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Chapter Summary

The historical analysis of religion in Singapore demonstrates that very often, the close proximity of religion can often result in conflicts, as witnessed by the number of riots in the 1950s and 1960s. Part of the reason for this situation is the strong correlation between ethnicity and religion, such as Malays and Islam, Indians and Hinduism, and Chinese and Taoism, to the extent that some religions are viewed as ethnic religions. The author suggests that in Singapore, there are different types of conversion. For those moving from Taoism and Buddhism, it fits into the more classical definition of religious conversion. For some those who shift from Taoism to Buddhism, it is not so much conversion as religious relabelling, and for others, religious alternation in the Bergerian sense of the word, providing for the possibility of choosing between varying and sometimes contradictory systems of meaning.

Keywords: Buddhism; Chinese; ethnic religions; Hinduism; Indians; Islam; Malays; religious conversion; Singapore; Taoism



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