Why Racial Caricaturing in Singaporean Broadcast Media is Problematic

Written by: Eliora Tan Yu Xuan (21-E5), Elizabeth Khoo Yuk Min (21-U1), Leanne Soh Li En (21-E6)

Designed by: Jervis Ch’ng Yun Ping (21-U5)


It is commonly agreed upon that to have a normative Singaporean childhood is to have watched at least one Mediacorp series growing up. There are four different language channels that target the multiracial community in Singapore. Channel 8, the Mandarin-streaming channel, is the most popular, given our country’s predominantly Chinese majority. This draws in the splice of the debate: while our state-funded TV is meant to disperse moralistic plotlines and encourage value-strengthening in society, one has to question the very vetting process that media in Channel 8 undergoes for approval to broadcast nationwide. It is widely known that Channel 8 has trenched through its fair share of controversies, mostly regarding caricaturing of a minority – be it LGBTQ+ or a race. In this article, we will be delving deep into the root causes of racial caricaturing and then explore the problems it poses to Singaporean society and our citizens. 

The Causes for Racial Caricaturing

    Much of racial caricaturing present in today’s media stems from the majority bias. Singapore is made up of a variety of races, with the Chinese being the overwhelming majority. This has resulted in the Chinese majority displaying insensitive behaviour towards the other ethnic minorities, which has led to many instances of racism. Some of these instances occur through racial caricaturing, where minorities have been portrayed inaccurately or stereotypically in the media.  To name a few, Mediacorp actors have smeared paint on their faces to darken their skin tone in an attempt to act as a different race. There has also been a recent e-payment advertisement where a Singaporean Chinese actor with visibly darkened skin took on the roles of a Malay woman and an Indian man.


Brownface, a term used to describe the practice of wearing make-up to imitate the looks of a non-white person, usually Malay or Indian when placed in Singapore’s context. While many express their distaste towards media containing brownface, there are some who claim it to be comedic. This explains why, regardless of the repercussions, the media has time and time again used brownface in their shows and advertisements. 

Photo credit: E-payment advertisement containing brownface

Racial stereotypes in media

“I was told to portray a caricature of my race. I was reduced to my accent.” Mr Bhargava wrote in a Facebook post, visibly enraged, after his audition as a soldier for the fourth edition of the local Singaporean favourite, Ah Boys to Men. He was told to take on the role of a “full-grown Indian man”, “put on a thick Indian accent” and “make it funny”, evidently being subjected to a racial stereotype of the media. 

Photo credit: Stomp

Yet, this was only one of the many incidents of racial stereotyping. The problem with racial stereotyping in the media is that it shapes and strengthens the views towards people of different races and ethnicities, which is extremely problematic in a multi-racial society like ours. This leads us to have a flawed understanding of the diversity and ability of “the other”. The subtle message in stereotypical portrayals of people from minority races is that making fun of “a particular mannerism, accent or look” is normal and is “socially acceptable”. We may criticise Hollywood for portraying people of colour in stereotypical manners through their blockbuster movies, but how can we ever call that out if we have been doing the same?

The Problems with It

           Not to mention, the very fact that such insensitive content is allowed to stream nationwide echoes the blatant tone-deafness in our society, or at least that of the Mediacorp scene. It shows that perhaps the umbrage voiced out by minorities or enraged audiences has fallen on deaf ears. This disregard for our base equilibrium needs is shameful, especially considering that Mediacorp is state-funded with the official purpose to foster harmony and uphold core values in society. 

    We must emphasise the fact that Singapore is a multiracial and multicultural society, where views of minorities must be respected, and instances of racial caricaturing are just simply unacceptable, more than ever. Tensions raised along racial lines undermine our social cohesion, so it is paramount that we keep the media in check. 


       Therefore, to keep in check majority bias within the ethnic-Chinese community in Singapore, the PAC/ACCESS should impose a racial quota to ensure that no racial lambasting – in the form of racist stereotypes on TV or brownface – is allowed to fly in the local broadcast media.


