They act in the shadows, they are extremely secretive and they practise ancient rituals. Secret societies play a far larger role in our everyday lives than we are aware of. Publications like those of bestselling author Dan Brown have brought them back into the limelight. The three-part documentary, ‘Secret Societies', accompanies historian Dr Marian Füssel on his search for clues surrounding history's most famous secret societies and conspiracy theories.
Runtime: 50 minutes
Secret Societies - Secret societies in Singapore - Netflix
Secret societies in Singapore have been largely eradicated as a security issue in the city-state. However many smaller groups remain today which attempt to mimic societies of the past. The membership of these societies is largely adolescent. Despite fading from contemporary Singaporean society, these secret societies hold great relevance to Singapore's modern history. The founding of the city-state in 1819 saw the arrival of thousands of Chinese, thereby transplanting to Singapore social systems already present in China itself. Although the secret societies were commonly associated with violence, extortion and vice, they also played a part in building a social fabric for early Chinese migrants in Singapore. They were given leeway to control the Chinese populace due to the hands-off policy adopted by the British colonials, who hoped to create stability.
Secret Societies - Reasons for the decline - Netflix
In the early 19th century, secret societies posed a significant threat to law and order in Singapore. The early Chinese immigrants' clandestine activities and occasional turf wars proved too much of a problem for the British authorities. The British authorities were therefore obliged to curb the growing problem. They employed a number of methods, both on purpose and not, to check the growth of secret societies. This resulted in the decline of secret societies.