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things that just are

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Cockroaches Hamper Woman's Attempt At Record Domino Topple

SINGAPORE, Aug. 12 — Cockroaches are just a creepy, crawling nuisance to many — but for Ma Lihua, who has been painstakingly setting up dominoes for the past six weeks in preparation for the world's longest solo topple, they are the enemy. One bug alone knocked down 8,000 tiles — a day's work for Ma, an event organizer said Tuesday.

Ma, a 24-year-old domino-laying expert from Beijing has been putting in 13-hour-days to meet her deadline and only takes short breaks for meals and the occasional badminton game to help relieve stress, said Brian Kim, Singapore manager of LG Electronics, the Korean company sponsoring the event next week.

She hopes to topple 350,000 tiles on Monday, he said.

''There's been an ongoing problem with cockroaches getting on the floor and they can wreak havoc with 350,000 dominoes,'' Kim said.

''It's caused some stress. It has caused some setbacks,'' he added.

Pandan leaves — thought to repel the insects — have been spread around the Singapore Expo hall where Ma is working and plastic barriers are put within the design to minimize the damage if the dominoes start to fall, Kim said.

In addition, a ring of rat traps ring the expo hall, but they are ''just a precaution,'' he added.

Kim said the record Ma is attempting to break was set by German Klaus Friedrich, who single-handedly set up and toppled 281,581 dominoes in 1984.

According to the Guinness Book of World Records web site, the most dominoes ever toppled at once by a group was 3,847,295.


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