NINETY ears of sweet corn were dropped into a giant wok of boiling water.
Next, hundreds of spectators watched with bated breath as temple devotee Wong Chern Kang prayed before climbing up and sitting cross-legged on a wooden board placed across the hot wok.
Armed with only a walkie-talkie, prayer beads and immense faith, the 36-year-old carpenter looked calm as temple members gently brought down the cover.
While the firewood burned beneath the steamer, the crowd waited in suspense at the Kulim Kew Ong Yeah Temple in Kampung Keladi where Wong was performing the daring feat to collect funds for the temple’s new building.
Most of the spectators were seen taking photos and video of the unfolding drama.
Exactly 35 minutes and 49 seconds later, the cover was lifted.
The ears of sweet corn were cooked but much to the crowd’s relief, the man was very much alive but drenched in sweat from head to toe.
Staggering on numb legs, he was helped out of the steamer before being handed a towel and water to cool off.
It was Wong’s second time performing the ‘human steaming’ feat.
His first was in 2012 when he spent a record 71 minutes inside.
When interviewed after the event on Tuesday night, the father of two said the feat required endurance and strong will power as it was not easy being confined in a small space.
“I could not simply move my body, and at the same time, I had to stand the heat. That’s why I tried to relax before getting into the steamer.
“However, as the time went by, I began feeling my heart beating faster and had difficulties breathing.
“I also felt my body over-heating, which made me realise that I should stop,” said Wong.
Although he was disappointed that he could not better his previous record, he was sure of carrying out a similar feat in the future, with the blessing of Kew Ong Yeah.
He also said that he would replenish his body fluids by drinking lots of water after each feat.
Temple chairman Chong Fook Choy said the last time a similar event was held at the temple was in 2012.
“We decided to hold the feat again this year to raise funds for the new temple building.
“The cost of the new temple is about RM10mil and the temple committee is still short of about RM4mil,” he said.
The ears of sweet corn were sold at RM20 each. Besides that, vegetarian food, and religious paraphernalia were also sold to raise funds for the cause.
Other devotees performed stunts with sharp objects while a kotai stage show was also held in conjunction with the Nine Emperor Gods Festival.