Rituals to banish the bug

Devotees of a Taoist temple are turning to the supernatural to ward off the coronavirus

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Dressed in a long red and black robe, Taoist priest Yeo Chin Nam sang and chanted to the beating of drums and clashing of cymbals as he led a devotee round the main hall of a temple filled with statues of deities in Geylang Lorong 21A.

Then they stepped out into the yard where they walked around a paper boat that measured about 1.5m in length. On the boat were words in Chinese that translate to "Even a hundred viruses will not invade" and "Send off the epidemic and destroy disease".

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 24, 2020, with the headline Rituals to banish the bug. Subscribe