Published on January 4, 2014
Republic of Singapore
Disclaimer Disclaimer: None of the information is my own, sources are listed at the end. This is just a PowerPoint I created by compiling information from other sites. I am not claiming the information as my own. The purpose of this PowerPoint is to provide information about different cultures and learn more about the world around us. Enjoy!
Basic Information Founded as a British trading colony in 1819; gained independence in Aug. 9, 1965 “Its port is one of the world's busiest in terms of tonnage handled” Climate: Tropical; hot, humid, rainy; two distinct monsoon seasons - Northeastern monsoon (December to March) Southwestern monsoon (June to September); inter-monsoon frequent afternoon and early evening thunderstorms
Basic Information Continued Population Chinese 76.8%, Malay 13.9%, Indian 7.9%, other 1.4% Language Official languages Chinese (Mandarin) 35%, English 23%, Malay 14.1%, Tamil 3.2% Malay is the national language English is the language of business and administration Buddhist 42.5%, Muslim 14.9%, Taoist 8.5%, Hindu 4%, Catholic 4.8%, other Christian 9.8%, other 0.7%, none 14.8%
Basic Information Continued Government: parliamentary republic Elections held every five years The President is Head of State and presides for a six year term Since 1993, President has been democratically elected There are 24 political parties within Singapore The People’s Action Party has been dominant party since 1959 It has won every election since Currently holds 82/84 seats in Parliament Legal System: English common law Suffrage: 21 years old
Economy Successful free-market economy Open and corruption-free environment, stable prices, and a per capita GDP higher than that of most developed countries Economy depends on exports, particularly in consumer electronics, information technology products, pharmaceuticals, and on a growing financial services sector. Real GDP growth averaged 8.6% between 2004 and 2007. The economy contracted 0.8% in 2009 as a result of the global financial crisis, but rebounded 14.8% in 2010, on the strength of renewed exports, before slowing to 5.2% in 2011 and 1.3% in 2012, largely a result of soft demand for exports during the second European recession.
Economy Continued Over the longer term, the government hopes to establish a new growth path that focuses on raising productivity, which has sunk to an average of about one percent in the last decade. Singapore has attracted major investments in pharmaceuticals and medical technology production and will continue efforts to establish Singapore as Southeast Asia's financial and high-tech hub Industries Electronics, chemicals, financial services, oil drilling equipment, petroleum refining, rubber processing and rubber products, processed food and beverages, ship repair, offshore platform construction and life sciences
Economy Continued Home to over 7,000 multinational corporations, which use Singapore as a base for their business operations Considered a gateway to other parts of Asia and it is easy to travel to and from the country
Imports vs. Export Import Partners Malaysia 10.6%, China 10.3%, US 10.2%, South Korea 6.8%, Japan 6.2%, Indonesia 5.3%, Saudi Arabia 4.5%, UAE 4.1% Import Commodities machinery and equipment, mineral fuels, chemicals, foodstuffs, consumer goods Export Partners Malaysia 12.3%, Hong Kong 10.9%, China 10.8%, Indonesia 10.6%, US 5.5%, Japan 4.6%, Australia 4.2%, South Korea 4% Export Commodities machinery and equipment (including electronics and telecommunications), pharmaceuticals and other chemicals, refined petroleum products
Broadcast media State controls broadcast media Eight domestic TV stations operated by MediaCorp which is wholly owned by a state investment company; broadcasts from Malaysian and Indonesian stations available Satellite dishes banned
Greetings Greetings are strict and based on ethnic origin and age Younger people, or ones who adopted western concept, shake hands with everyone, older people don’t Shake hands with everyone present when you enter and leave, firmly Singaporeans may bow when they shake hands, if they do bow back especially with Chinese Singaporeans
Names & Greetings They are diverse people so ask how they would like to be addressed Professional titles should be used when relevant Singaporeans from a Chinese background will use a Western name instead of traditional name It’s acceptable in this case to address person by adopted Western name Singaporeans from Malay or Indian backgrounds may have difficult names, so ask someone to spell it out
Names & Greetings Continued People from Malay background adhere to Muslim naming patterns Singaporeans from a Hindu background are referred to by father’s name first, followed by given name This applies to females until they’re married Married women use their husband’s first name followed by their personal name
Conversations When speaking, don’t lose face – have self-control Instead of saying no, be indirect to avoid offending your counterpart Conversation Topics Refrain from asking questions of a personal nature, instead focus on business or small talk Welcome topics Food (esp. Singaporean food), travel, recreation, future plans, Topics to avoid Potentially subjective subjects: race, religion, politics, criticizing Singaporean culture
Body Language/Gestures Acknowledge and respect your elders/superiors Stand up when they enter a room Avoid sitting with your legs crossed in front of either elders/superiors – place feet flat on floor Personal space should be observed Touching Tolerated in some degree Physical touching between heterosexual couples is common than friendly contact between members of the same sex If people from the same sex hold hands, it shouldn’t be assumed that they are homosexuals Eye Contact: Moderate level
