Monday, 14 April 2008

The First Korean Cosmonaut

When the Malaysian cosmonaut, Dr Sheik Muszaphar Shukor, successfully completed his mission to the International Space Station, Malaysians in general rejoiced over his achievement, but detractors also criticized the mission as a sinful waste of money. How much did it cost the Malaysian government to send him into space? It was part of the deal when the Malaysian government agreed to purchase Russian jet fighters worth US 900 million dollars. And how much is it going to cost the Malaysian government to send another cosmonaut to space? US 30 million dollars.

The funny thing was that it was reported that Dr Sheik Muszaphar was going to spin top, toss batu seremban (a five stone game), paint a batik motif and make 'teh tarik' (pulled tea) while in spacecraft. But of course the main objective was to conduct scientific experiments.

Now South Korea has sent her first cosmonaut, and
the Koreans are intensely proud of her. And according to a report she was going to share a traditional Korean dinner which included the "fermented cabbage dish, kimchi", and serenading to her five international colleagues with a Korean-language song. Well, it seems that Asian cosmonauts cannot resist the temptation to showcase their cultures while in space. The cost to the South Korean government? US 20 million dollars. Who is going to be the next Asian cosmonaut, I wonder.

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