Summary: Cultural Competence for Professional Travel in Singapore
The name Singapura comes from the Sanskrit singha (lion) and pura (city). Singapore has four
national (official) languages: Mandarin, Malay, Tamil and English. English is the language for business,
instruction and politics.
Building Relationships and Communication
Business dealings are more formal than in the U.S. Business and is a matter of being tied into the
proper network, which is the result of long-standing personal relationships or the proper
introductions. Be aware that it is unusual to complete a complicated business deal in only one
Singaporean culture is group-oriented, so links are often based on ethnicity, education or
Unwavering civility and patience are necessary for successful business dealings.
Rank (i.e. age, seniority) is always respected. Use proper titles, such as "Professor" as indicated
on an individual's business card. The eldest person in the group is revered.
Most Singaporeans are soft-spoken and believe a calm demeanor is superior to a more aggressive
The local (British English) dialect with its heavy Chinese influences may appear brusque or even
rude to foreign sensibilities. For instance, "You want beer or not?" is not intended to be an
Some Singaporeans may ask highly personal questions, not realizing that westerners may find