Bruneians taken up with M’sian astronaut

Bruneians taken up with M’sian astronaut

Man from outer space: Astronaut Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar delivers his motivational talk in UBD. Picture: Saifulizam
Saturday, July 26, 2008
BRUNEIANS show keen interest and intrigue towards Malaysian Astronaut, Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al Masrie Sheikh Mustapha, who is in Brunei for several motivational talks.

The talks are being held in conjunction with the Knowledge Convention 2008.

The Brunei Times had the opportunity to talk to several participants at the motivational talk.

Asfarina Hj Shari, 25, a civil servant, said she came because she was intrigued to hear what the talk would be on and because she wanted to meet the Malaysian astronaut “up close and personal”.

She expressed her interest in finding out more of Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s experience in space and how he came to be an astronaut.

She added: “I also brought my younger brothers and sisters along as I personally think that the younger generation needs some encouragement.”

Another participant, Mohammad Azri Hj Ali, a student from Duli Pengiran Muda Al-Muhtadee Billah College was enthusiastic at having the opportunity to be there.

The mathematics student expressed his happiness in meeting Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar in person.

He said that it would be good if Brunei developed its own astronautics section but due to the country’s size “I don’t think we’re quite ready for it”.

He added: “We can be good in many things and develop many areas but perhaps astronautics may not be one we may be good at. But it doesn’t mean we should stop trying.”

He was at the motivational talk when his parents suggested for him to attend.

“I almost didn’t come because two of my friends didn’t want to go with me and then I thought, I might as well go and learn something,” he added.

For Hajah Rashidah Metusin, 38 who attended the talk with two of her children, was surprised that the motivational talk was in conjunction with the Knowledge Convention.

She had read about Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar being the ninth Muslim to go into space.

The Brunei Times inquired which parts of the talk she enjoyed most and she said: “I found it interesting when he spoke about being able to pray in space despite being far away from Earth.”

She expressed her personal hope that the talk would further serve to motivate those present to do their best.

The Brunei Times also spoke to Amalina Khairunnisa Hj Mohd Alimin, 16, who said she had to be “dragged by her mother to attend” the talk.

She did, however, say that by the end of the day, she enjoyed herself and shyly admitted that she was slightly distracted by Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar’s attractiveness.

She said that she would describe the experience as “interesting and a once in a lifetime opportunity”.

The motivational talk was also attended by the Vice-Chancellor of Universiti Brunei Darussalam, Dato Paduka Dr Hj Ismail Hj Duraman.

Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar will be in Brunei until July 27.

The Knowledge Convention will be officially launched today at the International Convention Centre by His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam.

The Brunei Times