The Story of the Stones, Part 3: the Rise of Singapore’s Joint or United Chinese Temples, 1979 -2021 《石头记》三回： 新加坡联合庙的形成与演变——1979-2019
There were once over 200 kampong scattered across Singapore Island. With the expansion of the HDB, these kampong were rapidly eliminated. Many kampong contained village or neighborhood temples, and some of these found ways to move into (Lianhemiao) Joint or United Temples, in which as many as 13 different temples are shrunk down to the size of an altar along the back wall of a large open hall. Over 69 United Temples now house over 320 independent temple units. This talk draws on hundreds of inscriptions found in these temples to tell the story of the rise of these united temples. Their incredible resilience in the face of rapid urban development, and the ways in which they have preserved their ritual traditions and seek to pass on their unique spiritual heritage to the next generation will be explored in this talk. We will also discuss their challenges, internal struggles and problems of succession, and their possible future role in the overall religious ecology of Singapore.