Posted on 20 December 2011.
By: Angela Richardson
Bonjour Mario Babin! CEO of Global Assistance and part time bar investor from Canada.
You sound French, but not. Where are you from?
I’m originally from Montreal, Canada. I’m not French, but I can speak French. Actually my French is much better than my English!
What is it you do in Jakarta?
I look after two companies; Global Assistance and Healthcare and Global Assistance Medical Centre. I am the CEO of the group so my job is just to try and steer the ship, but we have about 300 employees so the ship is more steered by the staff than by me now.
What is Global Assistance?
We’re trying to be the same whole good family practice clinic that you get back in Europe or America or Canada on your street corner. We cover Indonesia for evacuation services and customers can call 247 for medical advice and evacuation, and we even do passport recovery. The centre is open 24 hours with in-house practitioners and specialists on appointment – it’s basically a family practice. PT Global assistance and healthcare also provides clinics for mining and petroleum in remote sites. It’s very essential for companies to send healthy employees to these offshore sites. The only way to prevent illness is to make sure they are healthy when you hire them and give them annual medical checkups.
How did you start Global Assistance?
The company was incorporated in 1993 and I took over ownership in 1998 and never looked back. The medical centre came at a later stage. In 2005 we set up our own medical centre and we relocated to Cilandak commercial estate two years ago. Now we have our own laboratories, drug testing and hi-tech equipment. We also have dental services and observation rooms.
Are you guys only based in Indonesia?
We started in Indonesia and now we are also in Singapore. We have a network of correspondents around the world for emergency assistance in 78 countries. If you get sick and need medical evacuation in one of these countries, we will call our correspondents to get you emergency evacuation.
So what else do you have to offer?
We have certification for first aid training so we provide first aid training with/without certification for basic to more advanced first aid, at home or at the office. We give occupational health advice to our clients and staff should be trained in case of emergency. We come to you with a mannequin and we train and provide a refreshment course also. Every company should have this training because it’s vital that staff members know what to do in an emergency situation.
How long have you been in Indonesia?
I came here in 1995 for a year, and a year became a second year, and a second year became a third year and my company basically was sold and that’s when we acquired and set up our own assistance company. From day one I like to say I had it easy because a lot of our previous clients decided to follow us and from day one we became a profitable company. Indonesia is an attractive country and it’s hard to believe in no time I’ve been here for 16 years already!
Where did you live before Indonesia?
Before Indonesia I was in Vietnam, Korea, Australia, China and Switzerland.
How do you find life here?
Indonesia comes with the good and bad like every country. Everybody stresses about traffic, but overall we have our ups and downs and if you look at where you are, it’s a fantastic place to live. Life can be very good here if you learn to manage the stress. Once you manage the stress it’s a beautiful place to be. Maybe travel between Bali and Jakarta more often.
What advice would you give to manage the stresses in Jakarta?
Move as close as you can to your office and learn to manage your time better. Learn jalan tikus (the small back roads) and don’t buy too big a car so you can go through more jalan tikus. You can save half an hour or one hour a day using these roads. I would also advise to put a TV in your car and watch some comedy. My secret is I download stand-up comedy and I put it on my iPad so I watch it through traffic and it helps to relieve stress.