Folk Taoism for tourism
From the perspective of folk Taoism as a prospective tourist resource, it is regrettable that the tourism authorities havenÂ¡Â¦t been promoting this fascinating and colourful aspect of everyday life among ordinary Singaporeans.
I have brought a few foreigners to Taoist ceremonies and they were absolutely amazed by the strong ethnic colour and exoticness involved. Most of them could not believe the existence of such unusual rituals in a modern city state like Singapore. To me, what is even more amazing is that the tourist information offices I rang have absolutely no idea about the existence of these festivities either.
I would have thought they could promote these festivals like the way the Thais do for the Vegetarian Festival of Phuket (on tourist brochures, websites, etc) which is essentially the Festival of the Nine Emperor Gods, also celebrated among Taoists here. That would have countered the impression that Singapore is boring, sterile and soulless.
There are two aspects to consider:
1) How can Taoist rituals and festivals be promoted: A festival database, liaison between the Tourism Board and Taoist temples and organizations, websites, etc?
2) Do Taoist temples and organizations want to promote their festivals at all? Do they want what are essentially private community events to be invaded by camera-armed tourists and outsiders?
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