Monthly Archives: December 2017

Amusing Things in 2017

Let me share to you the following random list of amusing things I have encountered this year:

Three Persons

During my trip to Sri Lanka in the month of May, Kriya from Thailand and I were fetched in the Colombo International Airport by the personal driver of a common friend, Lady Hom. Kriya arrived half an hour ahead of me, and we exchanged pleasantries while waiting for the driver to signal us to mount the street monster. But the driver seemed waiting for somebody else. As I read again the insignia he was holding, I realized that he was indeed waiting for three persons – Kriya, Mansoor, and Limba. I told him, “Brother, let’s go to the hotel.” He replied politely, “But Sir, we have to wait for Limba as well.” I said, “Don’t worry, I have already put Limba inside my luggage!”

Men’s Toilet

In a seafood restaurant in Guangzhou City, China, the toilet sign for men is an image that depicts the action inside the toilet. On the contrary, the toilet sign for women is just a usual image of a standing lady. I wonder, does the second image also imply the action (mere standing) inside the toilet for ladies? If it is not, then perhaps males should cry “gender (masculinity) sensitivity, please!”

Democrazy

As we visited the Shenzhen City Museum before the concluding day of our training workshop, Harry from Myanmar drew my attention to the caption of a picture, and asked, “Mansoor, do you think it is intentional?” “What do you mean – the caption? Sure, it is intentional!” “Read the caption again.” As I read again the caption, I realized what Harry was referring to – the word ‘democrazy’ instead of’ democracy’. So, I told him, “Yes, maybe it’s intentional [as a satirical way of alluding to the self-styled Champion of Democracy and Defender of Human Rights]!”

Dela Cruz Juan

While I was doing a research on corruption-violent extremism nexus in the Philippines last August, I had to read the maiden book of a veteran Filipino journalist who is a well-known expert on the armed groups in Southeast Asia, and reread her second book, among many other materials to read. What I noticed in both books is her consistency in mistakenly interchanging the first and family name of the late founding chairman of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). If the chairman’s name were Juan Dela Cruz, she would always call him ‘Dela Cruz Juan’. Ma’am, ‘Salamat’ is the first name while ‘Hashim’ is the family name. It should be ‘Salamat Hashim’ and not ‘Hashim Salamat’!

MSU

Yes, MSU means Mindanao State University – the largest state-run university system in Mindanao and second only to the University of Philippines in the whole country. I was shocked, and thereafter, amused, when a Philippine expert on terrorism in Mindanao assumes in a national TV interview that MSU means ‘Marawi State University’.

Private Vehicle

A government agency invited me as the Resource Person on two separate topics. After the event, I was asked to present pertinent receipts for the reimbursement of my transportation expenses. The financial officer refused to honor my receipt for fuel on the ground that I used private vehicle. I told her, “So, Ma’am, do you mean to say if I took an airplane in coming here, you will also not reimburse my money?” “Why?” “Because the aircraft is also owned by a private airline company!”

Sleeping while Taking Exam

While conducting a major examination, I noticed that a student of mine who was seated at the back was not moving. As I silently approached him, I found out that he was sleeping! Sleeping while taking an exam? Yes, it’s also my first time experience. Assuming that it was not done intentionally and he must not be feeling well that time, I just let him sleep. It’s good that after three minutes, he woke up and then continued taking the exam. The same student once slept in my regular class session. And he did not wake up even after I dismissed the class. Fortunate indeed are the ‘young ones’. We, the ‘young once,’ on the contrary, would experience having a professor that prohibited his or her student from even looking at his/her watch!

Wahhabism from Africa

In a regional workshop on violent extremism and religious education in Southeast Asia, the speaker in a plenary session gained enough audacity in claiming thus: “You know, there’s no problem with Wahhabism from Saudi Arabia; the one that brings problems around the world is the Wahhabism from Africa!” What – Wahhabism from Africa!

Choice of Words

A close friend recently reasoned out, “I did not give wrong information; I was only wrong in my choice of word!” No comment.

How about you? Any amusing experience you want to share?

Categories: Current Events, Social Issues | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Dear Year 2018

MAKATI CITY (MindaNews/31 December) – I was about to extend my wishes for a “Happy New Year” to my friends online, but then certain things were bothering me; certain questions lingering on my mind. So, what I did instead was to scribe this personal letter to Year 2018:

Dear Year 2018,

Will you be really a ‘happy new year’? I’m asking you this rather awkward question because of the undesirable unfolding of events in the remaining days of your predecessor (2017).

