Monday, February 25, 2013

Singaporean in Space on 9th August 2015

National Day Parade (NDP) in Singapore used to be an exciting day for me.

Participated in one during my secondary school days - one of the proudest and most memorable time of my life. Burning many weekends to train for the mass display under the hot sun, just for that one chance to perform live for a few minutes in front of thousands of Singaporeans in the National Stadium and many thousands more behind TV screens at home.

The joy of executing it flawlessly on the actual evening made all of us incredibly proud and happy. I often wondered how does it feel to be a superstar performing in a live concert. I finally had a little taste of that when I heard the thunderous applause coming from all directions on that special 9th day in August as we executed our surprise finale move - unveiling a massive national flag above our heads and doing the human wave with it.

A few years later, during my National Service, get to work with the executive committee of that year's NDP. Had a new found respect how much work and planning is involved in organising and executing one. The lessons learnt then was very helpful in my professional life.

From then on, it was no longer that fun and exciting as year after year, it is just more of the same and became too predictable - the fighter jet flybys, commandos parachuting from the sky, the fireworks, ...etc. Being unlucky balloting for tickets year after year was not helping too.

For some (or many?) Singaporeans now, talk of NDP will make us really excited .... about planning where to go overseas for a holiday! For stargazers, most probably it's about going overseas to observe the Perseid Meteor Shower which happens yearly around the same period!

BUT all that could change in 2015! Because of this .....

Image Credit: MyPaper

You can read the MyPaper articles online here:

- English article:
- Chinese article:

Only when I read the requirements, it really hit me we are no longer talking about wild speculations and one-time publicity stunt but in fact something that may really happen and have a real impact for Singapore:

(1) Applicants must be Singapore-born citizens
(2) Applicants must have a pilot license
(3) Last day of application - 30th May 2013
(4) To apply, email C.V. to
(5) Selected applicants will undergo training for the launch on National Day 2015!

Personally, I think this project will have a much higher chance of success than Goal 2010.

Huge kudos to local entrepreneur Marvyn Lim Seng for simply having the GUTS TO DREAM and at least giving it a TRY to make it happen in Singapore! Wishing him, his start-up and all the related organisations all the best in this endeavour!

We should do a reality show about the training and final selection of the astronaut for this historic flight! That will really get Singaporeans excited about Space and Science and its related spin-offs, e.g. space tourism, education, economy, jobs, ...etc. That is one local reality show I will not miss and I think the ratings will go through the roof.

This exciting Singaporean-in-Space announcement is in conjunction with the following news announced a day early at the Global Space & Technology Convention 2013:

Singapore's journey to space: Government plans to build up space-satellite industry
Official Launch of Office for Space Technology and Industry (OSTin) (pdf)
ST Electronics to launch TeLEOS-1, the first made-in-Singapore commercial remote-sensing satellite.

Minister Mr S. Iswaran mentioned this in his speech - "First, space could ignite the interest of our youths to carve out their career paths in the fields of science and engineering."

Couldn't agree more. This is already a proven fact. It is call landing humans on the Moon and safely returning them back to Earth and the advancement in science, engineering and technology in the United States.

There will always be short-sighted naysayers who will questioned whether the money should be spent in other areas of our society. Some of them will just criticise only the sake of criticising. These are the people we should just ignore. For those who are sincere in finding the answers to such questions with an open mind, recommend them to watch the following videos.

To conclude, imagine this.

The date is 10th August 2015. You are a teacher in Singapore. Your principal wants you to address the whole school during a public assembly to inspire the students to do well in Science and Math. But you are only given limited time to say a few words.

Will you say: "If you get good grades in Science and Math, you can go to a prestigious school, then get a good job and have a good life."

Or will you say: "Did you watch NDP last night? Who wants to go to Space?"


Update (25 Feb 2013):

Turns out it is technically not Space but in the stratosphere according to this report - Wanted: Singaporean to fly 20km above Earth. But I guess for the general public, almost double the height than all commercial airplane is "space" enough to them. The following is an excellent infographic to illustrate the different atmospheres.

Image Credit: Wikipedia