Buddhism fastest growing religion in Singapore

DPA, May 19, 2008

Singapore -- Buddhism is the fastest-growing religion in Singapore, particularly among the young and educated, a census conducted by The Straits Times showed Monday.

The number of people aged 15 and over who are Buddhists had jumped from 31 percent of the population in 1990 to 43 percent, or 1.1 million people, 10 years later, making Buddhism the largest religion in the city-state.

The census figures published in the newspaper showed a fourfold jump in Buddhists who were graduates between 1990 and 2000.Membership numbers of Buddhist youth groups have soared.

Converts told the newspaper that the religion offered comfort in the face of uncertainties and disasters. Moreover, they said, it was a constant reminder to look beyond materialism to attain calmness and happiness through meditation and reflection. 'Through Buddhism, I can be a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend and a better colleague,' Hindu-born Tara Melwani, the 43-year-old director of a retailing group, was quoted as saying.

Actress Nadya Hutagalung, 34, born into a Christian family, said she was attracted by the philosophy of Buddhism, according to the newspaper.