Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144887
Title: PUBLIC EFFORTS OR PRIVATE PURSUIT? AN EARLY HISTORY OF THE INTER-RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION IN SINGAPORE (1949-1965)
Authors: NATHENE CHUA QI QI
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2018
Citation: NATHENE CHUA QI QI (2018-04-23). PUBLIC EFFORTS OR PRIVATE PURSUIT? AN EARLY HISTORY OF THE INTER-RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION IN SINGAPORE (1949-1965). ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: In a time where religion has been relegated to the private realm, where people still shy away from engaging directly with the diverse religious environment in Singapore, it may seem bizarre that an Inter-Religious Organisation (IRO) had existed for nearly 70 years. This thesis provides an in-depth study of the first few decades of the IRO, including its aims, leadership and the activities that it conducted. What seems like an unusual organisation, proves to be less unexpected when we consider the lively socio-political atmosphere between 1949-1965. Drawing upon newspaper articles, oral history interviews and IRO meeting minutes, this thesis argues that the IRO should be seen in context of a multicultural immigrant city, alongside earlier inter-faith activities. At the point of the IRO’s formation in 1949, tensions and turbulence also existed in the colony, fuelled by differences in religious practices and political aspirations. The IRO reflects the aspirations of a new nation state, and was formed on the basis of a common hopes and experiences of various religions and community leaders. With the shifting socio-political context in Singapore in the mid-1950s, there was a renewed vigour in the IRO’s work. Apart from the public meetings that were held previously, the IRO responded to national crises, worked with the government to introduce religious and ethic education in Singapore, and also offered prayers for major events. Yet, the IRO was not a universally-accepted organisation, because of the fundamental differences in the way people interpreted their faiths. Its reach was also greatly limited due to the lack of resources and its dependence on members to initiate activities. On the whole, the IRO remained a rather passive organisation, working through more quiet ways. It nevertheless remains a powerful symbol for the governing authorities to promote peace and unity among religious groups in Singapore.
URI: http://scholarbank.nus.edu.sg/handle/10635/144887
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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