Why the Angkasawan Program failed


In 2003 the average score of Malaysian students in in the Trends in International Maths and Science Study 510 (slightly above the global average). In 2007, that number slumped to 471, below the global average. Then in Oct 2007, we sent a man to space. With the idea that it would “instill the interest of young Malaysians to explore new areas of science and technology ” Surely our science scores would sky-rocket after such an endeavour.

It didn’t. We scored a embarassing 426 In just 8 years we went from being above average to bottom third, and the angkasawan program did absolutely nothing to arrest this slide.

Of course, the Good Minister will tell you that we’ve had 24 academic papers published as a result of the program, first of all I couldn’t find the mysteriously ‘well-received’ papers on any google searches I performed. Including papers related to the Food In Space experiment, which was meant to taste 9 difference Malaysian delicacies on board the ISS. Notice also, that the word collaboration is wrongly spelt on this slide.

Secondly, the program was estimated to cost of 20 Million US dollars, that’s a very bad return of investment, that works out to slightly less than 1 Million US Dollars per research paper, surely that’s a high price to pay for a published paper.

Let’s compare the American Space Program that sent Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to the Moon, and our own ridiculously cheesy program.

First, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, were full fledge astronauts. Neil Armstrong was an Aerospace Engineer, a Naval Aviator, a test pilot and a UNiversity professor. He actually served in the US Navy during the Korean war. He wasn’t an orthopedic surgeon that won what was basically a reality TV show contest. At least our Angkasawan was a part-time model–Malaysia Boleh Indeed.

Secondly, Going to the moon was something new. No one had done it before. Going to the INternational space station on the other hand isn’t something new

Thirdly, the Americans launch from Cape Canaveral in America. ON home Soil. WE launched from Kazakhstan. So after the good Dr. High Fived Borat, he got on his rocket and shot off, oh and instead of saying Houston we have a program, he could say Yazimash.

Fourth, the Americans had a very good reason to go to the moon. They were at war with the Russians, and they needed to win, The Russians had already sent a dog, a chimp and a man to space–the Americans were trailing and going to the moon was the vision for victory inspired by the President Himself. Now, good ol’ JFK was assasinated before Neil Armstrong set foot on lunar soil, but the vision he instilled in his country is a stark constrast to the ridiculous useless-ness of our Angkasawan program.

Finally, and this is most important. The Americans sent Neil and Buzz to the moon, on their own technology. The saturn 5 rocket was a rocket capable of shooting to the moon and back. This was a time when a computer that was a million times less powerful than your iPhone was the size of a bungalow. The saturn 5 had a giant Made in America sticker on it, and then instilled pride.

Our Angkasawan was launched from Russian rocket, one that we had no engineering or scientific into designing. For all intents, we just bought him a very expensive plante ticket to the ISS.

You see, the only way to get respect and admiration is to have your own technology, not even money. Our pride and joy, the Petronas Twin Towers, was built by Koreans and Japanese. The structural design engineers worked out of New York City, and the architect himself was an Argentinian.

When I look at the burj Khalifa, I don’t think WOW those guys in DUbai really know how to engineer a building. I think those guys in Dubai have got so much oil money, they just wanted to show off….and what kind of money do you think paid for our twin towers? I’ll give you a hint–it’s called the Petronas Twin Towers.

If you want admiration and respect, you need your own technology. Now we don’t our own technology, how could we, when our students now score bottom third of the world in science test scores. These students, who will finish secondary school in 3 years, will then go into our universities, and I hate to break it to you, but if you send bottom third of the world to our universities, you will have a bottom third ranking university–that’s just a fact of life.

If we seriously wanted to encourage to do better in science and maths, then we could better spend the millions we would on the angkasawan project into something a lot more effective and lot for cost-efficient.


Picture of Angkasawan: http://www.angkasa.gov.my/?q=en/node/63

Picture of Astronaut in the moon: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/jurvetson/4029942105/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Picture of ISS:https://secure.flickr.com/photos/nasamarshall/9070896398/sizes/m/in/photolist-ePyHtu-cFj82E-cFj6L1-cFj9R5-cFj7FE-cFj8G9-cFj66h-cFj54E-cFj6t3-cFj9zm-cFj9kC-cFj75W-cFj5JE-cFj5ow-cFj8mu-cFj7oy-bMM594-7Zja6s-7Z4b8K-ayFPey-9p72ri-b1Ra8r-diSiDD-diSi7X-edqM3z-9p6XPX-dHc6LZ-eQ6eNK-ePy3WY-eRh6QN-bXY2RA-eR5kA3-8vYBQu-bWwVXZ-eR5YnB-7VjR63-fPr8WC-7yvnEr-eQRM5i-8QztR6-eR5qhU/

