddhism is often considered the reason for its expansion in Thailand and its attraction of not only ethnic Chinese members, but also Thai members. However, the teachings, practices, and networks of female Yiguan Dao members in Thailand are exemplary of Yiguan Dao’s discontinuities with established Buddhism in Thailand. In Thai Theravāda Buddhism, women’s full ordination as bhikkhunīs is not recognized by the authorities and much of the public, and women are considered subordinate to men in the religious dimension. Although certain ideas and practices regarding the reform of women’s status in Thai Buddhism have made advances, most reforms continue to face difficulties under the restrictions of the Thai Buddhist establishment. Although some sexist elements exist in its teachings, Yiguan Dao, a new religious movement in modern Thailand existing outside the framework of Buddhism, offers its female members a competitive alternative to women’s religious equality and geographic mobility in the pluralistic Thai religious marketplace.



Liu, Agnes Tat Fong, "Negotiating Social Status: Religion and Ethnicity in a Seui Seuhng Yahn Settlement in Hong Kong." Thesis (Ph.D.), Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1999.

Abstract: This is a study of a settlement of people who had at one time or another made a living through fishing in Hong Kong. The boat people of South China had been described as an inferior ethnic and occupational group, dominated by the literati ideal of the agriculturists. They escaped discrimination only by shedding their ethnic identity. But in this study of San Mun Tsai settlement in Taipo, Hong Kong, I find that they do not accept their discriminated status passively. Hegemonic domination of the literati ideal does exist but there is space for resisting domination.

In this study, some of the weapons of the underclass are illustrated: The boat people appropriated elements from Chinese religion, especially from the ancestral cult and communal worship to articulate their claim for better terms of settlement on land. Ancestral tombs were rebuilt, ancestral plaques and genealogical records were reinvented to assert their identity as original settlers of Hong Kong. The prestige of their earth gods was enhanced through performances of opera during the Chinese New Year. Religious liaison with other fishing communities through the rite of cosmic renewal advanced territorial status. Christianity, however, contributed only to the individual's social elevation but not that of the community. As agents in the creation of folk models of consciousness, boat people re-interpreted Christian practices and tenets of faith to produce their own version of Christianity.

As far as ethnic identity is concerned, the negotiation of social status determined if ethnic badges were kept after settlement on land. Dragon boat dance during weddings was retained because it was consonant with values of modernity in cosmopolitan Hong Kong. Salt water songs were discontinued because it is old-fashioned. In their public discourse, the boat people presented their own ethnic distinction as superior or just as legitimate. Rhetorical denigration of another ethnic group engaged in fishing (the Hoklo boat people) created another ethnic underclass below them and elevated the social status of the villagers of San Mun Tsai.

This study finds that for the underclass, the negotiation of social status is a brandishing of weapons aimed at eroding the control of the dominant class. The negotiation of social status is a symbolic revolt as well as a critique and resistance against hegemony. The underclass people are shrewd strategists, concurrently looking at the variety of rules and strategies available in different cultural fields, choosing weapons and approaches to bolster their social status. The weak have a repertoire of strategies, a plethora of public transcript and rhetoric which they employ according to the potential ally or opponent they encounter. (Source: Dissertation Abstracts International)


Liu, Tik-sang, "A Nameless but Active Religion: An Anthropologist's View of Local Religion in Hong Kong and Macau." The China Quarterly 174(2003): 373-394.


Martin, Sylvia J. “Of Ghosts and Gangsters: Capitalist Cultural Production and the Hong Kong Film Industry.” Visual Anthropology Review 28.1 (2012): 32-49.

Abstract: This article contends that ghosts and gangsters are not merely popular genres in the Hong Kong film industry; they are also legitimate participants in the film production process itself, influencing financial, creative, and logistical resources and decisions. Film personnel's accounts of the possession and protection of their bodies by members of the cosmological and criminal underworlds, particularly in location filming in graveyards and gangster turf as well as ritual payments and appeasements made to the underworlds, reveal the diverse risks and cultural practices in film production. This article argues that despite the rationalization of commercial filmmaking, 'enchantments' in the form of religion and feudalistic crime linger within capitalist production. (Source: journal)


Marshall, Alison R. The Way of the Bachelor: Early Chinese Settlement in Manitoba. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2012.

