De Gustibus…

A Malaysian woman is trying to reclaim the world record for the longest stay in a room full of scorpions, news reports said Sunday.

Nur Malena Hassan, 27, moved Saturday into a locked glass box where she plans to live for 36 consecutive days with more than 6,000 of the poisonous arachnids in a shopping mall, the Malay-language Mingguan Malaysia newspaper reported.

Scores of people watched as Nur Malena stood fearlessly in a red sweater and jeans with scorpions crawling up her head, chest and legs in Kuantan, a city about 350 kilometres (160 miles) east of Kuala Lumpur, a photograph published by the newspaper showed.

Nur Malena set a world record in 2001 by living for 30 days with 2,700 scorpions. She was stung seven times, fell unconscious and almost gave up the attempt.

Her record was shattered a year later by Kanchana Ketkeaw, a woman in neighbouring Thailand who lived in a similar glass room for 32 days with 3,400 scorpions.

Under self-imposed rules, Nur Malena is expected to leave the glass room just once a day for 15 minutes at a time. She will sleep, eat and perform Muslim prayers in the room.

The woman gives herself a 50-50 chance of making the record. She claims that the nighttime is worst, since scorpions are especially active then. On the brighter side, scorpions rarely sting unless disturbed, so a quiet posture yields dividends. Furthermore she has built up immunity over the last six years by allowing herself to be stung repeatedly.

No doubt her fear will be more impressive than that of the previous recordholder: “Having 6,000 scorpions is different from 3,000 [TC: hey wasn’t it 3,444?]. It’s just worse.”

When bored during her ordeal, she watches DVDs; her current favorite is Spiderman.

Here is one account, I have drawn further information from the Mexican edition of the Miami Herald.

And why is she doing it? In her own words, “I want to show that Malaysians are capable of world-class efforts.”


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