Shop owner Raymond Shieh, who specialises in handmade prayer paraphernalia, created handmade paper vaccines so that spirits in the afterlife can be part of the vaccination process too.
The idea came to him after reading many heart-wrenching recollections of those who lost their loved ones before they had a chance to be inoculated.
He said some of his customers encouraged him to make the paper vaccines as they wished to give offerings to their deceased loved ones, along with the wandering spirits for the ongoing Hungry Ghost Festival.
During the festival, ghosts are believed to return to Earth to haunt the living and people burn paper money, food and incense to pay respects to their ancestors and soothe wandering spirits.
The Hungry Ghost Festival is usually observed throughout the seventh month of the Lunar calendar, which started on 8 August this year.
“I felt bad for my customers who told me that they wanted to fulfil their deceased loved ones’ wishes of getting the Covid-19 vaccine, and decided to give it a go. It initially took me about two days to make a set with a large syringe and vaccine bottles to mimic the real items,” he said.
The 45-year-old added that the set would be burnt alongside hell bank notes in hopes that the deceased would receive them in the afterlife. Each set costs about RM30 and can be customised according to the customer’s preference.
“After sharing the finished product on my Facebook page last week, I received a good response and orders for the ‘Hell Covid-19 Vaccine’ from customers in and outside of Johor,” he said when interviewed at his shop in Taman Ehsan Jaya, Johor Bharu.
“I hope that my products can provide some peace of mind to my customers and help them fulfil their loved ones’ wishes,” he said.