Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Water Rocket Competition

3,2,1...Blast off!!!

25th & 26th August 2008 - The National water rocket competition was held in Universiti Malaya's Varsiti field. 30 teams from secondary schools across the country qualified for the finals. This was its 6th annual event organized by ANGKASA, Ministry of Education and Universiti Malaya. The programme ran from 9am to 4pm and was opened to the general public.

Parachute category

The competition was divided into two categories; target and parachute. For the target category, teams had to launch their rockets to hit a bull's-eye located about 100 metres away whereas the parachute category will have teams launching their rockets vertically upwards deploying a parachute. Timings were taken for maximum air time of the parachutes.

Your basic water rocket

It was a fun competition as water rockets blasted to the sky every other minute. It was a great way to promote science to the students. I spoke to students and teams to find out how they were doing. They had sound knowledge and technique to edge out their competition. In the end it was not about winning but the spirit of participation.

Target category

We had set up a booth to get feedback from the students as well as to promote awareness about science and aerospace. Other booths included companies selling rocket launchers and telescopes. ANGKASA had set up a workshop to build your own water rocket. It was a great event to get the public and students involved in rocketry and science.

Interacting with students at our booth

A special thanks to Harridon from UniKL MIAT

Until the next launch....

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin

Friday, August 22, 2008

National Library Talk

On stage with my presentation

Thursday 21st August 2008 - It was a wet morning with an early downpour in the heart of Kuala Lumpur. I drove bumper to bumper to our National Library on Jalan Tun Razak. Students from SMK Bandar Baru Sentul, SMK Jalan Padang Tembak and SMK Wangsa Maju Seksyen 2 were already seated in the auditorium. The students have attended 3 days of a Cyber Camp sponsored by ExxonMobil. This morning was their closing ceremony and to conclude their event, I gave a presentation about the Angkasawan Programme titled "Suatu Pengalaman, Suatu Wawasan". I gave an introduction about the space programme and moved on emphasizing on the need to read to expand their knowledge in line with the library's campaign of "Bangsa Membaca, Bangsa Berjaya". I showed some short videos of the centrifuge which got their interest. I then explained about our spaceflight medical evaluation in Russia before ending my talk. The crowd of over 200 students applauded generously and later swarmed me for autographs and photographs. It was great to be able to motivate and inspire them. I wished them well and reminded them to always work and study hard to achieve their goals.

Interacting with the students

I believe our future are in their hands...

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin

Monday, August 18, 2008

Grand Finale

Devina David in SM Majakir, Papar, Sabah

Sunday 17th August 2008 - We travelled south early in the morning to Papar about 50 minutes drive from Kota Kinabalu. Our destination was Sekolah Menengah Majakir, Papar, Sabah. Students from 15 schools within the vicinity were gathered in the school hall. We were welcomed by students bearing 'bunga mangga' and ushered us to the hall. We were followed in by a group of boys beating the kompangs. It was an overwhelming experience with around a thousand students cheering us on. After a brief opening ceremony which had confetti blown all over us, Devina David took to the floor and started her presentation. She spoke in their local tongue and the crowd adored her. Being one of only two female candidates, she was their icon from Sabah. Devina moved around the hall and explained about the selection process. The crowd listened intently. When she was done Dr. Faiz took over and talked about the space programme. The talk was very interactive and the students truly enjoyed themselves. After a quick session of question and answers, the photograph and autograph session followed. Later, Dr. Faiz planted a tree and officially opened their 'Angkasawan' garden. We then had some lunch provided by the school before heading on back to Kota Kinabalu.

Autograph session with Dr. Faiz Khaleed in 1Borneo Hypermall

By the time we got to 1Borneo Hypermall, our booth was buzzing with people. At 4pm a line was formed for an autograph session with Dr. Faiz. He was positioned in front of our booth and the line went on and on into the mall. The general public was more than happy to get a snapshot and a signed postcard of him. We were busy throughout the evening enjoying the public interaction. At 6pm we packed up to close a highly successful week long exhibition. I suddenly felt tired at the end of it but looking back at the whole week I felt glad to have contributed my time and effort for a good cause. Just thinking about all the thousands of students and people that we connected with left a smile on my face. Until the next roadshow ('Jerayawara' in BM; a new word I learned) hope to see you all next time....

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin

Ok... one for old times' sake

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Super Day!

Waiting in the School Hall SM Sains , Kota Kinabalu

Saturday 16th August 2008 - We started our day at Sekolah Menengah Sains, Kota Kinabalu. Our entourage was greeted by the sound of kompangs beating away. We were lead to the main hall where 15 schools have gathered to witness the event. Soon after the welcoming speeches, Dr. Ahsan stepped up on stage and delivered a presentation about the Angkasawan selection process before introducing Dr. Faiz Khaleed. It was a good and precise presentation by Dr. Ahsan. The event continued with Dr. Faiz Khaleed talking about space science to the students. He interacted with them well and got many of the science students to participate in his question and answers dialogue. All and all it had been a great morning.

Dr. Faiz at the Centre Atrium 1Borneo Hypermall

We left the school and headed to 1Borneo Hypermall to attend to our exhibition booth. When we got there, the booth had a large crowd and remained that way throughout the day. We met people of young and old and I personally feel that getting feedback from the general public is an invaluable experience. Dr. Mustafa Din Subari (DG ANGKASA) visited our booth with his family. At 4pm Mohd Yusfi gave a presentation about the Angkasawan selection process at the centre atrium of the mall. His talk was well received. Dr. Faiz Khaleed then took over and talked about his experience training in Russia. The evening ended with a photograph and autograph session. The line of people waiting snaked through the atrium.

