This reminds of a question posted to me at an
interview for overseas internship, “Singaporeans who worked abroad are often labeled
“arrogant” by foreigners, what are your views?”
It kept me thinking for awhile. Well
obviously we may argue that most Singaporeans are not arrogant, but what is it
that makes foreigners think otherwise?
My interpretation is this: since young, we
have been sent through many levels of education.
Expectations were always high, especially for those who eventually
excelled. We strive to be number one, in fact, it was our parents who want us to
be number one. It is justifiable to
say that ours is a society based on merit.
Singaporeans who get to work abroad are mostly
high-flyers who have some degree of expertise, and thus they are exactly the
types who had been conditioned to the belief that they have to be second to
none. This mentality when applied
to work situation overseas may not be readily accepted by those locals.
A typical Singaporean-expat probably expects
the level of efficiency and effectiveness amongst those they work with as equal
to Singapore’s. They also perform
or aim to perform beyond expectations, eventually those who work under such
leaders will be pressured to meet his “unreasonably high” expectations.
On the other hand, most of these countries
which “imports” Singaporean talent appear to be third world or developing
economies. And it is in their
culture to believe that they should put in sufficient effort for the amount of
salary they are getting, this is especially so in China.
Therefore when an ignorant Singaporean takes
over leadership, he expects “too much” from these workers, or even from
fellow colleagues. Thus giving them
the impression that Singaporean are “arrogant”, because they are way too
What do you think?