  1. K. (2017, June 2). Police close case after questioning actor who alleged racism in audition for Ah Boys To Men 4. Stomp. https://stomp.straitstimes.com/singapore-seen/police-close-case-after-questioning-actor-who-alleged-racism-in-audition-for-ah-boys 
  2. Racial stereotypes in media: Not just a bit of harmless fun, Opinion. (2017, June 23). The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/racial-stereotypes-in-media-not-just-a-bit-of-harmless-fun 
  3. Racism saga: Are S’poreans prepared to grow from Ah Boys to Men?,. (2017, June 3). The Straits Times. https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/racism-saga-are-sporeans-prepared-to-grow-from-ah-boys-to-men?close=true 

Autism in Girls

Written by: Eliora Tan Yuxuan (21-E5), Jolina Prisha Nair (21-E5), Lim Zi Loong, Zexel (21-E2)

Designed by: Katelyn Joshy (21-U1)

What is Autism? 

Autism is a lifelong developmental disability that typically appears during early childhood and can impact a person’s social skills, communication, relationships and self-regulation. The word autism originates from ‘autos’, the Greek word for ‘self’. People with autism are often referred to as someone who lives in a world of their own. Autism is defined by a certain set of behaviours and is a spectrum condition that affects people differently to various degrees.

How is Autism different in Girls? 

Autism is more common in boys than in girls. Healthcare professionals, caregivers and parents tend to overlook the symptoms of autism in girls. Stereotypes about typical male and female behaviours can cause some people to miss some symptoms. For instance, many people think of girls as naturally quieter or more content to play alone than boys. However, speaking less and preferring to spend time alone can both be symptoms of autism.

Girls are more likely to react to stress in ways that people may not notice immediately, such as self-harm. Boys may be more likely to react to stress outwardly — for example, by becoming angry or misbehaving. This behaviour is more visible and may flag up autism sooner.

Girls may have more self-awareness and be more conscious of “fitting in” socially. This can mean that they are able to hide the symptoms of autism in childhood or put more time and energy into learning social norms.

As girls get older and social norms and friendships become more complex, they may find it more difficult to relate to others. This can mean that they may not receive a diagnosis of autism until their teenage years.

What are the safety risks of Autistic Girls? 

Autism hinders a girl’s ability to read social cues making them more vulnerable. They become susceptible to bullying for the sheer reason of being “different” and are easily taken advantage of. In more severe cases, they fall victim to sexual predators.

A recent study by Autism Speaks found that children with autism wander away from home, stores and school often. More than half of these children go missing long enough to cause worry. 65% of the incidents involve a close call with traffic and 32% involve near drowning accidents. According to their parents, the main reason for such wandering is their love for running and exploring. However, sometimes these children run away to escape stressful situations or an uncomfortable sensory stimulus.

Hence, it is of utmost importance for parents to develop safety plans with their families, teachers, police, and other community members to protect children with autism who wander and to be able to locate them. Continued community support is the best way to ensure their safety.

What are the current measures in place in Singapore? 

Allied educators are the main form of aid for autistic students in mainstream schools. They conduct weekly sessions with these students to bridge gaps in areas of difficulty. As of 2019, MOE states that there are more than 25,000 students with special needs in mainstream schools, and about 500 allied educators here. This ratio is alarming compared to British Columbia’s ratio of 73,000 special needs students to 12,000 education assistants. A former allied educator, who worked in a mainstream school in Singapore, said that her biggest challenge was the heavy workload. She even had to “juggle up to 50 cases” concurrently. Teachers would often demand “instant fixes” for children with special needs, or requested her to take them “out of the class”.  At times, “it’s not just one student with special needs, some classes have up to 10 with varying needs,” she claimed.

There are also a total of 20 Special Education (SPED) schools in Singapore and they offer different programmes that cater to distinct disability groups of children. However, SPED schools face numerous difficulties. Firstly, fees and funding vary from mainstream to SPED schools. The cost of school fees for special needs students can amount to as much as $350 while government-aided students only pay around $6.50 to $13 for miscellaneous fees. Though no child is denied an education, the vast difference in fees is still unfair to families of children in SPED schools.

