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The Tigers of Mompracem

When I was a boy I was fascinated for the novel The Tigers of Mompracem, written by Emilio Salgari in which are narrated the adventures of Sandokan, a 19th-century Bornean prince turned pirate and his loyal Portuguese lieutenant Yanez of Gomera, led their men in attacks against the Dutch and British fleets. I particularly loved the 1976 Italian television series where Indian actor Kabir Bedi played the lead. Bedi has been considered the quintessential Sandokan ever since. He is a formidable fighter, brave, and ruthless with his enemies, but kind, generous, and faithful to his friends; more than a pirate is a defender of justice for the people of Southeast Asia.

Having been born in the Caribbean, stories of pirates fighting against Spaniards and British are not unknown to me. There are many things in common: the countless islands of those archipelagos where each bay can be a naval port, the tropical hot, the insatiable storms - hurricanes or monsoons - the flavor of seafood and fish, the blue sky but above all that the diversity of its people and the mixture of cultures. Maybe that's why I find in Singapore something that I recognize, a feeling of déjà vu that doesn’t surprise me; so far from home and so close to me. 

I have experienced many business challenges in my life, from the obfuscated streets of Caracas to the obfuscated streets of the City of London, passing through the Miami of Brickell Avenue or the Silicon Beach of Los Angeles. In my insatiable search for meaning I have been in Dubai Internet City, in the Station F of Paris, in the financial district of Dublin, in accelerator programs in Barcelona. Is Singapore different?

I have to admit that transforming Singapore from a resource-poor tropical port into one of Asia’s wealthiest nations — had a simple retort. However my main question prevailed; is there a place where something significant becomes visible, or where a community of people can see shared experiences?  

Discover the heart and soul of Singapore while experiencing first hand the innovation ecosystem of this community is for me the crux of the matter because only then we would understand the social and technological needs we confront and how will the region’s leaders face these challenges and deliver the benefits.

Digital frontier economies in Southeast Asia are seeing an explosion. After the announcement of Hong Kong’s virtual banking license, Singapore has announced its intentions to launch the same system, to allow entities without banking parentage to conduct banking activities. That means banks that operate without physical branches. It has to be mobile, secure and low-cost. Take into consideration that the land and sea area of Maritime Southeast Asia exceeds 2 million km2. There are more than 25,000 islands in the area that comprise many smaller archipelagoes. Internet banking using mobile technology is the only way to access the geographically fragmented market. Not even a website. Just an App.

The challenge is complex but Fortune is bald behind; ask to Sandokan.

PS: I am very proud to say that I am now participating in the @Mbanq LABS Accelerator program in Singapore (power by @Mbanq)

Joseph Remesar

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