VIETNAM CULTURE, ETIQUE & CUSTOM Facts and Statistics Location: Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, Gulf of Tonkin, and South China Sea, alongside China, Laos, and Cambodia Capital: Hanoi Climate: tropical in south; monsoonal in north with hot, rainy season (mid-May to mid-September) and warm, dry season (mid-October to mid-March) Population: 82,689,518 (July 2004 est. ) Ethnic Make-up: Vietnamese 85%-90%, Chinese, Hmong, Thai, Khmer, Cham, various mountain groups Religions: Buddhist, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christian (predominantly Roman Catholic, some Protestant), indigenous beliefs and Muslim The Language
Vietnamese, Vietnam’s official language, is a tonal language that can be compared to Cambodia’s official language, Khmer.
With each syllable, there are six different tones that can be used, which change the definition and it often makes it difficult for foreigners to pick up the language. There are other languages spoken as well such as Chinese, Khmer, Cham and other languages spoken by tribes inhabiting the mountainous regions. Although there are some similarities to Southeast Asian languages, such as Chinese, Vietnamese is thought to be a separate language group, although a member of the Austro-Asiatic language family.
In written form, Vietnamese uses the Roman alphabet and accent marks to show tones. This system of writing called quoc ngu, was created by Catholic missionaries in the 17th century to translate the scriptures. Eventually this system, particularly after World War I, replaced one using Chinese characters (chu nom), which had been the unofficial written form used for centuries. Need a Vietnamese Translation? Vietnamese Culture & Society Confucianism o The teachings of Confucius influence the Vietnamese describe the position of the individual in Vietnamese society.
Confucianism is a system of behaviours and ethics that stress the obligations of people towards one another based upon their relationship. o The basic tenets are based upon five different relationships: . Ruler and subject . Husband and wife . Parents and children . Brothers and sisters . Friend and friend o Confucianism stresses duty, loyalty, honour, filial piety, respect for age and seniority, and sincerity. The Family o Vietnamese life revolves around the family. o The Vietnamese family consists of the nuclear as well as the extended family. It is not uncommon for three generations to be living together under one roof. o In Confucian tradition, the father is the head of the family and it is his responsibility to provide food, clothing and shelter and make important decisions. o Within the same tradition it is believed that after someone dies their spirit lives on. Descendents will “worship” their ancestors to ensure their good favour. On the anniversary of a person’s death, ceremonies are held in their memory. They are also remembered during certain lunar festivals and souls are consulted prior to important decisions or occasions such as a birth or a wedding.
Face o As with many other Asian nations, the concept of face is extremely important to the Vietnamese. o Face is a tricky concept to explain but can be roughly described a quality that reflects a person’s reputation, dignity, and prestige. o It is possible to lose face, save face or give face to another person. o Companies as well as individuals can have face or lose face. o For foreigners it is important to be aware that you may unintentionally cause a loss of face so it is important to be aware of your words and actions. Understanding how face is lost, saved or given is critical. Someone can be given face by complimenting them for their hospitality or business acumen. Accusing someone of poor performance or reprimanding them publicly will lead to a loss of face. Collectivism o In general, the Vietnamese are a collectivists. o The individual is seen as secondary to the group – whether the family, school or company. o As a result there are strict guidelines for social interaction that are designed to protect a group’s face Hierarchy o As with most group-orientated societies there are also hierarchical structures. o In Vietnam these are very much based upon age and status. This derives from Confucianism, which emphasizes social order. Everyone is seen as having a distinct place and role within the hierarchical structure, be it the family or workplace. o An obvious example is seen in social situations where the oldest person in a group is greeted or served first. o Within the family the head would be responsible for making decisions and approving marriages. Etiquette and Customs in Vietnam Vietnamese society has a fair amount of public etiquette. The following are some of the more common points: . Avoid public displays of affection with a member of the opposite sex. . Do not touch someone’s head. Pass items with both hands. . Do not point with your finger – use your hand. . Do not stand with your hands on your hips. . Do not cross your arms on your chest. . Do not pass anything over someone’s head. . Do not touch anyone on the shoulder. . Do not touch a member of the opposite sex. . Shorts should only be worn at the beach. Dining Etiquette If invited to a Vietnamese home: . Bring fruit, sweets, flowers, fruit, or incense. . Gifts should be wrapped in colourful paper. . Do not give handkerchiefs, anything black, yellow flowers or chrysanthemums. Table Manners . Wait to be shown where to sit. . The oldest person should sit first. Pass dishes with both hands. . The most common utensils are chopsticks and a flat spoon. . Chopsticks should be placed on the table or a chopstick rest after every few mouthfuls or when breaking to drink or speak. . People hold bowls close to their faces. . Hold the spoon in your left hand while eating soup. . Meals are typically served family-style. . Try to finish everything on your plate. . When you are finished eating, rest your chopsticks on top of your rice bowl. . Cover your mouth when using a toothpick. Business Etiquette and Protocol o Appointments are required and should be made several weeks in advance. The best means of doing so is through a local representative who can act as a reference and also translator/interpreter. o The Vietnamese are punctual and expect others to be so to. o Dress conservatively. o Handshakes are used upon meeting and departing. Handshakes only usually take place between members of the same sex. o Some Vietnamese use a two-handed shake, with the left hand on top of the right wrist. o Always wait for a woman to extend her hand. If she does not, bow your head slightly. o Business cards are exchanged on initial meetings and should be presented with both hands.
