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How do you spell cat. Er…er kat, correct, correct, correct, it looks the same, it sounds the same, and well it is kat with a couple of legs.

Houston, we have a spelling problem
Najiah Najib

WE all make mistakes, but when the gaffe is made in public, it can be somewhat embarrassing.

Unfortunately, our Malaysian astronaut, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Sheikh Mustapha, had one of those moments recently. And some kids were happy to save h im .

It was during a visit to SK St John (1) on April 12 when Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was asked to pen a message on a mural at the s c ho o l ’s canteen wall to mark its sports day celebrations.

After giving a brief yet inspirational speech to the students, he made his way to the wall and wrote: “SK St John (1), Dreams are possibble! Signed, Dr Sheikh, Angkasawan Malaysia.” The kids pointed out to him that ‘possible’ was spelt with a single ‘B’ but by that time, it was a bit too late.

“The mistake was understand- able. Dr Sheikh Muszaphar was in a rush to go to another event. In his haste, I think he just wasn’t able to put much thought in it,” said school principal Pok Mee Chin.

“I believe he was also overwhelmed by all the attention from the students. The students looked up to him and were pushing one another to be near him.

“After his speech, many students came up to me and said they wanted to be an astronaut like Dr Sheikh Muszaphar.” She said despite the spelling error, it was undeniable that his presence had made the school children very happy.

Poh explained the orthopaedic surgeon had agreed to drop by the school as a personal favour to one of the school’s dignitaries.

“It was a last-minute plan and we’re glad that he made it to our sports day, even if it was for a little while.

“He was very courteous and a huge inspiration for our students.

We want to let Dr Sheikh Muszaphar know that he is welcome at SK St John (1) any time,” a dde d Po h .

Some world leaders had also committed similar boo boos, with the most famous probably former US Vice-President Dan Quayle’s.

At an elementary school spelling bee in New Jersey in 1992, he had corrected a student’s correct spelling of ‘potato’ to ‘potatoe’.

This had led to him being widely ridiculed in the media and the general public in both the US and overseas as an intellectual lightweight.

Malay Mail

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