common topics at work

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hiromice
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common topics at work

Post by hiromice » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 9:07 am

Hello there,

What are some common topics Singaporeans discussing at work?

Weather? Family? Personal?

what are some topics that they avoid?

Thanks,

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 9:48 am

Personal and how much you earn. You will be gobsmacked at the things they ask. But don't take it personal, it's just their culture is slightly different than what we are used to. Their comments will often be off-putting as well sometimes but that's often because there is no direct translation between English and their language (Chinese is the worst language translation wise due to the fact that it's not an alphabet based language). You'll get used to it (well, not quite). :-|

Oh, forgot a couple. FOOD & Shopping!
SOME PEOPLE TRY TO TURN BACK THEIR ODOMETERS. NOT ME. I WANT PEOPLE TO KNOW WHY I LOOK THIS WAY. I'VE TRAVELED A LONG WAY, AND SOME OF THE ROADS WEREN'T PAVED. ~ Will Rogers

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Post by Addadude » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 9:56 am

Food is right up there.

Nobody really talks about the the weather here unless it is unusually hot/hazy/wet.

Depending on the age group, they could also talk about movies/music/fashion ('branded' goods)/kids etc.

Of course the favorite lunchtime topic will be the boss and other colleagues at work - but if you are new to the company they won't necessarily talk about it in your presence. (And if you are new, you will probably be a topic for conversation as well - behind your back of course!)

Politics and religion are sensitive and risky topics to discuss.
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

hiromice
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Post by hiromice » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 10:16 am

sundaymorningstaple wrote:Personal and how much you earn. You will be gobsmacked at the things they ask. But don't take it personal, it's just their culture is slightly different than what we are used to. Their comments will often be off-putting as well sometimes but that's often because there is no direct translation between English and their language (Chinese is the worst language translation wise due to the fact that it's not an alphabet based language). You'll get used to it (well, not quite). :-|

Oh, forgot a couple. FOOD & Shopping!
It is okay, I won't take it personal but should I answer it honestly or telling them this is too personal? :o ( regarding my salary)

hiromice
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Post by hiromice » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 10:18 am

Addadude wrote:Food is right up there.

Nobody really talks about the the weather here unless it is unusually hot/hazy/wet.

Depending on the age group, they could also talk about movies/music/fashion ('branded' goods)/kids etc.

Of course the favorite lunchtime topic will be the boss and other colleagues at work - but if you are new to the company they won't necessarily talk about it in your presence. (And if you are new, you will probably be a topic for conversation as well - behind your back of course!)

Politics and religion are sensitive and risky topics to discuss.
I don't like to gossip and I always say good things about others ( like a typical American, lol), so I might end up being professional all the time at work, will they not talking to me any more? What do they think about Americans anyways?? :o

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Post by jpatokal » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 11:16 am

hiromice wrote:It is okay, I won't take it personal but should I answer it honestly or telling them this is too personal? :o ( regarding my salary)
Actually, I don't recall anybody in Sg ever asking me point-blank for my salary, this is just about the only piece of info that even Singaporeans consider a state secret and nobody will be offended if you choose not to share it. Do try to find some indirect way of deflating people's inflated expectations about your vast expat fortune, though...

Pretty much everything else is fair game though, eg. the guy delivering pizza has asked me how much rent I pay!
Vaguely heretical thoughts on travel technology at Gyrovague

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Addadude
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Post by Addadude » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:33 pm

jpatokal wrote: Actually, I don't recall anybody in Sg ever asking me point-blank for my salary, this is just about the only piece of info that even Singaporeans consider a state secret and nobody will be offended if you choose not to share it.
Colleagues no, never. Taxi drivers most certainly yes! And my usual answer when asked how much I earn is "not nearly enough"!
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Addadude
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Post by Addadude » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 12:41 pm

hiromice wrote:I don't like to gossip and I always say good things about others ( like a typical American, lol), so I might end up being professional all the time at work, will they not talking to me any more? What do they think about Americans anyways?? :o
Generally I've found my Singaporean colleagues to be a pretty welcoming bunch and, certainly at the start, they will ask you to join them for lunch. This is VERY important socially as lunchtime is sacred here and the idea of eating lunch by yourself is considered weird. (I''m one of the weird ones who prefers to dine alone...) Since you'll be in a crowd in these situations, don't join in when the gossiping begins. Let them do all the talking and you might well learn something useful. Just don't openly judge them for doing so. As for whether they like Americans, I don't think the average S'porean has strong any opinions positive or negative. I think they definitely prefer America with Obama in charge though!
"Both politicians and nappies need to be changed regularly, and for the same reasons."

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Post by AngMoKio » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 9:49 pm

I am still laughing about the Pizza delivery guy.... we get asked what we pay for rent almost every time we order a pizza. Now we know to ask in return what -other- condos in the area are a good deal.

I have also been asked my salary point blank before.

And I am still getting used to getting asked what I paid for any purchase (and the person replying "too much-lor" every time.

Re : Office politics.... I am getting great enjoyment out of Jack Neo's films. Probably the best primer to Singapore culture I know of. And very, very, funny.

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Post by durain » Wed, 08 Jul 2009 10:59 pm

how big is your TV? what car you drive? how many rooms you got? what is the square feet of the property? how many TV channels you got? how fast is your broadband? what club are you a memeber of?

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