Secondly, the pay and qualifications of SPED school teachers vary enormously. The qualifications of such teachers are usually less stringent than those of mainstream teachers. As Sped teachers do not come under MOE’s purview, they also do not have access to the same salary scales and opportunities as their peers in mainstream schools. Hence, there is a general perception that Sped school teachers have less recognition, and their pay packages are less attractive, even though their jobs are usually tougher.

We see that though efforts have been made to aid children with special needs, they are insufficient to meet the demand. Allied educators and teachers in SPED schools are forced to handle tough situations with little in return and not enough is being done to educate the student population on their classmates’ learning disabilities. Thus, more attention and resources needs to be given to these children to allow them to truly thrive. 

How can we help raise awareness of autism? 

It is paramount that we take action to alter society’s perception of patients with autism and help to reduce (or even eliminate) the stigma they face everyday through actively initiating conversations about autism, especially in girls. Society has failed to acknowledge the fact that autism does not only affect males, but both genders. What they previously ignored, they must now acknowledge. Here are some suggestions on how we can help. 

Firstly, we should equip ourselves with knowledge on how to identify symptoms of autism specifically in girls. These are easily missed, and examples of these symptoms include controlling one’s behavior in public by mimicking other neurotypical students in order to blend in (Arky, 2021). Identification of these symptoms encourages early detection of autism in girls so that parents can be informed about any anomalies in their child’s behaviour and seek professional help immediately.

Secondly, we can support social change initiatives which focus on combating gender bias in autism. Even simple actions like attending talks, rallies and other publicity events to educate oneself and speaking up about the issue with our circle of friends are meaningful contributions to increase awareness of autism in girls. For example, in some elementary schools in Vancouver, “demystification” sessions are conducted in mainstream primary schools (Choo, 2019). With the permission and participation of parents, and allied educators, autistic girls are given the opportunity to explain their disability, how it affects them and how we can help them, from their very own perspective. Hearing these stories will broaden the perspective of neurotypical students and cultivate a sense of understanding and inclusion from a young age. This is essential to supporting females suffering from autism.

Lastly, we must practice greater empathy and compassion in how we treat patients with autism. Instead of labelling them as “peculiar” or “slow” (Stevenson, 2005), we must learn to see things from their perspective, as the world around them is completely different from their point of view. Practice patience and understanding, because autistic people are still human beings with feelings and thoughts (Stevenson, 2005), just like any other neurotypical person. This surely takes time and effort, given that societal expectations procure otherwise, but it is important in moving toward a more inclusive and caring society. 


In conclusion, the lack of awareness and understanding about autism in girls have caused autistic girls to further struggle both academically and socially. The difficulty in diagnosing autism in girls is especially detrimental and emphasises the need for all to be properly educated on autistic symptoms in order to increase early intervention. By organising talks, rallies, and other publicity events, and conducting “demystification” sessions, people from all walks of life will have a better understanding of the challenges faced by patients with autism, especially girls, and how to help them.


  1. Arky, B. (2021). Sensory Processing Issues Explained. Child Mind Institute. Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://childmind.org/article/sensory-processing-issues-explained/ 
  2. Arky, B. (2021). Why Many Autistic Girls Are Overlooked. Child Mind Institute. Retrieved June 17, 2021, from https://childmind.org/article/autistic-girls-overlooked-undiagnosed-autism/ 
  3. Choo, C. (2019, September 30). The Big Read: Where kids with and without special needs learn together – and it’s not in Singapore. Channel News Asia. Retrieved March 14, 2021, from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/big-read-kids-with-and-without-special-needs-learn-together-11952714 
  4. Stevenson, N. (2005, July 16). Autism doesn’t have to be viewed as a disability or disorder. Autism Doesn’t Have to Be Viewed as a Disability or Disorder. https://www.theguardian.com/science/blog/2015/jul/16/autism-doesnt-have-to-be-viewed-as-a-disability-or-disorder 
  5. What is Autism? (2019, August 22). Autism Resource Centre (Singapore). Retrieved June 18, 2021, from https://www.autism.org.sg/living-with-autism/what-is-autism
  6. Sissons, C. (2019, June 26). What to know about autism in girls. Medical News Today. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/325574#why-doctors-might-miss-it
  7. Szalavitz, M. (2016, March 1). Autism—It’s Different in Girls. Scientific Amercian. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/autism-it-s-different-in-girls/
  8. Safety Team. (2021, February 12). Keeping Your Child With Autism Safe. Retrieved June 18, 2021, from https://www.safety.com/autism-safety/ 
  9. Goy, P. (2016, December 1). Special needs gaps in ‘every child matters’. https://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/special-needs-gaps-in-every-child-matters

