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What do locals think is appalling behaviour from expats?

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ozchick
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Postby ozchick » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 4:48 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:I like QRM !!

(1) He is valiantly trying to keep this thread on topic, almost single-handedly at this point;
(2) His posts are funny, self-effacing and make really good food for thought.

Just wanted you to know your efforts are appreciated. :kiss:


Yeah me too! But I'll be damned if I can cope with those squatting pans....sigh.....the very sight of one gives me the dt's!
'Are you trying to tempt me because I come from the land of plenty?'

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 5:21 pm

gif wrote:so many times I have to deal with local suppliers who smile at my face, agree what I'm asking for, and finally do whatever they want to, completely disregarding previous agreements.

I guess this especially happens when it comes to money stuff and in the relationship buyer-supplier, but still I find that this is horrible, I'd rather like to be treated in some "energic way" but finally get an agreeement that can satisfy both parties, than being smiled at knowing that I'm being cheated.

Any hint on how to "digest" this? So far I've been swallowing my anger trying to fit in the local manners, but I bet there must be a more successful way of obtaining without appalling.

Gif,

Firstly, 'face' is completely over-rated and mis-understood by most expats so don't take any horror stories you hear too seriously.

Secondly, whatever 'face' there is should take lower priority to professionalism and doing the right thing. Between giving face and negotiating a fair deal, the deal should come first. 'Face' is more a social consideration than a business one. You don't agree to lose money just to give someone else face.

Thirdly, from your post I'm guessing that English is not your first language. Neither is it the first language for many of your suppliers, who probably speak Singlish more than English. So your problems may have nothing to do with face and everything to do with mis-communication. I've seen this happen very often. You need a colleague who can help translate English-to-English, weird as that sounds. Someone who understands what you are trying to say, and what the supplier is trying to say, and point out areas where you thought you had agreement but the other side had a different understanding from you.

Basically what I'm saying is that 'face' is often a red herring. Mis-communication is more often the cause of problems between expats and locals. 'Face' is just an easy excuse when you can't put a finger on what's going wrong.

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Postby AminoAcid » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 6:55 pm

gif wrote:Isn't it because chopstick usually come in single-use packages, whereas the fork&spoon set is probably, as previously described by someone else, only dip in cold water and stored? Hygienis conditions, you must admit, in hawker centers and workers' canteens, are not exactly at their best...



Single-use packages are usually provided for food to-go, but I doubt that's the only reason why expats do not use the fork/spoon combination. As pointed out by many people here, they've never even heard of this combination, let alone try it.

As for hygiene-wise, I guess it's a trade-off for getting cheap food. I've worked in big restaurants before and even their chefs have no qualms about cooking food they've accidentally dropped on the floor.

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Postby QRM » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 8:09 pm

I could never eat sushi with a knife and fork, needs to be wooden Waribashi chopsticks.

Dim sum needs the long ivory colored plastic chopsticks, preferably with stained ends, hot Chinese tea and a menopausal waitress serving it. (Wine is a real no no)

Nasi lemak needs fork and spoon combo preferably bent and twisted with a barley drink and some flies.

Iranian food requires a pint of doogh, its looks and tastes like the sort of bodily fluid that come from a camel when hes excited, but persevere once you get over the gag reflexes, its like durian, life is not the same without it.

Always seems daft to me to eat a sandwich and burgers with cutlery.

I have yet to eat a savory squidgy dish with my hands, been dying to try it but my wife thinks stepping out on the balcony without slippers is unhygienic so that idea, along with the coffee beans that needs to be shat out of a small animal,is on the back burner.

When you try global dishes its not just the tastes, textures and strange ingredients, but the whole dining experience that makes the total package, its up to you how far you want to immerse yourself.
Last edited by QRM on Wed, 05 Nov 2008 2:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Hactar » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 8:37 pm

re: Wind In My Hair
Thank you for welcoming me to the forum. You are very right about the miscommunication. One of the main tasks in my job is to identify and elliminate communication errors between the Singapore office and the office in Holland. I am somebody who can usually decode what people are actually trying to say, as opposed to the words that they are uttering. Especially with an added language barrier, communication problems can do a lot of damage. Today a dutch colleague of mine kept using direct translations of proverbs from Dutch to English... proverbs that don't make any sense if you do a direct translation (they usually don't). My Singaporian colleagues were extremely puzzled :)

About the 'giving money with two hands':
I discussed it today with my Singaporian and Malaysian colleagues. I noticed how none of them used two hands when paying for their lunch. They actually said there is no reason to use 2 hands and that it is not really practised. So I guess I'll just do as the Romans in this case.
"Kings and lords come and go and leave nothing but statues in a desert, while a couple of young men tinkering in a workshop change the way the world works." - The Patrician (in 'The Truth' by Terry Pratchett)

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Postby QRM » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 9:00 pm

ozchick wrote:
Wind In My Hair wrote:I like QRM !!

(1) He is valiantly trying to keep this thread on topic, almost single-handedly at this point;
(2) His posts are funny, self-effacing and make really good food for thought.