Nonverbal Communication Rely on facial expressions, tone of voice and posture Nonverbal > Verbal Subtle, indirect, implicit Not direct, hint at what they are trying to say Don’t say no, they go around the word to maintain harmony Silence is important in their communication Pause before response to show deep thought When people answer quickly they see it as rude and thoughtless
Nonverbal Communication Continued Handshakes Ethnic Chinese Shake Hands, grip lightly, long Woman must extend her hand first if man and woman shake Introductions are always done in order of age or status. Malay Only men shake hands Don’t shake hands with woman, aren’t allowed to touch them May shake hand with foreign women, but it’s better to bow the head Ethnic Indian Shake hands with their own sex
Nonverbal Communication Continued Never touch a person’s head. The head is considered sacred. The foot is considered unclean since it’s at the bottom Don’t point with your foot Don’t tap or fidget because it shows disinterest. Hands Raise hand for attention Don’t point with forefinger Don’t put your fist in a palm Forearm jerk is rude
Business Business cards should be printed in English When giving the card, hold with both hands with print facing the person whom you’re giving it to When receiving, use both hands and look at it for a moment before neatly putting it away Business meetings/appointments must be made a week in advance Recommended to attend any social events b/c it’s an important part of business Respond in writing If you can’t make it, send someone to take your place
Business Continued Structure Hierarchy and status important Top-down structure Decisions made at senior management Subordinates avoid questioning/criticizing superiors Senior members introduced first Seating determined by status Women big part and hold managerial positions Relationships Build good rapport before conducting business Consider relationships more important than company work for
Business Continued Singaporeans are cautious and want to do business with the right person develop good relationships to demonstrate good character Light handshakes, but not too weak Don’t speak loudly, be composed Don’t have blunt attitude Yes doesn’t always mean yes Avoid saying no to keep face Don’t make intense eye contact with elders and seniors Don’t be impatient
Business Continued Social events revolve around food Know dietary restrictions relevant to different ethnic/religious groups Grabbing coffee or golfing are activities for building rapport between business partners Be on time, it’s an insult to Singaporeans if you make them wait For social events, it’s flexible Some arrive on time others a bit later so they don’t look anxious Don’t show up too early unless you’re close to them
Business Continued When conducting business, maintain relationship Business decisions based on intuition and subjective feelings Hard working, productive and competitive so it’s wise to display similar traits Don’t lose face Speak in a calm tone, exhibit self-control, don’t use angry responses Treat elders with respect Avoid “no,” usually give hesitant “yes” answers
Business Entertainment Mostly over a meal (usually dinner) Develop relationships rather than business talk Host orders all dishes, sometimes they put it in the middle and share Don’t have pre-meal appetizers or drinks
Food Diverse, food culture evident in wide offers Rice is popular When dining with Singaporeans, sample all offerings Avoid searching and picking through when serving Chopsticks should be rested when talking and after a few bites When dining with Indian Singaporean’s prevent spoons from touching the plates If you’re a guest compliment and thank your host
Drinking & Behavior If you’re with Muslim counterparts avoid drinking Consuming alcohol with meal or social function is widespread among other Singaporeans Strict laws No littering and spitting (fined if caught) No smoking in public areas Business cards are given with 2 hands Don’t cut in line Don’t shout and have a clam demeanor
Gift Giving Anti-bribery laws, gifts to business or gov’t officials will most likely be refused One can offer a large gift to a group or individuals with small inexpensive items Give gift in public if you must There are gifts to avoid Avoid giving clocks, sharp objects or handkerciefs to Chinese Singaporeans Avoid alcohol, pork or pigskin products for Malays Avoid giving Hindu Indian’s beef or catle products
Cultural Values ‘Kiasu’ = ‘fear of losing’ Singaporeans competitive Want to be the best Reflects value of work ethic Face Control behavior especially in public Avoid criticism Indirect communication Diversity Value diversity and appreciate differences
More on Face FACE Face = dignity Prized commodity can be given, lost, taken away and earned Basically your reputation Good name Character What makes Singaporeans want harmony in relationships Control their behavior and keep emotions in check Not confrontational and don’t critique people openly Indirect communication style Lost face = bad reputation losing influence
Cultural Values Continued Group > Individual Harmony and mutual security important Family is center of social structure Unity, loyalty & respect for elderly Includes extended families and close friends Respect for elderly is significant
Sources www.cia.gov Singapore cultural sensitivity notes by Curtin University of Technology Doing Business in Singapore
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