18.Insect specimen from Malaysia

For a period of time, I collected preserved insects. I ‘got the bug’ after encountering many strange specimens at souvenir shops in Southeast Asia. Rather than the more popular butterflies and moths, it was the bizarre shapes of stick- and leaf-insects that attracted me. In Malaysia, I visited an ‘insect specimen factory,’ a couple of hours drive from the capital, Kuala Lumpur. The location was a small town at the foot of a mountain, and people who lived in the jungle would catch the insects and bring them to the factory to sell. Inside the factory, which was more like a small workshop, I saw many large baskets about one metre wide. They contained hundreds or thousands of dried insects, including scorpions, giant centipedes and stick insects, all piled in great heaps. It remains in my memory like the set of a horror film.