Abstract: The lives of early Japanese and Chinese settlers in British Columbia have come to define the Asian experience in Canada. Yet many Chinese men did not seek their destiny in British Columbia, but followed the railway east, settling in small Prairie towns and cities. The Way of the Bachelor documents the religious beliefs and cultural practices that sustained and leant meaning to Chinese bachelors in Manitoba. In the absence of women and family, these men opened the region’s first laundries and, by the turn of the twentieth century, developed a new kind of restaurant -- the Chinese cafe. They maintained their ties to the Old World and negotiated a place for themselves in the new through a process called Dao -- the way of the bachelor. At cafes and restaurants, churches and Christians associations, and the offices of the Chinese Nationalist Party, bachelors fostered a vibrant homosocial culture based on friendship, everyday religious practices, the example of Sun Yat-sen, and the sharing of food. (Source: publisher's website)


Masters, Frederick J., "Pagan Temples in San Francisco (1892)." In: Thomas A. Tweed & Stephen Prothero [eds.], Asian Religions in America: A Documentary History. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999. Pp.75-78. (Note:First published 1892 in The Californian.)


Miu, Christina Bing Cheng, "Religious Syncretism: The Harmonization of Buddhism and Daoism in Macao's Lian Feng Miao (The Lotus Peak Temple)." Review of Culture, no.5 (2003): 27-43.


Morgan, Carole, "Traces of Houtu's Cult in Hong Kong." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 36(1996): 223-230.


Morgan, Carole. "I've Got Your Number. Hong Kong's Medical Prescription Slips." Sanjiao wenxian: Matériaux pour l'étude de la religion chinoise 4(2005): 1-81.


Nagata, Judith, "Chinese Custom and Christian Culture: Implications for Chinese Identity in Malaysia." In: Leo Suryadinata [ed.], Southeast Asian Chinese: The Socio-Cultural Dimension. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1995. Pp.166-201.


Ng, Beng-Yeong, "Phenomenology of Trance States Seen at a Psychiatric Hospital in Singapore: A Cross-Cultural Perspective." Transcultural Psychiatry 37(2000)4: 560-579.

Abstract: This study investigates the characteristic features of trance states in three different ethnic communities (Chinese, Malays and Indians) in Singapore by administering a semi-structured interview to 55 patients with the condition and analysing witnesses' accounts. Trance disorder among the three groups displays remarkable similarities in phenomenology but differ-ences also exist. Most of the trances were reportedly precipitated by fear, anger and/or frustration. Seventy per cent of patients reported prodromal symptoms. Common manifestations include unusual vocalizations and movements, shaking, apparent immunity from pain, and unfocused or fixed gaze. The patients tend to assume the identities of gods from their own cultures. For individuals reported to be possessed by deities, the embodied identities are gods lower down in the hierarchy of Chinese gods or a minor supernatural figure on the Hindu pantheon. The recognizable prodromal symptoms and hierarchy among the gods may have therapeutic implications. [Source of abstract: article]


Ng, Wing Chung, "Collective Ritual and the Resilience of Traditional Organizations: A Case Study of Vancouver since the Second World War." In: Wang Ling-chi & Wang Gungwu [eds.], The Chinese Diaspora: Selected Essays (Volume I). Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1998. Pp.195-227.


Nguyen, Tho Ngoc. "Buddhist Factors in the Cult of Tianhou in the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam." International Communication of Chinese Culture 5, no. 3 (2018): 229–246.

Abstract: The cult of Tianhou (Vietnamese: Thiên Hậu) originated in Putian, Fujian Province in Southern China, was officially entitled Furen, Tainfei and Tianhou by Song, Ming and Qing dynasties, finally become the popular sea goddess in Southeast China coastlines. At around the late seventeenth century, Southern Chinese immigrated to Southern Vietnam, including the Mekong River Delta, hence the cult was introduced into the region. The whole region has got a total of 74 Tianhou temples (of which the Chinese built 57, the Vietnamese built 17 and around 100 temples of gods in which Tianhou is co-worshipped. After over three hundred years of cultural integration and social development, Tianhou has changed from the main functions of a sea protector to powerful multi-functional Mother Goddess of both ethnic Chinese (also called "ethnic Hoa") and a great number of Vietnamese people. This paper is to explore the structure and connotation of the cult of Tianhou in the Mekong River Delta from the perspective of cultural studies, and applies Western theories of hierarchy of need, superscription and standardization in popular religion and rituals as well as concept of distinction between acculturation and assimilation to analyze the transformation and adaptation of a symbolic faith under the specific background of the Mekong River Delta in Vietnam. The research also aims to investigate the principles of reshaping and constructing contemporary cultural identity of the ethnic Chinese people in Vietnam as well as the activeness and flexibility of local Vietnamese in dealing with the external cultural practices. This case study plays an important role in shaping a systematic look of cultural exchanges and multicultural harmonization in Vietnam nowadays.


Otehode, Utiraruto, and Benjamin Penny. "Tension between the Chinese Government and Transnational Qigong Groups: Management by the State and Their Dissemination Overseas." In Chinese Religions Going Global, edited by Nanlai Cao, Giuseppe Giordan, and Fenggang Yang, 194–209. Annual Review of the Socviology of Religion, vol. 11. Leiden: Brill, 2021.


