I live in Europe. I got opportunities to work in Singapore, but I'm worried about the Asian power distant cultures.

Here why:

Last time I was traveling to Germany for seminars, there was some Japanese businessmen in the hotel.

I noticed that when the Japanese manager was about to leave, his colleagues bowed before him! I also noticed that none dared eat before he made the eat start!

Then after discussing with some Japanese people and making some research, I can see that power distance is common in Asian cultures, which has a huge impact on relocation decisions. And I wonder if its the same in Singapore

My main concern is sacrificial expectations. Here an example in this article about after work drinks and assertiveness . In Japan it's expected to attend after work drinks no matter how frequent they are.

A soft skill! Maybe, but, the consequences of sacrificing my family life to please the boss and get promoted are not worth the success this could bring me

It's not a matter of right or wrong, it's rather feedback I'm looking for from expats who worked in Singapore

I work in automotive engineering (software design)

  • You don't mention what type of work you would be doing. Jan 6, 2020 at 0:49
  • 3
    It heavily depends on the type of work you are in, but Singapore is not like Japan or China in this regard, for example I work in IT and my experience in Singapore over the last 10 or so years is similar to the US or Europe or at least very close to. Jan 6, 2020 at 2:09
  • 3
    My experience of working for a multi-national there was a practice of regularly having to stay in the office until 9 or 10pm to join conference calls with my US and Europe-based colleagues.
    – Traveller
    Jan 6, 2020 at 8:12
  • @Traveller when do you start working morning ??? how much hours you're working daily ? Jan 6, 2020 at 18:48
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    @mikmik Start time by 9am, contracted hours 35 weekly. The expectation was unpaid overtime as and when needed, which sometimes meant 12 hour days, but could be offset by a later start if the workload allowed.
    – Traveller
    Jan 6, 2020 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


In a nutshell, no: Singapore is hierarchical, but nowhere near as bad as Japan. Mandatory socializing over alcohol is not really a thing here, many locals don't even drink.

What's more, the vast majority of expats work at multinational companies, which operate the way the home office does. Conference calls at unfriendly hours are an unfortunate fact of life, but you generally have a great deal of flexibility regarding the rest of your day in exchange.

  • Conference calls at unfriendly hours are an unfortunate fact of life in certain places only. Hence, not a universal 'fact'.
    – quantum
    Jul 30, 2022 at 9:18
  • 1
    If you're working for a multinational in Singapore in a position of any responsibility, you'll have a very hard time avoiding them. Jul 30, 2022 at 13:58

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