Street wayangs or street operas in Singapore are in most cases dependent on temple celebrations. More so for the Hokkien and Teochew operas. The symbiotic relationship between the street operas and the Chinese temples must have gone back centuries. In the days when most people are illiterate, the street opera is a very powerful medium of education and knowledge transfer.
Our grandparents and even parents learnt much about Chinese history through the operas. In many ways, so were our knowledge of Deities in the Chinese temples. Interestingly, when a spirit medium go into trance, representing a Deity, somehow we might try to relate to the same character we saw at the opera. The only difference is that now the temple ground is a stage, and all of us, devotees and onlookers become part of that stage.
Margaret Chan's book: Ritual is Theatre, Theatre is Ritual: Tang-ki: Chinese Spirit Medium Worshop, is a timely piece of book and information for us to better understand rituals and their powerful relationship with theatre, and vice versa. Many questions that we have but have yet to find the answers, could well have the answers in this book. (^^) A very valuable guide for local Chinese temple and sintua observers and even devotees.
The details of the book:
Ritual is Theatre, Theatre is Ritual
Tang-ki: The Chinese Spirit Medium Worship
By Margaret Chan
Wee Kim Wee Centre
Singapore Management University
& SNP International
ISBN : 981-248-115-X
Bookshop Price: S$39.90