Ownby, David, "The Falun Gong in the New World." European Journal of East Asian Studies 2(2003)2: 303-320.

Abstract: Despite the polarised debate which has raged in the media over whether the Chinese spiritual movement Falun Gong should be seen as an 'evil cult' or as an innocent 'cultivation system', there is little doubt that most objective Western scholars would categorise Falun Gong as a new religious movement (many of which have also been accused rightly or wrongly of being 'cults' or 'sects'). Indeed, the controversy surrounding Falun Gong has attracted considerable media and scholarly attention, so that the Falun Gong is now undoubtedly the best known of Chinese new religious movements and, as I argue elsewhere, a key to the reevaluation of a centuries-old tradition of popular religious practice in China which has long been condemned and suppressed by Chinese authorities. The present article, based on fieldwork in North America, on research in Falun Gong written sources and on my previous work in the history of Chinese popular religion traces a portrait of Falun Gong practices both in China and in North America. [Source: article.]


Pan, Junliang. "Actors, Spaces, and Norms in Chinese Transnational Religious Networks: A Case Study of Wenzhou Migrants in France." In Concepts and Methods for the Study of Chinese Religions III: Key Concepts in Practice. Edited by Paul R. Katz and Stefania Travagnin, 209-231. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2019.

Porter, Jonathan, Macau: The Imaginary City: Culture and Society, 1557 to the Present. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2000. (See chapter 6 "Spiritual Topography" on Macau temples.)


Porter, Noah, Falun Gong in the United States: An Ethnographic Study. Parkland, FL: dissertation.com, 2003. Note: Originally an M.A. thesis at the University of South Florida. Can be purchased at http://www.dissertation.com.

Abstract: Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, has been described in many ways. It has been called qigong, one of many schools of physical exercises that aim at improving health and developing supernatural abilities. Scholars and mainstream media have referred it to as a spiritual movement or religion, although practitioners claim it is not a religion. It has been called a cult, in the pejorative sense rather than in a sociological context, by the Chinese government and by some Western critics. In the writings of Li Hongzhi, the founder of Falun Gong, it is referred to in different ways, though primarily as a cultivation practice.

The question of how to define Falun Gong is not just an academic issue; the use of the cult label has been used to justify the persecution of practitioners in China. To a limited degree, the Chinese Government is able to extend the persecution overseas. How society defines Falun Gong has implications for action on the level of policy, as well as the shaping of social, cultural, and personal attitudes.

This research project addresses what Falun Gong is through ethnography. Research methods included participant-observation, semi-structured ethnographic interviews (both in-person and on-line), and content analysis of text and visual data from Falun Gong books, pamphlets, and websites. Research sites included Tampa, Washington D.C., and cyberspace. In order to keep my research relevant to the issues and concerns of the Falun Gong community, I was in regular contact with the Tampa practitioners, keeping them abreast of my progress and asking for their input.

My findings are contrary to the allegations made by the Chinese Government and Western anti-cultists in many ways. Practitioners are not encouraged to rely on Western medicine, but are not prohibited from using it. Child practitioners are not put at risk. Their organizational structure is very loose. Finally, the Internet has played a vital role in Falun Gong's growth and continuation after the crackdown. [Source: dissertation.com]


Prather, Charles Houston. "God's Salvation Church: Past, Present and Future." Marburg Journal of Religion 4.1 (1999), http://web.uni-marburg.de/religionswissenschaft/journal/mjr/prather.html


Pye, Michael. "Die 'Drei Lehren' und das Tauziehen der Religionen in chinesischen Tempeln Südostasiens." In: Edith Franke & Michael Pye [eds.], Religionen Nebeneinander: Modelle religiöser Vielfalt in Ost- und Südostasien. Berlin: LIT-Verlag, 2006. Pp. 41-60.


Qing, Mei, "A Historic Research on the Architecture of Fujianese in the Malacca Straits: Temple and Huiguan." Thesis (M.Phil.), University of Hong Kong, 2000, 137p.

Abstract: This study will challenge the long accepted traditional idea of Chinese architecture and scope of Chinese architectural research. Does Chinese architecture only involve that which is inside China, and is Chinese architectural history research confined to the territory within China?

Temples and huiguans created by Chinese immigrants in the Malacca Straits provide the focus for the research. Specifically, this study aims to reestablish the architectural connection between China's southern Fujian province and the Malacca Straits. Through studying Chinese temples and huiguans, the research's scope about Chinese architecture has been extended in order to present a multi-level expression of Chinese architecture based on Chinese cultural entity. Key questions clarified in this study are whether these temples and huiguans are just the transplantation of their prototypes in southern China, or whether they are changed in the new settlement, and what made these changes. Why can they still be called Chinese architecture? [Source: Dissertation Abstracts International]


Roper, Geoffrey. "The History and Design of the Lin Fa Kung Temple, Tai Hang." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 47 (2007): 81-90.


