Documenting and Preserving the Intangible: History, Heritage and the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Singapore

Historia SG: NMS – NTU School of Humanities and Social Sciences Lectures Series

  • The Salon, Level 1
  • 28 Aug 2016
  • 2.30pm – 3.30pm
  • Registration is full.

The Nine Emperor Gods Festival is unique to Southeast Asia, an important part of the intangible heritage of the Chinese in the region. It is a major religious event in Singapore, yet little academic research has been done to offer a comprehensive and systematic survey of the festival in Singapore until a documentation project was started this year.

This lecture will discuss the Nine Emperor Gods Festival in Singapore, focusing on its history and significance for Singapore’s heritage and society. Both the tangible and intangible aspects of this heritage will be highlighted, in addition to the vision, approaches, challenges and possibilities of the documentation project. The lecture will also examine the potential synergies arising from greater collaboration between partners of different expertise, which expands knowledge about Singapore’s intangible cultural heritage, aids its preservation and increases public awareness of these neglected historical and heritage gems.


About the Speaker

Koh Keng We is an assistant professor in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He previously served as a curator in the Dr You-Bao Shao Center for Overseas Chinese Documentation and Research in Ohio University Libraries (2007-–2010), and as an assistant professor in the Department of Asian History in Seoul National University (2011–2014). He was also the head of the Southeast Asia programme in the Department of Asian Languages and Civilization in Seoul National University (2013–2014). His research interests include Asian and Comparative Business History, Maritime History, Colonialism, Asian Migrations and Comparative Diasporas, as well as Southeast Asian and Global/World History. He is a member of the Nine Emperor Gods Festival Research and Documentation Project funded by the NHB Heritage Research Grant.

About HistoriaSG

HistoriaSG is a lecture series that focusses on important but lesser-known aspects of Singapore’s history. With in-depth presentations by local and international academics on a range of topics viewed through a variety of lens from business to science and technology, the environment and specific communities, the series sheds new light on Singapore’s culture, history and heritage. As part of a collaboration between the National Museum of Singapore and Nanyang Technological University’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences, History Programme, the latest series of HistoriaSG will present new research by local academics at the forefronts of their fields.

Organised by the National Museum of Singapore, HistoriaSG is part of the museum’s efforts to promote a deeper understanding and appreciation of Singapore’s history.

A procession during the Nine Emperor Gods Festival. Image courtesy of PF Foto.

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