She was the only woman among the five Malaysian finalists in an online competition to go to space. Unfortunately, astronaut aspirant Roshini Muniam became the target of sexist comments online.
When voting began online, the Universiti Malaya postgraduate was discriminated against and insulted on her profile featured in the competition's Facebook page because she was female, liberal news portal Malaysian Insider reported.
One netizen expressed surprise at a woman's desire to go to space, while another said women should be prohibited from the competition as they menstruate. These comments were subsequently removed.
But the 27-year-old Kuala Lumpur resident had the last laugh when she became the Malaysian winner. She was swamped with congratulatory messages from netizens immediately after the announcement.
She will be one of 22 people worldwide to head to the Florida space camp in the US, standing a chance to go to space.
She is also one step closer to her dream of becoming Malaysia's first female astronaut. In 2007, Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor became the first Malaysian to go to space under the government's Angkasawan programme.
For the competition, the contestants were made to undergo a series of challenges to test their mental strength and endurance.
Pictures of the top five Malaysian finalists were posted online so that netizens could vote for their choice. Besides votes, their performance in previous challenges as well as input from contest judges were also taken into consideration.
The competition closed on Sept 17, and Miss Muniam was placed ahead of the four male finalists.
She got 158,320 votes, about 30,000 votes more than her nearest competitor.
She said: "I want to set an example for ordinary people to have extraordinary dreams. I want to inspire youths around the world to put their dreams into action and make them a reality."
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