I have a scaled-down version of the Concorde aircraft on top of my car dashboard for sometimes now. Yesterday, that is after three years of driving with and one year of living with me, my wife asked what happened to the real aircraft of that model. At that moment, I wanted to turn to her and ask, “what’s my name again?”.
Explaining to her what had happened, I mentioned that the Concorde once represented the pinnacle of our technological achievements. Alright that was about the same time as bell-bottom, disco and pornstar moustaches, pinnacle of achievements in their respective departments. One step ahead of Concorde was to actually have passenger flight into the space. That’s how we saw future then. Also we thought we can travel through time, go on hyperdrive or do warp speed, get beamed from one place to another, but space exploration was the starting point.
Back then were in the midst of the dawn of Space Age. Space exploration was the in thing and was the future. Space themed films and TV shows were all over and every night, I imagine I was Hans Solo navigating through the asteroid fields with the Millenium Falcon, which I believe severely contributed to my now insomnia case.
I was so into space stuff that when I was 8 or nine years old, I memorised the names of all the planets, and I can recite them off the cuff. The proof is simple, when I was kid we wore no cuff. Lame joke aside, once even a teacher had to refer to me when she forgot the name of the planets (this was before google and wikipedia remember?). That enthusiastic we were about flights to space. I even do my own rocket flight thing by simulating a blastoff using my ballpoint pen and slowly removing the lower part of a ballpoint pen, the cap, the barrel, and anything else till it remains the tip that looked like a space capsule. All by doing the rocket sound with mouth, and I don’t have to say why many friends either stay away or reached for their hankie.
While parents wanted more boring profession like doctor, engineer and lawyer for their kids, us boys were thinking of becoming cowboy, spaceman (or astronaut) and in my case, cartoonist (really, even though back then I suck at drawing and colour blind and have the sense of humour of a butter cake, in fact there’s not much improvement thirty years later). But every kid I know admitted that becoming an astronaut and being in space was cool.
My assumption then was by now we were supposed to be so technologically advanced to the point that we should be surfing the space and unloading space cargoes, intead we are surfing cyber space and downloading internet porn. The spirit of exploration that got the world over gungho about going where no one would boldly go is now limited to writing blogs so bad that no sane publisher would publish.
Yes, somewhere along the way when we ascended from Industrial age to Space Age, slipped broke our crown, and fell into Information Age, where the need for attention and bad taste led directly into internet and the mobile phone . Instead of looking up at the space and stars, everyone is hunched over their mobile phone. Instead of dreaming of our own space exploration, we are dreaming about how much we can download at 4G. When we look at space stations, we think of how rain screws our satellite TV transmissions. When “thinking big” is preached, we think of blue-ray discs. And Big Losers. The Asian version.
Okay, to be perfectly honest it was through the same satellite TV I watched this excellent documentary called, The Black Sky: Race for Space about Burt Rutan, dubbed as “the man who reinvented airplane” and his team try to put a civilian austronaut into the space with the aircraft he designed called SpaceShipOne. This took place in 2004 actually, and the same aircraft was the basis for Virgin Galactic’s (yes, the same Branson’s outfit) first space tourism. A great endeavour from a private enterprise. Meanwhile, the governments, especially the
We are now in Information Age, or is it Knowledge Era? In this era, everyone becomes smart and famous. Everyone gets more than 15 minutes, and if you think of Facebook accounts, that would be frighteningly forever. Space age is thing of the past. If you dream of becoming an astronaut there will be many lashbacks calling you not to wast their tax money which they have been evading anyway. If you urge for space exploration, they say time is better spent in fighting corruption, which is like attempting to annihilate cockroach anyway.
Prorities have changed. I can only be bitter about it, and so could you, especially those from my generation. Go ahead and sulk, while I post this link in my Facebook and Twitter accounts.