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What do locals think is appalling behaviour from expats?

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road.not.taken
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Postby road.not.taken » Tue, 28 Oct 2008 2:45 pm

local lad wrote:ps:- to those who are unsure what 'face' means, it refers to the respect given to the recipient.


That's like saying quantum physics refers to little bits of stuff. It's waaaaaay more complicated than that, isn't it local lad?

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Postby Hithnar » Tue, 28 Oct 2008 3:08 pm

My stay in Singapore is not long, and I try hard not to do the "no nos", but mastering how to receive change and receipt with both hands, while holding your wallet takes time :P

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Postby local lad » Tue, 28 Oct 2008 3:16 pm

road.not.taken wrote:
local lad wrote:ps:- to those who are unsure what 'face' means, it refers to the respect given to the recipient.


That's like saying quantum physics refers to little bits of stuff. It's waaaaaay more complicated than that, isn't it local lad?


Well, it could be that but I tried not to complicate things. Hence, I gave a general definition of the term 'face'. :)

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Postby boffenl » Tue, 28 Oct 2008 5:31 pm

Oh, and don't try to give away your shoes--that's supposedly really bad too.

I think like most things in Singapore the idea of "face" and "face saving" is undergoing a change. Thing in my workplace that would be unacceptable at home--excluding certain colleagues at lunch, not inviting Muslim colleagues to a corporate dinner since you've "got" to serve pork, etc. etc.--are seen here as saving "face". I guess it just gives the other person an "out" not having to say No?

The nose picking, belching (ANYTIME and EVERYWHERE) and walking in a group "line" get on my nerves, but it just adds a bit to the experience, right?

Most expats seem to go out of their way to be understood by locals, I've rarely seen any not being pleasant. But yes, even my husband has occassionally lost all sense and raised his voice at a teller or customer service person when they can't understand him--usually at VivoCity where he expects people to understand English.

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Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 29 Oct 2008 2:32 pm

From the top of my head, recieve business cards with both hands and don't pocket it immediately. Instead, let your eyes linger abit on the card and feign some interest :P . Make some comments about it e.g the title , position ... Use it as an opportunity to get to know the other person, his position and his organization. Just so you don't appear so cut-to-the-chase and solely interested in making business deals.

I am not sure how this apply to larger group setting or professional functions. Locals like to foot the bill for the other party. It is a way of showing they care for you and would like to feed you. So don't immediately ask to split the bill when it arrives. It may appear uncaring and calculative like all you care about is money. I know this may be a bit oxymoron given the materialistic nature of the country. However, there are many non-materialistic aspects when it comes to interpersonal relationship.

Personally I have trouble with this and prefer dutch. Good fences make good neighbors, as the western way goes. But it is hard when in Asia as they all want to pay for my share and I have given up convincing otherwise. Interestingly, Mr. EF now likes to foot the bill when we are dining with our American family and friends. Maybe he likes how warm and fuzzy it feels when my SG family takes care of us this way. I have to tell him to ease off, especially with friends. It never ends. You treat me this time and next time I treat you. It goes on and on and no good system of keeping track. I am capable of paying for myself and enjoys the independence.

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Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 29 Oct 2008 2:44 pm

road.not.taken wrote:
Global Citizen wrote:Or how about the time an invitation was issued to us by an Asian friend where it was potluck this time. The guests were a mixed group of Asians and Westerners. At the end of the evening, the Western couple not only took back the remaining liquor left but also the remaining food they had brought! The polite and sensible thing would have been to let it remain unless invited by your hosts to bring it home. It was all so embarrassing and very disgraceful behaviour!


I have seen this many times. I thought it was very strange too, but you can't call it a local custom for one group and not the other, right? This is the custom they have and this is how they do it. You thought it was embarrassing and disgraceful, but it was business as usual for them.

I used to be feel the same way when I'd see local men (of course men!) actively, enthusiastically digging in their noses here in Singapore. It's gross to me, but not to them.


I think I know what GC is on about. I am not familiar with the food scenario mentioned above but my Malaysian girlfriend was a bit upset when she attended her hubby's company picnic and the human resource sat there without attending to them. It felt cold and callous to her. I attribute it to the causual american attitude. However, if I am a HR person, I will welcome the guests and show them where all the food and beverages are. It is just a nice thing to do, even though the a picnic is supposed to be leisurely.

