Chinese gods in Singapore

Corporate lawyer and poet “Mr Wang” writes an excellent blog on Singaporean topics. One recent post is about a topic of interest to this blog – the tang-kis, or Daoist spirit mediums, in Singapore. It’s a record of an article printed in the Straits Times, the island state’s official newspaper. I’ve written a few times about this, mostly on the older version of this blog. The article has an odd tone, to me; it gives the impression that Singapore’s officialdom has decided that the tang-kis are a bit too unregulated, but perhaps I’m just reading that into it. Update: here’s a more positive, and informative, article.

Singapore’s Paranormal Investigation Society have also put together a photo set about tang-kis. Very interesting.

This stuff fascinates me. It’s one of the issues that, in a way, contributes to the feeling that I can’t ever go back to live in the UK. Having experienced a way of life that demonstrates such richness and complexity in the way the universe works, even though I’m not a believer, it’s hard to return to a culture where such things are unheard of, and would be feared, denied, or suppressed if they were known…

The tang-kis are found in Taiwan, as well; Scott P. Phillips did some research on this during his recent study trip there. I gather that there’s a revival in the south of China as well, particularly in Fujian. Even in the north of China, my farmer friends in the north of Hebei province tell me that “tang-kis” sometimes visit the village, although many of them are charlatans. (Speaking of the village, I’ve been told that the reconstruction of the Dragon Temple has just been completed; I’ll look forward to visiting it on my next visit).

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