This study investigates contemporary Chinese Underworld traditions in Singapore and Malaysia, where the veneration of Hell deities is particularly popular. Highlighting the Taoist and Buddhist cosmologies on which present-day beliefs and practices are based, the book provides unique insights into the lived tradition, taking alterity seriously and interpreting practitioners’ beliefs without bias. First-person dialogues between the author and channelled Underworld deities challenge wider discourses concerning the interrelationships between sociocultural and spiritual worlds, promoting the de-stigmatisation of spirit possession and non-physical phenomena in the academic study of mystical and religious traditions.
the early 1970s their primary religious cosmologies and associated material and ritual cultures were largely analogous with those of Taiwan and other locations in Southeast Asia’s Chinese diaspora. However, changes in the religious landscapes have become increasingly diverse, with a growing emphasis on Underworld deity worship, and modifications have been occurring with ever-increasing rapidity.
While the private worship of ancestors and deities at home or temple altars remains the most widespread religious practice in both locations
here, and that equals 2,160 billion years on Earth” (Young, 1981 : 131). Returning to Goodrich’s ‘ten’, and providing a salient temporal reinvention, in the illustrated morality text the ‘Scripture of the Ten Kings’ ( Shiwang jing ), most likely composed between 720 and 908 CE, the focus is on the passage through and tortures endured in ten chambers of purgatory, “Beginning with the first court seven days after death and ending three years later in rebirth” (Teiser, 2003 : 7).
While Buddhist perceptions of a judgemental Underworld had
A ‘Radical Underworld’? The infidel
roots of Chartist culture
Historians of Chartism have tended to downplay the role of its initial authors,
the London Working Men’s Association (LWMA), in the movement. Although
this group both penned and initially distributed the People’s Charter, the
impetus and leadership of the movement quickly shifted north, towards a
populist Radicalism centred on the charismatic Feargus O’Connor and his
newspaper the Northern Star.1 The LWMA are largely seen as moralistic, elitist and too small to properly affect political change
Following on from rituals performed at a privately owned tang-ki temple in Chapter 4 , the ethnographic focus now moves to two linked public temples integrated into a new ‘united temple’ complex. After detailing a form of temple networking unique to Singapore, and in the context of the recently expanding Underworld pantheon, I reproduce a discussion with the case-study temple’s tang-ki concerning the new Underworld God of Wealth, Bao Bei Ya. The analysis of the discussion draws on parallels made by Tua Ya Pek, comparing Bao Bei Ya
Post-9/11 Horror and the Gothic Clash of Civilisations
Kevin J. Wetmore
Twentieth century cinema involving monster conflict featured solitary monsters in combat (Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man, for example). The writing of Anne Rice and the RPG Vampire: The Masquerade by White Wolf Games introduced the idea of Gothic communities and civilisations in conflict. It was not until after the terror attacks of 11 September that the idea of a clash of civilisations between supernatural societies fully emerged into the mainstream of popular culture. This essay explores the construction of a clash of civilisations between supernatural communities as a form of using the Gothic as a metaphor for contemporary terrorism in film and television series such as Underworld, Twilight, True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. Inevitably, it is the lycanthropes that are the disempowered and disenfranchised society and are alternately exploited by and rebel against the dominant vampire civilisation grown decadent and on the verge of collapse. Post-9/11 Gothic posits a world in which vampire society is the new normal, and werewolves represent a hidden danger within. Lycanthropes must be controlled, profiled and/or fought and defeated. Through close readings of the cinematic and televisual texts, I explore the vampire/werewolf clash as metaphor and metonym for the war on terror.
This article explores the trend in contemporary vampire media to highlight racially-charged issues, demonstrating a consciousness of the way the vampire has been used in conjunction with racial stigmatisation. While the traditional figure of the vampire spoke strongly to late nineteenth-,and early twentieth-century white American fears of miscegenation, I argue that some contemporary vampire narratives, such as Blade (1998), Underworld (2003), and True Blood (2008-), rewrite the figure in order to question and/or undo,the link between ‘monstrosity’ and racial otherness. Central to this task is not only the repositioning and characterisation of the vampire, but also — considering that the female body was once perceived as the locus for racial purity — that of the heroine.
Coffin rituals and the releasing of exorcised spirits
four sections, with two altars at the front dedicated to Heaven deities, that on the left to Guanyin and Guan Gong in his Buddhist incarnation as Qielan Pusa, the protector of the Buddhist teachings, and that on the right to deities from the vernacular and Taoist pantheons including Jigong, Tudi Gong and Taoist Marshals. Facing the tang-ki ’s desks in the centre is the temple’s main tri-level floor-to-ceiling Underworld altar. The most senior deity, Dizangwang, is placed at the centre of the highest level, bathed in red light beneath a lotus flower painted on the
The earliest recollections of Tua Di Ya Pek embodied
Throughout the last two years of my fieldwork, as I had visited in excess of two-hundred Underworld temples, from Singapore in the south to Alor Setar in Malaysia’s most northern state, Kedah, one specific question was posed to me by many interested tang-ki , temple owners and management committees and during lengthy interviews over tea with the eldest members of various temple communities. It was a question to which, until towards the end of my research, I was unable to suggest a satisfactory