expertise area

Are we becoming Asian?

As we read and hear statements such as “The center of gravity is shifting towards Asia”, “The future is in Asia now”, I started pondering: Are we becoming Asian?

 

While questioning my own identity, I came up with the following moto: 

Be happy with your achievements, work toward a stable long lasting impact.

It appeared that my drive was taking center stage and not my nationality or geographical location (not even Singapore)*. My interest then, stirred towards the notion of time. It is not an Asian concept or property however as I lived in Singapore, I noticed that my understanding of time had been evolving**.

One could say that I am getting older but it is not the only truth. I have come to view time more as a cycle and less as a linear concept. Doing things with the long run in mind and trusting that good deeds will pay off in the end starts to make more sense to me now. This is not something one can experience on a short assignment, but it is something one can understand. 

In Asia, this notion prevails. For example, in business, one can be taken aback by a decision that is not in the manager’s first interest. Try to see the bigger picture and you will notice that such resolution is often selected on its long term benefits. 

Another concept that challenged my understanding was: How do “past” “present” and “future” interact with one another? At first, to me, it was very sequential and even if I adhered to the notion of cycles (eg: seasons), I was not seeing how “past” and “future” could interact. 

I could see however, different cultures attributing different levels of importance to each concept (past/present/future…past/present/future…past/present/future…). Again, this has an impact on business in a cross culture environment. For example, one could say that the British culture gives quite a large importance to the “past” (eg: long lasting set of traditions, the notion of precedent in the common law..). 

In Asia, time seems to be more fluid. Even in Singapore, with its use of the common law and its set of rules, “past” and “future” tend to mix, spin, feed from one another. Singapore is openly  “future focused”, yet equally demonstrates a high level of respect and attention to the past (Pioneer & Merdeka generations). “Past and future are the reason for what we do now”. 

This is starting to make sense…

Lastly, science came to my rescue one morning, as I listened to the radio: a geologist was explaining how his study of past tsunamis (frequency of events in a soil sample) helped him apprehend the future (possible next event). As a result, he was then able to influence the present (necessity or not to move local population)… The light came to me! This was a real and practical example that perfectly illustrated what intrigued me, ending my investigation on that topic. 

Through this article I wanted to illustrate and share a Cross Culture topic and highlight how interesting and varied the interpretations could be. Being in Asia helps being more aware. The different ways of understanding and using concepts (in this case time) are great tools when one needs to be creative in the face of new challenges (at work or otherwise). 

On that basis, and thanks to time itself, I think I am becoming a little more Asian.

Do not hesitate to get in touch. 

Kindly, 

Claire

Photo by Lee Aik Soon on Unsplash + Photo by Echo Grid on Unsplash  

*Interesting topic maybe for another time. 
**Side note: time as we know it does not exist, we are just a consequence of events. Read more from “The Order of Time” by Marco Rovelli.
***Riding The Waves of Culture by Fons Trompenaars and Charles Hampden-Turner has a great chapter on the topic also
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expertise area

Artificial Intelligence / Human Intelligence: choose both

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Artificial Intelligence: it is on everyone’s mouth at the moment. It is coming and should be welcomed for what it is.

As a Maths student, I thought that the “Mathematical language” was the universal language. It was my “Esperanto”: beautiful, absolute, and meant to be understood by all. Having access to the ins-and-outs of a new proof was to me, very alluring. Reassuring also, Mathematics was there to make sense of this world, even if I did not get it yet. On a lighter note, you can say that I was attracted by the “geeky side of the force”.

Nowadays, scientists in particular abstract scientists and mathematicians, have become trendy. They are being thought of after in many industries. How many models have already been developed with the help of complex computing? Although AI seems to be this new alien everyone has an opinion on and loves to be startled by, I would argue that it is only the natural development of what we have already seen in many areas.

As we adapt to AI being used in our everyday lives, we will see many changes but it will probably reinforce our human intelligence spectrum. After all, change at a fast pace is quite a human trait, it is not something new. For the past couple of centuries (at least) we have been on a fast track. Soon, we will choose AI for any repetitive, fast and accurate computing tasks. One should consider it done. Our challenge then will be to understand and welcome it as a tool and concentrate on the many remaining dilemmas. This is where, I believe, our Human Intelligence will help us grasp and continue to evolve beyond the new challenges we encounter (eg: environmental issues, medicine,….).

