As we continue to undercover and create a link between the philanthropy activities in Singapore and China, LI Foundation team had an opportunity to understand on the delicate differences between the cultures of the two countries from our special guest, Dr Koh Chin Yee. He opined that the subtle differences between the two cultures are shaped by the geography and history of each country.
Being a multi-racial island state that relies heavily on external connections, Singaporeans attach great values to openness, connectivity, inclusiveness, and have to always be “a step ahead of others” in order to survive. On the other hand, the Chinese believe they deserve a position in history and global affairs, and the rise of China is a rightful aspiration.
Dr Koh believed that, in general, Singaporeans tend to be more direct, prefers a law- and rule-based environment, and like to seek a black or white answer. Whereas the Chinese tend to be more indirect, prefer a more flexible environment, and is comfortable with having grey as an answer.
Singaporeans perhaps attach more importance to following rules than to maximizing efficiency, while the Chinese probably prefers the opposite. Singaporeans tend to “talk business” while the Chinese tend to “talk friendship”. Taking note of such cultural traits during cross-cultural engagements may help to minimize misunderstanding and promote communications.
Lionel also shared his views on the different social practices of the Chinese in Southeast Asia and how Singapore’s pragmatic attitude is reflected in all aspects of life. Having lived in China and other places, Dr Koh has always kept an open mind along with his own unique set of logic and insights.
Dr Koh Chin Yee is the Managing Director for “Singapore Eye”, a leading Chinese Language social media platform in Singapore and concurrently Adjunct Assistant Professor for National Taiwan Normal University. He held appointments in news and media relations as well as China affairs in several public agencies and companies. He had been an investment advisor to Shanghai’s Huangpu District, Nanjing City and Lianyungang City of Jiangsu Province, and is the President for South Seas Society, an academic body in Singapore.
The book showcases how the participants challenged their limits and conquered the World Marathon Challenge and North Pole Marathon to inspire people to challenge their own limits and pursue their dreams boldly.
The book tells the stories behind the event which saw the largest number of people in history running 1045km round Taiwan in 19 days.