Your DSP Relcoations Asia Office in Singapore

DSP Relocations Singapore
24 Kian Teck Road, Singapore 628775.

Tel        : +65 6266 5225
Fax       : +65 6266 5335
E-mail  : leon.bock@dsprelocations.com


Local time :
SINGAPORE - FACTS AND FIGURES
Capital : Singapore (City-State)
Location : South Eastern Asia, island between Malaysia and Indonesia
Total Area : 692.7 sq km
Climate : Tropical; hot, humid, rainy. Two distinct monsoon seasons : North Eastern monsoon season from Dec. – March and South Western monsoon from June – Sept.
Population : 5.18 million; Chinese 75 %, Malay 15 %, Indian 8 %, rest ‘Caucasian’
Government Type : Parliamentary republic
Official Languages : English, Mandarin, Malay, Tamil
Religions : Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, Christian, Muslim, Hindu
Currency : Singapore Dollar
Country Code : +65
GENERAL
Singapore was founded as a British trading colony in 1819. It joined the Malaysian Federation in 1963 but separated two years later and became independent. It subsequently became one of the world's most prosperous countries with strong international trading links (its port is one of the world’s busiest in terms of tonnage handled).

Singapore is the only Asian country that is an island city-state and by far the smallest country in the region and consists of 62 smaller islands, most of which are too small for habitation.

Singapore is known for ‘Asia for beginners’ and it is rated as one of the easiest countries in the world in which to do business, due to the speed and efficiency of the entire political and economic infrastructure. Despite its small size, Singapore has become a major Asian hub for many key industries.

Although first impressions of the country reveal a highly westernized society, there remains a deep underlying Asian culture that is often ignored.
LOCAL CUSTOMS & ETIQUETTE
SPECIAL BELIEFS
Visitors to Singapore should be aware of the following special beliefs :
Chinese Population
  • The number 4 is considered very unlucky, as it is associated with death
  • The number 8 or any combination of eight is considered very lucky
  • “X” or a cross signifies death. The act of crossing e.g. chopsticks or any act that can result in the appearance of a cross is considered an omen of impeding death
  • The colours red (prosperity) and yellow (gold, wealth) are desirable colours. Green is also acceptable (longevity) however dark purple, dark blue, white and black are not favoured
  • Flowing water implies that money will flow into a business, which is why many Chinese businesses in Singapore have a water feature at the entrance to their premises
  • Creatures also have significant meaning:

  • Dragon             :  Great strength and power
    Tortoises         :  long life
    Fish                    :  Prosperity
    Pair of Lions   :  “Guards of the door” to keep evil spirits at bay

  • Believe in “feng shui” in all things
  • Celebrates Chinese New Year which marks the first day of the first month of the Chinese calendar. It’s the longest (15 days) and most important festivity for the Chinese population.
Malay Population
  • The left hand is considered unclean and should not be used for giving, receiving or pointing at a person; it should also not be used to point at a person.
  • Consumption of pork and alcohol is forbidden for Muslims
  • Midday on Friday is the most important time of the week for praying. Many companies allow for 3 hour lunch break to Muslim men on this day.
  • Ramadan (Bulan Puasa), the month of fasting, followed by the celebration of Hari Raya Aidilfitri, is the most important event of the year.
  • Great respect should be shown towards the most senior person in families and organisations.
  • Muslims are required to wash themselves before their next prayer session. Should they have touched a dog, a more rigorous washing process is required. The hands, elbows, face, head, ears and feet are cleansed
  • Unmarried couples are not permitted to engage in intimate contact before marriage, and should not spend time alone together without a chaperone.
Indian Population
  • Most Indians are Hindus however a small number are Sikhs, Muslims or Christians.
  • The left hand is considered unclean and should not be used to eat with
  • Beef products are not widely consumed; many Hindus are vegetarian
  • Products made from cowhide are not used
  • Books are considered sacred
  • Smoking is not permitted by Sikhs, or Indian women
  • Fridays are important for temple visiting and therefore Hindus are vegetarian on this day
  • Celebrates Deepavali which symbolises the triumph of good over evil. It is called the  festival of lights.
  • Indian food is eaten with the fingers
When interacting with Singaporeans, don’t :
Chinese don’t
  • Use the crooked index finger to beckon someone; rather use the standard Asian method of palm down and flapping the hand
  • Write a person’s name in red ink
  • Wink at a person
  • Present items such as name cards with one hand – this should be done with both hands
  • Display feelings through facial expressions
  • Give unacceptable gifts such as watch or clock (as it denotes death), etc.
  • Wrap a gift in white wrapping paper (as it symbolises death or mourning)
Malay Population
  • Pass an item, especially food, using the left hand – Islam considers this hand a ‘dirty hand’.
  • Make jocular remarks or criticise the Islamic religion, Mohammed or Allah. The Islamic term Insh’Allah (‘if God is willing’) should also not be taken lightly or denigrated.
  • Point with the index finger. Rather use the open palm of the right hand, or better still, make a fist keeping the thumb at the top of the fist and point with the thumb. Only the right hand should be used for pointing.
  • Show anger to a superior, or disagree with a superior in public – deference should be shown to elders and seniors.
  • A woman should not extend her hand to shake with a Muslim man or  man should not extend his hand to shake with a Muslim woman, unless they offer their hand first. In these cases a smile and acknowledgment is appropriate.
  • Display affection, in public, with a member of the opposite sex.
  • In the interests of cleanliness and hygiene, shoes should be removed when entering a Malay home. This is because they usually sit on the floor when socialising and praying.
Indians Population
  • Gesture at a person with the forefinger
  • Pat a child on the head
  • Hand over items with the left hand
  • Smoke in the company of a Sikh
  • Use the left hand for eating, touch someone, pass money or pick up merchandise
  • Point with a single finger or two fingers at someone
  • Consume alcohol especially women