Rouse, Wendy L. "'What We Didn't Understand': A History of Chinese Death Ritual in China and California." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.19-45.


Rouse, Wendy L. "Archaeological Excavations at Virginiatown's Chinese Cemeteries." In: Sue Fawn Chung & Priscilla Wegers, eds. Chinese American Death Rituals. Lanham: AltaMira Press, 2005. Pp.81-106.


Salmon, Claudine, "Ancestral Halls, Funeral Associations, and Attempts at Resinicization in Nineteenth-Century Netherlands India." In: Anthony Reid [ed.], Sojourners and Settlers: Histories of Southeast Asia and the Chinese in Honour of Jennifer Cushman. St Leonards, NSW: Asian Studies Association of Australia in association with Allen & Unwin, 1996. Pp.183-214.


Schlehe, Judith. "Translating Traditions and Transcendence: Popularised Religiosity and the Paranormal Practitioners' Position in Indonesia." In Religion, Tradition and the Popular: Transcultural Views from Asia and Europe, edited by Judith Schlehe and Evamaria Sandkühler, 185-201. Bielefeld, Germany: Transcript, 2014.


Scott, Janet Lee, "Traditional Values and Modern Meanings in the Paper Offering Industry of Hong Kong." In: Grant Evans & Maria Tam [eds.], Hong Kong: The Anthropology of a Chinese Metropolis. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 1997. Pp.223-241.


Scott, Janet Lee. For Gods, Ghosts and Ancestors: The Chinese Tradition of Paper Offerings. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press, 2007.

Abstract: Offerings of various kinds - food, incense, paper money, and figures - have been central to Chinese culture for millennia, and as a public, visual display of spiritual belief, they are still evident today in China and in Chinatowns around the world. Using Hong Kong as a case study, Janet Scott looks at paper offerings from every conceivable angle - how they are made, sold, and used. Her comprehensive investigation touches on virtually every aspect of Chinese popular religion as it explores the many forms of these intricate objects, their manufacture, their significance, and their importance in rituals to honor gods, care for ancestors, and contend with ghosts.

Throughout For Gods, Ghosts and Ancestors, paper offerings are presented as a vibrant and living tradition expressing worshippers' respect and gratitude for the gods, as well as love and concern for departed family members. Ranging from fake paper money to paper furniture, servant dolls, cigarettes, and toiletries - all multihued and artfully constructed - paper offerings are intended to provide for the needs of those in the spirit world.

Readers are introduced to the variety of paper offerings and their uses in worship, in assisting worshippers with personal difficulties, and in rituals directed to gods, ghosts, and ancestors. We learn of the manufacture and sale of paper goods, life in paper shops, the training of those who make paper offerings, and the symbolic and artistic dimensions of the objects. Finally, the book considers the survival of this traditional craft, the importance of flexibility and innovation, and the role of compassion and filial piety in the use of paper offerings. [Source: publisher's website.]


Shen, Yeh-Ying. "The Expansion of the Andong Division of Yiguan Dao in Austria." Journal of Chinese Religions 49, no. 2 (2021): 241–264.

Abstract: This article examines the dissemination of an Yiguan Dao division, Andong, in Austria. Proselytizing activities of Andong are mainly conducted in Vienna, Linz, and Salzburg. In Vienna and Linz, Yiguan Dao has formed a diasporic religion for overseas Chinese from various national backgrounds. It caters to the Austrian Chinese community and engages in creating a shared diasporic identity. This paper also explores Andong’s most characteristic trait that distinguishes it from other divisions, namely, meditation. This practice seems to have attracted a number of Austrians to follow Yiguan Dao in both Vienna and Salzburg. Being a Chinese diasporic religion and attempting to spread cross-ethnically in Austria at the same time, Yiguan Dao is assuming new significance.



Shibata, Yoshiko. “Searching for a Niche, Creolizing Religious Tradition: Negotiation and Reconstruction of Ethnicity among Chinese in Jamaica.” In: P. Pratap Kumar [ed.], Religious Pluralism in the Diaspora. Leiden: Brill, 2006. Pp.51-72.


Shiga Ichiko, "The Manifestations of Lüzu in Modern Guangdong and Hong Kong: The Rise and Growth of Spirit-Writing Cults." In: Livia Kohn & Harold D. Roth [eds.], Daoist Identity: History, Lineage, and Ritual. Honolulu: University of Hawai'i Press, 2002. Pp.185-209.


