Sticking it to The Stamp Museum – Spelling Colombia Correctly

It’s Colombia not Columbia.

MapOriginally published in the Clawson Patch newspaper May 2013.

Michael:  I heard the question. Yes, we did enjoy the Singapore Philatelic Museum.

And yes readers, I know, why don’t they just call it the stamp museum? Anyway the employee who asked the question did not realize that she had opened the door for what came next.

“I have a complaint,” my wife said.

Previously I wrote about how Singaporeans seem to always look at things with a positive attitude. The statement took the lady aback. She looked flustered and at odds of what to do. Obviously a complaint was something above her pay scale. Her hand went to her hip as if to show indignation that there should be a problem with the museum. Again, something I have noticed is that the people of this island country try to do everything correctly the first time. “I’ll call the administrator,” she said picking up the phone.

Perhaps it is the Asian business mindset which is slightly different than what we see in many Western companies, but stuff does roll up hill.

Soon a short well dressed lady in her late 30’s appeared. Following the caller’s eyes she looked at my wife, but said nothing. “May I show you?” my wife asked.

This person in charge looked amazed at the possibility of a complaint as well but answered. “Of course.”

 Graciela:  I was very polite and did everything in a nice manner. I explained that we had visited her museum last year, noticed the error and that I had sent them a letter advising of it. However we returned this year only to find that nothing had changed.

 Michael: The administrator followed Graciela to the room housing vertical sliding cabinets of stamps from countries around the world. My wife quickly found the one for Colombia and pulled it out. The look on the lady’s face made it obvious she did not grasp the problem. “Colombia is spelled wrong,” my wife sheet

 Graciela:  They had spelled it correctly at the top of the page but then incorrectly on the map and a couple other places.

 Michael:  A blogger recently wrote a piece titled “How to Piss Off a Colombian.” The most well known way and number one on the author’s article is to spell the name of their country incorrectly. It’s Colombia not Columbia.

 Graciela:  The administrator assured me she would see to the changes before we returned next year. Though I did not voice it at the time, I wondered how they could spell it wrong when their initial stamp showing one or our treasures in the Museo del Oro had it spelled correctly in large letters.

 Michael:  To make the lady feel better I explained that both the Central Intelligence Agency on their website and the United Nations in Geneva made the same mistake. From experience I would say that 70% of Americans are just as guilty.

 Graciela:  In the USA you have Columbia records, Columbian University, Columbia River and the District of Columbia, but my country is spelled Colombia with an “O” not a “U.”

 Michael:  “Sí mi Amor” – My wife and other Colombians have a point. Dale Carnegie, author of the book How to Win Friends and Influence People, stated how important it is to spell a person’s name correctly. The same goes for a country.

 Graciela:  Do not let the fact that the Singapore Philatelic Museum misspelled Colombia keep it from your list a things to see in Singapore. Even if you do not collect stamps this museum has amazing information.


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