State Counsellor delivers addresses at Third Myanmar Entrepreneurship Summit 2018

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addresses the 3rd Myanmar Entrepreneurship Summit – 2018 in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA
State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi addresses the 3rd Myanmar Entrepreneurship Summit – 2018 in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday. Photo: MNA

Following is an unofficial translation of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi’s address at the Third Myanmar Entrepreneurship Summit 2018 held at Myanmar International Conference Center II in Nay Pyi Taw yesterday.
“I would first like to say it is important for businesses to look out for the benefit of other people and for them. They need to ensure their business succeeds, is sustainable and beneficial, and benefits their community as well. You can look out just for your own profit but since our country is a developing nation, it will only develop if everyone looks out for the benefit of the majority. It’s not enough for our country just to be rich with a lot of money. Why are we working for our businesses to succeed? It’s for our physical security, but even that is not enough.”
“Every citizen in our country needs mental security too. Mental security cannot be brought about with just economic success. Healthcare and education are equally important. A person will feel mentally secure if their health is in good condition and if they have valid reasons to face their challenges, which is related to education.”
“I want the young entrepreneurs in our country to develop the nation in a way that is unique and different from other countries. I have to say I adore the dance performance from the group of youths from earlier. Basically, it is our Myanmar culture and dance but they performed it in a way that is modern and relevant to the world. We need to encourage them. We have to maintain our culture and tradition and at the same time find ways to make it relevant to modern times. The world is more interconnected than before, young people in our country will have similarities with youths from other countries. It would be improper of us to dissuade them nor do we have a reason to do so. The world is always changing.”
“I want to highlight two points to our young entrepreneurs. First, they need to have a creative mindset and be able to see things from a new perspective. Second, I want our country to be self-reliant. When our country was endeavoring for independence our forefathers told us to create our own destiny. We cannot achieve this with politics alone, it depends on economic success as well. We can hold our own destiny firmly within our hands if our economy is strong. I want our young entrepreneurs to make that become a reality.”
“In a way, our path to independence is in tandem with the path to democracy. We wish for democracy because we want our country to be stronger, to stand proudly and independently on the global platform, to create our own future, so I implore our young entrepreneurs to think of things we haven’t thought of before. Do things that other countries haven’t attempted yet. Businesspeople in other countries only focus on business endeavours because they think it is the main drive for economic development. That is why I want our young entrepreneurs to adopt a different mindset that thinks ‘I am working not only for my benefit but also for the economic development of my country.’ Don’t think that this is not relevant to our times. Think of it as something ahead of our time. It is certainly not old-fashioned.”
“Here, I want to tell you not to think of something as impossible without attempting it. Just because someone hasn’t done it doesn’t mean it can’t be achieved. Try to have a mindset that encourages attempting things no one else has done before and the will to see it through. On my way here I asked a question at the entrance; the number of young women entrepreneurs increases steadily year after year so how does it fare this year? At the first summit the number was 49 per cent, and it was 52 per cent last year. This year that number is at 58 per cent. I even feel a little worried for the male entrepreneurs. If the current trend continues then maybe all our entrepreneurs will be females. We honor this but we want both men and women to develop at the same pace.”
“I won’t go into too much detail about the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP). I believe our young entrepreneurs will work in accord with it. When we work for development along this path I want everyone to envision what sort of country they wish to live in the future. I have been to most of the wealthiest countries in the world and I always think to myself whether I want our country to be as wealthy as this, and do I want to live in a country like this for the rest of my life. I always think of these things and I want our young entrepreneurs to ponder the same thing too.”
“Truthfully, no matter how poor our country may be, I feel the most at home in my own country. I respectfully request our business community to make every citizen feel the same way at home by providing them with mental and physical security.”
“Please, make our country more secure by making the economy stronger. If our country is secure it will be more peaceful. An insecure person will have no peace of mind. Likewise, an insecure country will have no peace and tranquillity.”
“Businesses cannot stand by themselves. They depend on government policy to succeed as well. Similarly, the success of a government administration is connected to the businesses in its country. This is why we need to work hand in hand with each other. The Union government and the business community need to work together for national development and the security and peace of mind of every citizen. This is why I want our business society to envision what form they want our country to develop into. This is especially important for the younger generation since they will be here longer than the older generation who will be leaving this world before them.”
“Most of our business people are at that age where they are just having a family. I want them to consider what kind of country they want their children to grow up in and what kind of mindsets do they want them to adopt. Young people these days know more things than their parents due in part to modern technological advances. This has both positive and negative associations. They don’t stop at the teachings of their parents as the teachings from their mobile phones have a significant effect on their lives as well. Again, this is both good and bad. What I’ve noticed is the children are learning English faster through the internet and by using Facebook. But they are also learning other things along with English. We have to reason if this is proper or not. Technology can be both beneficial and negative so we have to continuously gauge it. Development in itself has positive and negative connotations as well. It’s not always positive but I want to encourage our people to try to have the capability to reason how much positivity they have on their side.”
“There have been observations that no other people in the world are as generous and giving as we Myanmar people. It’s not enough to be generous. It’s important to be organized in our generosity. If all our giving end up being of no use to anyone then our endeavours will be for naught. We need to be organized, disciplined and reasonable. I want you to consider if your generosity will be beneficial to the majority and to adopt a habit of collaboration.”
“This is something I repeat again and again. Our people are still inexperienced when it comes to collaborating with each other. We are more focused on individual accomplishments and developments. This may be due to influence from our parents and from the past decades of education. When our system allows only those with the highest marks to pursue what they want then it will engender people to only think of their own development.”
“We need to change the perception of our people and improve their mental capacities so that they will cooperate more. This is essential in both the education sphere and the business community. I encourage everyone to cultivate a mindset that encourages working for the benefit of other people as it will have a reciprocal effect on your own development too. We have to think of long-term sustainability and not just the short-term. We cannot think for the benefit of one month, one year or even one election period. Most politicians think only as far as the next election but some politicians think about the next generation. I want the business community to have a similar mindset.”
“The last thing I want to mention is we are heading into the future with development and advancement in mind but I urge you not to let go of the traditions and standards of the past that are still beneficial for us. Don’t think of them as obsolete just because they are old. Like I mentioned earlier, I quite enjoyed the children’s performances earlier. Their dance did not forget our old traditions and dance performances. They did more than preserve tradition, they integrated it into a modern context.”
“Some people think it’s not fashionable to respect your elders anymore. I used to wonder why we need to respect our elders when I was young. I believe that no one is immune to old age and death. So, we get older and weaker despite proper healthcare to ourselves. It’s a good thing to respect those who have their energy diminished. We take care of children and show them love and compassion. We treat them with care and gentleness. Shouldn’t we take care of our elders in the same way? I think this is the reason children are taught to respect their elders and take care of them. Of course, the adults need to show respect to the younger generation as well.”
“What I have said today is relevant to both young and older entrepreneurs. We adults are responsible for nurturing the young generation and to pave the way to success for them. We all know the state of our country’s roads. They are always deteriorating because we don’t use good materials and techniques from the start. A good road will last not for our lifetime but for the next one as well. I conclude my speech by kindly requesting our young entrepreneurs to pave our country’s economic highway not only for yourselves and your generation, but also for the successive generations to come, as we work to strengthen our country’s security and elevate the spirit of our people.” (Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)

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