Chinese Buddhist Transformations in Malaysia: Navigating Nation Building and Transethnic Dynamics


About the Webinar

This paper examines the evolution of Chinese Buddhism in Malaysia in the context of nation-building. Chinese Buddhist communities in Malaysia actively promote their cultural and social values for the multiracial nation. The interethnic and interreligious efforts of various Buddhist groups serve as strategic responses to the racial landscape of Malaysia, rooted in deeper spiritual convictions. Drawing on Wang Gungwu’s three types of Chinese orientation, this study demonstrates that the transformation of Buddhism is a manifestation of local nationalism, drawing inspiration and validation from religious doctrines. Buddhist communities dynamically challenge racialization, religious dogma, and societal biases, using their faith to bridge divides between Muslims and non-Muslims. The extent to which Chinese Buddhists can proactively address certain racialization dynamics in Malaysian society remains uncertain.

About the Speaker

Dr Tan Lee Ooi is currently a researcher at the Penang Institute and columnist for Malaysian national newspaper Sinchew Daily. Obtaining his PhD from the National University of Singapore, he has published several academic journal articles. He also published two books: The Dynamics of Cyberspace during the Reformasi Movement in Malaysia (National University Press of Malaysia, 2010) and Buddhist Revitalization and Chinese Religions in Malaysia (Amsterdam University Press, 2020).


This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.

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Dec 08 2023


10:00 am - 11:15 am

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