When receiving business cards ensure you show proper respect to it and do not simply glance at it and put it on the table. o Hierarchy and face manifest in different ways within business meetings. For example, the most senior person should always enter the room first. o Silence is also common in meetings where someone disagrees with another but remains quiet so as to not cause a loss of face. o Relationships are critical to successful business partnerships. Always invest time in building a good relationship based on both personal and business lines. Any initial meeting should be solely used as a “getting to know you” meeting. The spoken word is very important. Never make promises that you can not keep to as this will lead to a loss of face. o Negotiations can be slow so it is important to bear in mind that decisions have to go through a lot of red tape and also group consultation. Be patient. o Business gift giving is fairly common at the end of a meeting or during a meal in honour of your business associates. Gifts should be small but not expensive. Something with your company logo or something typical from your country both make excellent gifts. NEW ZELAND CULTURE , ETIQUE & CUSTOM Facts and Statistics
Location: Oceania, islands in the South Pacific Ocean, southeast of Australia Capital: Wellington Population: 3,993,817 (July 2004 est. ) Ethnic Make-up: New Zealand European 74. 5%, Maori 9. 7%, other European 4. 6%, Pacific Islander 3. 8%, Asian and others 7. 4% Religions: Anglican 24%, Presbyterian 18%, Roman Catholic 15%, Methodist 5%, Baptist 2%, other Protestant 3%, unspecified or none 33% (1986) Language in New Zealand The three official languages of New Zealand are English, Maori and NZ Sign Language. English is the language of day-to-day business within New Zealand, a remnant of ties to the British Commonwealth.
Maori is a Polynesian language similar to the languages of other Pacific Island cultures, such as Hawaiian, Tongan, and Samoan. Over 157,000 people in New Zealand speak Maori (2006 Census). The Maori language has been part of New Zealand and its culture since the first people came to the Islands. However, Maori has only been recognised as an official language of New Zealand since the Maori Language Act of 1987. English-Maori bilingualism and the development and use of the Maori language is encouraged by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Maori-the Maori Language Commission.
Maori and English are used throughout the country in various television and radio programs. As with other regions in the world where two cultures have been mixed, English has influenced Maori and Maori has influenced English. A number of words in each language have crossed in to the vocabulary of the other. English has introduced motuka (car) and Maori has replied with taboo (tapu). Many places in New Zealand have been christened with two names – one English, one Maori (the original Maori name and the adopted English one). And, in some cases, these names are used interchangeably Kiwi Society & Culture
There can be marked differences between Maori and NZ European (Pakeha) societies and culture. This is particularly apparent when moving in tribal (Iwi) circles. Due to colonisation and tribal differences, there can also be subtle but important variations in protocols. The following sections outline aspects most likely to occur when doing business with tribal groups but can also equally apply to any group that includes Maori. Kiwi Demeanour . New Zealanders are friendly, outgoing, somewhat reserved initially yet polite, and enjoy extending hospitality. They are quite easy to get to know as they say hello to strangers and will offer assistance without being asked. . Because they do not stand on ceremony and are egalitarian, they move to a first name basis quickly and shun the use of titles. . Kiwis dress casually, but neatly. . Most restaurants do not have dress codes and except in business, dress is decidedly casual. . Business dress is conservative, although jackets may be removed and shirtsleeves rolled up when working. Maori demeanour . Maori are generally friendly and reserved and place great value on hospitality. They will generally offer (often to the point of going without) assistance to their guests and will attempt to hide the inconvenience as much as possible. . Maori will spontaneously launch into speech and song. Even though they may not have met each other, they will know many songs they can sing together and often use these to close or enhance speeches. . They will often call for visitors to do the same and it would be wise to have 2-3 practised songs from your own country to reply with. Environmentalism . Kiwis are environmentally concerned and have a strong desire to preserve their country’s beauty. One of the major local issues is the importing of predators. . Border controls are very tight and there are huge fines for importing food or other natural products such as wood, cane etc. . The local attitude towards the environment is largely influenced by the viewpoint of the indigenous population, the Maori. . They believe that all things have a ‘mauri’ – a life force. . Damage to this life force, or human attempts to dominate it, result in the mauri losing its energy and vitality, which affects the lives of people as well as the resilience of ecosystems. Maintaining the mauri of the environment and ecosystem resilience are equally important for sustainable development. Egalitarianism . The country has no formal class structure. . Wealth and social status are not important to Kiwis. . They take pride in individual achievements and