Cultural and Language

Global Cultural Training
As the costs of failure of an assignment due to culture shock are considerable, your company may suggest preparing you and your family for the new culture and living conditions. You should not hesitate to accept an invitation to a cultural seminar.

See Culture Shock for details of the psychological highs and lows of your assignment.



Language Problems
In countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong, you will have no problem getting along in English. Depending on the remoteness of your location in other countries, however, you'll need at least some basic knowledge of the local language unless you decide to live within the international community and never mingle with the locals. Since you may have the advantage of help in your house, garden and in some cases employ even a driver, you have to be able to communicate effectively.


Even without language problems, steel yourself as cases of misunderstanding will
be numerous and dreadful. So, view this situation as an opportunity to learn a new language and start a course as soon as possible wherever you are going. There are always language teachers on location specialized to the expatriates' needs who will be able to explain customs and cultural differences.


In many cases, these teachers may become your first and closest friends within a
short time and are a splendid source of information about the country.



Singlish is the English-based language spoken and written colloquially in Singapore. It is a unique blend of English, Chinese, Malay, Tamil and local dialects. Although Singlish is not used in formal communication, it is commonly used by locals in informal settings, such as during conversation with friends. Singlish sentences are often punctuated with “lah” and "loh" which does not seems to make must sense to the average expatriate.


Here is a quick guide of phrases that you may encounter when speaking with locals:

Singlish What it means?
Doh-Wan “No, thanks.” or “I don’t want it.”
Can-can "Sure" or “Yes”
Uncle / Auntie A respectful form of an address for an older man / woman
Lai dat also can? “Is that acceptable?”



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