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.

(Image Source: https://pixabay.com/en/candle-candle-light-tealight-church-1068945/)

A Worrying Trend Arising Among Religions in Singapore

Posted in Commentary on / 1 Comment

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 …

Camera 360

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

Posted in Blog on / Leave a comment

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) …

2013-02-17-10-06-06

Najib the Malay Deity in Chinese Religion

Posted in Exploration on / Leave a comment

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! …

img_3709

Why do Chinese Immortals have such Huge Foreheads?

Posted in Blog on / 1 Comment

Chinese New Year is coming. Chances are, one of the homes you visit will have a statue or picture of a Taoist Immortal. Well, here’s something that will be an interesting conversation starter (or, a conversation ender – depending on your relationship with your relatives). If you’ve never seen a Taoist immortal, here’s a sample picture: Source: https://mtdata.ru/u30/photo463C/20239156460-0/original.jpg Look at …

2012-07-15-10-59-27

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

Posted in Exploration on / 1 Comment

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 …

The Skeptical Catholic

Posted in Commentary on / Leave a comment

Is human life always this bewildering, or am I the only bewildered one? Is there actually any man, or anything in a man, that is not bewildered? (Chuang Tzu, Chapter 2, trans. Brook Ziporyn) What man knows is far less than what he does not know. The time he exists is insignificant compared to the time he does not exist. …

Religion and Politics – Why are they Hot Topics in Public Discourse?

Posted in Commentary on / Leave a comment

This entry is written as a response to Paul Graham’s article, “Keep your identity small.” (http://www.paulgraham.com/identity.html) Graham states that any mention of religion or politics on an online forum degenerates into a religious or political argument. Unlike other fields of expertise, people who engage in such religious or political arguments do not need to “have any particular expertise”. Instead, all …