Sunday, 24 July 2011

A Scorpion I named KingKong

The  paper money folded Origami Scorpion

Early July 2011 I accompanied a group of 20 cheerful volunteers to Rumah Tunas Harapan, Seri Menati, near Kuala Pilah, Negeri Sembilan for a noble cause, to give the orphanage a new coat of paint. The group comprised of managers to general production workers and office staffers of a large personal products manufacturer; it had been an international company operated in Malaysia for few decades. Upon arrival at around 11am, the eager participants for the benevolent exercise sprang into action immediately after a short briefing. They worked unyieldingly under the sweltering heat, laughing at each other’s face smeared with paint here and there whilst I watched from a short distance. This event was held to highlight the corporate company’s effort in paying back to society since its inception many years ago in Malaysia. They were also promoting their products with posters at few corners of the Rumah Harapan. By doing so their corporate image would be greatly enhanced to carve a niche in the competitive field. No sooner it was lunch time and all had a short break to fill their grumbling stomach. Then something in dark and shiny armour crawling under the blistering sun along a shallow cemented drain caught my attention. What was that? Oh my! I had never seen such a big crustaceous insect crawlie! It was a 4 inches long from head to tail scorpion, not including its venomous stinger!

                                No way out for this stinger Scorpion

As the fearless intruder from the secondary forest (just at the back of the orphanage)made its way up from the shallow drain to the hot road surface, with its pair of  pincers raised menacingly, I called for the few photographers who were there to cover the event to take snapshots of this uninvited guest. There was no sign of this intimidating pest (or pet if you want to keep it at home) backing off to where he came from. After all it was flat road surface all around and there were no crevices for it to sneak in to hide. Apparently it had lost its way while heading for somewhere. I was thinking if I left it there undisturbed, going anywhere it might stray to, it might sting one of the orphan children along the way. The orphanage accommodates about 40 boys and girls, aged from 4 to 14 years old. So I made a bold decision: catch it under my care for a start.

                                      A mean menancing vermin in offensive mood

I ushered the scorpion with a small twig and more or less pushed it into a plaster bag and went round to look for a container. Well, there wasn’t any and I had to make one. I cut off the top part of a mineral water bottle with a knife I borrowed from the kitchen. With a little tilt, the insect went into the bottle without a fight. I then sealed the opening with some paper adhesive tapes, leaving a tiny gap for the air-flow. I left the bottle with the scorpion nicely nudged in the tour coach with the air-conditioning running. I impromptu named my prized catch ‘KingKong’.  At the end of the day some members asked me the whereabouts of the scorpion and I answered in jest that I had eaten it up.
The venomous stinger could give you hell if you were stricken

I brought KingKong the scorpion home with the intention of showing off – to my two big boys who were in their twenties. There were paranoid to insects and all forms of crawlies, including cockroaches, spiders and grasshoppers. At the same time they were just as curious to observe the scorpion at close range in a transparent jar since they were great fans of Animal Planets’ Jeff Corwin, who had been a hero catching snakes, tarantulas and all sorts of exotic wild lives. In the transparent jar I placed some green leaves for KingKong to feel like its natural habitat. At first it hid between the leaves but later it turned them into its carpet where it rested all day and night long. I fed the imprisoned vermin the tail of a cooked shrimp. It snubbed at the food given, but after one night I found the shell of the shrimp emptied of its meaty part. We observed that at resting position, KingKong would rest on its 4 pairs of legs, with its pair of pincers close to its mouth, while its rear heinous weapon the stinger would rest on its left part of the front body. When disturbed with the jar shaken, it stood up on all legs and the deadly stinger poised for combat mode.  It was quite spectacular. I knew insect fed on dew droplets on leaves; so I squeezed some onto the leaves through the small opening of the lid of the jar.

                           The Scorpion of Arizona nicked named Death Stalker

After a few days I phoned my veterinarian niece, asking her would she adopt a scorpion as a pet, “Of course not, you know I have a one year old baby.” But she was just as curious as my boys; “Can you send some pics over?” I promptly did and she replied in her mail that she was wondering how I avoided being stung. She claimed that she’s comfortable with mammals and birds, but not arthropod crawlies with exoskeleton. After one whole week keeping KingKong the scorpion as a pet, I donated it to a pet shop ‘Pet World’ at the Ikano Power Station in Kota Damansara, and that ended my close encounter adventure with a deadly scorpion named KingKong.

A story written by
Alan CY Kok

            The Ruman Tunas Harapan Orphanage is just a stone throw
                       away from the historical Istana Seri Menati


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