Archive

Personal Change

With the increasing interest in Asia and globalisation of the world economy, cracking the cultural code has become important.

Beyond handing namecards with both hands and bowing, what are some of the differences in East and West. Both Hofstede and Trompenaars are very insightful in outlining some challenges to watch out for.

I came across a very practical book on cracking the cultural code. However it involves observation. India is different from China from South Korea from Indonesia from Malaysia.

Where are some of your challenges?

1. Making small talk with colleagues
2. Asking a favour from a colleague
3. Promoting myself at networking events
4. Receiving compliment from colleagues
5. Telling a joke at lunch
6. Giving feedback to my boss
7. Giving a formal presentation at a meeting
8. Pitching my idea to investors
9. Interviewing for a job

In the section on “You can be a Cultural Detective”, Prof Molinsky suggests to use a series of diagnostic questions, using the 6 dimensions of the cultural code he coined.

1. Brevity and en pointe:
Do people tend to be succinct in what they say and get right to the point – often with as few words as possible?

Or do they use words more general, or ambiguous poetic language, hinting at what they mean without being too direct? Senior Chinese government officials tend to favour reference to Tang poems for instance.

There are regional differences in that regard.

2. Energy
When something positive has happened, do people express emotions openly through facial expressions, body language and tone of voice eg Mediterranean cultures. Or do they tend to hide or suppress the outward expression of positive emotions despite their feelings, example British stiff up lip.

3. Formality
Do people dress conservatively, make official appointments to speak with each other and use titles such as “Doctor” or “CEO” . Or do they dress casually, drop by casually for a chat or first name basis. Do not be deceived by outward appearances though. Sometimes people may want to be addressed by first name but they are very formal.

4. Assertiveness
Do people express views strongly and forcefully. Is conflict encouraged? Do people express different view points in meetings? Or do they express opinions in a cautious manner and public display of conflict or disagreement is frowned?

Here, there is a difference in hierarchy. Those at the top tend to be more forceful.

5. Self promotion
Do people tend to highlight or draw attention to their personal accomplishments or tend to minimise, underplay their achievements?

6. Personal disclosure
Do people keep conversations strictly about business or do they discuss details of their personal lives with colleagues at work? In Asian cultures, people do discuss details of family life.

How much to ask depends on the seniority. Do not be surprised if an older colleague were to ask how much you earn, and your age. Such invasion of privacy may be uncomfortable for an American, who although comfortable with small talk will consider such topics taboo. A German boss on the other extreme will unlikely ask questions about your family as this would be considered too personal.

Global Dexterity , how to adapt your behaviour across cultures without losing yourself in the process” by Andy Molinsky
395.52 MOL (NLB)

SMU Associate Professor Tan Hwee Hoon is investigating on how trust is influenced by culture. In a cross-culture longitudinal study, the research team is examining dimensions of trust depending on 1. Ability 2. Benevolence 3. Integrity.

In American culture, trust is highest when the imdividual is deemed to have high ability. Whereas in Asian culture, benevolence or whether a person has consistently shown that he/she watches your back is more important.

Stay tuned as she prepares to publish her report.

Hilarious look at cultural differences between East and West
https://www.boredpanda.com/comics-chinese-western-culture-comparison-tinyeyescomics/

Advertisements

天生我才,必有用。
Tiānshēng wǒ cái, bì yǒuyòng.

image

I have chosen a photo taken in Naha, Okinawa of a fruit seller having a conversation with a customer.

If God created me, then there must be some value in me. In other words, surely I am of some use. While I find my destiny, or someone who appreciates my skills, in the meantime, let’s drink and be merry.

The poem is written by famous Tang Poet Li Bo, lamenting that his talent was not appreciated by the Emperor of his day. Yet it is not a pessimistic poem in that he was drowning his sorrow but enjoying the company of life and friends and its pleasure. An upbeat poem on the brevity of life. Li Bo (李白) and Tu Fu (杜甫) are regarded as the two literary “saints” of Chinese poetry.

天生我材必有用, 出自李白的《将进酒》。意思是:每个人的出生都一定有自己的价值和意义。

诗中表达了作者对怀才不遇的感叹,又抱着乐观、通达的情怀,也流露了人生几何当及时行乐的消极情绪。全诗洋溢着豪情逸兴,具有出色的艺术成就。

作者简介
李白(701~762),字太白,号青莲居士。是屈原之后最具个性特色、最伟大的浪漫主义诗人。有“诗仙”之美誉,与杜甫并称“李杜”。

https://zhidao.baidu.com/question/57395118.html

If you are interested in the rest of the poem:
https://eastasiastudent.net/china/classical/li-bai-jiang-jin-jiu/

机不可失,时不再来 
jī bù kě shī, shí bú zài lái
Opportunity knocks at the door only once.

https://www.fluentu.com/blog/chinese/2014/06/01/chinese-proverbs/

image

Taken near Swan Lake road on way to Garang Grill. Facade of building with old doors.

Perhaps it is the rain. I am affected by different emotions. Hope with the new year. New beginnings and new possibilities.

