Saturday September 25, 2004

Malaysian Scorpion Queen

PAULINE JASUDASON | Associated Press

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - After surviving 17 scorpion stings, a Malaysian claimed a new world record on Saturday for living 36 days in a glass room with 6,069 of the deadly creatures _ and said she couldn't wait to go shopping with her mother.
Nur Malena Hassan, 27, emerged from the 3-meter-by-3.6 meter (10 feet by 12 feet) display box in a mall in the eastern city of Kuantan to the beat of traditional drums and cheers of support from a 3,000-strong crowd.
"I feel so satisfied!" she told The Associated Press by telephone. "I got what I wanted after enduring pain from 17 stings and spending 36 days in there."
Nur Malena said she couldn't wait to get back to her regular activities_ like shopping.
"My mum is here and we're at a mall, so I'm starting right away," she said.
Dubbed the "Scorpion Queen," Nur Malena beat the record set by her rival, Kanchana Ketkeaw of Thailand, who last year survived nine stings in a 32-day stay with 3,000 scorpions.
Sujatha Nair, a spokeswoman for the Malaysia Book of Records, said a video and other documentation will be sent to the Guinness Book of World Records office in London for verification.
During her ordeal, Nur Malena moved slowly to avoid upsetting her roommates, even as scorpions clambered over her body. She left the box only for a 15-minute bathroom break every day, except for her birthday last week, when she emerged for two minutes to cut the cake.
Nur Malena has built up resistance to stings after five years of training, but can pass out if stung three times within a short span. A doctor had remained on standby to treat her if necessary.
Thousands of Malaysians visited the mall to observe the record attempt. Nur Malena lived her life on display, sleeping, eating, performing Muslim prayers, reading magazines and watching television to keep occupied.
Malaysians have displayed a growing penchant in recent years for offbeat records _ such as the highest backward climb up a staircase and the largest number of old people at a circus.


EARLIER STORY
Monday August 30, 2004

'Scorpion queen' sits out stings


Stung but not defeated: Hassan shows off some of her friends.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (Reuters) -- A Malaysian woman holed up in a glass container with 6,000 scorpions has been stung twice, but is still determined to reclaim a world record for living with creatures, an aide said.
Nur Malena Hassan, who is attempting to set a new record by spending 36 days with the scorpions, suffered a mild fever after being stung on her face, Ali Khan Shamsuddin said Sunday.
"She's okay now and she's very determined to do it. God willing, she will leave the cage on September 25," Ali Khan told Reuters.
Nur Malena, nicknamed "Scorpion Queen," moved into the glass room measuring 12 feet by 10 feet at a shopping mall in Kuantan, about 250 km (160 miles) east of Kuala Lumpur, on August 21. She leaves the cage just once a day for a 15-minute bathroom break.
The 27-year-old Malaysian woman, who set a world record by spending 30 days with 2,700 scorpions in 2001, is trying to win back the title from Thailand's Kanchana Ketkaew, who lived in a glass room with more than 3,000 scorpions for 32 days in 2002.
Ali Khan said Nur Malena, who watches DVDs to pass the time, lacks sleep because of the scorpions crawling over her body, and that she is aware that she will pass out if stung three times within a short span.
Officials from Guinness World Records are monitoring the attempt.


Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"