"Mon, Jan 04, 2010 - The Straits Times Bring skills the Chinese do not have
WANT to work successfully in China? Bring with you skills the Chinese do not have, said Mr Lee Kuan Yew last night.
These can be an intimate knowledge of and links with parts of the world that matter to China, such as South-east Asia and Western countries like America, he said."
It is a simple answer to a complex situation. It really depends on who are you working with in China and at what level. Skills can be learned and the ones mentioned by MM Lee, wise as he is, like an intimate knowledge of and links with parts of the world that matter to China, can be learned and developed by the Chinese themselves.
South East Asia for now and the next decades probably needs China more than it needs them! While for the Western countries, many Chinese scholars, government and private, and non-scholars have ventured to the greatest universities in all the Western countries already. Some of them know more about these countries than our Singaporeans.
Lessons for me are:
1. be yourself according to an universal standard of behaviors like: know your field of work well; treat people with respect and sincerity; be firm with doing the right things, and do it with cultural sensitivity if you must; create value for your employers; and choose the employers that have the same values as you!;
2. be humble and keep the lifelong learning as your personal philosophy. Make friends with the locals with genuine interest in them as people instead of just a mean to an end! Be in it for the long haul as some of them shared the same ideals but have a different time table to influence change from us. e.g. eradication of corruption, the grey area of appropriate gifting and bride, the need to voice the unpleasant truth to the more senior people in the organization!;
3. produce results for your employers through committed people if you are the leader! Produce results without sacrificing integrity and quality.
Working in China and becoming successfully is not difficult if you are sincere and capable. Of course, asking for the right level of compensation is one of the considerations as you are competing against the Western savvy Chinese too!
All the best to our young Singaporeans who decide to make a career in China.