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Chinese Culture in Singapore

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Chinese Culture in Singapore
1.0 Introduction

There have been many attempts to define culture, but never have there been one that has been able to encompass every aspect of what it really means. Culture is part of our lives. Knowingly or unknowingly, we grow up within a particular culture, and tend to follow its rules and regulations without questioning its validity. An analogy of culture would be that if people are clay, then culture would be the mould that shape us to what we are today.

There are many different types of cultures in the world. Within a country itself, there might be a distinctive culture, like those typical of a German or Japanese. Beyond nationality, people can be further classified into their dialect groups, religion, and many other categories. Therefore the various classification of culture itself may seem endless.

The purpose of this report is to identify the Chinese culture in Singapore, particularly aspects that are important for foreign businesses.

2.0 The background of Chinese in Singapore

The traditional Chinese society basically evolved from Confucian teachings:

If you want to rule the state, first put your house in order; if you want to put your house in order, first cultivate yourself morally; If you want to cultivate yourself morally, first put your heart right; To put your heart right, you must be sincere.

From these teachings, it is predictable that Chinese centered their activities around themselves. Generally, they are individualistic and usually carried out their business as sole proprietors. They may form close relationship with their family, but seldom extend their social life to any larger social stratum.

When Chinese came to Singapore, they began to form themselves into groups to protect themselves in a foreign country. Huay Kuans or provincial associations, like the Hokkien Huay Kuan, were set up to look into the welfare of their members. In addition, temples and clan associations of these Chinese were also built. These Chinese

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