Learning About Malaysia

This afternoon our department had a training session about Malaysia. Since we’re going to be hosting a large group of Malay employees here for who knows how long, our supervisors wanted to educate us concerning their people and culture. Until today I have to admit, I was completely ignorant about the country.

My department sat in a conference room and watched a video program about doing business in Malaysia. Videos like this are usually real sleepers but this one actually kept my interest. The reason why I decided to pay attention was due to the fact that many Malay businessmen were somewhat critical of their American counterparts. They didn’t come off as being mean or anything like that. They were being honest and up front about their opinions, which I can respect. The common theme expressed in many of the interviews was that American businessmen won’t shut up during deals and meetings. From the Malay description it’s like US business executives are trying to impress people by talking constantly, and saying very little of worth while doing it. I thought about that for a while and it really sounds like many of our upper level managers. I think the Malay have us pegged pretty well on that one.

To the Malaysians, family is very high on their list of priorities. Almost everything else comes second.

The national flag of Malaysia is similar to the US flag. It has the same blue square with alternating red and white stripes but instead of having a group of stars in the blue field, the Malay flag has a yellow half-moon and a sun.

Malaysia is an Islamic country. I wasn’t aware of that, either.

In Malaysian society there are three main ethnic groups, Chinese, Malay, and Indian. The Chinese seem to have infiltrated many positions of power in the business arena which has caused a disproportionate amount of Malay and Indians left out of the picture. To partially level the playing field the Malaysian government has instituted laws giving some advantages to the Malay while blocking the Chinese. I guess it seems like Affirmative Action here in the States. I wonder how successful they’ve been with that so far.

That’s what I got out of the training video. I don’t know how much good that’s going to do for me when Malay start to show up on our production line.

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~ by factorypeasant on December 1, 2005.

One Response to “Learning About Malaysia”

  1. That’s pretty interesting. A reverse Affirmative Action.–>

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