- Title: Malaysian man makes 'vaccines' for the afterlife
- Date: 26th August 2021
- Summary: PETALING JAYA, SELANGOR STATE, MALAYSIA (AUGUST 25, 2021) (REUTERS) YEE HEN TRADING SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE WHERE PAPER OFFERINGS ARE ON SALE LOGO OF YEE HEN TRADING PHOTOS IN SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE VARIOUS OF PHOTOGRAPH OF PAPER VACCINE ON SOCIAL MEDIA PAGE WHERE CUSTOMER CAN MAKE THEIR ORDER
- Embargoed: 9th September 2021 07:09
- Keywords: Malaysia coronavirus hungry ghost festival paper art vaccine
- Location: JOHOR BAHRU, PETALING JAYA, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
- City: JOHOR BAHRU, PETALING JAYA, KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA
- Country: Malaysia
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Religion/Belief,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA002ERX07RB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As the world scrambles to inoculate people against COVID-19, a religious goods store owner in Malaysia found that his paper 'vaccines' were flying off the shelves during a religious month-long festival to honour the dead.
The Hungry Ghost festival, celebrated by Buddhists and Taoists across Southeast Asia, centres on a belief that the spirits of the dead return to Earth during the seventh month of the Chinese Lunar calendar. During this time, people leave out food for the dead and burn incense and intricate paper offerings resembling things the deceased may have wanted.
This year, a box set of a syringe and two vaccine vials made of paper are among the fastest-selling items for the festival at Raymond Shieh Siow Leong's religious goods store in the southern Malaysian city of Johor Bahru.
"The COVID-19 situation in our country is quite serious and then many people had died before receiving the vaccine. Therefore I hope with this product, it can help the deceased to fulfil their dying wish," Shieh said.
The craftsman said he started making the paper vaccine sets in early August, producing about 30 to 50 sets a day. Each set costs 22.80 ringgit ($5.45) and Shieh said he had sold more than 200 sets so far.
"We made this paper vaccine to test the water of the market, but we didn't expect the reaction to be this good. The orders kept coming, and we have to work overtime until late at night to make this product," he said.
Malaysia has one of the highest rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths in Southeast Asia with a total caseload of almost 1.6 million and a death toll of 14,818. About 57% of the population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
A Muslim-majority country, about 20% of Malaysia's 32 million people practise Buddhism, the second-most prevalent religion.
The Southeast Asian country has one of the highest rate of COVID-19 infections and deaths in the region with almost 1.6 million cases including 14,818 fatalities.
(Production: Lim Huey Teng, Ebrahim Harris)
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