Cultural understanding


Small Talk in Malaysia

Ever been stuck in an elevator ride alone with the big boss, nervously wondering if you should engage in small talk or give in to your instinctive desire to whip out your phone and pretend to be busy? Or seated at a friend’s wedding dinner amongst strangers who were as […]


Do Malaysians Like To Be Micromanaged?

Your boss has given you an important project with a set deadline. In the days that follow, would you prefer if your boss touch base with you periodically or would you rather your boss frequently drop by your desk to check on your progress and direct your every move? No […]


The Art of Giving Feedback to Malaysians

The delicate art of giving feedback to Malaysians is one that many expat managers might regularly struggle with. “Should I praise/shame him in public? Do I wait until the annual performance review to give feedback? How do I motivate her to improve in a particular area? Maybe if I just […]


Work-Life Balance: How Late Is a Malaysian Expected to Work?

As a foreigner working in Malaysia, have you found yourself in the situation below? It’s 6pm and you see your colleague get up from his seat. Instead of leaving the office though, he heads toward the pantry to pour himself another cup of coffee and stays on for another hour […]


Honesty-The Malaysian Cultural Perspective

In the workplace, it is essential to have trust. Mutual respect and trust form the foundation for strong workplace relationships. However, in a workplace where employees and employers may come from different backgrounds, cultural differences may be misunderstood and foster distrust. One such cultural difference is that of the way […]


Malaysian Hierarchy-Learned at Home

When I was very young, one of the most difficult things I had to learn was how to correctly address my multitude of aunts. In Chinese culture, there are specific titles for each family member. I couldn’t just call them Aunt Jane or Aunt Mary. I had to learn the […]


What Is Cultural Awareness?

Cultural competence refers to an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. Cultural competence comprises four components: (a) Awareness of one’s own cultural worldview, (b) Attitude towards cultural differences, (c) Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and (d) cross-cultural skills. Developing cultural competence results in an ability […]