Sinn, Elizabeth. “Moving Bones: Hong Kong’s Role as an ‘In-between Place’ in the Chinese Diaspora.” In: David Strand, Sherman Cochran, and Wen-hsin Yeh [eds.], Cities in Motion: Interior, Coast, and Diaspora in Transnational China. Berkeley: Center for Chinese Studies, Institute of East Asian Studies, University of California, 2007. Pp.247-271.


Siu, Anthony Kwok Kin, "Distribution of Temples on Hong Kong Island as Recorded in 1981." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 36(1996): 241-245.


Song, Arthur, "Chinese Religion in South Africa." In M. Prozesky & J.W. de Gruchy [eds.], Living Faiths in South Africa. London: Hurst & Company, 1995. Pp.203-208.


Song Guangyu. “Religious Propagation, Commercial Activities, and Cultural Identity: The Spread and Development of the Yiguandao in Singapore.” Chinese Studies in History 44.1-2 (2010/11): 91-120.

Abstract: This article uses the example of the growth of the Yiguandao in Singapore to explore the mutual relationships between religion, commercial activity, and the cultural identity of local Chinese society. There has been much dispute over the nature of the Yiguandao, and both the Nationalist and Communist governments have outlawed its activities. Consequently, the Yiguandao sought out opportunities for development in the Chinese diaspora. After thirty years of efforts they have made impressive gains. The Yiguandao is established in thirty-eight countries, particularly in Southeast Asia. All branches of the Yiguandao are active in Singapore, the Baoguang-Jiande branch being the most successful. This branch set up a factory in Singapore some twenty years ago [in the mid-1970s], as part of a long-term development plan. After encountering all sorts of difficulties, an unexpected rise in the price of the commodity the fac- tory produced reversed their declining fortunes and also launched the religion on a rapid upward course. At the same time, the Singapore government was promot- ing traditional Chinese culture in an effort to strengthen the spiritual life of the Singapore people. The activities of the Yiguandao fit in perfectly with the govern- ment campaign. Consequently, religious development, commercial activities, and cultural identity all came together, providing a case study of the development of Chinese popular religion. (Source: journal)


Soo Khin Wah, "A Study of the Yiguan Dao (Unity Sect) and Its Development in Peninsular Malaysia." Ph.D. dissertation, University of British Columbia, 1997.


Soo Khin Wah. "The Recent Development of the Yiguan Dao Fayi Chongde Sub-Branch in Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand." In: The People and the Dao: New Studies in Chinese Religions in Honour in Prof. Daniel L. Overmyer, edited by Philip Clart & Paul Crowe. Sankt Augustin: Institut Monumenta Serica, 2009. Pp. 109-125.


Stevens, Keith, "The Han Lin Academy and a Chinese Deity." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 36(1996): 231-233.


Stevens, Keith; Welch, Jennifer. "The Celestial Ministry of Time." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 40(2000): 113-154.


Stevens, Keith. "Images on Chinese Popular Religion Altars of the Heroes Involved in the Suppression of the An Lushan Rebellion." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 40(2000): 155-184.


Stevens, Keith. "Patron Deity of Prostitutes: Zhu Bajie." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 40(2000): 195.


Strandenæs, Thor. „Folk Religious Spirituality in Hong Kong: Its Relational and Utilitarian Aspects - a Challenge for the Christian Church.“ In Urban Christian Spirituality: East Asian and Nordic Perspectives, edited by Knut Alfsvåg and Thor Strandenæs, 103-125. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Edition, 2015.


Tamaki Mitsuko. “The Prevalence of the Worship of Goddess Lin Guniang by the Ethnic Chinese in Southern Thailand.” In Xuezhe guan Dejiao 学者观德教. Edited by Chen Jingxi 陈景熙 and Zhang Yudong 张禹东, 503-520. Beijing: Shehui kexue wenxian chubanshe, 2011.


Tan Chee Beng, "The Study of Chinese Religions in Southeast Asia: Some Views." In: Leo Suryadinata [ed.], Southeast Asian Chinese: The Socio-Cultural Dimension. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1995. Pp.139-165.


Tan Chee-Beng, "The Religions of the Chinese in Malaysia." In: Lee Kam Bing & Tan Chee Beng [eds.], The Chinese in Malaysia. Shah Alam (Selangor): Oxford University Press, 1999. Pp.282-315.


Tan Chee-Beng. Chinese Religion in Malaysia: Temples and Communities. Leiden: Brill, 2018.