believe that opportunities are available to all. . As a ‘welfare state’ unemployment benefits, housing and access to health is all available free of charge to those who can’t afford it. . Maori have a hierarchy especially apparent in formal situations. For example, the elder (male or female) is seated in a specific area and will be asked to open or close a meeting. Mostly they are men but not always. Etiquette and Customs Meeting and Greeting . Greetings are casual, often consisting simply of a handshake and a smile. . Never underestimate the value of the smile as it indicates pleasure at meeting the other person. . Although New Zealanders move to first names quickly, it is best to address them by their honorific title and surname until they suggest moving to a more familiar level or they call you by your first name. Maori meeting and greeting Maori stand on ceremony and have distinct protocols regarding how visitors should be welcomed and seen off. . If the business dealings are with a tribal group (Iwi) the welcoming protocols may be practiced through the process of Powhiri – a formal welcome that takes place on a Marae. . A Powhiri can take between 30 minutes to 2-3 hours depending on the importance of the event. . It begins by calling the visitors onto the area infront of the traditional meeting house. Visitors should walk as a group and in silence expect if they have a responding caller to reply to the home peoples’ caller (usually an older woman). A Powhiri dictates where people sit, in what position in their group, and who speaks. . In most cases, but not all, you will notice the men are seated forward and only males speak. There is a tension between the men and women on this matter and in a few places this has been resolved and you will see both genders stand to speak. In the interests of not causing friction in your business dealings, always follow the lead of the home people. . The welcoming speeches are given by the agreed speakers of the home people and always end with the most revered speaker or elder. Speeches are given in the Maori language and each one accompanied by traditional song. You may not understand what is being said but you can rest assured it is likely to be from the best orators in the group and often very complimentary. . The visitors are expected to have at least one speaker reply on their behalf. . If possible, the speaker should prepare a learned opening in Maori – it is critical that he/she focus on the pronunciation. Mispronounced words often result in whispers and sniggers and is considered disrespectful. It is better to have a very short opening said well, than a long one said badly. The speaker’s reply should never be about the detailed purpose of the visit nor should it be to self-promote as this would be considered arrogant. . The speaker should use the opportunity to briefly show respect to the place that they stand (ie. the location), to the houses (the traditional carved meeting house and dining room are named after ancestors and so are greeted accordingly), to greet the home people, and to explain where his/her group have come from (place is important to Maori). This should be followed by a song from the visitors’ country that the visitors’ group should sing together. The Powhiri can be daunting to visitors and can be fraught with traps that may offend. This is why most visitors seek the assistance of a Maori person to ‘guide’ them. . Once the last elder of the home people has spoken, they will gesture the visitors to come forward in a line to shake hands, kiss (once) on the cheek or hongi (touch noses) with the home people. . Following this the kitchen is ready to call people in to eat. . Following the food, the meeting proper can begin. . While this seems to be a set routine, I have been to many a Powhiri where variations of this occur.
It pays to be vigilant and to follow the lead of others, or to discreetly ask questions if unsure. Gift Giving Etiquette . If invited to a Kiwi’s house, bring a small gift such as flowers, chocolates, or a book about your home country to the hosts. . Gifts should not be lavish. . Gifts are opened when received. Dining Etiquette . New Zealanders are casual as is reflected in their table manners. . The more formal the occasion, the more strict the protocol. . Wait to be told where to sit. . Meals are often served family-style. . Keep your elbows off the table and your hands above the table when eating. Table manners are Continental — hold the fork in the left hand and the knife in the right while eating. They will not look askance, however, if you adopt American table manners. . Indicate you have finished eating by laying your knife and fork parallel on your plate with the handles facing to the right. Maori Dining Etiquette . Following a Powhiri, the visitors will be asked to the dining room (a separate building to the carved meeting house) to sit to eat at long tressle tables. . They should not eat until the food has been ‘blessed’ or an acknowledgement said by an elder of the home people even if the food is getting cold. Visitors should try to enable the home people to sit amongst them to chat and get to know them while eating. . Often, younger people will be serving and older people will be working in the kitchen. . It is important to realise that in most cases they are working voluntarily and it is appropriate to formally and publicly thank them near the close of the meal before leaving the dining room to begin the meeting. As a result of this, the visitors may be light-heartedly asked to sing. . To sing a song from your home country would show respect and thanks.
