Culturally Sensitive

This week was pretty much a standard week at the office, not much new to report for Carrie and me. Except I did get my business cards finally and my name chop (a stamp with my name on it, used to sign documents), which I will post about in another post once I actually chop (sign) something.

We did however attend mandatory cultural training on Thursday the 28th of January, where we learned to be more culturally sensitive. I think I needed it more than Carrie because my culture shock has been worse since she has dealt with Malaysia and Singapore for years at WAA and because I am culturally integrating myself into Japanese and Singaporean culture.

The training was a good overview of how different cultures communicate, how different cultures view the world, and how best to integrate ourselves into these cultures. Everyone decided I am very American which means of course that I am very direct in my communication, very big on individual rights over the collective, very egalitarian instead of hierarchy based, and overall not very good at understanding the Asian culture. I just want results and bottom line, while they are more concerned about the process involved in getting to the bottom line. However, after a day in training I did learn some good ways to soften my approach to these things and get more used to differing outlooks.

I was also able to go to WAA, where the training was held, and see Carrie’s work and meet her colleagues. It was a very nice facility with a nice food barn, very nice co-workers (who we have coerced into taking us shopping and explaining to us about cooking and eating Asian food). The area surrounding WAA was definitely different than the financial district where I work and felt much more suburban with homes, parks, etc and we found out they call it the heartlands of Singapore. That was worth the experience, even if I cannot manage to become more culturally sensitive. I am working on it though.

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