archive dateline rule
Doing Business Abroad Singapore
by Terri Morrison
  • Singapore has three major ethnic groups:   Chinese, Malay and Indian. Each has its own traditions; however, a handshake is the most common form of greeting.
  • Traditional Muslims (generally Malays) may practice a salaam; traditional Hindus (generally Indians) may bow slightly with the palms of the hands together.
  • Other than handshakes, there is no public physical contact between the sexes.
  • There are many complexities regarding titles and name order. Each major ethnic group has different naming patterns, so it is best to ask them the correct manner of address.
  • Don't invite someone to "just call me Skip" when you are addressing him as Dr. Gupta.
  • Singapore is a meritocracy. Few people get ahead without hard work and long hours.
  • Be prompt.
  • Don't try to fill in silent pauses. Silence can signal respect and consideration.
  • Evading a subject is equivalent to a "no.".
  • Never print invitations on white or blue paper – among the Chinese, these colors are associated with sadness.
  • Singapore's anticorruption laws are very strict. Government officials many not be permitted to attend social events.
Do You Know:   True or False?

In Singapore, what are Deepavali, Hari Raya Puasa, and Vesak Day?
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A random drawing will be held to award five correct respondents with a free copy of The 1999 World Holiday and Time Zone Guide.
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