Singapore Office Politics

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hiromice
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Post by hiromice » Thu, 23 Jul 2009 9:42 am

Yes, I agree with the comments you two have made!

My office has 3 floors, over 150 people I'd say. I tried to smile, do small talk and offer snacks etc. Nothing has worked yet.

At lunch, I tried to sit with different groups ( all locals), no one would talk to me either. I introduced myself to some people, they just shaked hands with me (some of them didn't even introduce back). They continued their converstations ( gossip mostly) and some insulting jokes among them.

On the other hands, VPs are very nice and friendly, couple european expats are very down-to-earth! But I want to get to know more locals to better understand the culture and people here, that's why I am here! :)

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? :?
Please enlighten!

P.S. I have been to China before, they were much more friendly and caring people in the office than here! ( I did notice people on the st. in China can be rude too, but at least in the office, they were very helpful and nice! :)

irvine
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Post by irvine » Thu, 23 Jul 2009 12:04 pm

Speaking as a non-Singaporean...

Hiromice, maybe it's just those particular clicks that like to 'remain' within themselves in their conversations. They might not think it's rude, perhaps because 1) they have not been in your shoes and not know how you feel, 2) they're just really too busy with the gossips etc.

I have seen this in my encounters too, and I either continue trying, or just leave them alone and walk away gracefully, and rejoin people you're comfy with. Sometimes, it's not you it's them. :p

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hibri2
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Post by hibri2 » Thu, 23 Jul 2009 1:11 pm

hiromice wrote: 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? :?
Please enlighten!
:-D

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.

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sundaymorningstaple
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Post by sundaymorningstaple » Thu, 23 Jul 2009 3:24 pm

One hell of a lot of truth in your post Hubri2! Excellent and I agree with all of it. Being #3 AND the only 'western' expat in a 200+ staff organization, I've been there and done that, and know how hard the hurdles can be to overcome - It's still difficult to get some of them to forego using Mr. or Uncle to address me! Not sure if it's respect for my position or my age! :oops:
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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hibri2
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Post by hibri2 » Thu, 23 Jul 2009 4:55 pm

sundaymorningstaple wrote: I've been there and done that, and know how hard the hurdles can be to overcome
:-D

yah, it gets easy with time, i still dont get some things like their complete lack of interest in going to the pub! :-)
"Do not pray in my school, and I will not think in your church." - Unknown.

hiromice
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Post by hiromice » Fri, 24 Jul 2009 5:17 pm

Good posts guys! Very insightful!

Haha, today someone asked me whether I am getting paid by the US or here? :lol:

I hope they don't ask me HOW MUCH I own soon :shock:

It's funny here, really... :D

Have a good weekend!

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Bafana
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Post by Bafana » Sat, 25 Jul 2009 3:57 am

hibri2 wrote:
sundaymorningstaple wrote: I've been there and done that, and know how hard the hurdles can be to overcome
:-D

yah, it gets easy with time, i still dont get some things like their complete lack of interest in going to the pub! :-)
Once you get through the barriers you'll be sick of going to the pubs ;-)
Be Like Water

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