Man steamed to death as wok ritual goes wrong | Sunday Observer

Man steamed to death as wok ritual goes wrong

Lim Ba on top of the wok before the stunt took a turn for the worse.
Lim Ba on top of the wok before the stunt took a turn for the worse.

A Malaysian Taoist medium has died after a ‘human steaming’ ritual went wrong as he sat on top of a bubbling wok and was covered with a giant metal lid.

Lim Ba, 68, suffered a heart attack and burns during the elaborate ceremony performed during the Nine Emperor Gods festival at a Chinese temple.

Witnesses heard banging coming from the metal lid after about half-an-hour of the priest becoming enclosed on top of the wok while sitting on a wooden platform.

Police chief Mohd Ismail Ibrahim told state news agency Bernama that Mr Lim’s son, who watched on with other devotees, “saw the lid moving”.

He said they found the medium unconscious as soon as they lifted the metal lid, halting the ceremony in the Kuala Sanglang temple in the northern state of Kedah.

Mr Lim was pronounced dead at the scene.

According to reports, he had a decade’s worth of experience performing the stunt, with food such as sweetcorn and buns usually being steamed alongside him.

His family had reportedly warned against him performing the ritual this year as he had undergone heart surgery last year.

Mr Lim’s son, Lim Kang Huai, told Bernama “My father went through a heart operation last year. I didn’t think this ceremony would be his last.”

Rituals involving displays of great physical strength and endurance are regularly performed at festivals in multi-ethnic Malaysia - including ceremonies which include participants walking over shards of glass. A quarter of Malaysia’s population of 31 million are of Chinese background, with most following Taoism or Buddhism. Almost two thirds of Malaysia’s population is Muslim. 



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