Visiting Yangon, from GERMANY - International Police Advisor
Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle in August 2017
I met Oliver through Facebook in Myanmar, when I posted an announcement in a famous Facebook group to find people to interview. I was first looking for Burmese people but when Oliver told me about his job, I directly wanted to meet him. As an international police advisor, he spent 5 to 7 years in each of the following countries to train anti radicalization polices: Ethiopia, Kosovo, Tajikistan and now Myanmar.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Actually that’s very easy to answer because I became exactly what I wanted to be, I wanted to be a police officer.
With whom would you like to have a coffee?
Oh my god.. there’s a lot of people I would like to have coffee with but I think who I would be really interested to have a coffee with the former president, Obama.
I think he had a really good insight in the political world as the leader of the free world and he strikes me as a very interesting person. I would like to ask him about his experience going around the world and meeting with all these world leaders. That would be very exciting.
If you could choose something to be taught in every school in the world, what would it be?
There would be two things actually. Number one, I would say, life skills, like not only math or languages but really life skills, which is already being done in some schools.
Then I think the other thing would be the history of other countries. Like what makes them be the countries that they are. I think it would be very useful
To you, what’s that main characteristic that all human being have in common?
That’s actually also very easy, I work in a lot of change management and I always say: “being human it’s actually the most common thing, including making mistakes”. I’ve worked in so many places around the world, people laugh about the same things, the humor they have, the excitement that they have… They like their children the same way. So I think just being human, not being artificial. Being human just the pure happiness and I think that’s what we have in common.
To you, who is the happiest person on earth?
The happiest person? I don’t know if you refer to a nation or a particular person but for me the happiest person is a child. Because children have no filter, they just say what they want, they enjoy things, they explore things.
It’s good to be a child. As an adult if you can keep that spirit then I think that’s the happiest you can get.
If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?
I always say that the first thing I would reform in the US would be the police, because there is a real need. You have over 20,000 different police services and then 163 police branches in the US. Everybody has their own mandate and stuff. It just not gonna work so I think that’s what I would do first.
What do you need?
What do I need? What do I need? I think I need friends and family. I think that’s the most important, besides health. I think if you have a strong network of friends and family which supports you, that’s very important.
What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?
I would not pretend not to be selfish and give the money away or whatever, but I think I would probably invest it wisely. I think I would invest for the retirement or whatever, for the family, share it also with friends and family
Which innovation, realistic or not, would greatly ease your day-to-day life?
If it’s not realistic I would have a teleporter that you can leave wherever you want and you can teleport yourself wherever you want to be.
What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?
It’s hard to say because I have multiple countries: where my house is, where my family is, where I live. I think what affects me the most is really the conflicts. I work in the police so conflicts are part of my work and they affect me in big time.
Do you think your life is easier or more complicated than the life of your parents?
I think that’s a really philosophical question because every time in life has its challenges. It is probably easier in term of technical solutions or whatever but I’m old enough to look back when we had no internet or no mobile phones and it was maybe a more quiet life. It’s hard to say which one is better or easier. In terms of daily life it is probably easier now.
If you had to create a company, what would it be?
I think I would have a company to look into change management. Like change thinking, have reform processes for governments. If I followed my passion, I would probably create an artistic company or whatever doing art but realistically if I had to create a company it would be in change management.
Can you sing something beautiful?
Song: Leaving on a jet plane.
Because I am always travelling, this song became like daily life.
What are you afraid of?
I think I’m afraid about having a bad health. Not about dying or whatever but suffering in pain.
What is your dream?
My dream is going to interesting places and meeting a lot of interesting people, which I already do so I live the dream (laughs). Also have a good retirement and keep doing a little bit of interesting work, have friends and family around, be healthy and enjoy, enjoy life.
Close your eyes, you are in 2100, what do you see?
I see cars which only go with batteries and it looks clean and peaceful everywhere. I think clean environment. I am a realistic optimist, that’s what my boss always call me. With all the changes I propose I have to be a realistic optimist.
What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?
That’s very hard because I’ve been to so many beautiful places. I’d say definitely nature and then places like the Ayers Roch in Australia or the Grand Canyon in America or just the beach behind my house in Croatia.
If you had to write a book about the current world, what would be the title?
Police reform for dummies (Laughs)
What does religion mean to you?
Religion means that some people were very inventive to create a system to influence people.
Which of your country's cultural specificities are you the proudest of?
I think the longer I live outside of Germany, the most traditional I get. I’m from Bavaria from the Allgaü so I wear my “Lederhosen” (traditional Bavarian pants) and traditional outfits very proudly.
Then I don’t know if it’s tradition or the way of life but I think German people are quite organized and that’s something I value.
If you could do any job regardless of money, what would you do?
That’s also quite easy, but there are probably two. Number one, I would be a bike messenger in San Francisco or a mountain bike police officer, which I have been in Kosovo for a year and it was a lot of fun. Second I would be an artist.
If you had to explain our planet to an alien what would you say?
It’s a planet made of a lot of water and land with a diversity of species, where you have species in the water and outside. Human being is probably the biggest predator in the whole world.
And you, which question would you like to ask to the world?
I think what I would like to ask is how much more do people want?
When is something enough?
I came across people who are happy with very small things and I came across people who are super rich. The question is really: what is enough for you? What do you truly need to be happy? If people were really honest with themselves in terms of what they need I think there would be less conflicts.