Just wanted you to know your efforts are appreciated. :kiss:


Yeah me too! But I'll be damned if I can cope with those squatting pans....sigh.....the very sight of one gives me the dt's!


Blimey I am really on a roll :lol: Thank you Ozchick :wave:

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Postby gif » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 10:54 pm

AminoAcid wrote:
gif wrote:As for hygiene-wise, I guess it's a trade-off for getting cheap food. I've worked in big restaurants before and even their chefs have no qualms about cooking food they've accidentally dropped on the floor.


There was a suspect on that, but I'd have preferred not to have confirmation!!!

Never mind, my immune system, whatever its name, is tested and strong enough.

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Postby gif » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 10:58 pm

re: wind in my hair

thanx for suggestions, I'll keep that in mind when applicable.
At the end it's always the same all over the world, miscommunication happens to ppl sharing the same mothertongue, too.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Tue, 04 Nov 2008 11:06 pm

Hactar wrote:About the 'giving money with two hands':
I discussed it today with my Singaporian and Malaysian colleagues. I noticed how none of them used two hands when paying for their lunch. They actually said there is no reason to use 2 hands and that it is not really practised. So I guess I'll just do as the Romans in this case.

Whoever told you to give money with two hands? I'm guessing it was a well-meaning expat who misunderstood local customs as usual. There is much misinformation going around. Good that you checked with your colleagues.

Giving with two hands is when you want to show respect. For example:

(a) When giving your business card, especially to a client. It's considered quite rude to just hold it out with one hand or toss it across the table the way some do.

(b) When I shake hands with elderly people, I also do it with both hands, partly as a sign of respect, and partly so it's less business-like.

(c) When serving a drink to a guest. If they are close friends then informality is fine, but otherwise use both hands as a show of courtesy and hospitality.

(d) When receiving payment from a customer, I would generally also use two hands. But the client does not have to pay with two hands.

Still, don't get too hung up about these minor details. If your general attitude is respectful, people will forgive you using one hand. But if you come across as arrogant and condescending, giving with three hands will not redeem you.

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Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 05 Nov 2008 2:33 am

Wind In My Hair wrote:But if you come across as arrogant and condescending, giving with three hands will not redeem you.


LOL, you crack me up.

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Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 05 Nov 2008 2:41 am

Please excuse the graphic nature of this discussion. If bodily fluid bothers you, you may want to avoid this discussion :o .



sundaymorningstaple wrote:And my hawking of phlegm still stands. If sick, stay home.


SMS please don’t take this personal. I am making a general point and not trying to demonize you, again. In fact you brought up a good point :) . May I ask if your body ever produced phlegm? And if so how frequently? My body does not do it 365 days, although I know of people who do. Only when I am sick. And sometimes it would be so bad that I need to go bathroom every 5 minutes, making me very weak, from constant walking trips to the bathroom and loss of fluid. I get sick very frequently in the USA, as compared to my life in SG, usually when the season changes.

And my body would cough (others may hack away or do whatever it takes to get it out of the system :o ) in order to exportoract the phlegm. And doctors would prescribe cough medication, which only takes care of the problem for 10 minutes. But then I could only take the medication every 4 hours. I find medical science to be limiting. The doctor could not cure my condition nor explain why my body produced the phlegm excessive. All he could do was treat my symptoms and the treatment lasted only 10 minutes.

What am I supposed to do? Stay home all day? Since I don’t want to subject the public to my condition. I am lucky. I have a husband (or shall I say ATM machine :P ) that allows me to stay home and not work. Since I find excessive hacking and phleminess annoying, I will not subject somebody else to it. And once again in my life, I got lucky. For the last year or so, I have been relatively phlegm free, or shall I say, the quantity has gone down dramatically. And I don't know the reason either. Maybe as my body ages, it becomes less productive of bodily fluid :o .

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Postby road.not.taken » Wed, 05 Nov 2008 6:19 am

Just when you thought this thread had lived out it's natural life -- wham! someone gives it the paddles -- (CLEAR!) -- and rescusitates it... :roll:

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Postby earthfriendly » Wed, 05 Nov 2008 6:56 am

RNT, I was not done posting. Why? Because I did not say all I needed to say earlier on. Trying to do some catchup. Can?

How's the weather in SG? Rainy I assume. It is getting colder over here in US west coast. And days getting shorter. I am afraid SAD (seasonal affective disorder) gonna set in anytime :o .

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Postby road.not.taken » Wed, 05 Nov 2008 7:01 am

earthfriendly wrote: I am afraid SAD (seasonal affective disorder) gonna set in anytime :o .


Does that mean more mucoidal musings ? :o
Last edited by road.not.taken on Wed, 05 Nov 2008 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 05 Nov 2008 7:01 am

I'm no longer upset as I have concluded that it's possibly a virus she's picked up and given time it will hopefully work through her system. That or PMS.

I would use the simile of being like a Jack Russel Terrier worrying a knotted sock. :)


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