Sadness that yesteryear has passed. My father’s sister has just passed away and he will fly into Bangkok today to attend her wake. This sister was separated from the family for years, trapped in China during the Cultural Revolution and couldn’t return.

One consolation is that he visited her last year. All the family drama no longer important. Or are we still haunted by ghosts of the past.

What does “opportunity knock but once” mean for you?

An investment opportunity.
A career
A promise

The days are long, but the years are short. I read that on Gretchen Rubin’s blog post.

I have stopped making New Year’s Resolution for many years. Eight to be exact. I am beginning to realise that despite not achieving what you set out to do, New Year’s resolutions have merit in goal setting.

What is that one thing you like 2018 to be remembered for?

Just one thing. Himself said that for him it is making the bed every morning. “You should tidy your work table”, he offered. As my New Year’s Resolution.

That should do for now.

5 mins a day

Pick up 2 different skills

2 different something. One year I learned cycling. Posted a blog. Last year I joined Chinese Toastmasters. I want to spend more time with my mom and not mind so much when she talks during service competing with the pastor’s sermon.

What are 2 different experiences/ skills that you will pick up this year?
image
Photo taken at Hiji Falls, Okinawa, 2017

We wont carry anything with us when we leave this earth but we deposit memories in someone’s life.

No man enters the same river twice. He is not the same man, and it is not the same river. -Heraclitus

水滴石穿
Shuǐdīshíchuān

Constant effort brings success

The quote means that water droplets can wear through rocks.

Do not be discouraged if your effort seems weak, small and feeble.

image

Visiting limestone caves of stalagmites and stalactites is a good reminder that they were created from.deposits of droplets of water. Similarly valleys are created when the caves collapse through change in direction of water flows.

image

Here, I am in the Valley of Gangala in Okinawa, Japan

A quote mom used to teach me.

“Little drops of water, little drops of sand,
Makes a mighty ocean and a pleasant land ” or is it a pleasant man?

Happy New Year 2018!

How 7 days in Okinawa pondering its secret of longevity change my view of the future.

image

1. Keep active
Many in their 60s and above are still working, selling simple essentials with low margin. Perhaps out of necessity and certainly the opportunity for social interaction, out and about, walking and driving.

image

Outside of hotels, shopping belt of Kokusai Street (and international brands) most of the service staff by local outlets are above 50 yrs old. In the exceptions above, where ability to speak a foreign language to cater to tourists is a must, young people are employed.

image

In the supermarket near my hotel, 60 yr olds were serving as cooks in the takeout counter or cashiers/packers at the checkout.

In “Making a living without a job” by Barabara Winter, she wrote about a tiny restaurant, the Milky Way ran for 25 yrs by Leah Adler, mother of Steven Spielberg, who at the time of the writing was 81 yrs old. She was at the restaurant from 830am till closing and seemed to have a good time making her customers happy and chatting with everyone. Adler recently passed away this year at 97.

2. Simple living
Simple needs, simple food and vegetables. Practicising hara hachi bo or 80 percent full.

image

3. Outdoors island living with fresh air and sun

image

4. Slow pace of life
Lights out by 7pm. No street lamp, not much electronic entertainment. Sloooow.

image

First world amenities of Japan without too much social restraints. Less outwardly polite than Tokyo which may be less stressful

创业难,守业更难
Chuàngyè nán, shǒuyè gèng nán

Difficult to start a business, its even more difficult to maintain it.

What do film and cosmetics have in common?
Fujifilm survived the digital age with an unexpected makeover. The same technology used to innovate on chemicals like collagen/pigments for film and photography allowed them to apply on researching skincare.
They now have a line called Astalift!
In some counters, it is next to the Shisedo and Kose counters.

“The will to make such drastic changes and adapt quickly to seismic market disruption allow Fujifilm to still be a player, even as rival Kodak became bankrupt in 2012. Diversification is the name of the game. Although, still within the core line of business, and using synergies of the expertise of one’s business.

Are you afraid of disruption?
Take stock of your skills. Kaizen, comes from a Chinese word meaning constant improvement. In today’s fast changing world, can we rest on our laurels?

Constant innovation, constant improvement.

As we move into the New Year, what new skills do you want to pick up?

What growing areas or industries/ trends can your skills be transferred?

Read more at:

Source: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/cnainsider/the-man-who-brought-hope-inspirasian-9494998
image

I chanced this write up at Brightside. #What $1 brings you#. A snicker bar in Japan, a bowl of chicken rice in Indonesia, a can of coca cola in a hawker centre in Singapore.

https://brightside.me/wonder-curiosities/what-1-dollar-will-buy-you-around-the-world-386510/

This year I am inspired to do more. My students in SMU inspire me. Many of them genuinely want a career in helping profession.

Watch Corine Tiah’s documentary on an Inspiration Asian Ken who trekked the hills to bring light to the villagers.

Incidentally, Corine is a journalist whose documentaries are about #people who bring hope to others#.

#Fragrance lingers on the hand that gives flowers#

#CNA#, #InspirAsian#, #$1#