What is Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)?

Written by: Jachin Khoo (21-U5),  Jacynthe Liew (21-O3), Leanne Soh (21-E6), Tan Le Kai (21-I4), Carissa Aletha Liem (21-I1) 

Designed By: Katelyn Joshy (21-U1)

Introduction: What is Dissociative Identity Disorder?

Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID) is a severe form of dissociation, a mental process where one disconnects their feelings, thoughts and sense of identity. It is usually a result of a traumatic event, and people develop it as a coping mechanism to detach themselves from the trauma. Previously known as split personality disorder, DID is a mental health condition where one person has multiple identities. The “core” identity refers to the person’s usual identity, while “alters” refer to their alternate identities. Each alter has its own personality, behaviour, traits and even personal history. Some common signs and symptoms of DID include anxiety, depression and delusions. 

How do people with DID cope?

So, how do people cope with and manage DID? The most common treatment for dissociation is to go to therapy. An inpatient psychiatric program can be especially effective if symptoms of dissociation are particularly intense. Residential treatment, in particular, allows an individual to be immersed in healing practices and perspectives. It will allow people suffering from DID to develop therapeutic alliances, healthier coping skills, and a productive relationship with their stored trauma. Talk therapy can help DID patients work through the challenges they face when dealing with the condition, while stress management can help them identify and learn to deal with triggers that send them into a dissociative state. 

Practising relaxation techniques can also be particularly helpful when internal monologue gets too overwhelming and some strategies include a form of physical activity like yoga or doing hands-on projects like knitting and crafting. Grounding techniques are also essential in coping with DID and distractions such as television, time with pets and hobbies would also make DID patients feel more present in their bodies.

Creating a daily schedule to structure their day is an especially important part of coping with DID. Developing a schedule can help them stay grounded and present, removing unexpected situations that create stress or lead to impulsive behaviours. This will also help them to stay focused and prevent potential gaps in their memory. 

What should we not do around them/to them? 

The actions of the people around those suffering from DID can have a large impact on their condition, which is why you should avoid:

  • ‘Taking sides’ with any of component of their identities
  • Socially ostracizing them
  • Branding them as ‘dangerous’
  • Reminding them of the traumatic experiences which caused DID in the first place
  • Getting angry at them when they have an outburst

How can we help those who suffer from DID?

People with DID likely already feel isolated and alone in their suffering. When this person is living through the lens of an alternate personality that is unfamiliar to you, remember that this is still your loved one, and help them to feel accepted and supported regardless.

Firstly, stay calm during switches. Switching between alters can happen very subtly, and can also be more dramatic and disorienting. While this situation may be stressful and surprising, remaining level headed and meeting your friend where they are mentally can be enormously helpful. 

Secondly, try to learn and avoid triggers, which are external stimuli that cause them to switch between alters. Individuals with this condition may be triggered by anything that elicits a strong emotional response, including certain places, smells, sounds, senses of touch, times of the year or large groups of people. By asking them directly or observing their behavior, try to help your loved one avoid those triggers when possible. 

Thirdly, remember to take care of yourself. It can be difficult to stay vigilant of triggers and different alters. Often, people with this condition have been through intensely traumatic experiences, and hearing about these experiences can also be difficult. The best way you can serve your friend is to ensure your own physical and mental well-being. 