After the global attention had been invariably diverted to false flag operations (activities related to terrorism and violent extremism), it is drawn back again to a main global issue – the Palestinian Question – thanks to Donald Trump’s blunder.

Will Trump triumph in pushing for his agenda of Zionization of Jerusalem?

Not to mention the internal squabble within the kingdom, will Saudi Arabia be able to rescue itself from the quagmire of Syria, Yemen, Bahrain, and more recently, Lebanon?

Dear Year 2018,

Now, two months have already passed since the end of the Marawi Siege. Do you think the Philippine government will be able to aptly ‘reinvent’ itself (see “Time for government’s ‘self-reinvention’?” http://www.mindanews.com/…/marginalia-time-for-governments-…), particularly on the pressing issue of the city residents’ return, resettlement and reintegration, in accordance to the 30 Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement laid down by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)?

Within this year, Duterte said many times he will father the Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) to make sure it will come into fruition during his term, with a warning that trouble might brew if the said draft law will not be passed. (See “PPRD calls on Congress to expedite BBL,” PTV News, October 30, 2017, https://www.ptvnews.ph/prrd-calls-congress-expedite-bbl.)

Yet just two weeks ago (December 17, 2017), a perceived ‘anti-BBL’ congressman was allowed to be named as one of the three members of the subcommittee who would take the lead in ‘harmonizing’ the four BBL bills filed in Congress.

Is the fatherhood to the fetus transferred to someone who is expected to abort it?

Worse still, two days afterward (December 19), the supposed ‘father’ expressed doubt if the BBL could hurdle constitutional barriers. Was there any lawyer among the government representatives in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission (BTC) that could have detected these ‘unconstitutionalities’ while drafting the BBL? What was the use of the more-than-two-month time interval between the submission of BBL to its supposed ‘father’ on July 17, 2017 and its filing in Congress as a bill on September 29?

Is the original ‘gameplan’ really to subsume the BBL into the federalism track? In that case, is there any real guarantee that a BBL compliant with the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro / Framework Agreement on the Bangsamoro (CAB/FAB) can be truly pursued under a federal set-up? In other words, is it reasonable to make a dress without getting first the body size of the person who is supposed to wear it?

Dear Year 2018,

As the current Philippine administration’s abstention to the UN General Assembly’s resolutions about the status of Jerusalem and the plight of the Rohingyas is widely perceived to be ‘denial of current wrongs’ and is therefore contradictory to the spirit of the 2016 presidential campaign on ‘correcting historical injustices’, will you not be just a 365-day extension of “That’s Entertainment” show in Manila-Davao theaters?

Dear Year 2018,

Exactly after 50 years, will you not be a repetition of the year 1968 when our youth would no longer listen to and follow the elders, and eventually pursue their way of expressing the inalienable right to self-determination? What will be the decision of the middle-aged like me: to cling to and always believe in the wisdom of the elders, or to join the youth in charting their own destiny?

Due to these lingering questions, I would rather seek refuge and find solace in this short supplication:

“O Transformer of the hearts and insights!

O Alternator of the nights and days!

O Changer of the conditions and states!

Change our condition with the best of conditions!”

[MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. Mansoor L. Limba, PhD in International Relations, is a writer, educator, blogger, chess trainer, and translator (from Persian into English and Filipino) with tens of written and translation works to his credit on such subjects as international politics, history, political philosophy, intra-faith and interfaith relations, cultural heritage, Islamic finance, jurisprudence (fiqh), theology (‘ilm al-kalam), Qur’anic sciences and exegesis (tafsir), hadith, ethics, and mysticism. He can be reached at mlimba@diplomats.com, or http://www.mlimba.com and http://www.muslimandmoney.com.]

Categories: Current Events, Social Issues | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Community-based Religious Education and Preventing Violent Extremism

Parallel 1.B COMMUNITY-BASED RELIGIOUS EDUCATION ROLES AND PREVENTING VIOLENT EXTREMISM: EXPERIENCE FROM VARIOUS COUNTRIES

1. How is community playing role in religious education across various context?
2. How can community play bigger role in shaping religious education to prevent [and counter] violent extremism?

Parallel 2.B PROMOTING RELIGIOUS LITERACY EDUCATION

1. How important is religious literacy in our current context?
2. How can religious education increase religious literacy?

