Malaysian first Astronaut? Not sure, but will he urinate

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Oct 10 2007
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When the news broke in late 2006 that Malaysia’s first astronaut will do what no one in space has done before: play traditional Malay children’s games (“batu seremban” or “five stones”) without gravity, spin traditional Malay tops in space, do batik painting and making “teh tarik”, it created the sensation and about to become the laughing stock of the century. While some were giggling in amusement, lots more were frustrated and puzzled with the way how the hard-earned nation’s money was spent though this same frustrated group can’t help with a smile out of the government’s silliness.

Today, Wednesday 10th Oct 2007, Hospital UKM’s Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor will goes into space on board the Russian Soyuz TMA-11 spacecraft together with American Peggy Whitson,
Malaysia Astronaut Sheikhthe space station’s new commander, and Russian cosmonaut Yuri Malenchenko at 9.22pm (Malaysian time). Out of criticism, the embarrass Malaysian government had scrapped the plan for the Malaysian first astronaut to play childish game in space. Instead he’ll carry out four experiments drawn up by Malaysian scientists to study of the effects of microgravity and space radiation on cells and microbes, as well as experiments with proteins for a potential HIV vaccine.

Not sure if the experiments would carry any significant benefits to the nation (it might be an obsolete task done before) but you can be sure the Malaysian astronaut will definitely performs something admirable – sharing loads of Malaysian food such as satay and festive “kuih Raya” with others on board, though I’m curious how the astronauts plan to taste the satay’s gravy in space.

Russian Soyuz space shipMalaysian religious authorities have prepared guidelines adapting religious rules to life on the ISS (International Space Station), which circles the Earth 16 times per calendar day. This means Malaysian astronaut would be obliged to pray a mind-boggling 80 times in 24 hours without the new set of guidelines drawn. With the new guidelines, he needs to only pray five times a day.

The $25 million agreement for a Malaysian astronaut to fly to space was negotiated in 2003 along with a billion-dollar deal for Malaysia to buy 18 Russian-made Sukhoi 30-MKM jet fighters. However not every Malaysian blinks in pride when Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi said earlier that “it would be the first step by Malaysia to prove its capability in the field of aerospace” considering the country does not have any technology whatsoever in the field of aerospace in the first place.

In fact a visit to NASA Space Station Crew’s Profiles indicated that Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is merely a “Spaceflight Participant” and not as astronaut, cosmonaut or other “naut”. Sensing another round of potential embarrassment, Russian ambassador to Malaysia Alexander Karchava was roped in to tell the local media recently that Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor is not passenger or tourist but a researcher (wow I’m impressed). But still that didn’t stop people from having the perception that the Malaysian is indeed another passenger or tourist wearing a spacesuit.
NASA crews portraitMaybe the refusal by NASA to recognize Malaysian Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor as a full-fledge astronaut is due to the fact that he was there because of the jet fighters for a space-trip deal, and nothing else. Maybe Sheikh has not met the criterias to be called an astronaut. Whatever it is, Malaysia will definitely change their school text-book claiming Sheikh as the country’s “First Angkasawan”. What he did in the space is immaterial. As long as he is up there in the Russian spaceship, he’s qualified as the Malaysian version of astronaut.

On the fun note, it was reported that halfway on their bus trip from their hotel to the launch area, primary crew will conduct some sort of ritual that has been practiced since the time of Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin (the first man to go to space on April 12, 1961) – to urinate on the bus tyres. It would be fun to watch Malaysian Angkasawan perform the same “important task.” For all you know he might come back a hero and a “Datuk” title are within his reach.

You can bet your last penny that the government will utilize this blast-off as one of the propagandas to instill feel-good factor into the voters with the general election not far away. Anyway, let’s pray for his safe space journey.

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He can open up a mamak stall in the space station, so that he can watch EPL at mamak space station. Malaysia Boleh. Boleh Belah.

Immediately upon his return to earth , he will be the first BumiPutra upgraded to AngkasaPutra. He can join umno youth to contest in the coming GE and instant umno poster boy, taking over the FIL potholes face as the new smoother face poster boy in GE banners everywhere. By tat time, the SIL will become jeolous and feel bad … oppps.

waste of $$.. there are so many other meaningful things that can be initiated

It doesnt matter waht all you haters talk about him and stop talking wether he is an astronaut or not.. Well he is a full pledge astronaut.. go get a dictionary and look up for the word Astronaut and all of u idiots will know.

hello anonymous of Thursday, October 11, 2007 8:19:00 PM …

i believe nobody hates him but the way the public money used to send the “angkasawan” up there … maybe you think the $1 billion used for the jet-fighters was done in the utmost honest way to get the best-deal …

you saying NASA is idiots? no?

cheers …

Who’s fault if this spending leads to nowhere? I don’t think we can put the blame on the Dr. He’s like everyone of us who likes to take chances and when opportunity is given, hey, just take it. He’s just another “Mawi phenom” reality-show victim.
If there’s anyone to put the blame on, it will be those selection panel. I wonder who they are. Despite the numbers of chinese/indian engineers outweigh that of the malays, I cannot imagine not even 1 malaysian indian or 1 chinese were able to win this “reality show” side-by-side with Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor. How “real” is that?
Out of the last 4 selected individuals, and despite histories of past astronauts’ professional backgrounds being mostly flight engineers/pilots/non-model, a Malaysian doctor managed to deny a quality engineer, a practising pilot and another “less-a-looker” Military Doctor. Really? Only Malaysia Bolehlaaa. Aha, he’s a tin Milo Model. Check out your tin Milo, you might be lucky to own a piece of Malaysia’s first astro-man. Hebat lagi kan if it’s a Datuk/Datin’s promising son. Maybe this time we’ll stick with these criteria, the next AF2, I mean, Angkasa 2 or 3, we’ll include a nationwide SMS. That makes us the 1st in the world to pick our astroman via SMS-voting.


Americans and Russians have sent dogs and monkeys into space. It isn’t really a big achievement to go into space anymore.

The only reason this guy went is because we negotiated the deal when we bought the planes. Nothing much really, it’s like getting a 1d/2n stay in a hotel because you bought a car.

Sending someone into space, just for the sake of doing it is stupid, and we shouldn’t glorify stupidity.

Well said and well done….

We live a world of glorified unheroic efforts.

Malaysia boleh… A 25 Million taxi ride… who else can say BOLEH… BLURRED…

Waste of taxpayers’ money… in my 2 cents opinion.

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