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The home: The ways we live

Religion in Singapore is characterised by a
diversity of religious beliefs and practices
due to its diverse ethnic mix of peoples
originating from various countries. Especially
in HDB flats, the rituals and the practices
have infiltrated our daily life and influenced
most of the interiors of our home.
The altars are from two different houses.
Chinese will always consider the placement
of their altars as the highest priority in terms
of Fengshui as they believe very much in it.
Because a good placement and direction
will attract positive energy into the house.
The altars are not for decorative
purpose. It represents a family’s
belief and culture. A place where
all the family members will gather
in certain occasions, in other words,
the altars have become the focal
point in almost every house.
Praying is a common practice for all religion
and it has become a part of our daily life.
Space constraint is an issue in HDB flats,
therefore some of these spaces are being
transformed for other purposes for eg;
a living area, an area for meditation and
praying etc.
Leveling the altars to the height of any
openings allow the Buddha statues to
interact with the positive energy entering
the house.
Every single object in our home reveals
something about the family. The beliefs in
their religion, their culture and traditions
from the past are available in small details.
Domesticated space is porous beyond the
home permieters and ventures outward
into domesticated public space. In other
words, the occupants went beyond the
boundaries. Even from far, things that
represent them are quite visible on the
outside of the house.
In HDB flats, we live among many cultures
and religions, therefore there is a need
of mutual understanding and tolerance
between one another. It is a courtesy
to not affect other people way of living
when making use of the public spaces.
Every corridor tells a different story. A
family’s culture is being portrayed and
displayed in their very own unique way.

Sembawang is a new estate unlike Yishun,

a matured estate with plenty of facilities
and amenities to offer. It is possible
to differentiate these two estates just
by oberving their neighbourhood, the
building facade and the surrounding
environment even though they are just
four kilometres apart. However, some of
the common practices are being preserved
in the same way in these two estates.
The doorstep of the HDB flat is the best example of
Singapore’s multiculturalism.

These are findings in just one block and personally

stood before these homes with Quran verses, crucifixes,
talismans, altars, Statues of Ganesh etc, affixed above
or around the front door, and all these symbols signify
religious tolerances among neighbours.
B o o k l e t D o n e B y : Ta y J i D o n g J o e

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