Picture of rocket launching from Cape Canaveral: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/gsfc/8670184310/sizes/m/in/photolist-ed9XJo-edaJM7-bbibXF-eGKLFX-7XV88P-9jaMrW-9Yf9Kk-9Yf9JP-9W9kJR-9bQx4P-9bQwtD-9bTBPb-aBwJsh-bjZkxG-bjZkRf-bjZmrE-bxUdJg-bxUeCM-bjZmKq-bjZm3q-edctkJ-eda6bN-edcsJu-edciFw-ed9oHh-ed7pSn-ed6Hz8-edcpMJ-9i7UdV-fit8uH-9Ycu99-ar6k7X-9whLYB-eSFvgt-ar8YUU-dxSMSY-dxSMzA-dxMjuF-7Phfce-dxMmC6-aBYzpQ-ac4Jyv-dHGUVn-ar2XLS-h4fhiR-geZUyR-8sjkpu-eSSoi7-eSSifo-eSFoFg-fLq1TS/

Cold War picture: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/cassanaya/7063411241/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Made In America: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/kenfagerdotcom/9335419617/sizes/m/in/photostream/

Plane ticket: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/naoyawada/8108651502/sizes/m/in/photolist-dmwXAf-8zKQ7q-8GgCiQ-ep6zc1-gaNsEF-bB8GQU-976qea-dXfqLK-9NEH8j-9NEKvf-7UPxhd-7zTuRu-bUyK5U-9ePFvo-7GwjTv-8cCyTU-bysjYS-9whV3o-fAyY4o-aZJYsR-9fYMNM-8wSBJZ-8jUv8k-dA8j4n-8mDQyr-8mGUDC-8mGSvd-8mGXGC-8mDPtk-8mDNSV-8mGTxf-8mGT8W-8mGUcu-8mGVqN-8mGV7j-8mDM4t-81zKGN-dyi8LB-8CiVYo-9BGC18/

ISS: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/sdasmarchives/6996814054/sizes/m/in/photolist-bEhv45-bEhuKo-bTceAx-97ajER-cFj95b-ePyHtu-cFj82E-cFj9R5-cFj7FE-cFj54E-cFj9zm-cFj6t3-cFj9kC-cFj5JE-cFj5ow-cFj8mu-7Zja6s-fxJ2ix-7Z4b8K-83prTA-fCdQKi-9p72ri-b1Ra8r-a212ec-97ak4V-bwbhVH-cQ6kA3-8fxkZy-gYsEGf-9mNys6-fnJkU4-fBgkBq-97ajUg-fqbUDU-amZAKT-fopa4v-dHpgET-d8wemG-diSiDD-guqqEF-diSi7X-fBhXk9-dHc6LZ-eQ6eNK-ebCZgd-ePy3WY-eRh6QN-bXY2RA-eR5kA3-8v1MNj-9RwgaN/

Petronas Twin Towers : https://secure.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/3097579911/in/photolist-5HHUAc-5J1zSC-61qFp2-61qH5r-61qQVa-61sWSZ-61uSxy-61uSQq-61uT6w-61x9Ay-61x9VQ-61xacs-6rZ1J8-6vRgLx-6z1etT-6ZVNDp-6ZVNJR-6ZVNSi-6ZZMRC-6ZZNm5-74aMxA-7vTueQ-8Gmeum-amUTS1-9iaEa1-8Q59ac-8Q5atr-8QakBu-7LyJBS-9xLqdA-8Q7eGZ-dmbgMv-diJMdC-9kWdiA-anGtpA

Burj Kalifa: https://secure.flickr.com/photos/roman_emin/5097467241/sizes/m/in/photolist-8LrRqe-8LrR4c-7zph4U-a1oY2X-gmGD3J-87L4U4-ef7M5m-9eEpA3-dBom22-dBtJXs-dBoncx-dBoe9K-9cxrP6-a1rTEu-dBuig7-dBpXPv-9SbFZy-gmG9jS-gmFkzN-dBw1eU-dBq3Mk-dBtYcG-dBqKnP-dBtTnE-dBqGJF-dBoEC6-dBorsn-dBwXFb-dBpDYk-dBp2Pv-dBoqnK-dBrvNt-dBvPUd-dBpaZ2-dBqTMp-dBoz58-dBrfhc-dBtWRq-dBveZq-dBq6cn-dBug4U-dBqjmD-dBuc61-dBuebL-dBuJ8h-dBovwv-dBr24Z-dBvrs7-dBpqSx-dBv7UW-dBvmpQ/

Blueprint icon: http://www.aha-soft.com

Money icon: http://www.aiga.org/

Student icon: http://www.pixel-mixer.com/

Special thanks to:

Icons: Elderado Icon Set: http://bitly.com/1aw4gwC
Font: Archisto: http://www.archistico.com/portfolio/font-archistico-versione-1-1/

Launch pictures of the Saturn V, as well as picture of the computer are rights reserved. I apologize for taking them, but they were the only pictures I could find. If you are object to me using them, contact me, and I’ll remove them immediately.


Astound us with your intelligence

  • Damn good video Keith! But it’s also damn funny to hear you speak proper English ha ha… if you speak to me like that face-to-face I won’t be able to keep a straight face.