While your ongoing support is indispensable, you will not be able to help them through recovery on your own. This is a disorder that requires knowledgeable clinical attention and proven treatment options for lasting recovery. Thus, professional care can be enormously beneficial to someone with a DID. Unfortunately, because DID is so heavily stigmatized, many people who have it never seek treatment. 

If you know your friend lives with DID, let them know you care about them, and try to encourage them to seek treatment, if they are not yet already. Offer to help look for providers; lending a hand in finding a therapist or treatment center can make the idea of seeking help less daunting. You can even offer to accompany them to their first appointment, to give them support. If they are reluctant, you could also suggest getting started with teletherapy, where people can receive therapy services over the internet or phone, making it easier for them to ease into the idea of seeking treatment. 


Although rare, dissociative identity disorder is a very real issue and we should all do our best to practice some empathy to those around us. We should avoid seeing it as a case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, but to see them as humans like us. 


  1. Cleveland Clinic. (2016, April 20). Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder) | Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9792-dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder 
  2. Dissociation and dissociative disorders. (2012). Vic.gov.au. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/conditionsandtreatments/dissociation-and-dissociative-disorders 
  3. WebMD. (2008, April 17). Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder). WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder-multiple-personality-disorder 
  4. Hospital, B. R. B. (2021, August 13). 5 Tips to Handle a Dissociative Disorder. Baton Rouge Behavioral Hospital. https://batonrougebehavioral.com/5-tips-to-handle-a-dissociative-disorder/
  5. How to Overcome Dissociative Identity Disorder. (2021, April 13). The Recovery Village Drug and Alcohol Rehab. https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/dissociative-identity-disorder/related/how-to-overcome-did/
  6. BrightQuest Treatment Centers. (2019, June 19). How Dissociative Identity Disorder Affects Daily Life and How You Can Help. https://www.brightquest.com/blog/how-dissociative-identity-disorder-affects-daily-life-and-how-you-can-help

¿?sick beats?¿ November 2021 Edition

Written by: Ashley Koh (21-A1), Lian Zhiqi (21-I1) and Tricia Loh (21-U1)

Designed by: Ashley Lay (21-O1)

Colourful costumes, plots clichély familiar or refreshingly new, dashing male leads and gorgeous heroines: these are some of the things that we think of when we mention “Bollywood”. After all, these are staples of Hollywood movies, from which Bollywood draws much of its influence and inspirations. Even the genre’s namesake is a combination of “Bombay” (or the old-timey name for Mumbai), and “Hollywood”! 

However, Bollywood and Hollywood differ in one big area: the music. Most Hollywood films, save musicals, usually don’t pay much attention to the music. Admittedly, soundtracks from famous Hollywood movies can become huge hits, but they are rarely the stars of the movies themselves. 

In Bollywood, this is completely not the case. Bombastic group numbers, tentatively gentle romantic ballads and many other types can be seen in every Bollywood movie. Without fail and regardless of the genre of movie, actors can be found bursting into song. They may even break into impromptu yet expertly choreographed dances. The biggest Bollywood stars of today are also excellent singers. 

However, Bollywood hasn’t always been as developed as the industry currently is. So how did it all begin? 

Ever since Hindi cinema started in 1931, its films have heavily incorporated various musical genres. They are a characteristic element of Indian films which makes it timelessly popular and enjoyable for its generations of audience. 

India is a culturally diverse country with different groups of people speaking in different tongues and dialects. Bollywood music breaks through these language barriers by effectively intriguing their audience with lively and vibrant beats combined with dances performed by an energetic mob of people. Thus, by connecting citizens from all over the country and even attracting audiences outside, Bollywood music has gained a great reputation for itself. 

Shreya Goshal is one of the most famous singers in Bollywood, with her net worth being a whopping US $25 million! Her most famous songs include Jaadu Hain Nasha Hai and Saans among many other hits. Jaadu Hain Nasha Hai was composed for the 2003 movie Jism and adopts a soft and dreamy tone with the acoustics being emphasised the greatest. The song communicates a girl’s increasing vulnerability toward her love interest, slowly opening up to him as she becomes more connected with him. Jaadu Hain Nasha Hai literally translates to ‘it’s magic’. How romantic!