Categories: Education, Social Issues | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Two Questions

During the second plenary session on “Religious Education and Violent Extremism: The Southeast Asian Context” on the second day, the four speakers from Myanmar, Indonesia, and the Philippines endeavored to address these two guide questions: (1) What are the roles of state and community on religious education and PVE in Southeast Asia? (2) What are the differences and similarities, for example, in terms of
pedagogy and curriculum?

During the open session, somebody from the participants ventured to pose these two questions:

Question to the 3rd Speaker: Considering your proximity to Marawi City in more accurately analyzing the conditions on the ground as well as the ‘recapture’ of the city by the government troops and the deaths of Isnilon [Hapilon] and Omarkhayam [Maute], the top two leaders of the group/s that occupied Marawi on May 23, do you think we cannot expect another Marawi in the near and medium-term future? Why?

Question to the 4th Speaker: You have made mention of the ARMM Darul Ifta’s religious edict (fatwa) against terrorism – a courageous move which is really worthy of appreciation. But I’m just curious: Since the ‘fatwa’ was originally written and issued in Arabic language, which the overwhelming majority of the youth in the ARMM cannot understand, is it already translated into languages and vernaculars of the common people – Filipino (Tagalog), Visaya (Cebuano), M’ranao, Tausug, Maguindanaon and others?

Categories: Education, Social Issues | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Why Religious Education Matters?

The first plenary session of the Regional Workshop on Violent Extremism and Religious Education in Southeast Asia which kicked off yesterday dealt with the question “Why does religious education matter for preventing violent extremism?” The speakers who dealt with the subject were a Buddhist monk directing a monastic high school in Myanmar and a member of the advisory board of an Islamic university in Indonesia.

My personal take on the issue is as follows:

Before directly answering the question of ‘why’, stating two hypotheses here is in order. First, religion can either be a bridge or a wall. Like a kitchen knife, it can be used to prepare a very delicious food and it can also be a tool to commit a heinous crime. Second, in the context of violent extremism, religion can either be a driver or a diverter.

Given these two hypotheses, it can then be stated that religious education really matter for preventing [and countering] violent extremism due to the following reasons:

1. Some violent extremist groups use religious narratives and symbols.

2. Religion can be powerful enough to stimulate people to action, for good or bad.

3. Religious education provides political authority and moral ascendancy to any ‘messenger’ of any ‘message’.

4. A ‘messenger’ of violent extremism, as in many instances, may capitalize on this religious education-rooted political authority and moral ascendancy he/she acquires in addressing his/her audience.

5. Such a ‘messenger’ who capitalizes on religious education-rooted political authority and moral ascendancy can only be competently combated by an alternative and superior ‘messenger’ whose political authority or moral ascendancy also emanates from the same religious education.

Categories: Education, Social Issues | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Question on ‘Regional Outlook on Violent Extremism’

“We have been talking about the narrative and drivers of violent extremism (VE). When we say drivers, we are referring to the push and pull factors that ‘recruit’ individuals to VE. And we tend to pay less attention to VE’s enablers – that is, factors that make VE and its activities ‘resilient’. We are interested to know what UNDP has done so far – from development work perspective – in addressing these ‘enablers’ of VE.”

Supposed question on the Introductory Session about “Regional Outlook on Violent Extremism” by Phil Matsheza, Regional Team Leader, Governance & Peacebuilding, UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub

Categories: Public Speaking, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mergrande Marauders in Jakarta

Look, who are in the picture? Yes. Mergrande Marauders and other KAICIID International Fellows together with KAICIID Advisor Dr. Syamsuddin.

Since these marauders are Anas-trained peace provocateurs, you can already expect what troubles are in store for this regional workshop on violent extremism and religious education in Southeast Asia.

Not in the photo is the queen provocateur, Wiwin Siti Aminah Rohmawati

Categories: Interfaith and Intra-faith Dialogue, Travel | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Tips for Presenting a Conference Paper

Subsequent to my earlier post and the comments it elicits, let me share with you below five practical tips I always remind myself of before presenting a conference paper. These tips are meant for the prospective young conference presenters, and not to the seasoned conference speakers who are repeatedly passionate enough to go beyond the time limit set for them.

1. Know your goal.

The reason behind paper presentation in a conference is not to share your research as a whole, but to give your audience just a taste of it, in order to receive feedback for the further improvement of your work. If you want to share it as a whole, let it be published in a credible journal.

