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Malaysian man dies while performing 'human steaming' stunt

He suffered a heart attack and burns after attempting to perform the elaborate ritual.

File photo of a Taoist temple
File photo of a Taoist temple
Image: Shutterstock/Lando9896

A MALAYSIAN TAOIST medium died while performing a “human steaming” stunt which involved him sitting on top of a bubbling wok covered by a giant metal lid, police have said.

Lim Ba, 68, suffered a heart attack and burns after attempting to perform the elaborate ritual during a Taoist festival at a Chinese temple on Monday.

Devotees witnessing the event, which involved Lim sitting on a wooden platform balanced on top of the bubbling wok, heard banging noises emanating from the metal lid after about half an hour.

Witnesses at the event, including Lim’s son, reportedly saw the lid moving and then found the victim unconscious when they removed the lid.

Local police chief Mohd Ismail Ibrahim told AFP that the ritual Lim performed on Monday was not his first.

“He did this ceremony many times where he got into the wok to show that he was immune,” to the heat, he said.

“He had a heart attack and he collapsed. He was knocking (on the lid), and the water from the wok burned him,” he added.

Lim was pronounced dead at the scene in the Kuala Sanglang temple in northern Kedah state.

Nine Emperor Gods Festival

Monday’s performance was part of the Taoist ‘Nine Emperor Gods Festival’.

Lim had reportedly been performing the stunt for 10 years and food such as sweet corn and buns would usually be steamed alongside him. His family had objected to Lim carrying it out as he had undergone heart surgery last year.

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

It is not unusual for acts depicting immense physical strength and endurance to be performed at festivals in multi-ethnic Malaysia, such as walking over glass shards.

Ethnic Chinese make up a quarter of Malaysia’s 31 million inhabitants, with the majority of them following Taoism — a philosophical and religious belief system rooted in Chinese customs — or Buddhism.

About 60% of Malaysia’s population is Muslim.

© AFP 2017

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