Abstract: Based on long-term ethnographic study, this is the first comprehensive work on the Chinese popular religion in Malaysia. It analyses temples and communities in historical and contemporary perspective, the diversity of deities and Chinese speech groups, religious specialists and temple services, the communal significance of the Hungry Ghosts Festival, the relationship between religion and philanthropy as seen through the lens of such Chinese religious organization as shantang (benevolent halls) and Dejiao (Moral Uplifting Societies), as well as the development and transformation of Taoist Religion. Highly informative, this concise book contributes to an understanding of Chinese migration and settlement, political economy and religion, religion and identity politics as well the significance of religion to both individuals and communities. (Source: publisher's website)


Teather, E.K., "Time Out and Worlds Apart: Tradition and Modernity Meet in the Time-space of the Gravesweeping Festivals of Hong Kong." Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography 22(2001)2: 156-172.

Abstract: This paper focuses on Hong Kong's Gravesweeping Festivals, Qingming and Chongyang. The practices carried out in urban cemeteries at these Festivals are over two thousand years old, and represent "time out" from modern "clock time". They are examined in the context of Giddens' (1985) reworking of Hagerstrand's time-space geography, and of Douglas' (1966) discussion of pollution. It is suggested that the cemeteries are regarded as dangerous places because they represent liminal spaces. Giddens' dimension of span enables a distinction to be made between, on the one hand, the long-established cultural significance of the grave, and, on the other, the recentness of the urban cemetery. The dimension of form (redefined from Giddens' original concept), applied to some details of cemetery landscapes, reveals the "worlds apart" of the non-material worlds of the spirits and of fengshui. By considering the Festivals in the light of Giddens' dimension, character it emerges that the Gravesweeping Festivals are, as they have been for centuries, firmly embedded in Hong Kong's social system, where routines of ancestor veneration continue to renew and strengthen the family bonds that are at the heart of Confucian values. Furthermore, their continued observation may well represent practices that are of deep ontological significance to the predominantly immigrant community of Hong Kong. (Source: A&H Search)


Tertitski, Konstantin. "Zailijiao in Russia: A Chinese Syncretic Religion in Diaspora." In: The Fourth Fu Jen University Sinological Symposium: Research on Religions in China: Status quo and Perspectives, edited by Zbigniew Wesolowski, SVD. Xinzhuang: Furen Daxue chubanshe, 2007. Pp. 414-443.


Tong Chee Kiong, "The Rationalization of Religion in Singapore." In: Ong Jin Hui, Tong Chee Kiong & Tang Ern Ser [eds.], Understanding Singapore Society. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 1997. Pp.198-212.


Tong Chee Kiong & Lily Kong. "Religion and Modernity: Ritual Transformation and the Reconstruction of Space and Time." Social and Cultural Geography 1(2000)1: 29-44.

Abstract: In this paper, we use the case of Chinese religion in Singapore to examine the relationships between religion and modernity, and between social processes, on the one hand, and spatial conceptions, forms and structures and temporal practices, on the other. Specifically, we look at how traditional Chinese rituals are being modified, reinterpreted and invented to fit with modern living. Such ritual transformations entail reconstructed notions of space and time. Through such transformations, modernity does not simply lead to the demise of religious beliefs and practices but allows for a continued role for religion in providing a meaning system for Chinese religionists in Singapore. [Source: article]


Tong Chee Kiong, "Religion." In: Tong Chee Kiong & Lian Kwen Fee [eds.], The Making of Singapore Sociology: Society and State. Singapore: Times Academic Press, 2002. Pp. 370-413.


Tong Chee Kiong. Chinese Death Rituals in Singapore. London, New York: RoutledgeCurzon, 2004.


Tsu, Timothy Y., "All Souls Aboard! The Ritual Launch of Model Junks by the Chinese of Nagasaki in Tokugawa Japan." Journal of Ritual Studies 10(1996)1: 37-62.


Tsuda, Koji. “The Legal and Cultural Status of Chinese Temples in Contemporary Java.” Asian Ethnicity 13.4 (2012): 389-398.

Abstract: Since the collapse of Soeharto’s New Order in 1998, Indonesia has been experiencing broad political and social changes. While the Soeharto regime was generally cautionary and oppressive toward anything related to China or the ethnic Chinese, the subsequent administrations faced the pressure to make sweeping changes to existing discriminatory policies and laws, and have put these changes into action, though gradually. With this major change in the social environment, an atmosphere is being engendered across the nation, producing a feeling that anyone is free to enjoy ‘Chinese culture’ which for a long time was banned from being expressed in public. This spirit is palpable for example during Chinese New Year, when red lanterns and other ornate decorations, and characters such as Gong Xi Fa Cai are seen dancing about everywhere. Along with upscale malls and hotels, it is Chinese temples (klenteng) that have become the centers of these festivities. Having been the anchorage of traditional worship for the ethnic Chinese, during the Soeharto era these facilities were the target of unfavorable treatment. In the last few years, their activities have gradually been revitalized. This article scrutinizes the changed legal and cultural status of the Chinese temples engendering changes within the Chinese community at large, by focusing on developments in post-’New Order‘ Java. (Source: journal)


Vladimirov, Dimitriy & Eugeniy Pozdnyakov, "Chinese Non-Traditional Sectarianism in the Second Half of the 1990s in the Far East of the Russian Federation." China Study Journal 17(2002)1: 11-14.


