by TV Smith
was presented with a rare opportunity to send one of her citizens into outer space
with the signing of a special
barter deal with Russia recently. In addition to the 18 Sukhoi fighter
jets, we also purchased a taxi ticket to the International Space Station.
the chosen spaceman was set to take off in the year 2005. In a recent development,
the government decided to bring forward the launch date to coincide with next
month's OIC Summit. During that
time, a lucky Malaysian will be orbiting earth in the ultimate exaltation of the
Malaysia Boleh spirit.
Due to the overwhelming response
and time factor, the candidate selection was decided by a 'lucky draw'. The training
period was also cut down to 18 days from the original 18 months. Dua
Sen's TV Smith was granted an exclusive interview with Malaysia's first
cosmonaut, Jarnail Singh, at the the Yuri
Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Russia.
history-making former mechanic from Batu Gajah is not only temperamental
but has a twisted sense of humour as well...
TV: Have we met somewhere
On the Moon I think...
Yes! Moonraker Pub, Bangsar, in the 80's.
JS: Bangsar's colonised
by The White Man now. [sighs].
Yeah, it used to be Indian territory.
Care for a Ruskie Standart? [pouring himself another glass]
Vodka? With Ribena please.
JS: Sissy Pussy!
Shall we begin the interview, sir?
Please address me as Datuk. [sounding annoyed]
You mean they conferred you with a Datukship before you even left earth?
JS: Yes. It's not so nice to jump directly from 'Mr' to 'Tan Sri'. Which
is what I'll be getting when I complete the mission.
Getting? Expecting you mean...
Expecting a Tunship. [winks]
OK Datuk, were you surprised that a non-bumi was selected?
Nope. Bumiputras are princes of the earth, I'm a angkasaputra. [laughs]
I understand you speak fluent Russian...
JS: I met a few Russian girls
when I was in KL [laughs]
Sorry, I didn't get that.
You haven't been around, have you?
Is it true there was a Russian woman in your hotel room during your brief stopover
JS: Do I look like a hockey player?
What was the most difficult part of the training, so far?
Floating in simulated zero gravity, wearing a sarong.
Tell us more about the scientific experiments that you will be carrying out.
JS: I'll be bringing along 2 Malaysian rabbits to conduct research on our
two most popular recreational drugs; Tongkat Ali and Kacip Fatimah.
If all goes as planned, there'll be 2000 rabbits when the spacecraft returns,
I presume.... [laughs].
Will you be taking photographs of Malaysia when you orbit above it and how are
you going to identify the land mass?
I'll be if I get a window seat and if the window is clean. During training they
told me to look out for a longish piece of land above a little red dot.
What else will you be looking out for?
You mean forest burning?
JS: No, smoke from KL's motorcycles.
The Russian cosmonauts you were training with, did they give you any special advice?
I not sure if it is special but they kept telling me this; DO NOT DIRTY THE TOILET!
I'm sure you have been asked this many times before, how does it feel to have
so much money spent on just one single person, one space tourist?
Well, we can't bring 22 million Malaysians into space at the same time, can we?
[raising his voice]
JS: Salut then! [raises glass]
Do you have any special message for fellow Malaysians back home?
Just a moment.... [taking out a piece of paper from his pocket]
"Malaysia kita sudah berjaya. Aman makmur bahagia.... " [singing]
Hey, that's a song from the 70's! [interrupts]
I like retro music. [with a sheepish grin].
TV: Speaking of music, what's
your favourite music?
I like David Bowie's "Space Oddity" and his other song that's banned
in Kelantan & Terengganu...
"Let's Dance", the 1983 hit.
About the message again, do you have something in your own words...., I mean your
Umm ...mmm ...eh [scratches head]
To be continued...
© 2003 TV SMITH
Link to this article: http://www.tvsmith.net.my/duasen/210903_cosmonaut.html