Business Etiquette & Protocol Relationships & Communication . New Zealanders can be somewhat reserved, especially with people they do not know. . Once they develop a personal relationship, they are friendly, outgoing and social. . Do not appear too forward or overly friendly. . They respect people who are honest, direct, and demonstrate a sense of humour. . They trust people until they are given a reason not to. . If this happens in business the breach will be difficult to repair and business dealings may cease or become more difficult. Business Meeting Etiquette Appointments are usually necessary and should be made at least one week in advance by telephone, fax or email. . It is generally easy to schedule meetings with senior level managers if you are coming from another country if the meeting is planned well in advance. . It can be difficult to schedule meetings in December and January since these are the prime months for summer vacation. . Arrive at meetings on time or even a few minutes early. . If you do not arrive on time, your behaviour may be interpreted as indicating that you are unreliable or that you think your time is more important than the person with whom you are meeting. Meetings are generally relaxed; however, they are serious events. . Expect a brief amount of small talk before getting down to the matter at hand. . If you make a presentation, avoid hype, exaggerated claims, hyperbole, and bells and whistles. New Zealanders are interested in what people ‘can do’ not what they say they can do. . Present your business case with facts and figures. Emotions and feelings are not important in the New Zealand business climate. . Maintain eye contact and a few feet of personal space. Negotiations . The negotiating process takes time. Do not attempt high-pressure sales tactics. . Demonstrate the benefits of your services or products rather than talking about them. . Start your negotiations with a realistic figure. Since this is not a bargaining culture, New Zealanders do not expect to haggle over price. . Kiwis look for value for their money. . Do not make promises you cannot keep or offer unrealistic proposals. Kiwis do not generally trust people who have to oversell! . They are quite direct and expect the same in return. They appreciate brevity and are not impressed by more detail than is required. Agreements and proposals must state all points clearly. All terms and conditions should be explained in detail. . Stick to the point while speaking. . Kiwis appreciate honesty and directness in business dealings. MALAYSIA Facts and Statistics Location: Southeastern Asia. Shares borders with Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei. Capital: Kuala Lumpur Climate: tropical; annual southwest (April to October) and northeast (October to February) monsoons Population: 24,821,286 (July 2007 est. ) Ethnic Make-up: Malay 50. 4%, Chinese 23. 7%, indigenous 11%, Indian 7. 1%, others 7. % Religions: Muslim 60. 4%, Buddhist 19. 2%, Christian 9. 1%, Hindu 6. 3%, Confucianism, Taoism, other traditional Chinese religions 2. 6%, other or unknown 1. 5%, none 0. 8% Government: constitutional monarchy Language in Malaysia The Malay language is an Austronesian language spoken not only by Malaysians but all Malay people who reside in the Malay Peninsula, southern Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, central eastern Sumatra, the Riau islands, parts of the coast of Borneo, Cocos and Christmas Islands in Australia. It is also very similar to Indonesian, known locally as Bahasa Indonesia.
In Malaysia, the language is officially known as Bahasa Malaysia, which translates as the “Malaysian language”. The term, which was introduced by the National Language Act 1967, was predominant until the 1990s, when most academics and government officials reverted to “Bahasa Melayu,” which is used in the Malay version of the Federal Constitution. Malay Culture and Society A Multi-Cultural Society Malaysia is a multi-cultural society. The main ethnic groups are the native Malays as well as large populations of Chinese, and Indians. When visiting the country it is clear that the ethnicities retain their religions, customs and way of life.
The most important festivals of each group are public holidays. Although growing up, children are educated in the same schools and will eventually work in the same offices, few marry outside their own ethnicity. Families tend to socialise within their own ethnic group – all part of retaining their individual traditions and lifestyles. Despite the ethnic differences there are commonalities culturally speaking. Group Orientation The family is considered the centre of the social structure. As a result there is a great emphasis on unity, loyalty and respect for the elderly.
The family is the place where the individual can be guaranteed both emotional and financial support. When one member of the family suffers a financial setback, the rest of the family will contribute what they can to help out. Families tend to be extended, although in the larger cities this will naturally differ. The Concept of Face Malays, Chinese and Indians all strive to maintain face and avoid shame both in public and private. Face is a personal concept that embraces qualities such as a good name, good character, and being held in esteem by one’s peers.
