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Handbook of Religion and the Asian CityAspiration and Urbanization in the Twenty-First Century$
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Peter van der Veer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520281226

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520281226.001.0001

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date: 30 May 2020

Parallel Universes

Parallel Universes

Chinese Temple Networks in Singapore, or What Is Missing in the Singapore Model?

(p.273) 15 Parallel Universes
Handbook of Religion and the Asian City

Kenneth Dean

University of California Press

This chapter examines how lives in Singapore have been drawn into parallel universes despite an abundance of urban planning intended to create a perfectly harmonious, multicultural society. In defiance of secularization theory and modernization theory, Singapore is also the site of well over a thousand temples, churches, mosques, household altars, and other semipublic religious spaces. The past decades have witnessed dramatic transformations in the religious scene, with the rapid spread of evangelical Christianity, best exemplified by the rise of megachurches such as the City Harvest Church. This chapter begins with an overview of religious space in Singapore before turning to a discussion of how the rapid transformation of urban space in Singapore has affected the island's past histories. It then describes the model of development in Singapore, known as the Singapore Model, along with its limitations. It also considers the place of space and time in ritual events, the rise of Chinese temple networks in Singapore, and colonial and postcolonial regulations of religion in Singapore.

Keywords:   urban planning, Singapore, temples, religious space, Christianity, megachurches, urban space, Singapore Model, religion, development

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