Expression from the title, as far as I remember, has been used to attract the attention of important person some years ago, and of course to extend the time of first, brief, courtesy meeting between two personalities. It stayed in my mind as an example of a beautiful way to make your interlocutor to, at least, remember you and what you represent. It is a showcase of a beautiful, sharp, practical mind that is characteristic of the people of Cyprus confirming the quote “little things are not critical, they define everything”.
Even that it is nicely hidden, it is there on alert to be revealed until the intention of others is presumed. I will not analyze why sharpness is hidden. There are always reasons, like lessons learned from the past.
Let's reason why the island of Cyprus could be called “The superpower of Mediterranean”.
The power of the people is the main ingredient! Even that geographical position is very important, without its people with a curious, adaptable, practical, fast learning mind, Cyprus would be just one deserted, forgotten appellation. Always hospitable, ready to listen, to help with genuine interest if you share the burden, people of Cyprus are the real power of this beautiful Island.
With still strong family values and by investing in education, mostly abroad, Cypriots are at the same time acknowledging their roots and widening their perception of the world. If they come back to the island after finishing studies, they are ready to commence work, as experience acquired abroad is the source of high confidence and awareness. At the same time, the field of education shows that the people of the island are fast learners and great implementers of both, human and profitable business ideas. Namely, there has been a huge increase of foreign students attending Cypriot Universities with numerous success stories reported, as graduates go back to their countries applying successfully vast knowledge they got. We will write about those success stories in the coming articles.
There are places in the world that are known as “never sleeps” due to great nightlife. As you definitely can find amazing places to visit in Cyprus and have an amusing night, Cyprus is going to sleep... However, something never sleeps! And that is Cypriot entrepreneurship! It is on alert 24/7. Maybe you will have an impression that I am exaggerating but it is real and could be called an intuition combined with entrepreneurship!
If let’s say, Cyprus is in need to have more astrophysicists, Cypriots will organize themselves and in a due time, Cyprus will have ready new scientists to practically offer their knowledge where is needed. The same goes for plumbers, car mechanics, hairdressers, accountants, football coaches, etc….
Cyprus is a small Island but a variety of different services on offer and competition in the market place is strong. That is explaining why the business organizer's mind is always on alert giving tremendous, sometimes not recognizable, but definitely very real, advance to Cypriot economy and at the end to its hard-working people.
All of the above and many more to be presented in the next articles would not be workable if it wasn’t combined, entangled with still strong family values. Let me share with you the story of Father and son talk occurred some thirty years ago.
Father and son, then 8 years old, were talking in the car about education! Just a small digression, but an important one! I need to emphasize the word Education! The talk was about words, about vocabulary. Father suggested to his son to learn four new words every day, explaining that by doing so, in some years, he will enrich his vocabulary and widen the way of thinking. There was a short silence before son asked:
"Wouldn't words drain after some time Dad?"
"No, not at all, as we learn something new every day. It will generally help you in all of your life " father replied.
After some moments passed, the son said: “Dad do you know what the last word the man learns is? ”No”, father replied continuing to drive the car.“What is it?” father asked. “Death” son replied.
This conversation passed to me by a beautiful mind person, who happened to be the father in the above story and well-known business owner, continuing his father's dream, affirms other important characteristics of people of Cyprus.
Genuine, highly human, common sense thoughts about meaning and purpose of existence starting from early life and continuing until the last word the man learns!
In the last three decades, Cyprus experienced a huge development. Development is usually connected with the people we call visionaries. Those that lead, those that are taking calculated risks enlightening the path for others to follow. There is a saying "Either lead, follow or get out of the way" One is for certain! People of Cyprus are definitely not going out of the way as they are, and you can trust the opinion born in practice, natural leaders and followers.
In a word or two, they can be described as human, common sense, practical yet dream full, highly emotional entrepreneurs. How emotional and determined, resolute they were and still continuing to be, you can understand from a story narrated to me by a person who, like many others, lost belongings during conflicts in ninety sixties and seventies. Namely, he conveys to me that his father, immediately after settling in Limassol from Famagusta found a place to open a shop and organize sales. His friends were still afraid and not knowing how and when this terrible situation will finish shared their concerns with him asking what he would do if Limassol became under attack and lost. He calmly replied: "I will then open a shop in Trodos(Mountain with the highest point Olympus nearly 2000 meters above sea level!)!"
It reminded me of one of the great military commanders in the First World War ( you can learn a lot from the military situations as they reflect civilian society in many ways) who said when asked by his subordinates if they should proceed further without thinking about their non-protected flanks: "Anything, just do not stand still !" His command not to stand still, but restlessly to go forward no matter what had crucial result in deciding the fate of the war. And this is another respectful trait of all Cypriots. Could be expressed with the word τριβιτζιασμός [drivijasmos] - unrestful, fidgety... When I came to Cyprus for the first time in 1989 the island was known, apart from beautiful, unique tourist places and very hospitable people, nice quality food, developing offshore industry, and for CMT business ( C=cut, M=make, T=trim) sewing clothes for very well-known fashion houses. Especially UK based as a great number of Cypriots took refuge in the UK and after getting the experience started their own businesses and connected it with the island. Some came as head-on profit-oriented business and some returned full of emotions inside, with a tough approach on the surface,to instinctively protect from unwanted circumstances. This was one of the export branches together with Halloumi cheese, wine and some agricultural products, mattresses, different chemicals, not to mention furniture, shoes, etc...