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Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 29 Oct 2008 4:19 pm

I find the Chinese abit lacking in table manners and sometimes, it affects my dining experience.

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Postby AminoAcid » Fri, 31 Oct 2008 1:39 am

earthfriendly wrote:I find the Chinese abit lacking in table manners and sometimes, it affects my dining experience.


Pray tell, exactly what are they doing that is ruining your appetite?

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 31 Oct 2008 7:17 am

Don't know about EF, but for me it is the hawking of phlegm while eating and the spitting of bones all over the tabletop that does it for me. It's like watching pigs eat out of a trough. So coupled with the slurping (which I understand is also a cultural thing) which causes others around them to look in their direction (again, like barnyard animals eating) to see what all the commotion is, then seeing a table that looks like the aftermath of a childs food fight, it's rather off-putting to say the least. That's one reason I don't go to Chinese Restaurants very often unless I have to. I just feel grossed out. Sorry folks, but I have to speak from the heart here. They have every right to eat like pigs and I have every right to not put myself into those positions (as I try not to do) but it's the way I feel.

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Postby road.not.taken » Fri, 31 Oct 2008 7:53 am

I agree with SMS on this one with one important addition:

We didn't have a lot growing up, but my parents insisted on teaching us manners, especially table manners. I don't care who it is: how rich, well-bred, influential, what color, whatever -- if you have bad table manners (eating with your mouth open!) I may sit through it once, but never, ever again.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Fri, 31 Oct 2008 9:11 am

Yeah, open garbage disposals are supposed to be in the bottom of the sink and not in the middle of somebody's face! :wink:

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Fri, 31 Oct 2008 10:44 am

Interesting how so many threads, even one titled "What do locals think is appalling behaviour from expats" get turned into "What do expats think is appalling behaviour from locals."

Perhaps this is a case in point about appalling behaviour from expats - the unrelenting, insensitive, holier-than-thou criticism of locals. I didn't want to say anything at first but this is too self-evident to ignore.

Play nice, people. And if you can't be nice, at least stay on topic.

Question: What do bad table manners, bad forum manners, and bad social manners have in common?
Answer: Bad manners.
Last edited by Wind In My Hair on Fri, 31 Oct 2008 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby earthfriendly » Fri, 31 Oct 2008 10:53 am

Eating with mouth open and having to listen to someone chew their food. I think chinese restuarants should provide small bowls to collect the bones. Meat is cooked bone-in as it adds to the flavor.

The phlegm situation is a tough one since I also suffer from excessive phlemg when I get sick. It is like your body has turned into this highly productive factory on auto mode. And you can neither control nor override it. The best thing is to stay out of public places.

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Postby hibri2 » Fri, 31 Oct 2008 11:06 am

Wind In My Hair wrote:Interesting how most threads, even one titled "What do locals think is appalling behaviour from expats" get turned into "What do expats think is appalling behaviour from locals."


for the goddess sakes! you can totally read minds!

or at least simple minds like mine :-D

i was just thinking that. i was not gonna post, but, you inspired me :-D

i do find funny how (generally speaking) the white male western "colonialist" ethnocentric mentality perseveres after hundreds of years of building their welfare state thru explotation of africa, america and asia; yet when those days are way over.

what i find appalling as a visitor from "expats" is how "when in rome do as romans" applies there in the empires but "when in the colonies do as romans" applies... well... everywhere else...

i have said before and i will said again, for every point of criticism i read about the "colonies" i can mention at least 5 way worst things about the empires... from eating habits to rudeness to body odours and spitting.

deal with that!
"Do not pray in my school, and I will not think in your church." - Unknown.

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Postby banana » Fri, 31 Oct 2008 11:30 am

Wind In My Hair wrote:Interesting how so many threads, even one titled "What do locals think is appalling behaviour from expats" get turned into "What do expats think is appalling behaviour from locals."

Perhaps this is a case in point about appalling behaviour from expats - the unrelenting, insensitive, holier-than-thou criticism of locals. I didn't want to say anything at first but this is too self-evident to ignore.

Play nice, people. And if you can't be nice, at least stay on topic.

Question: What do bad table manners, bad forum manners, and bad social manners have in common?
Answer: Bad manners.


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