Goshal charges 20 lakh rupees per song, which converts to about SG $36,500! Making it big in Bollywood is definitely challenging, but it undoubtedly earns the artists good money. Having their name known by over 1 billion of India’s citizens as well as striking it rich while doing what they love (singing) is probably the major pulling factor drawing hoards of young, aspiring musicians into the Bollywood scene. 

Many foreign artists have even taken inspiration from Bollywood music for their own pieces! Did you know that the famous violin riff from “Toxic” by Britney Spears was taken from a hugely popular Bollywood song? Another example is “Paint the Town” by KPOP group LOONA which is a Bollywood-inspired dance and hip hop track with strong fast-paced percussion and sampled exotic vocals.

But this international love for Bollywood doesn’t just stop at pop music sampling. The Bollywood craze has become global, with at least 9 different countries including Germany, Japan, Peru and even Russia going gaga over these colourful and vibrant Indian films with their music telling tales of adventure and love. The films and songs also serve as a reminder of home for many Indians living abroad and out of their native country. The music can even be a stepping stone for Indian children living abroad to get in touch with a part of their culture, their mother tongues. 

After examining all the factors and the reasons behind Bollywood’s rise to dominance in the global film industry, it is clear that it’s become a force to reckon with. With the Indian film industry continuing to improve and catch up to Hollywood in terms of quality and prominence, it is also clear that Bollywood is here to stay. 

So before you go, why not get in on the craze? Sick Beats recommends a few Bollywood songs to get you started: 

  1. Chaiyya Chaiyya: Sung by Academy Award winning artist Sukhwinder Singh and Sapna Awasthi, this evergreen and massively popular classic from 1998 captivated the hearts of millions of Indians with its hypnotically catchy melody and mesmerising vocals from both Singh and Awasthi. If you want to get into Bollywood music, look no further.
  1. Nazm Nazm: Another romantic yet modern song that captures the sweetness of love, this will have you swaying along to the gentle voice of the singer Arko. 
  1. Dil Dhadakne Do: On the more lighthearted and foot-tapping side, there is this song which shares its name with the film it’s composed for. Fun, catchy and sung by international superstar Priyanka Chopra Jonas, this one will get your head bopping. 
  1. Kabhi Khushi Khabie Gham: The last entry of these recommendations is definitely not the least. Sung by the greatest playback singer in the world Lata Mangeshkar, this song’s distinctive and emotive melody accompanied by Lata’s iconic vocals tell a beautiful and heart-wrenching story that truly encompasses the meaning of the song’s title: “in happiness and sadness”

Now that you know a little bit about the tour de force named Bollywood, we hope you will dive into the colourful costumes, plots clichély familiar or refreshingly new, dashing male leads and gorgeous heroines and most importantly, the must-listen soundtracks of any Bollywood film. 


Maurya, S. (2021, June 14). Top 10 singers in India – 2021. Business Connect | Best Business magazine In India. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://businessconnectindia.in/top-10-singers-in-india/. 

Nicolaou, E. (2021, November 2). What makes Bollywood movies so special. Oprah Daily. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.oprahdaily.com/entertainment/a33396048/what-is-bollywood/. 

Satija, G. (2017, October 15). 9 countries where Bollywood is Badshah. IndiaTimes. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://www.indiatimes.com/entertainment/bollywood/9-countries-where-bollywood-is-badshah-331482.html. 

Thomas, C. (2020, November 20). Why Bollywood is so popular across the world. Viral Panda. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://viralpanda.net/why-bollywood-is-so-popular-across-the-world/. 

Vaidyanathan, R. (2012, June 7). The rise and rise of new bollywood. BBC News. Retrieved November 9, 2021, from https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-18327901. 

Verma, R., & Kheraj, A. (2018, August 20). Best bollywood songs: 11 incredible Bollywood songs in Hindi Movies. Time Out London. Retrieved November 14, 2021, from https://www.timeout.com/london/film/best-bollywood-songs.

