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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Singapore 'Exorcist' comes under fire

Picture is screenshot taken from RazorTV

FIRST, she stepped inside a ring of fire. Then, she was immersed in a container of water that had been boiled.

The woman was going through a ritual in a secluded area in Tampines to "exorcise a demon spirit" that had troubled her for seven years. Her "exorcist" was fengshui master and self-styled ghostbuster Chew Hon Chin.

Malaysia may have the Teapot Temple, which The New Paper reported in 2004. Visitors including professionals sought religious solace at the temple, which was later closed down by the authorities.

Here, we have Mr Chew and his associate, Mr Liang Chai Bao, who were featured by news agency AFP and RazorTV. Mr Chew's practices sparked unhappiness among some members of the Taoist community.

Irresponsible and dangerous, they said. They're just jealous, he replied.

Four mediums who spoke to The New Paper worry that accidents could occur if there are no proper safety measures. And they worry people will think it's a common practice in Taoism.

They insisted it is not.

Mr Teo Kok Wai, 58, who has been practising for 32 years, said: "Those who don't know better or who don't have the full story may associate this with Taoism. It could cast a negative light on what we do."

Another medium, Mr Li Jie, 50, said there were various methods of "exorcism", but declined to comment on what Mr Chew does.

Mr Li, a medium for 26 years, said: "We're not disputing whether his method is for real or not, but we're concerned about the woman's safety."

He said that the mediums and their assistants would be the ones "involved in such extreme methods, like the ring of fire and pot of hot water", and not the clients.

Agreeing, 60-year-old Madam Hu Laishuang, a medium of 45 years, said: "It would be difficult for the layman (client) to gauge the intensity of the fire and the heat.


"What happens if the woman can't withstand it, baulks and tries to dodge the fire unsuccessfully? She could end up hurting herself."

Medium Lim Ah Zhun, 55, was irked that Mr Chew had advised his client not to visit temples after the rites.

"He should make it more specific, like if he meant those who were not really practitioners. My guess is he was referring to the cheats, but it sounded like he was saying everyone else is lousy and bad," said Mr Lim, who operates a home shrine.

But Mr Chew, 65, who runs an "exorcism" and fengshui business in Katong Shopping Centre, is unfazed by the criticism.

He told The New Paper: "I'm used to such comments. As they say, 'shu da zhao feng' ("a tall tree catches the wind" - a saying that means a person in a high position is liable to be attacked).

"People can say what they want. If I am good, I am good. Some of my clients approached me after they had gone for unsuccessful consultations."

He claimed some of them had gone as far as Malaysia and Thailand to seek help.

Mr Chew said: "They are desperate and at their wits' end. My responsibility is not to worry about what my rivals have to say, but to help my clients."

He said that the fear of fire hazard was unfounded because he has been practising for more than five years.

Mr Chew said: "Of course there are safety measures in place. I wouldn't risk anyone's life, not my clients' nor my team of workers'. Not even mine."

He said that men from his company would recce the spots where the rituals were to be held, like the one in Tampines.

"We'd ensure that the area is big enough and clear of trees and grass. At any one time, there are four to five people, if not more, who are prepared should something go wrong.

"And till today, nothing of that sort has happened."

As for the hot water, Mr Chew said: "Of course, the temperature must be just right, otherwise I'd have to pay her medical fees if she gets scalded."

He said that after the water is boiled, his helpers will add cold water to moderate the temperature. Mr Chew said that not all his cases - he claims to see three to four cases a day - needed an "exorcism".


It doesn't matter if his practices are quirky or for real. His clients trust him. Madam Liang, told RazorTV she had been disturbed by a dark and powerful force almost every night for the past seven years.

At 12.20am sharp, she claimed, she would be awakened by something brushing against her body. It gets worse every first and 15th day of the lunar month.

Mr Chew claimed: "She had bought an old flat and renovated it, but she did not conduct proper rituals to ask the ancestral spirits of the previous owners to leave."

He went on to criticise other mediums whom Madam Liang consulted while praising himself.

"Not everyone is truly a master. There are some fly-by-night ones, or those whose powers are not yet there," he said.

Mr Chew, who charges $88 for "luck enhancement" and $100 for each soul appeased, added: "Ghostbusting is not a job that anyone can do.

"Some people call it superstition or accuse me of being a cheat. Let's put it this way: If you come to me and think I'm bluffing, you have the liberty of walking away. There's no obligation."

Psychologist Richard Lim said that it's often desperation that drives people to seek such "help".

"It's a case of reaching out and grabbing on to the slightest sliver of hope. That's basic human survival instinct," he said.

He cautioned that being too obsessed with such alternative treatments may be detrimental to one's mental health.

Said Mr Lim: "It's like adding one more boulder of burden to what is already troubling you."

[Click here to read full article]


  1. The High Court of Singapore has thrown the case of exorcism against priests and volunteers of the Novena Church.

  2. I have seen Mr Chew couples months ago as my business is not doing well, I have total paid close to 5k to him. I somehow very depressed after consulted him. He always critiscise those masters who i have visited and praised how power he is hence i trusted him so much, i was told spirit following me and many other scary things, he said after all so called ritual done my business will be good but is from bad to worst now. Iam in depression now and my mind keep crossing what he had told me. When i told him what i am encounting now he seems don't believe and tell me off said his other clients sees result why mine so many 'rubbish', iam very sad with this remark. I am living very lost, very depressed, really don't know what to do beside locking myself in the room most of the time. I really don't know...


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