Social relations are not a trivial problem. It is outside the AI spectrum and becomes more and more a core topic in our global society. Learning how to behave with one another is extremely complex and yet fulfilling. It has been the focus of many philosophers for such a long time and yet, it was also seen as an elite problem.

As AI removes many admin or repetitive tasks/jobs, being culturally literate and able to function efficiently within a company will be more than a good skill to have. It will become essential. Through media globalization, one is often given a very shallow perception of other cultures & habits.

In practice, at work or in everyday life, being uninformed or unaware of local cultures would be quite detrimental. Not such an “elite” issue for those who have traveled or have had the time to reflect on the world. Cultural Intelligence is becoming fundamental to any mediation process, it is the first tool when facing conflicting concerns.

Many areas remain within the Human Intelligence domain. We will always look for a personal touch, that exclusive, made to measure service… What makes Singapore so special is specifically its blend of history, culture and forward thinking. Its audacity, tech and eco-friendly combination. (see my Work Culture training and Everyday Life training for a practical made to measure perspective).

The human intelligence is also part of every commercial progress: media, marketing, IT programs and many others integrate the human factor to their models to reach a targeted audience. The ability to value the human intelligence, to consider the cultural differences as a core value is no longer an optional skill but a fundamental set of tools to avoid culture crisis, misunderstanding, stress and disenchantment.

Through The Right Latitude, I have explored Singapore from an economic point of view but also grown to study the social topic of cross-culture even more.

I have come to realise the urgency of it and how far reaching this can get.

In Singapore or not, I hope that you too enjoy the journey on your Right Latitude.

Kindly,

Claire

Photo by Simon Zhu on Unsplash

expertise area, Uncategorized

Not scared of change anymore

joshua-earle-14603-unsplashI am a logistics expert. I anticipate, make 20 plans a minute for the next 30 years and modify them constantly in order to feel in control, prepared…I try to understand this world, others and myself. In my eyes, this world and others are quite fascinating.

Every day I enjoy developing further my training programs for The Right Latitude.

Through it, I share my experience and analysis with others as they are embarking on their new adventure in our little red dot. It rewards me to give grounding and a sense of belonging here in Singapore. To me, this is The Right Latitude! (check out my Orientation services to meet your immediate needs to settle-in and my Everyday Life training sessions).

After discussing work & culture related issues in previous articles I would like to shed light on the family part of the relocation process.

There are several topics one would need to consider depending on their personal situation. Today, I will share my experience as a mother of two girls “abroad”.

At home, I am a bit of a mothering tiger mum. It is probably a bit much for my kids, but as time goes by they got used to me. I am very lucky to have two healthy and smart girls who understand me I think as much as I understand them.

After girl number one, we are now entering girl number two’s “teenage marshland”…

I have been so far able to maintain a good level of communication with my first child and openly admit that I do not miss the nappy, crying, and runny nose wiping period. It was fulfilling in a way, I am glad to have done it… and glad to get to another stage of my life with them.

Back to the point: growing children abroad.

In order to address our move from the UK to Singapore (very much desired and anticipated by us adults), I made a conscious effort to keep all of my young girls’ toys, drawings, pearls, and nicknacks that drive me crazy but seemed to be essential to them (“yes of course, I need to keep this sticker!!”). Result: it worked!  

Both girls felt the reassurance that “their home” would be there for them no matter what country we moved to. It helped them feel confident enough to conquer the world: their new school. With its many social challenges, they managed to ride the wave, evolve and grow-up.

The untold truth to remember in the expat community: it is only temporary.

Most “expat friends” will become “long-distance friends” at some point and sometimes very unexpectedly. For the ones that are in Singapore on a longer-term basis: watch for that being left behind blues. Girls learned quickly the importance of the time zones when reaching out to previous friends. Advice: make as many friends as possible from different backgrounds. Result: it is still working.

This has many benefits. Having friends from several communities (extracurricular activities, neighborhood, school, community center…) is like spreading the odds, hedging your emotional exposure…and gaining a great deal of knowledge at the same time! Cross culture awareness here we come.

So far so good, I am in control, life is good but gradually, stealthily come the teenagers. Gone is the time when I could cure a worry with a kiss or a sticker. Without realizing it, as I became more confident “solving” most of girl number one’s social insecurities, I did not see girl number two coming around the corner…

Of course, silly me, as many mothers before me, I did not see my last child grow up.

