Posts Tagged With: Sri Lanka

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!”


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’!


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

An All-embracing Room

In my recent trip to Sri Lanka, there was really a sense of relief to get a connecting flight that would not pass by the overly congested NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) in Manila.


As I would routinely do in any transit airport, when I was in Changi Airport (Singapore) en route to Colombo, I started to perform my ‘rituals’ – the three (3) P’s: (1) picture, (2) purchase, and (3) prayer, in reverse order.

After the performance of the two rituals, I roamed around the airport to snap pictures, particularly around the airport’s Enchanted Garden.

Prior to that, I purchased two pieces of magnetic souvenir items for the refrigerator back home.

As soon as I entered the airport, the first thing I did was to look for the prayer room. As I could not find any “Muslim prayer room” sign, I ventured to ask from an airport staff, who indicated a particular direction.

When I went there, what I found was “Multi-religion Prayer Room.” I hesitantly entered the room, and the first thing I noticed was the ablution area for gents. Eureka!

The beauty of openness which this room embodies inevitably brought to my mind the Mosque in Madinah during the time of the Prophet.

During the 9th Year After Hijrah (a year after the Fall of Makkah), which was known as the Year of Deputations on account of the delegates around the Arabian Peninsula visiting Madinah in order to embrace Islam or pay jizyah (tax paid by non-Muslim citizens of the Islamic state), a delegation of Christians from Najran (border between Hijaz and Yemen) came to discuss with the Prophet. (See “Tarikh al-Ya’qubi,” vol. 2, p. 66)

As recorded in “Sirah al-Halabi” (vol. 3, p. 239) and other sources, the Christian delegation was entertained in the mosque and when their time for prayer set in, they were granted the full permission to offer their prayers right there.

After I offered my prayer in that all-embracing room of the airport, little did I know that I would witness a more fascinating beauty of openness and tolerance in the heart of Colombo – a mosque and a church attached to one another for almost a century now.

(An excerpt from my upcoming book, COMBO TRIP TO COLOMBO)

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

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