Space Tourism – Traversing the Unknown

Written by:  Aaron Wong Jielun (21-I4), Elizabeth Khoo Yuk Min (21-U1), Katelyn Joshy (21-U1), Murugan Rakshita (21-E1), Tiew Zuo Yuan Richard (21-I2)

Designed By: Ashley Lay (21-O1)

Crossing the Final Frontier 

Having crossed the vast continents (with attractive travel packages) and fared the deep oceans (on luxurious cruise ships), humanity has already explored most of our globe (with guided tours!). Outer space, the place that lies beyond the bounds of our skies, has now become the final frontier; for the tourism industry, that is.

Ever since mankind has gazed up at the stars, we have always pondered one simple question: will we ever get to venture out there? As the space tourism industry takes shape in the future, perhaps we will be starting to ask several additional questions, namely: How much does a seat on a space shuttle cost? Is the food good? Are the accommodations comfortable? And how on (correction: off) earth does using the bathroom work out there, anyways?

What is Space Tourism? 

Much of the hype around space tourism revolves around the desire to explore beyond the concepts that we have already mapped. In other words, educating ourselves of the unknown has always been one of humanity’s pursuits, and efforts in exploring the cosmos has seen immeasurable progress. 

Today, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Space foundation works with many educational institutions to spark the space curiosity in potential future space leaders. The more we learn about space, the more it appeals to us, and the probability for a human livelihood outside of the only planet that can sustain life causes us to put on our thinking caps to attain precisely those aspirations. Additionally, this pursuit of space tourism inadvertently benefits us as we brainstorm sustainable ways to make it happen. For instance, consider the ambitious quest of SpaceX—to build a colony on mars— to achieve it, the company has created the Falcon9, an eco-friendly rocket. 

Instead of ending up as waste in the sea after its space venture, it would be retrievable from designated landing sites and relaunched within a day. Falcon9’s rockets are fuelled by liquid oxygen and methane, which are cheaper and cleaner alternatives to conventional fuel. The use of methane and oxygen complements the colonisation project as carbon dioxide in mars’ atmosphere and frozen water on its surface can be used to generate methane for its return trips to earth. In a way, we realise that the advent of space tourism allows us to seek new horizons for metacognition.

Hall of Fame – Space Tourist Edition 

Leonardo DiCaprio, Actor 

The iconic Academy Award winning actor, best known for his lead role in 1997’s  Titanic boarded Richard Brandon’s Virgin Galactic space rocket with a round trip ticket back in 2013.

Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon

Jeff Bezos is no stranger to the global E-commerce arena, helming arguably one of the most influential businesses globally. He happens to also be the founder of Blue Origin, an American aerospace company- one of the up and coming contenders in the space tourism industry. So, it’s no surprise how he landed his trip to the final frontier!  

Dennis Tito, Engineer 

We’ve saved the best for last! Introducing… the first space tourist! Tito was the first person to traverse space for leisure purposes and all at his own expense. He spent nearly eight days in orbit as a crew member of ISS EP-1, a visiting mission to the International Space Station all the way back in 2001!

The Space Tourist’s Travel Guide  

Hello there! Welcome to ‘Uncharted Exploration’, your one-stop destination to get all the latest space travel deals! It is my company’s pleasure to serve such an honorable customer. Now, let me show you all the travel packages available: 

  1. Virgin Galactic’s 90-Minute Suborbital Ride

Destination: The edge of the Earth’s atmosphere 

Costs: USD$250,000 per person 

Set to launch: Late 2020

  1. NASA’s Multi-Day ISS Gateway

Destination: The International Space Station

Costs: USD$35,000 per night

Set to launch: Late 2020

  1. SpaceX’s ‘Back to the Moon’ Package

Destination: The Moon

Costs: roughly USD$150 million per seat

Set to launch: 2023

Preparations and expectations

1. Ensure physical and mental fitness

As the human body will undergo a range of forgein experiences in entering space, it is very important to keep your body in optimal condition prior to launch. This means you must be healthy: void of any and all serious health conditions. You should exercise regularly to keep your muscles strong as spending extended periods in microgravity will lead to muscle inactivity, debilitating your muscles. You must also attune your mind to possible challenges you will face in space like dealing with space adaptation syndrome (motion sickness), which tends to be an issue for longer trips. 