It had been another great day for us....

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin

Saturday, August 16, 2008

All About the Space Programme

(From Left: Mohammed Faiz, Mohammad Redzuan, Dr. Mohamed Ahsan, Noor Shahlawati, Zulhibabulah)

Friday 15th August 2008 - Day 2 of the MISTI exhibition and our booth was in operation from 10am to 5:30pm. We started out slow but the crowd began to pick up in the afternoon. The five of us were on duty in the morning (As pictured above). Later on in the afternoon Devina and Yusfi joined in to mend our booth. They had followed Dr. Faiz Khaleed earlier in the morning to Kota Belud for a talk.

(From Left: Mohd Yusfi, Dr. Mohamed Ahsan, Devina David and Mohammed Faiz)

In the evening our booth was packed to the brim. It was great to have the booth crowded with people. Most of them were glued to the plasma screen watching videos of Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar in space. Later on in the evening, we had dinner with Dr. Mustafa to cap our day.

(Our booth picking up traffic in the evening)

Enjoy the pictures...Good night

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Opening Day

Thursday 14th August 2008 - This morning Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr. Maximus Ongkili officially launched MISTI MOSTI (Minggu Sains, Teknologi & Inovasi Peringkat Sabah) at the newly opened 1Borneo HyperMall, Kota Kinabalu's version of KL's Midvalley Mall. The event showcased divisions and agencies under MOSTI from Sea to Space and ICT divisions, MIMOS to Technology Park and not forgetting ANGKASA, Malaysia's National Space Agency. ANGKASA had set up a terrific exhibition booth and on display were a Lunar space suit and a miniature model of the International Space Station (ISS). Information about the Planetarium, Space experiments and the Angkasawan programme were on the the display boards making up the walls of our booth. A plasma television located at the rear entrance was running video clips of Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar floating up in space.

(From Left: Mohammed Faiz, Devina David, Dr. Mohamed Ahsan and Mohd Yusfi)

The four of us (as pictured above) represented our association as candidates of the Angkasawan programme. Together in our group of four was Devina David a Sabahan lass from Keningau, one of only two female candidates that made it to the selection process. The Minister made a special visit to our booth to personally meet her. They were proud of her. We were introduced to the Minister by ANGKASA's Director General Dr. Mustafa Din Subari.

(The ANGKASA Exhibition Booth)

After the opening ceremony, our booth was swarmed by the general public and school children. They kept us busy the whole morning. We were glad to interact with them indirectly generating public awareness about our space programme. Later on in the afternoon I took to the floor and gave a talk about my experience during the selection process. I touched on the effects of g-forces and showed the audience video clips of the centrifuge. The kids looked on with great interest as they watched the effects of centrifugal forces. At the end of my talk, I introduced Dr. Faiz Khaleed and he continued speaking about the importance of our space programme.

At 5:30pm we called it a day and headed to Tanjung Aru beach for a quick and early dinner. It had been a long day standing at our booth but nonetheless fulfilling as I got to give a talk and do my bit for society. Until tomorrow...Good night....

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin

A Day of Space Talks

Wednesday 13th August 2008 - Knowing we had a full day ahead, we left Imperial Hotel early in the morning for our first venue SM Lok Yuk, Likas. We were greeted by the sound of drums and roaring school children. Just another day in the park for Faiz Khaleed as he engaged the crowd and gave a presentation about the Angkasawan Programme. The crowd consist of students from 16 different schools within the vicinity and were packed in the modest sized school hall. Some students brought their own chairs as the hall was full to the brim without any inch to spare. The students were delighted with the talk as Faiz Khaleed inspired them with information about space exploration and the importance of science. The session ended with the usual Q&A and all important photo session. We had a great time and interacted with the students and teachers after the event.

After lunch we proceeded to University Malaysia Sabah (UMS) which was voted the most beautiful campus in South
East Asia. Faiz Khaleed gave a talk to the student leaders about the "Importance of Space Exploration". It was a different type of crowd compared to the morning session. Faiz Khaleed however managed to enlighten the students and got them thinking about the benefits of the space programme for our nation. Later on in the evening we had a state dinner with the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr. Maximus Ongkili at a local seafood restaurant. It was a casual affair of about 200 guests and everyone enjoyed themselves. We retired early after a long and satisfying day...

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Science, Technology & Innovation Week (Sabah)

(Dr Mohamed Ahsan, Dr. Faiz Khaleed, Mohd Yusfi and Mohammed Faiz with Dancers)

Tuesday, 12th August 2008- We departed Kuala Lumpur this morning for Kota Kinabalu for a week long event organized by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). The event dubbed MISTI (Minggu Sains. Teknologi & Inovasi Peringkat Sabah) will officially kick off on Thursday 14th August 2008. I travelled with a group of MOSTI's staff together with Mej. (Dr.) Faiz Khaleed. Upon arrival, we were greeted by Sabah based candidates Dr. Mohamed Ahsan and Mohd Yusfi. They took us to a nearby seafood restaurant where we had some local dishes and enjoyed watching an amazing cultural dance show. It was a great start and we had lots of fun sharing old stories of our experience during the Angksawan selection process. I like to think of it as a mini family reunion with my extended brothers. Tomorrow we will head on to give talks to a school and a university and we hope to share our experience with them too. Until then....signing off

Mohammed Faiz bin Kamaludin