Sole woman candidate elated at being picked


  • Nation
  • Thursday, 09 Feb 2006

PETALING JAYA: Being the sole female candidate to be short-listed for the Malaysian Astronaut Programme does not make S. Vanajah feel inferior. 

The 35-year-old senior quality engineer from Klang was elated to be short-listed and to receive equal consideration from the selection panel.  

S. Vanajah

“I'm really lucky to be the only women selected,” she told reporters after Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaludin Jarjis announced the eight candidates for the programme here yesterday. 

Another candidate, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, has found yoga and meditation to be the best way to keep mentally strong. 

“One has to be positive. I believe in destiny and myself,” said the 34-year-old medical doctor from Kuala Lumpur. 

Dental surgeon Faiz Khaleed, 26, from Cheras, is confident of his ability to handle stress.  

For Muhammad Husaini Hashim, 25, from Seremban, stress management is the one thing he is used to. He said his job as a machinery engineer had helped him handle the physical and mental stress during the selection process.  

Norazlan Shah Mahadi, from Kuala Lumpur, said support from close ones meant more than anything to him. 

The 36-year-old father of three admits that his children are more excited than him, proudly telling everyone their father is an astronaut. 

Mohd Bostami Ahmad, from Bandar Jengka, Pahang, said the survival test was the toughest. 

“You had to walk in the jungle in the dark, and it's all about overcoming your fear,” said the 25-year-old automotive designer. 

Kelvin Lim Hock Seong, 25 admitted that he was slightly nervous as he was reaching closer to the final stages of the selection. 

“At the end of the day the panel wants someone with a suitable personality. This has been my childhood dream; but I never thought that being in Malaysia it could come true. There is no turning back now,” said the AirAsia pilot from Kuantan.  

Mohamed Faiz Kamaluddin, 34, from Subang Jaya said he was grateful to be among the eight candidates short-listed for another round of selection by the selection panel as it was a stiff competition.  

“If I am not chosen, I will take it positively. The whole experience – the selection process for the programme and the friendship with the rest of the candidates – has been the best experience of my life,” said Faiz, a Malaysia Airlines pilot for the past 14 years. 

Related Stories:Eight left in space race, only one woman in this select group 

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