Rebuilding the Ancestral Village

Singaporeans in China


Khun Eng Kuah-Pearce

ISBN : 978-988-8028-81-8

Anthropology, Sociology, Psychology

December 2010

320 pages, 6″ x 9″, 19 color illus.; 3 figures; 3 maps and 5 tables

Not for sale in Europe, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, or Indonesia

  • HK$195.00

This work illustrates the relationship between one group of Singaporean Chinese and their ancestral village in Fujian, China. It explores the reasons why the Singaporean Chinese continue to maintain ties with their ancestral village and how they reproduce Chinese culture through ancestor worship and religion in the ancestral village. In some cases, the Singaporeans feel morally obliged to assist in village reconstruction and infrastructure developments such as new roads, bridges, schools and hospitals. Others help with small-scale industrial and retail activities. Meanwhile, officials and villagers in the ancestral home utilize various strategies to encourage the Singaporeans to revisit their ancestral village, sustain heritage ties, and help enhance the moral economy. This ethnographic study examines two geographically distinct groups of Chinese coming together to re-establish their lineage and identity through cultural and economic activities.

Khun Eng Kuah-Pearce is an associate professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Hong Kong.

Rebuilding the Ancestral Village breaks new ground in our understanding of Chinese religion, immigration, and the networks of relationships that link communities together in Greater China. It extends the use of ethnographic methods to study not just localized communities, but also networks of communities. Its methods and insights have become more common among sociologists and anthropologists who study China. These ideas are worth pondering by a wide range of scholars, and this revised and expanded edition of the book is a service to the field of contemporary China studies.” —Richard Madsen, University of California, San Diego

“Chinese traditions pay a great deal of attention to people having to be memory correct. This book examines how the Chinese in Singapore and their kinfolk in the county of Anxi in Fujian province confront different attitudes towards remembering. The author shows how they manage the necessary rituals and symbols, the genealogies, the reciprocal journeys and the cross-border connections. This is a valuable work of spatial ethnography.” —Wang Gungwu, National University of Singapore

Rebuilding the Ancestral Village constitutes the first effort by an anthropologist to track a transnational lineage in the post-Mao era. This updated edition will have wider influence in the rapidly growing field of Chinese diaspora studies.” —James L. Watson, Harvard University