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Title: Making space for the gods: Ethnographic observations of Chinese house temples in Singapore
Authors: Song, S.G.Z. 
Keywords: Chinese house temples
Spirit mediums
Unofficial sacred spaces
Issue Date: 2020
Publisher: MDPI AG
Citation: Song, S.G.Z. (2020). Making space for the gods: Ethnographic observations of Chinese house temples in Singapore. Religions 11 (7) : Jan-18. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
Abstract: Space for religious use is highly regulated in Singapore. Specific plots of land are reserved for religious groups to bid for, and create, 搊fficial� spaces of worship. However, religious practices continue to exist within 搖nofficial� sacred spaces, such as house temples and wayside shrines, negotiating and resisting the overt management of religion by the Singapore state. Scholars, including Vineeta Sinha and Terence Heng, demonstrate how sacrality infused into everyday secular urban spaces defies neat binaries of 搒acred/profane� and 搇egal/illegal�, and how Chinese house temples or sintuas梩emples located within public housing flats梥ustain sacred spaces, despite being technically illegal under housing regulations. Drawing upon a series of ethnographic observations conducted over a year of four sintuas and their activities in Singapore, this paper explores the different ways through which sintuas produce sacred space as a response to spatial constraints imposed by the state. These include (1) re-enchanting everyday urban spaces during a yewkeng梐 procession around the housing estate梬ith the help of a spirit medium; (2) using immaterial religious markers (e.g., ritual sounds and smells) to create an 揳tmosphere� of sacredness; (3) appropriating public spaces; and (4) leveraging the online space to digitally reproduce images of the sacred. � 2020 by the author. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Source Title: Religions
ISSN: 20771444
DOI: 10.3390/rel11070349
Rights: Attribution 4.0 International
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