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Sunday, December 17, 2006

2007: A Space Oddity

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Walski's minor warning: for some of you new to myAsylum this may seem like a very strange post...

This oddity of a blog entry has been inspired by The Malaysian's post, which subsequently led to Howsy's wild goose chase to actually find the elusive Angkasawan blog (how the hell Howsy actually found the blog from the Malaysian National Space Agency (ANGKASA) website remains a mystery).

MAJOR TOM WARNING: If you suffer from motion sickness, avoid checking out the ANGKASA website. Every damn thing floats on this site, to simulate weightlessness in space, it seems. Walski was so dizzified, that this old David Bowie video immediately came to mind.

Although Space Oddity is actually about another kind of space adventure (as in the spaced out kind), Walski can't help but wonder why on earth Malaysia needs astronauts (or angkasawan, in Bahasa Malaysia) - except, of course, they will be sent off Earth.

Speaking of angkasawan, what exactly is the official tag for the Malaysian astronauts? Walski's heard all kinds of silly epithets - Boleh-naut, Can-or-naut, Canai-naut, Tarik-naut... the last two in relation to the equally spaced-out idea of experimenting with making roti canai and teh tarik in the weightlessness and vacuum of space.
(more spaced-out thoughts in the full post)

In any case, the astronauts' blog really reads like any other typical personal diary-blog, describing the trials and tribulations of astronaut training. Howsy commented about the sparcity of the posts - Walski, however, thinks that it is actually a good thing. The blog is gawd-awful boring as it is! It talks about homework, cold weather, nice apartment (with 3 meals a day), and other pretty mundane stuff. But portions of it can be somewhat hilarious - from the post sometime in November (2nd last paragraph, emphasis by myAsylum):

Last night, we had Thanksgiving Dinner with the Astronauts at NASA Cottage. Turkey was on the menu. On Tuesday (21st. Nov), also at NASA Cottage, we had chicken curry prepared by JAXA (Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronauts. That has been the story so far since we arrived. They cook, we eat.

We came, we saw, we ate.

Another snippet from the first, introductory post (last paragraph):

We remember Dato’ Seri Jamaluddin Jarjis’ note on how our launch to space is symbolic of the nation's launch into the new era.

Which, unfortunately, is true - a brand new era of sheer wastefulness, and mindless spending of public monies - the new RM 400M Istana, space exploitation exploration, bleeding thru the nose from the legacy of crappy negotiation skills (i.e. the CONcession agreements)...

Oh, and talking about legacies... when David Bowie first released Space Oddity in 1969, it was widely rumored that he wrote the song to coincide with Man's first moon landing. But actually, the song is about an astronaut that becomes "lost in space" - that's inner, and not outer space... which is later admitted by Bowie himself in the follow-up to Space Oddity, the haunting 1980 song Ashes To Ashes.

Listening to the chorus of this Bowie classic,

ashes to ashes funk to funky
we know major tom's a junky
strung out on heaven's high
hitting an all time low

the question, dizzyingly spinning in Walski's brain (no thanks, in part, to the weightlessness of the Angkasa site) is this:

Is Malaysia becoming a junky to records and empty achievements, our collective hard-earned resources becoming ashes, in a future historical footnote of foolish nationhood, bringing us collectively to an all time low?