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Are You That Arrogant?!

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 demanding.

What do you think?