Multi Racial Tolerance – Example of Buddhist Funeral Services in Singapore

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Multi Racial Tolerance

The culture in Singapore makes up of various ethnic groups. The main ethnic group would be the Chinese then the Malays and Indians. It amazes many to see how such different cultures can live on such a tiny island measuring just 30km wide.

With these diverse cultures, the religion that each racial group holds will differ and this will influence the process of sending away their loved one. To further complicate matters, a racial group can have several different religions. The Chinese culture in Singapore consists of Taoism, Buddhists, Christian, and many other sub religions. Below, we shall have a peek at the normal ritual that is for Buddhists which accounts for 70% of the Chinese in Singapore.

Buddhist Funeral Wakes In Singapore

Most Buddhist funeral in Singapore would be held at the void decks of the HDB apartments where the deceased live in. The ritual will last between 3 – 5 days. Monks will start chanting the Buddhist scripts at around 7 pm – 9 pm daily. A common sight at the Buddhist funeral would be that of mahjong tables – a popular Chinese gambling game – that will be in the funeral area. Such tables are usually for relatives to pass their time with at the wake. This game is to use blocks of tiles measuring 15cm x 7cm and a depth of 2 cm. As such the noise it creates especially when playing through the night can wake a person up from sleep.

It is also true that the Chinese prefer to live on higher floors as such it is the other ethnic groups that prefer the lower floor flat which is nearer to where the wake is held. However, there is strong racial tolerance on such an occasion. The other racial group has to tolerate the noise of the monks chanting and the mahjong table. Without racial tolerance, a racial riot could occur. However, Singapore has yet to experience a racial riot for the last 40 years. This is what makes Singapore a unique place to live in.


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