Thus, depending on the length and nature of your trip, you’ll accordingly undergo the necessary training so that in case things go awry, you’ll be prepared. This includes undergoing resistance training, numerous safety briefings and practising movement in zero gravity capsules.

2. The likely levels of G-force to be experienced 

G-forces are the sensations of weight we feel during acceleration as a result of movement against gravity. Let’s just say, what’s portrayed in the movies, where astronauts get crushed into their seats after exposure to high G-forces is far from reality! Given that you have passed the medical test to take this trip, you should be able to withstand the G-forces experienced on launch and on re-entry back to Earth. 

3. How to get used to the feeling of weightlessness

A good practise is to try scuba diving as it helps you get ready for all the ‘floating’ you’re about to do in space by getting you familiar with the sensation of being weightless. However, a better alternative would be taking a zero-G flight as it more accurately simulates the zero gravity environment of a spacecraft. 

Where to stay? 

Looking for comfortable accommodation? Well, look no further! We have exciting news on lodgings in space: 

The Voyager Station- The world’s first luxury space hotel

You heard that right! Earth’s very first official space lodging will be up and ready soon. This monumental achievement is the brainchild of the California-based company, Gateway Foundation and in the midst of being created by the Orbital Assembly Corporation. The Voyager Station is set to be completed by 2027 and will accommodate up to 280 guests and 112 crew members upon its opening! Curious about what this magnificent creation within its walls? Well, let’s take a peek, shall we? 

The Suites 

Engineers behind the project aim to make the luxury suites similar to those found in traditional hotels back on Earth, so you won’t be missing out on anything!

The Common Dining Hall

Enjoy a scrumptious meal as you gaze out into space! Let your eyes feast on the vast inky blackness of our cosmos, characterized by its swirls of purple, blue, pink, and dotted with millions of tiny stars. The Voyager Station will truly afford you a view like no other!

That’s not all! The Voyager also houses restaurants, a cinema, a spa, a library, a concert hall, bars and a sports hall. Are you getting déjà vu? I know I am! This soon to be futuristic reality seems to have been taken straight out of the plot of the widely acclaimed Science Fiction movie, Passengers!

Recent Developments in Space Tourism 

In the capitalistic moils of the world buds a new market: the space tourism market. It is no wonder that companies like SpaceX, Virgin Atlantic and Blue Origin are seizing this lucrative business venture in order to cash in on the growing demand for space tourism, a projected market value of 3 billion USD by 2031. This ardent dash towards being the first to provide a fully commercialised air travel experience is not unexpected. Seeing how quickly air travel took off amongst the masses, companies looking for their next business opportunity can only assume the same for space travel.

Additionally, Elon Musk has hatched ambitious plans to materialise low-earth orbital travel. These planks have crystallised with four, first-ever civilians being sent on a three-day trip around the world. Whilst the feasibility of mass commercialisation is still under question, this has no doubt proven to be a remarkable feat for mankind and Elon Musk’s billionaire competitors.


In many ways, the growth of space tourism and the development of space travel are closely intertwined: if space tourism becomes a lucrative field, our progress in space travel may very well accelerate.

When our forefathers pondered man’s place among the stars, they probably never expected it to be on a commercial space flight of recreational nature, admiring the otherworldly scenery out of a viewport. But indeed, that seems to possibly be what space tourism can bring to the near future, even if such an experience is reserved only for those of significant capital for now. Perhaps there will eventually come a time when a seat on a space shuttle is much cheaper, and maybe even comparable to a seat on a commercial plane of today. Until that fateful day comes, we can all marvel at the field’s current breakthroughs, and also keep our fingers crossed on a potential, future galactic getaway…


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