Southeast Asia

Organized Panel Session

Contested Chinese-ness of Chinese Religions and Beliefs in Southeast Asia

Friday, July 6
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Location: Rudraksha, Lower Ground Floor

Studies on Chinese religions or beliefs in Southeast Asia tend to take them as tools of Chinese identities in the diasporic context. However, this paradigm neglects their interactions with local societies and supposes an unchangeable ‘Chinese-ness’. The purpose of this panel is to challenge this paradigm and focus on how the ‘Chinese-ness’ were contested when Chinese religions or beliefs encountered with non-Chinese communities in Southeast Asia. Three panelists will present their work on Chinese Christians in Borneo, Datoh Gong belief in Malaysia, and Yiguan Dao in Thailand. 


From the 19th century, there are Chinese Christians from the southeast China immigrating to Borneo. At the same time, Christian missionary movement from Europe was also active in Borneo. Those two interacted with each other and had an impact on other ethnic groups in Borneo. Dr. Kang Min will examine the role Chinese missionary played in the interaction with other ethnic groups in Borneo. Datoh Gong worship is a Chinese belief that could be found in Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia. Chinese worship the Malay gods, Datoh Gong although Malay should not worship them as they must be Muslim in Malaysia. Dr. Tan Ai Boay will discuss the response of the Malay society to Chinese Datoh Gong’s belief. Yiguan Dao is a religious group with its origin in China, but many of its members in Thailand are not ethnic Chinese. Dr. Lin Yu-sheng will reveal what the ‘Chinese-ness’ of its origin, ethnicity, and language usage means to its members in cross-ethnic interactions in Thailand.

Send Email for Yu-Sheng LIN

Send Email for Yu-Sheng LIN

Min Kang

Beijing Foreign Studies University, China

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Min Kang

Ai Boay Tan

Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman, Malaysia

Presentation(s):

Send Email for Ai Boay Tan

Send Email for Yu-Sheng LIN


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