- The Catholic-Teochew Rhythm: Communal Identity in Hougang, 1945–1981
- Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 33, Number 1, March 2018
- pp. 227-264
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Numerous interviews with Catholic Teochews in Hougang indicate the existence of a distinct communal identity in the period between the mid-1940s and the early 1980s. This common heritage of being Catholic Teochew is attributed to the prevalence of three institutions—church, family and school. The widespread influence of these institutions culminated in the emergence of a collective social memory of a routinized Catholic-Teochew way of life. The idea of a "Catholic-Teochew rhythm" that embodies a distinct cultural identity forged in Singapore allows understanding of the narrative of the community of Teochew Catholics in Hougang. The amalgamation of Catholicism and Teochew culture paralleled the growth of the community. Similarly, the consolidation and eventual decline of Catholic-Teochew traditions mirrored the fate of the enclave of Teochew Catholics in Hougang.