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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) …


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! …


Why do Chinese Immortals have such Huge Foreheads?

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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: Look at …

Harmony in the Mencius (孟子)

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As a continuation of my informal discussion on harmony in the various pre-Qin thinkers, I will touch on the Mencius today. The Mencius stands out as an anomaly amongst all the other pre-Qin texts because harmony, 和 he, appears only twice! Unfortunately, the first passage (Mencius 2B1) doesn’t tell us very much. So we’re only left with one passage that’s useful: 孟子曰:「伯夷,目不視惡色,耳不聽惡聲。非其君不事,非其民不使。治則進,亂則退。橫政之所出,橫民之所止,不忍居也。思與鄉人處,如以朝衣朝冠坐於塗炭也。當紂之時,居北海之濱,以待天下之清也。故聞伯夷之風者,頑夫廉,懦夫有立志。 …


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 …

Honours Thesis on Notions of Harmony in Classical Chinese Thought

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I’ve decided I’ll start a new category on my blog to talk about my Honours thesis. Ever since I’ve been hospitalised, I’ve been finding it increasingly difficult to concentrate and write philosophical essays. However, I don’t seem to have this problem when it comes to blogging. I’m guessing blogging about my thesis might help me out a bit. As an …

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. …