elb's hovel of thoughts

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Commentry on Malaysia's first space flight participant

Frankly, I don't give two hoots about Malaysia's first space flight participant. Oops, maybe I actually am since I am going to comment on it:

Why on earth are we getting so patriotic (or rather, supposed to) over this paid for event? Would the Russians have even agreed to it had it not been part of a military deal? Maybe, after all, its still money.

Ultimately, let's face it. The first Malaysian, a non-Malay, flying to outer space? Unthinkable. A non-Malay Malaysian flying to outer space during Eid ul Fitr? Scandalous!

We all knew from day one that the space tourist would be of a certain ethnicity. Eventhough it was claimed that the selection 'would be fair', who would have believed it? There were a few ethnicities who made it past the laughable SMS-voting. Come on, voting an astronaut by text messaging? Oh wait, its a space tourist, so I suppose its a bit more acceptable.

What takes the cake is that ultimately, NASA decided to call our 'astronaut' a space tourist. So the Malaysian government protested to Russia; Russia agrees with Malaysia. With a multi billion dollar jet deal between Russia and Malaysia at the core of this 'astronaut' program at stake, how could Russia not refuse?

However, I believe that many of us would concur with NASA that Muszaphar Shukor is a mere space flight participant, although obviously there are people who don't agree, as the Wikipedia entry demonstrates. What the hell, he stills gets credited with being the first Malaysian in space, and the first Muslim to celebrate Eid-ur Fitr in space. Be happy enough with that already.

And now, they want to waste even more money sending a second space tourist; probably to placate the 'runner up' space tourist more than anything else (and to show that Malaysia 'boleh', once again).

On top of that, they want to start a Space Agency? We frankly don't need to waste money on such a thing, at least not until Malaysia has a more developed economy with deeper pockets (the fact that the main space exploration countries are USA, Russia, EU, China are also huge economies don't come coincidentally).

So, why should we feel proud, let alone patriotic over this waste of time and money which is of no value but to massage and grow the Malay(-sian) ego?

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