Photo by universalspacesystems.
“If previously we have not heard of anyone wanting to be an astronaut, after Dr. Sheik’s (Muszaphar Shukor) blast into space, things have changed. Many of the younger generations are now saying they want to become astronauts (nought). This is a reflection of the changes in the mindset among Malaysian people” (Deputy prime minister Najib Tun Razak, when launching “Reaching for the Stars“, written by the astronaut’s late younger brother).
Yeah, guess what was the “changes in the mindset among Malaysian people”?
From Associate Press:
The ruling coalition’s dramatic losses in Malaysia’s general elections are much worse than they appear. An Associated Press analysis and calculations by independent analysts showed that the coalition’s share of the popular vote is barely half – about 51 percent of the 7.9 million votes cast. Nevertheless, the ruling National Front took 63 percent of the seats at stake in Saturday’s vote – 140 of 222 seats.
I believe this stupid venture – when Malaysians were suffering the effects of an economic downturn - played a part in BN/UMNO’s losses in the recent general elections. It was a real blast, anyway, for BN/UMNO!
Before the general elections, everyone I spoke to in my hometown Penang, was really pissed off at that astro-idiot blasting into space. My Chinese sinseh said “What a nut. What a waste of money. I heard of Singaporeans donating money to build health centres for the poor in Malaysia. Why can’t Malaysians themselves do this?”
My 8 year old niece was even more blunt “So what? He’s not riding the space-shift, he’s going to make teh-tarik there“. LOL.
The government defended this project by saying that the space venture could ‘inspire’ kids to become interested in Science. It would make them interested in being a tourist, definitely. And in thinking there is nothing wrong with spending billions of the people’s money just because some politician had a fanciful thought.
My interest in science took off when my own father made me follow him on all his supervision trips to check on weather stations (balai kaji cuaca) around the country. He thought me how to read the weather instruments, to forecast rain, how to calculate pressure, and the names of all the different clouds in the sky. He talked to me about the sun, the moon, the stars. And how the earth came to being. He told me all about the universe, the various planets, and the Haley comet that visit us only once in 75 years.
I didn’t need an astronaut to parade infront of me so I could believe in Science. I need a heroic leader who is honest, principled, fair and just, to make me believe in humanity.
Sadly there is none. A thousand astronauts can blast into space, I am afraid. But what kids need these days is a visionary and honest leader, one that would most certainly bring them back to earth.