CSEAS Colloquium: Making Gods: A Case Study of the City God Worship in Anxi, China and Singapore

Date & Time: Thursday 25 May 2023 13:30-15:00
Venue: Research Commons, 1st Floor, East Building, CSEAS

Title: Making Gods: A Case Study of the City God Worship in Anxi, China and Singapore
Speaker: Tong Chee Kiong

This presentation, based on fieldwork in China and Singapore, explores ideas of power in Chinese religion. Using the case study of the City God cult in Anxi China, and the subsequent “fen sheng” of the deity to Singapore, it examines how the Chinese dichotomize the concept of bounded versus unbounded power, centered versus decentered power, whole versus divisible power, natural versus extension power. It also examines the belief in the ability to transfer religious power in Chinese society, the homology between the world of spirits and men, and the interrelation between religious power and state power. As many adherents from Singapore make annual pilgrimages from the Singapore temple to the main temple in China, this presentation also explores ideas regarding pilgrimages.

Tong Chee Kiong is the CIPSH Chair Professor. He has held various positions including Chair Professor and Director of the Institute of Asian Studies at Universiti Brunei Darussalam and Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the National University of Singapore. His research focuses on the Chinese in Southeast Asia, Comparative Religions and Asian Business Networks. His publications include Chinese Death Rituals (Routledge, 2004), Rationalizing Religion (Brill, 2007), Identity and Ethnic Relations in Southeast Asia (Springer, 2010) and Chinese Business (Springer, 2014). Chee Kiong has also published papers in the British Journal of Sociology, International Migration Review, Asian Ethnicities, Diaspora, International Sociology, and Journal of Asian Business.