I SINCERELY applaud University Brunei Darussalam (UBD) for opening its doors of knowledge to high school dropouts like yours truly to partake in what little wisdom I could gain from foreign experts who have been invited to speak during their public lecture series.
This afternoon, I dragged along a young UBD/Strathclyde Uni Computer Science graduate who’s just joined my organisation a couple of days ago. I specifically told this 24-year-old freshie to take notes during today’s talk by a self-made Aussie billionnaire, Lindsay Fox, who like me was a high-school droput, too, BUT who’s made his multi-million dollar fortune from his trucking business (I hope to get a write-up by my young colleague tomorrow and will post his take on it in this blog ASAP).
Lindsay (as he’d like to be called) has that unique charm and wittiness about him which everyone in the audience could relate to. It’s his laid-back, down-to-earth coolness and fun way of sharing his wealth of experience and wisdom that makes him stand out as simply charismatic! His business-savvy style is so back-to-basic and simplistic… when I asked him: “What would you say is your key marketing strategy over the years?”. His straight-forward answer: “Clean trucks!”
It’s that obvious that to him business is simple and Lindsay Fox hates the word ‘networking’ because he much prefers ‘friendship’ instead. I share my sentiments with the moderator, Dr Mona of UBD, that Lindsay’s aura of genuine sincerity could touch many a heart to cry, laugh and to be inspired to help motivate other people to give back to the world in more ways than one. I will spare all the details for now and wait for my new office-mate’s story about Lindsay Fox’s public lecture at the UBD.
In October last year, I also attended one of the numerous public lectures which was organised by UBD. The speaker was a veteran Japanese top honcho from Mitsubishi Corporation. I also encouraged another young graduate staff (one of UBD’s Economics graduates) of my company to tag along then. And below is her full report:
“FUTURE BRUNEI DECADE FROM NOW”
(REPORT ON THE PUBLIC LECTURE HELD IN UBD ON 23rd OCTOBER 2008)
The public lecture, which was held at the Senate Room of the Chancellor Hall in University of Brunei Darussalam, was titled “Future Brunei Decade From Now”. It was presented by Mr Tetsuro Masuda, a Corporate Advisor in the Mitsubishi Corporation. Mr Masuda was one of the pioneering Japanese executives who played a key role in negotiating for Brunei LNG to be exported to Japanese markets in the 70s.
To start off the presentation, Mr Masuda highlighted the relationship between Brunei and Japan through close cooperation in terms of energy – BLNG had been supplying Japan’s major electrical or power companies through Mitsubishi Corporation. He mentioned that the long-term contract between BLNG and Mitsubishi Corporation would end in the year 2013 and he highlighted whether the government would make another deal or would the oil and gas reserve in Brunei be depleting within 10 years or so. And in case of depletion, what should Brunei do? In presenting his case, Mr. Masuda made several propositions.
Mr Masuda mentioned that oil producing countries in the Middle East exchange their accumulation of wealth from oil and gas production into “financial” instrument. However, Brunei should not follow in this footstep; rather Brunei should think of exchanging the wealth accumulated from the export of oil production to bring manufacturing industry into the country. He mentioned Ireland as a case study or example; Ireland, which is a small country, lowers their taxes for foreign company to set up manufacturing industry in the country. In order to support the 70% of people working in the government industry, Brunei should follow Ireland’s footstep.
One of the propositions was to set up car manufacturing industry in Brunei. A car has over 50,000 parts, and this itself meant there are a lot of job to be made out of making a single car, thus more employment opportunities. Moreover, Brunei is strategically located in the Asian region and thus has a bright future prospect in the production of car. Of course, assuming that there would be depletion in the production of oil and gas, Brunei should look into producing economically hybrid car which uses alternative power source like electricity to run. To make this idea viable, Brunei needs to establish a “Think Tank” like UBD to bring together the people who could make such great ideas become reality.
Another proposition presented was to set up an authentic veterinary institution in Brunei as a hub for the whole Asian region. Other short term propositions also included organising an Asian Song Contest, International Sporting events and taking the lead in Asian Cultural Heritage, with Brunei as the host of these major events.
From the propositions mentioned above, there are five key points which would be useful in setting up a better future for Brunei in the next decade. The first point highlighted how the country’s service industry and image could be improved. The second point would be to make a long-term relationship by having other country participate in an activity hosted by Brunei. Another would be to have a realistic view or mentality in terms of trying to create a better future for Brunei. The fourth point is to venture into alternative energy, such as solar energy, etc. And the last point would be “The security in Numbers”, whereby the country should venture into any different production or prospects in order to secure a sustainable development.”
And UBD has certainly lived up to its reputation as the academic provider of a ‘Think Tank’ platform in this country.