Blog 3: Sarcasm and Chinese New Year
These last few weeks, I have experienced many new things regarding the Asian Culture. Let me start of by saying that all my school projects started. Fortunately, I have local Singaporean project partners. This brings up the huge challenges related to cultural differences.
In the last two blogs, I forgot to mention how the courses at Nanyang University started. Before applying for a semester at the Nanyang University of Applied Sciences, I applied for five marketing courses. All these courses were rejected because the classes were full. So the first two weeks, I had to apply for new marketing courses again.
The course I ended up were Global Business Strategy, Service Marketing and planning and Strategic Management. As already stated earlier, I am grouped with several local students. Since Singapore itself is populated with different people from different countries and cultures, this made it even more difficult for me.
First of all, the project I am doing for Service Marketing are with people from Indonesia. The main thing I noticed throughout the beginning of the projects are the meetings and deadlines. When deciding to meet each other for discussion around 9 AM in the morning, does not mean we will meet around 9 AM in the morning. Around 9 AM for me means during the timeframe of 8:30 and 9:30. For them, this means meeting around 9:30 and 11:30.
Another thing I experienced Is, Singaporeans do not know what sarcasm is. Using humor or jokes to try to start having a relationships with Singaporeans can be a disaster. For example: a project partner told the group by text messaging that he will not be able to attend class because of another appointment. He asked the group to inform the professor on the day of the lecture. On the day, he again text messaged the group, however saying that he will be able to attend because his appointment was delayed to another day. Me, with my extreme funny humor and jokes (kugh kugh sarcasm), tried to make a sarcastic joke saying that I already informed the professor with a written letter containing his apology that he would be late. I added that I also sent the professor some chocolate and flowers to value his apology. In addition, I even said told him that he will sent presents to the lecturer. All this was ofcourse a joke. Later that day, I met him at school and he believed everything I said. At first he was first thankful but then asked me why I went so far just for him! I was so amazed about this. There was no way in my mind that a person would think that my sarcastic joke could have been taken serious. Also, when I said that something was good, when something was obviously bad, they still misunderstood.
Additionally, everyone in Singapore was preparing for Chinese New Year this week. At the University and in the City. The funny thing, however, is that most Chinese-Singaporeans tend to go to China during this week to celebrate new years with their family, This includes all the Singaporean friends I made who were spending it with their family. So I ended up spending the new years with other exchange students.
There were so many events in Singapore, including a fireworks show at the Merlion. Crowded streets full decorated with red lamps, red envelopes, red lights. People on the streets are selling delicious street food. Entertainment with Lion dances, Opera performances, Chinese Calligraphy and ethnic costumes. All in all, definitely a great an fun experience.