Born and raised in Zanzibar, Muntasir Shaaban Al Farsy fell into writing on somewhat of a whim. He hadn’t expected to love literature, words and annotating experience quite as much as he did, and does, to this day. Oman Magazine sit with Muntasir to find out more about his life story; an Omani, working in the field of communications, writing his tales for every eager ear to enjoy.
Tell us about your upbringing…
My parents and I returned to our roots in Oman in 1976. Our ancestors were from the town of Shizaw in Sohar. The very first one was a navigator called Qassim who accompanied Sayyid Said bin Sultan to East Africa – latter was the joint ruler of Oman and East Africa. My book Sayyid Said the Great relates his activities in both the dominions respectively. Ironically, the very first one who returned to Oman was also named Qassim who served loyally at the R.O.P. My upbringing was varied. I attended the Technical School at Darseit along with other Omani Expatriates as there were no other English language school at the time except this one. Now it has been turned into Majan College. I was lucky to win a scholarship from the Ministry of Education and went to Illinois , U.S.A. for further studies. I took History and English at Mundelein college in Chicago and Psychology Introduction at Rockford college in Rockford. Mundelein has now been merged with next door university and known as Loyola University.
When you returned to Oman, what were your next steps?
On return, I joined Ministry of Defence and received proper grooming and military discipline. We owe a lot to Great Britain in many respects, much like the African Countries do for the Protectorate and Colonization that brought the best of our nations to the world. After retirement, I moved around working in different roles, fulfilling my passion to constantly learn and explore. I worked at the iconic Sheraton Oman Hotel, at its heyday, as a Personnel Officer. The hotelier world is certainly a very interesting one.
What are some of your fondest memories?
I have enjoyed a vibrant life and recall heading to California in the early 2000s. At the time, I fancied a career as a performer, in singing, acting, or both! I worked with the Talent Entertainment Network and at KSLA, an American Radio station.
So, tell us. How did your writing begin?
I never even dreamed that someday I would be interested in writing. I started writing articles here in Oman whilst working at Times of Oman and Shabiba, respectively. It began with the 40th Anniversary of establishing the very first English newspaper in Oman. I recently wrote an article for the 23rd of July, Renaissance Day, describing His Majesty’s younger years, during his training in UK. The rare old photos left readers in awe and I received many compliments for the feature.
What do you most enjoy writing about?
I think based on my life story, you can see I enjoy change and variety. The other day I interviewed Eisa Lamky, the best Omani chef and in the GCC, whose life story is very interesting indeed. So personalities and unique stories are my passion. However, I also love writing about history, first-time events or something sensational.
Tell us about your historical books…
As far as my three Historical books are concerned, no one would have believed that I ever intended to write, or complete in one year, my first book. Using the fountain of reputable sources on the internet, in books and from reliable sources, I produced ‘Happy Jubilee to Al Saidiya School’, the first government school established in Muscat that coincides with His Majesty’s date of birth.
So, what’s next in your writing journey?
I will continue to write features on Oman’s history, present and future for publications here in Muscat, as well as arranging and writing down my past mischiefs, in memory with my late sister Rym, to share funny tales of our childhood with the world. It’s intended to be a comic; a light-hearted humorous read. It will be like Dennis the Menace; jotting down every prank we had ever committed.
How can we keep up to date with you?