So Singaporeans ( if you are reading my posts), can you explain to me about your culture on treating a new person in the office? ( a new expat) Why are you guys so different and do you feel that you are rude?
they dont really feel they are rude, trust me... it is just that they most of the time suffer from a stereotype, cultivated by the media and by (sadly) some expats, in which the (the non-asian) expat is not interested, want to hang around only with other non asian-expats, dont like the place, etc.
so, i agree with some posts above. we should have to be a little bit more proactive and by that i mean, going beyond the polite "hello" but for example, ask something about a movie, manga, korean or japanese tv show or... food! they love food here... i mean... the loooooove food and to talk about food.
you can go and say something like "hey, yesterday i went to a hawker/restaurant/friend house and i ate this very nice things but i dont know the name, it was _________________________________ (describe it)" in a minute you will have a lively talk, they will recommend the "best" place to get that particular thing and even an invitation to go.
another thing i noticed they like here is sports, most of the people from where i work like to run at least once per week, in groups, join them or ask them to join.
remember that hierarchies are really important for office day-to-day interactions here, they may feel intimidated if you are too high ranked...
again the food, buy some nice treats (curry puffs or any other local delight) and put it in a common area, then invite people to eat. you then talk and ask questions about it.
now maybe the ugly reality that you should also be careful about (be aware that those are huge generalizations but take notice anyway):
here they are not so much racists as racialist, meaning they prefer their own "kind"... you being (i assume) YT (:-) ) are expected to hang around with other YT's
there are some gender things here, not so much discrimination as much as girls with girls and guys with guys, you can still see that in temples here...
there is also the religious thing, some muslims have morals that will see you as a decadent westerner and christianity here tend to be more deep and true to the "book" hence if you are seen too "fun" means you are a bad seed.
"Do not pray in my school, and I will not think in your church." - Unknown.