Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Doing Well and Doing Good

I had the pleasure of attending the Young Arab Leaders (YAL) event at the Babtain Library for Poetry where Mr. Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain was the guest speaker –at his own library so to speak. He is very charismatic and enjoyable character and he had a lot to talk about. Since the event was meant to inspire young leaders, he talked at length about his personal experience and the success he worked so hard to achieve.

He had few stories to share. One was during his honeymoon as he strolled the streets of Cairo he saw an ad for a product. He thought to himself how those on pilgrimage to Mecca recouped the expenses of their trip by engaging in trade while they were there. So he turned to his young wife and took her permission to meet with the distributor of that product to talk him into granting him the agency; this way they could recoup the honeymoon expenses he mused. In another story he courted an Afghan he saw walking outside his office and took him to lunch at a fancy restaurant thinking he was a merchant - restaurant was called Golden Beach or something which was the fanciest place around at that time. During lunch he realized that the Afghan was only a tailor so he paid the bill and left at once! Well the moral of the stories is to chase opportunities and never let them pass by.

The event and Mr.Babtain’s talk was very inspiring. Not only did he do well but he did good too which is apparent in all his charity and cultural efforts. He mentioned how early on in his life his focus was to accumulate wealth but after a certain point he wanted to share this wealth by doing good. Even though he was open about his business, especially the cigarette agency, I would have loved to hear how he reconciles selling cigarettes with his social responsibility.

10 comments:

1001 Nights said...

The idea of him taking his wife's permission is cute! The man has earned a tremendous level of respect in the country. I think he even housed the late Emir Sheikh Jaber (Alla yir7ima) when he first got back to Kuwait after the invasion. I wish more of the wealthy Kuwaiti men would do the amount of charity and show the amount of patriotism that Mr. Al-Babtain has.

Regarding the social responsibility factor though, my personal sentiment is that cigarettes, like alcohol, should be banned. But if that’s not an option, then all cigarette companies should have a proportion of their revenues go to cancer research, here or elsewhere in the world. That way they’d be financing the disease and the cure!

Happy Wolf said...

Nice stories...but i pitty the Afgani....

bored said...

interesting, a friend of mine was complaining that when this event was held in dubai the guest speakers included people like Colin Powell and other global billionairs (dnt remember who) and that in kuwait they couldnt get any of the world renouned leaders...but from what you have said it seems like a success.

bu ziyad said...

1001 nights: I like your idea of financing cancer research.. that is part of the logic of high taxes on cigarettes to finance such causes.. but I think people should decide for themselves without any ban..

wolf: at least he got free meal!

bu ziyad said...

bored: I enjoyed it.. it did not have any international figures (i was there :p).. Just Maha Al-Ghunaim who is on YAL board and the guest speaker Abdulaziz Al-Babtain. The library is worth a visit!

Kinan said...

I really wanted to visit that library for quite a while now. I should probably go sometime this week. I am sure it's worth it :)

eshda3wa said...

chase your oppertunities
the wisest thing i have heard in a long long time

definitly visiting his library

bu ziyad said...

kinan: definately worth a visit.. you can take your own book and read there..

eshda3wa: sometimes you gota chase.. other times you gota grab them when they come your way..

Anonymous said...

i attended the event and it delightfully exceeded my expectations. i had to leave but kept forcing myself to stay on. worth it! encore!

Financy said...

i wouldnt think twice of selling cigerates .. its 100% Haram,

and he is spreading Haram , which makes him take the sin of every one smoking .. thats a scarey idea ..

if i was him , i would sell the cigarates agency and switch my business to something else.

1 kd Haram ma yeswa