My short story Machine Language was published by Aurealis, an Australian SFF speculative fiction magazine, available to buy here. It was inspired by an incident in Junior College (equivalent to high school year 11-12 I think) in Singapore. We had a careers talk in a large lecture hall for everyone in our year, and when the careers panel asked a prefect in my class what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said “astronaut”. Everyone laughed, thinking he’d made a joke, because to be Singaporean and an astronaut in 2001 was unthinkable. I’ve long drifted apart from my classmates. I don’t even live in Singapore any longer. I’m still sorry that I laughed, now that I know better.
Tiny countries like Singapore can dream of reaching the stars too. We do have a space program now, and our first satellite was launched in 2011. Our first ever space training initiative was launched in 2010. For most Singaporeans, however, it’s not a career that they would consider:
At the university level, the goal is really to encourage students to stay in this field and showcase that one can pursue a good, fulfilling career in the space industry We also recognize that today’s students are very pragmatic. Most of them are looking for good career opportunities and challenging work environments. We need to show them that space is and will always be the highest echelon of science, and being in the space industry means you’ve peaked in science and technology. It’s that coveted feeling we want to instill in our aspiring engineers.
Space is a long way away, and I doubt Singapore will ever have the cultural inclination or resources to be a second NASA. But that could be my inbuilt pessimism speaking, a remnant of the person who laughed nearly 2 decades ago at someone else’s dream. Someday, someday.
Machine Language Stats
Submitted: 4 August 2017
Accepted: 16 September 2017
Contract Signed: 16 September 2017
Published: March 2018