Now I am in the middle of it: arguing, sending her to her bedroom, wondering what mood she will be in the next time she comes out… Needless to say, the situation does not bring the best out of me. What do I do?

The solution came to me one day as I was determined to get her a good haircut. Her head was (along with her behavior) becoming out of hand. We walked in the salon both tense but when we walked out… I heard: “mum I like it, I am not scared of change anymore!” in that instant, I choked inside. The rest of the week was a breeze and enjoyment for both of us: Result !!!

To the parents of “expat children” here is my new advice: sometimes change is not the result of a move or a new environment, but simply the natural change one child has to overcome on its way to adulthood.                                             

Good luck to everyone and thanks to my two wonderful girls for making me the wiser albeit imperfect person I am today.

Kindly, 

Claire

Photo by Joshua Earle on Unsplash    

About TRL, expertise area

Become a bridge rather than a middleman

TRL_BRIDGE

You have arrived in Singapore and you are ready to bring your knowledge, expertise, and enthusiasm to your new role. You know that this is going to be an experience rich in opportunities and also a chance to demonstrate your ability in leadership, to express yourself and evolve.

However, you are probably a middleman (woman) to some extent and you will need to demonstrate that you belong here if you want to stay and be more than a “flyby”.  

As a foreigner in Singapore, by definition you are a link, a mean for your company/corporation to reach further. You will be expected to perform and provide the added value as anyone else, yet at the same time you have in you the potential to provide more: inspire others.

It is a chance but this contains also challenges that one should be aware of.

Your first task will be adjusting to Singapore and your new role. Although Singapore is very welcoming and an “easy destination”, this task should not be overlooked. Showing interest in the social and economic environment, the land, the population, will be key to your successful local integration and acceptance. ( The Right Latitude is here to help: Core training )

Second, understand your stakeholders. The people you will be interacting with also come with a rich background. Here again, learn about the local history and ways of life to connect and grasp some unspoken truth…(The Right Latitude is here to help: Work Culture training)

Thirdly, recognize the company’s goal. Listen to the loud and subtle clues. Go and talk to your colleagues and get a sense of the company’s local culture. Once you are no longer the “exotic” center of attention, listen to the stories and past experiences shared. If your company is a branch, check out its history locally. Where do the employees come from, what is the company’s local competition, what are the idiosyncratic ways of your trade? With a little time, your past experience and the new understanding you’ve developed, you will become a bridge rather than a middleman.

Time for action:

Don’t be fooled, naive or overwhelmed: anticipate. One useful way to be part is to take part – sports/charity/pet … belong to something local (The Right Latitude is here to help: Orientation services, helping you settle-in ).  Don’t forget to give it time and remain optimistic!

Multiples rewards:

Because you step outside the box, you demonstrate that you are capable of finding new innovative solutions. Little by little you become valuable to your company here in Singapore. 

Welcome to The Right Latitude!

Kindly, Claire

 

About TRL, expertise area

Why The Right Latitude?

My name is Claire Janaudy, with over 11 years in the mobility industry, I am experienced in advising and managing international moves worldwide. You could say that I have a comprehensive knowledge of the mobility process from the inside – out.

I am French and I lived and worked in France, the US, the UK and of course Singapore since January 2014. I am married and a mother of two girls. I also have a dog… a “Singapore Special” of course!

From a professional point of view, I am about logistics, process, and efficiency.

From a personal point of view, I am about discovering, understanding and adjusting.

I have lived outside France for 20 years now. I have been abroad as a teen exchange student and a professional in large companies; but also a young adult, a married wife, and a mother. I know the challenges of being away from families and friends. I understand what it is like to be sick, abroad and by myself or having to worry about loved ones who are away. I know how long it takes for a place to become familiar…

The reasoning behind the training I am offering is to give others a chance to feel at home as quickly as possible. What motivates me is to give the benefit of understanding Singapore as much as possible, in order to develop a person’s confidence towards the challenges and opportunities that are ahead.

The Right Latitude is about giving knowledge, towards a happy personal and professional new life.

I look forward to working with you and for Singapore to become your place of choice. You have arrived at The Right Latitude.

Kindly,

Claire