Interesting to know is that before coming to Cyprus there was an article of then Yugoslavian well-known journalist Miroslav Lazanski "Cipar Otok Spijuna" "Cyprus the island of spies" where Mr. Lazanski , informed then Yugoslavian audience how Cyprus became an oasis where different secret agents had an opportunity to rest and communicate without being concerned of any harm that could happen as long as they were peaceful on the island. Climate was set! It shows how the people of the island can be friendly, trustworthy and at the same time firm and serious. That is respected, I am sure, and today by everybody.
With all due respect to all industries in Cyprus, tourism was, is and will be the main driving force of the Cypriot economy. All the other activities are connected practically or emotionally to tourism. Even that there is a strong tendency of cold, straight approach in doing business, emotions are still involved and are connected with surroundings as well. It gives a boost to the positive atmosphere making cooperation to be achieved easier. Before settling in Cyprus for various reasons the great majority of the foreigners are first declared tourists! Astonishing ten-fold increase in the number of visitors from 353000 in 1980 to 3652000 in 2017 shows that tourism is a driving force of the economy of Cyprus. In such an important hospitality industry, like in any other human activity, you have people that took risks in order to upgrade offer, attracting high budget tourists. That increases revenues definitely but more importantly, even not immediately visible, increases the influence of the name Cyprus has in different decision-making places around the globe. This is how those visionaries accompanied by their wisely chosen assistants actually build the trademark just simply called CYPRUS! And they come from every part of the island! Visionaries are behind the success story of the Cypriot trademark! Being an Architect, Interior designers, business people, right and left hands of the inspirational, wise owners, etc... Like they were following Chinese proverb which says, in spontaneous translation: “The only path to a bright future is the one where your fear grows!” COME TO CYPRUS AND LIVE THE LIFE! But it was not always like that. One of the hotel apartments owner in Protaras area said to me over late afternoon conversation showing the sea in front of us combined with the presence of traditional Cypriot donkey he always treated so gently, that when he got married, many years ago, his father in law apologize to him saying: "My son I do not have anything to leave to you and my daughter except the sea "! In those days agricultural land was life! How things have changed! Just recently I had a conversation with a man I know for nearly ten years and he is in charge of one of the beautiful places near the sea at Larnaca. He greeted me with the question “ how it was your winter?”. I said, talkative as always, that it was usual with ups and downs but always with a smile, not to forget that we are alive! And he replied “ You know I see for so many years tourists coming here to LIVE! And we are living in a paradise without realizing it! We are running here and there, forgetting to actually live life, enjoying moments, taking advantage of the place we live in. And that place we call it Cyprus and it is a paradise!” I remember in the early 1990s in Limassol, deluxe hotel named Four Seasons was built with nearly 300 rooms that together with Amathus beach hotel ( Build 1971!) upgraded the offer for high-income tourists, giving the light to the other hoteliers in making, to follow by developing more and more luxury hotels and apartments as the number of tourists increased every year. Today you can also see a newly refurbished town hotel in Limassol. Visit the history of Limassol by staying at a unique Curium Palace Hotel where walls have stories to tell. Another visionary development was Aldiana hotel build in George Muskis Avenue of Alaminos village between Larnaca and Limassol in cooperation with German investors. It is a showcase of how European businesses can cooperate with Cypriot visionaries for the good of the people living on the island. One should not forget Ayia Napa which went through such swift immediate development in the last 30 years. Today, Ayia Napa managed to upgrade as each and every hotel owner improves the offer attracting more and higher-income tourists but never forgetting the golden middle class! Even a town hotel like Napa Plaza is offering a Hollywood style swimming pool and surroundings that make the visitor forget any issues he left at home and enjoy to the full the vacations in Cyprus! Or new development Nissiblu Beach Resort which will definitely attract upper market tourists. And many more we will be writing about. And Paphos, the ancient capital of Cyprus and place with huge potential which is being promoted by a very important expansion of Paphos International airport. That is followed in the last couple of years with the building of new beautiful hotels and hotel complexes and improving existing ones like beautiful Cynthiana Hotel situated in quiet surroundings as well as Aqua Mare and Avanti Hotel being near the famous Paphos Castle with traditional summer opera nights. To emphasize how important and how professional people became in the tourism industry in Cyprus here is one little detail that happened to me recently. I visited a hotel and had a beautiful four-night vacation. When going, a manager asked me how I found the service, facilities, staff of the hotel. As Hotel was refurbished with a new extension of some 70 rooms he was curious what would I say. Well, I said, all great except just one small detail! "What it is" he asked. Chunky cut tomatoes! I replied. With surprise in his eyes and smile, he said: "This is what I just said to the cook!" No need to mention that emotions are starting with the eye contact being checked and rechecked with other senses as well! The details are not only important, but they also define everything! And people in the Cyprus tourist industry are very much aware of it. I would like to inform the readers that we are continuing our Cyprus series articles with more stories to come soon with stories behind the names. First published at Philosophyofgoodnews May/June/July/August 2018 and republished now 14/12/2019 with some changes.