Wang, Dean K. L. "The Cult of the Underworld in Singapore: Mythology and Materiality." Religions 11, no. 7 (2020): 363. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070363

Abstract: Myths provide hagiographic and iconographic accounts of the gods, which shape rituals that are performed in cults associated with these gods. In the realization of iconographies and ritualization of narratives in myths, material objects play an active role. This article examines the pattern of worship in the cult of the Ah Pehs, a group of Underworld gods whose efficacy lies in the promise of occult wealth, and focuses on the material aspects such as offerings and paraphernalia associated with these gods. Though ritual texts and scriptures are absent in the Ah Peh cult, symbols in the form of material objects play a crucial role. These objects are also considered as synecdoche for the gods in certain cases. The first part of this paper presents a case study of the autonomous ritual of "Burning Prosperity Money", which reveals the cycle of occult exchange between gods and devotees. The second part involves an imagery analysis of the material objects central to the cult, and argues that in the system of reciprocity with the gods, material objects common to the everyday life are reinterpreted and enchanted with a capitalist turn, resulting in the development of occult economies within the local Chinese religious sphere.


Wang, Yuting. "Diverse Religious Experiences among Overseas Chinese in the United Arab Emirates." In Chinese Religions Going Global, edited by Nanlai Cao, Giuseppe Giordan, and Fenggang Yang, 236–254. Annual Review of the Socviology of Religion, vol. 11. Leiden: Brill, 2021.


Waters, D.D. "One of Hong Kong's Many Hillside Temples: the Temple Overlooking the Sea'." Journal of the Hong Kong Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society 39(1999-2000): 275-281.


Watson, James L. "Fighting with Operas: Processionals, Politics, and the Specter of Violence in Rural Hong Kong." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 311-324.


Watson, James L. "Standardizing the Gods: the Promotion of Tian Hou ('Empress of Heaven') along the South China Coast, 960-1960." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 269-310


Watson, James L. "Living Ghosts: Long-Haired Destitutes in Colonial Hong Kong." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 453-469.


Watson, James L. "Of Flesh and Bones: The Management of Death Pollution in Cantonese Society." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 355-389.


Watson, James L. "Funeral Specialists in Cantonese Society: Pollution, Performance, and Social Hierarchy." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 391-422.


Watson, James L. "Killing the Ancestors: Power and Piety in the Cantonese Ancestor Cult." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 443-451.


Watson, James L. "Waking the Dragon: Visions of the Chinese Imperial State in Local Myth." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 423-441.


Watson, Rubie S. "Remembering the Dead: Graves and Politics in Southeastern China." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 325-353.


Watson, Rubie S., "Chinese Bridal Laments: The Claims of a Dutiful Daughter." In: James L. Watson & Rubie S. Watson, eds. Village Life in Hong Kong: Politics, Gender, and Ritual in the New Territories. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 2004. Pp. 221-250.


Watson, Rubie S., "Chinese Bridal Laments: The Claims of a Dutiful Daughter." In: Yung, Bell, Evelyn S. Rawski & Rubie S. Watson [eds.], Harmony and Counterpoint: Ritual Music in Chinese Context. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996. Pp.107-129.


Watson, Rubie S. & James L. Watson. "From Hall of Worship to Tourist Center: an Ancestral Hall in Hong Kong's New Territories." Cultural Survival Quarterly 21(1997)1: 33-35.


Wilson, Rex. "Chinese Folk Religion in Macao: Ritualism or Relief?" Revista de Cultura, no. 48 (2014): 68-85.

Abstract: Although Chinese religion is characterised by Stephan Feuchtwang as ritualistic, meaning that the emphasis is on precise performances of ritual to achieve desired results, as opposed to religions such as Christianity and Islam that stress personal belief, the practices and beliefs described by worshippers in Macao of the popular Daoist god Nezha are not ritualistic. Chinese folk religion and Western Judeo-Christian religions have many differences but also many similarities. For example, the Nezha temples in Macao have no creeds, commandments, clergy, doctrines, scriptures, or sacraments such as in the Roman Catholic Church, nor do they have regular educational activities such as Sunday schools, sermons, or prayer groups. Nevertheless, from interviews with members of the two Nezha temple associations in Macao, we learn that their religion benefits members with ‘spiritual relief’ and the sense of belonging to a community. Their expressed beliefs are consistent with the four functions of myth identified by Joseph Campbell: metaphysical, cosmological, sociological, and pedagogical. (Source: journal)


Wong Hee Kam. Guan Yu - Guan Di, héros régional, culte impérial et populaire. Sainte-Marie (Réunion): Azalées, 2008.


