The Blue Cross: Where Religion and Charity Cross Paths

14 December, 2017

Photo Credits: from Lianhe Zaobao

Ever heard of the Blue Cross Charitable Institution?

Associate Professor Lee Chee Hiang (Department of Chinese Studies) has published a monograph on charitable organizations founded by the Teochew community in Singapore, among which is the Blue Cross. Drawing on primary data such as archival records, photographs, and interviews, his book presents new research findings on the development of these organizations, the folk beliefs and customs of the Teochew community, and the charity activities of early Singapore immigrant communities.

A/P Lee also debunks several myths about these organizations and raises potential areas for further study on the subject. He suggests that these organizations, operating as unique sites where religiosity and charity work intersect, can ensure their relevance in today’s changing world only if modern society recognizes and appreciates the significance of their cultural practices.

“Sharing the results of academic scholarship with people from other walks of life is important to me,” A/P Lee explains, “I believe that working in academia is far from living in an ivory tower. As scholars we should not only be interested in our work’s academic value, but also its larger social value.”

You can read a review of A/P Lee’s book here (in Chinese).