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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Lim Ung Chiew - the Snake Charmer

This photo is from the album of Philip Hii, who has a blog called Rubber Seeds.

Mr. Lim Ung Chiew was an amazing self made artist who made it to the Sibu entertainment scene. He was a magician, a snake charmer and an interesting martial arts exponent with an unusual origin and history.
He was actually a towkay's son. His family fortunes were made from trading and they owned the first shop in Market Street behind the Yu Chiong Enterprise which fronted the Island Road, at Number 10.
There were many interesting anecdotes surrounding this unusual man.
He was known to have even treated some unusual sicknesses and many people flocked to his house for treatments.
He performed for large audiences at concerts in schools and in public assemblies. He had performed for the Tan Sris, the Yang Berhormats, and many other dignitaries.
On Feb 27 1987, he was invited to perform for the now defunct PBDS Triannial Conference Dinner and Show in the Sibu Dewan Suarah. Some how the snake he brought along escaped from the cage before his performance. The Iban representatives who were attending the Dinner that night thought that the snake was a wild one gone astray and quickly had the snake killed, as if the snake was any wild snake that visited a long house.
The poor man was beside himself seeing his beloved pet smashed to death!! It was obvious he could not be comforted at that moment.
I wonder how many people can remember that. Perhaps some of my reporter friends who were that night had a good laugh and were kind enough not to write about the sad and unfortunate incident.
Sometimes when snakes entered people's houses, he would be called upon to catch the snakes alive. That he did very willingly and was a very compassionate neighbour who lent a hand in times of need. I suppose in this way, he contributed a lot to the people of Sibu. His son took over from him when he retired.
He must have led an amazing and unusual life.

2 memories:

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