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Published on Sep 6, 2013
Datuk Gong: Spirit of the Land, is a feature documentary that comprehensively covers the origins, structure, diversity and relevance of the Datuk Gong worship as observed uniquely in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Southern Thailand. A personal labour of love for the past 4 years and counting, the documentary is finally coming together with answers to some of the questions that has brought me across the country many times over.
From small shrines under trees to large temples of many shapes and sizes, the Datuk Gong (or sometimes Datuk Keramat) makes his presence known through many different forms. Popularly dismissed as a common Chinese deity, the Datuk Gong has in fact been part of Malayan culture across all ethnicities for many centuries, even prior to the arrival of Islam and major deities as observed in Chinese religion today.
In the modern context, worship of the Datuk Gong is extremely important in the study of Chinese identity in Malaya (present day Peninsula Malaysia and Singapore). Without a formalized structure or literature to serve as a reference, much of the structure and form of the worship remains undocumented to this day.
Datuk Gong: Spirit of the Land is more than just a documentary; It is an education, a time machine for us to retrace the history of Malaya and understand its history for a perspective never before explored. It is a celebration of our Malaysian identity as a dynamic fusion of a diverse range of ethnicity, religions and culture, unlike anywhere else in the world.
Directed by Mahen Bala and produced by Law Siow Fei, the feature documentary is scheduled to be completed by mid-January 2014.
Do check back regularly at the main page or the Facebook page for updates, insights and production notes as we push towards the completion of the documentary.
Present Tense Media is also on Instagram. Look for @presenttensemedia or #datukgong.
This project will not be possible without your help. Contribute by sharing the documentary among your friends so people who might have additional knowledge or leads related to the research on Datuk Gong would be able to get in touch with us.