Devotions, when balanced with a healthy dose of intellectualism, can be a light in the darkness. But without intellectualism, it can be the flame that sets the whole house on fire.

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A Worrying Trend Arising Among Religions in Singapore

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Allow me to share something that has been bothering me for some time now. If you’ve been visiting Christian or Buddhist bookshops here in Singapore, and if you’ve been paying attention, you’d notice that over the past few years, there’s been a drop in the selection of intellectual books and a sharp rise in devotional materials. Here are two examples: Novena …

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The Pilot “Tank” Non-Self Filling Fountain Pen (a.k.a Pilot Vintage Fountain Pen)

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I recently discovered a lovely little gem in Mustafa! Here is the Pilot Tank Non-Self Filling Fountain Pen I don’t know what its official name is. The salesman referred to it simply as a vintage Pilot pen. It’s not really a vintage pen, it’s more like a modern re-creation of a vintage edition. Some websites call it the Pilot Tank Non-Self …

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The History and Idea behind Chinese Paper Offerings and the Variety of Paper Goodies!

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The Chinese festival of Qing Ming (清明節 Qingming Jie) just passed a few days ago. This is the time of the year where Chinese would pay respects to their dearly departed relatives and ancestors by visiting and cleaning up their tombs, and to offer both paper offerings and food. Historically, the ancient Chinese (around the time of Confucius and before) …

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Najib the Malay Deity in Chinese Religion

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Here’s something interesting about Chinese folk religion. I call it folk religion because it doesn’t fit into the popularly understood categories of Chinese Buddhism or Chinese Taoism. Now, Chinese shrines are often red in colour, since red is a very auspicious colour. However, if you are in Singapore or Malaysia, you might come across a shrine that’s yellow in colour! …

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A Trip Back to Medieval China: A Visit to Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery (連山雙林寺)

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Several months ago, I went on a field trip to visit the Lian Shan Shuang Lin Monastery. It’s a very important place in the history of Chinese Buddhism here in Singapore. Why? Because it was the very first Buddhist temple that was set up on this tiny little island. In our contemporary society, there’s been quite a huge split between religion …

Books, books, and more books!

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How should one spend a beautiful Saturday? By reading – of course! Stacks and stacks of books! I’m being very optimistic. I probably won’t be able to finish reading everything, but I’d like to finish reading everything by the time the library closes (10pm). I’ve got materials ranging from Taoism to Zen Buddhism, and even stuff about Traditional Chinese Medicine. …