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Love at First Sight

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Love at First Sight

It was love at first sight!

I visited the Sultanate of Brunei Darussalam this week for the first time. Had a great time and I came away with a lot of good impressions on why some small countries know how to weather the storms of life, while others fail? Perhaps by the same token why some humans do while others…

First of all, what did I see? I saw a nation at work. Small in numbers, but big in imagination! What do I mean? The airport under construction, but were served without hitches.

Airport scans, double hotel luggage scans, ornate hotel rooms, VIP limousines, gold-embroidered conference rooms and lounges, coffee makers, timely service, well manicured lawns, effective security guards, pick up drivers, gold-embroidered picture frames of the King and Queen, event staff, lots of trees, spacious hotel and OMG thin, brown and tasty slices of roti prata. The finest!

Was shocked to find out there was separate VIP curtained refreshment sitting for facilitators, speaker and trainers. What is the deal with that? For me, as a Bantu boy and country bumpkin from the hinterlands of Africa that was not something that appealed to me. Am sensitive to that.

Many will tell you that they are wealthy because they are small and oil rich. I will differ. There are many small countries with a heck of resources that are wretched. They are wealthy because they have good values about themselves and others, I believe.

2 Lessons:

They Benchmark the best
I would ague that Brunei is a force to reckon with because they assert themselves and benchmark the best. In SE Asia, Brunei could easily have been swayed to benchmark Malaysia or Indonesia development models. Far from it! They are benchmarking Singapore. It tells me something about their inner core?

What is urging them to keep finding ways to fly with the eagles instead of scratching with the chickens? I think it foresight. Finding their place within the concert of nations, I believe has to do with the leadership of the Sultan and his advisors. Without such foresight, a spacious island could have been a Madagascar, Mauritius or Cape Verde.

It was indeed, love at first sight.