Woo, Terry Tak-Ling. “Chinese Popular Religion in Diaspora: A Case Study of Shrines in Toronto’s Chinatowns.” Studies in Religion/Sciences Religieuses 39, no. 2 (2010): 151-177.

Abstract: This article examines spirit shrines in Toronto’s Chinatowns by drawing on two broad areas of existing scholarship: the study of Chinese popular religion in native communities by scholars like Adam Chau, Alessandro Dell’Orto, Randall Nadeau and Chang Hsun, and Donald Sutton; and the study of the religiosity of North American Chinese diasporic communities which concentrates primarily on Christianity and peripherally Buddhism by scholars like Rudy Busto, Kenneth Guest, Lien Pei-te, and Yang Fenggang. This paper aims to describe one aspect of folk, non-textual diasporic Chinese religiosity expressed in spirit shrines as a means through which to explore the apparent anomaly of the ‘‘non-religious’’ Chinese-Canadian. (Source: journal)


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Yan, Yingwei, Kenneth Dean, Chen-Chieh Feng, Guan T. Hue, Khee-heong Koh, Lily Kong, Chang W. Ong, Arthur Tay, Yi-chen Wang und Yiran Xue. „Chinese Temple Networks in Southeast Asia: A WebGIS Digital Humanities Platform for the Collaborative Study of the Chinese Diaspora in Southeast Asia.“ Religions 11, no. 7 (2020): 334. https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11070334

Abstract: This article introduces a digital platform for collaborative research on the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia, focusing on networks of Chinese temples and associations extending from Southeast China to the various port cities of Southeast Asia. The Singapore Historical Geographic Information System (SHGIS) and the Singapore Biographical Database (SBDB) are expandable WebGIS platforms gathering and linking data on cultural and religious networks across Southeast Asia. This inter-connected platform can be expanded to cover not only Singapore but all of Southeast Asia. We have added layers of data that go beyond Chinese Taoist, Buddhist, and popular god temples to also display the distributions of a wide range of other religious networks, including Christian churches, Islamic mosques, Hindu temples, and Theravadin, which are the Taiwanese, Japanese and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries found across the region. This digital platform covers a larger area than the Taiwan History and Culture in Time and Space (THCTS) historical GIS platform but is more regionally focused than the ECAI (Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative) By incorporating Chinese inscriptions, extensive surveys of Chinese temples and associations, as well as archival and historical sources, this platform provides new materials and new perspectives on the Chinese diaspora in Southeast Asia. This paper: (1) outlines key research questions underlying these digital humanities platforms; (2) describes the overall architecture and the kinds of data included in the SHGIS and the SBDB; (3) reviews past research on historical GIS; and provides (4) a discussion of how incorporating Chinese epigraphy of Southeast Asia into these websites can help scholars trace networks across the entire region, potentially enabling comparative work on a wide range of religious networks in the region. Part 5 of the paper outlines technical aspects of the WebGIS platform.

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Zhu, Bo-Wei, Zheng Huang, and Lei Xiong. “Application of the Kano Model and DEMATEL Technique to Explore Sustainable Promotion Strategies for Thai-Chinese Temples as Tourist Attractions.” Religions 11, no. 4 (2020): 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel11040199

Abstract: With the development of the modern social economy, temple tourism has become a lucrative industry. Because of their distinct architecture, rituals, and history, temples have become an important part of the sustainable development of temple economies. Thailand, a tourism-rich country in Southeast Asia, has many Chinese temples, most of which have developed into well-known tourist attractions. However, little research has explored attraction factor categories of Thai-Chinese temples as cultural tourist attractions, and also the relationships among these factor categories. This knowledge is important for assessing and developing improvement strategies of Thai-Chinese temples for achieving a sustainable temple economy. Thus, this study aims to identify appropriate ways to identify the constituent attraction factor categories of Thai-Chinese temples as cultural tourist attractions and how they are prioritized, considering the complex interaction relationships among them. The research findings show that 12 main factor categories under the three dimensions, three attributive classifications with different priorities to which the 12 categories belong, and the complex interaction relationships among factor categories are identified. Combining the priorities on attributive classifications and the priorities on interaction relationships, the sustainable improvement strategies of Thai-Chinese temples are established. This paper extends previous research on Chinese temples, offers insights into the theoretical investigation of Thai-Chinese temples as tourist attractions, and provides decision makers with an integrated and practical way to establish priorities of multiple attraction factor categories, in order to make sustainable improvement strategies of Thai-Chinese temples under the consideration of rational allocation of resources.