Malaysia's Astronaut Candidates Agree Not To Marry Until 2008
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Hospital medical officer Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, 34, and army dentist Kapt Dr Faiz Khaleed gave their commitment to this at a luncheon with Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor at Sri Satria, the official residence of the Deputy Prime Minister, here Thursday. Also present were Najib and Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Datuk Seri Jamaludin Jarjis.
"I do agree with Datuk Jamaluddin Jarjis on the matter of marriage... at least we can focus on our mission because what we are doing now is for the country," Dr Sheikh Muszaphar told reporters after the luncheon when commenting on Jamaludin's statement two days ago that they were not allowed to tie the knot until 2008 as stipulated in their contracts.
Disclosing that he already had a sweetheart, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar said that she understood the demands on him for the mission. He also said that he would take along a picture of her for inspiration while undergoing training in Russia.
For Dr Faiz, 26, the condition in the contract does bother him at all. "This is to ensure that we focus on the programme," he said but declined to reveal whether he had plans to get married in the near future.
Earlier, Najib said the two astronaut candidates were entering a more challenging phase. "But I'm confident that after having undergone the gruelling selection process, they have developed the ability and tenacity to undertake the task.
"We are very proud of their spirit and determination to bring glory to the country," he said in bidding them farewell before they left for Russia for a one-year astronaut training stint.
The duo will leave on Tuesday.
**** I don't know why, but this report reminded me of that oldie song 'Tie A Yellow Ribbon Round The Old Oak Tree.'