2. Know your audience.

Don’t get excited when your panel is full of people. They may be there interested to listen to your co-panelists and not to you. If they are there to listen to you, they are there to know from you if your research is worth reading once it gets published, or not.

3. Know your time limit.

Before the conference, inquire from the organizers or panel moderator the time limit set for every presentation. If it’s 15 minutes, then prepare your slides for 10 minutes because if you consider your adlibs, fillers and many “Next slide, please,” you will spend an additional 5 minutes in the actual presentation. Prior to the start of the panel, I usually look for the one in charge of the projector and ask him or her to listen to my presentation and manage by himself or herself my slides’ transition without me telling him or her anymore, “Next slide please!”

4. Do not explain everything.

Considering your goal and the limited time at your disposal, do not ever attempt to explain everything about your paper. It is better to state only a few things with emphasis, than to explain many things very quickly. I had a lady co-presenter in a conference who tried to give an exhaustive explanation of her paper. When thrown with a ‘why/how’ question during the open forum, she was practically embarrassed for having no good answer or no answer.

5. Q&A is a shared time as well.

Do not monopolize answering the questions during the Q&A Session because like the paper presentation, this session is also shared with your co-presenters. Try to answer the questions directly and concisely. Give enough space to your co-presenters to give their answers.

Good luck!

(Photo via savepoint.blog.br)

Categories: Public Speaking | Tags: , | Leave a comment

‘Conference Paper Presentation 101’ and ‘Conference Panel Moderating 101’?

Before attending a regional workshop on religious education in Jakarta next week, my past two weeks were a series of paper presentations or talks. In a DILG-PPSC jointly organized national training of trainers on preventing and countering violent extremism held in Manila on November 27-29, I was asked to share my working paper on deconstructing media reporting in Mindanao.

Immediately after the closing program I rushed to the airport to catch my 9:40 pm flight bound for Davao City. But sad to note, I arrived at NAIA at 10:09 pm already. Blame it to the traffic jam in the Metro. I booked for the next available flight (around 6 am), but I had to enlist my name as chance passenger for the earliest flight (4 am) that day (November 30) in order to arrive in the next conference venue before the start of the panel session (8 am) where I was invited to talk about the post-Marawi Siege landscape.

The following day (December 1), I had to leave the beach resort (Waterfront Insular Hotel) and climbed up the mountainous part of the city (Malagos Garden Resort) to deliver another talk at the seminar-workshop dubbed “Reporting Marawi, Reporting Violent Extremism” organized by the MindaNews and an institute of Mindanao-based journalists.

Two days afterward, I had to fly back to Manila to moderate the panel on youth radicalization and violent extremism of a forum on the peace process in Mindanao, organized by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). Immediately after lunch, I had to rush to the province of Cavite, outside Metro Manila, to share my thoughts on cultural sensitivity and media reporting in Mindanao at a one-week special course conducted by a national public safety institution.

         

The next day, I flew to Kuala Lumpur to attend the 7th International Conference on Southeast Asia at the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Malaya, and to present a paper on Marawi Siege’s security implications to the Southeast Asian region. During the opening ceremony the other day, the convener of the panel on the role of women in conflict zones in Southeast Asia invited me to join her panel, which I gladly accepted, and I talked about the role of women in promoting violent extremism in the Philippines.

     

In all these presentations as well as in previous experiences in conferences, one recurring thing I have observed time and again is the dismal failure of a considerable number of speakers to observe the time limit (usually 15 to 20 minutes), and correspondingly, some moderators’ ineptitude to properly manage the time limit set for each panel. One moderator even emailed me the night before the panel session, asking me to limit my presentation to 10 minutes, while actually allowing my co-presenter in the panel to talk for around 45 minutes and another co-presenter to talk in half an hour.

One panel convener kept reminding me four times to limit my talk to 15 minutes “in order to devote more time to the discussions during the Q&A session”. Yet the same panel convener was around 30 minutes late in the panel, and having designated herself as the first presenter, she had two minutes excess to the 15-minute time limit she herself had set.

In view of these and similar experiences in the remote past, I’m just wondering if there’s a need for a sort of “conference paper presentation 101” and “conference panel moderation 101.”

Please let me know your views and comments.

Categories: Public Speaking, Travel | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Proudly powered by WordPress Theme: Adventure Journal by Contexture International.