Taoist Medium Steamed to Death

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A 68-year-old medium was killed after a steaming act during the Nine Emperor God prayer session at a Chinese temple in Kuala Sanglang, Kedah, went horribly wrong.

  • Victim had been doing the stunt for past 10 years
  • His record was 75 minutes inside a steaming wok
  • He underwent heart bypass last year, suffers from hypertension
  • The act is considered more of a magic performance than a Taoist rite

Lim Ba died from heart failure and major second degree burns after sitting inside a steaming hot large wok for about 30 minutes on Monday night.

The first sign that something had gone awry with the act was when devotees heard erratic knocks coming from inside the covered wok with a fire underneath.

They quickly removed the cover and found the medium unconscious.

“By the time the ambulance arrived, my father had stopped breathing,” Lim’s youngest son, Kang Huai, 32, was quoted as saying by The Star.

Kang Huai also said that his father had undergone a heart bypass last year due to occasional breathing difficulties and was on medication for hypertension.

Lim was said to have performed the human-steaming stunt during the Nine Emperor God festival for the last decade despite objections from family members.

He recently performed it at a Nine Emperor Gods celebration in Ayer Tawar, Perak.

During the stunt, Kang Huai revealed that food such as rice, sweet corn and vegetarian buns would be put inside the wok to be steamed as well.

“My mother Ch’ng Siew Hong, my sisters and I are very sad. Our cheerful father has left us forever,” he said.

Lim and his family lived in Kerpan where he was popularly known as “Black Dog”.

The temple where he had performed the stunt on Monday is only a 10-minute walk from their house.

According to Lim’s daughter Wei Ling, 37, her father had complained of the hot weather on the way to his earlier stunt in Ayer Tawar.

“He lost his appetite, he ate only sweet potato and green bean biscuits that day. But he was his normal self and took pictures with his devotees,” said Wei Ling.

His record, she said, had been 75 minutes inside a steaming wok.

According to Federation of Taoist Associations of Malaysia (FTAM) president Tan Hoe Chioew, the was not really part of mainstream Taoist rites and was more of a ‘fa shu’ (magic) performance.

“This ‘steaming man’ ritual is rarely performed, and I dare not comment on what preparations are needed before you perform this.

“But in general, doing such physical endurance stunts is not advisable,” Tan was quoted as saying.

He added that such feats were done to attract believers and show the performer’s physical endurance.