Face is considered a commodity that can be given, lost, taken away, or earned. On top of this face also extends to the family, school, company, and even the nation itself. The desire to maintain face makes Malaysians strive for harmonious relationships. Face can be lost by openly criticizing, insulting, or putting someone on the spot; doing something that brings shame to the group; challenging someone in authority, especially if this is done in public; showing anger at another person; refusing a request; not keeping a promise; or disagreeing with someone publicly.
Conversely, face can be saved by remaining calm and courteous; discussing errors or transgressions in private; speaking about problems without blaming anyone; using non-verbal communication to say “no”; and allowing the other person to get out of the situation with their pride intact. Etiquette and Customs in Malaysia Meeting and Greeting Greetings in a social context will depend upon the ethnicity of the person you are meeting. In general, most Malays are aware of Western ways so the handshake is normal. There may be slight differences though and a few things to bear in mind include: • Malay women may not shake hands with men.
Women can of course shake hands with women. Men may also not shake hands with women and may bow instead while placing their hand on their heart. • The Chinese handshake is light and may be rather prolonged. Men and women may shake hands, although the woman must extend her hand first. Many older Chinese lower their eyes during the greeting as a sign of respect. • Indians shake hands with members of the same sex. When being introduced to someone of the opposite sex, nodding the head and smiling is usually sufficient. Among all cultures, there is a general tendency to introduce: • the most important person to the lower ranking person. the older person to the younger person. • women to men. Names The way names are used also varies between ethnicities: Chinese • The Chinese traditionally have 3 names. The surname (family name) is first and is followed by two personal names. • Many Chinese adopt more Western names and may ask you to use that instead. Malays • Many Malays do not have surnames. Instead, men add their father’s name to their own name with the term “bin” (meaning ‘son of’). So Rosli bin Suleiman, would be Rosli the son of Suleiman. • Women use the term “binti”, so Aysha bint Suleiman is Aysha the daughter of Suleiman. Indian Many Indians do not use surnames. Instead, they place the initial of their father’s name in front of their own name. The man’s formal name is their name “s/o” (son of) and the father’s name. • Women use “d/o” to refer to themselves as the daughter of their father. Gift Giving Etiquette Here are some general gift giving etiquette guidelines: Gift giving to Malays: • If invited to someone’s home for dinner, bring the hostess pastries or good quality chocolates. • Never give alcohol. • Do not give toy dogs or pigs to children. • Do not give anything made of pigskin. • Avoid white wrapping paper as it symbolizes death and mourning. Avoid yellow wrapping paper, as it is the color of royalty. • If you give food, it must be “halal” (meaning permissible for Muslims). • Offer gifts with the right hand only or both hands if the item is large. • Gifts are generally not opened when received. Gift giving to Chinese: • If invited to someone’s home, bring a small gift of fruit, sweets, or cakes, saying that it is for the children. • A gift is traditionally refused before it is accepted to demonstrate that the recipient is not greedy. • Do not give scissors, knives or other cutting utensils as they indicate a desire to sever the relationship. Flowers do not make good gifts as they are given to the sick and are used at funerals. • Do not wrap gifts in mourning colours – white, blue, or black. • Wrap the gifts in happy colours – red, pink, or yellow. • Elaborate gift – wrapping is imperative. • Never wrap a gift for a baby or decorate the gift in any way with a stork, as birds are the harbinger of death. • It is best to give gifts in even numbers since odd numbers are unlucky. • Gifts are generally not opened when received. Gift giving to Indians: • If you give flowers, avoid frangipani as they are used in funeral wreaths. • Money should be given in odd numbers. Offer gifts with the right hand only or both hands if the item is large. • Do not wrap gifts in white or black. • Wrap gifts in red, yellow or green paper or other bright colors as these bring good fortune. • Do not give leather products to a Hindu. • Do not give alcohol unless you are certain the recipient drinks. • Gifts are generally not opened when received. Business Etiquette and Protocol in Malaysia Meeting and Greeting Within the business context most Malaysian businesspeople are culturally-savvy and internationally exposes. Your experience may very well depend upon the ethnicity, age, sex and status of the person you are meeting.
The best approach is always friendly yet formal. A few tips include: • Initial greetings should be formal and denote proper respect. • If in a team, introduce the most important person first. • Many Malays and Indians are uncomfortable shaking hands with a member of the opposite sex. • Foreign men should always wait for a Malaysian woman to extend her hand. Foreign women should also wait for a Malaysian man to extend his hand. • To demonstrate respect Chinese may look downwards rather than at the person they are meeting. • It is important that professional titles (professor, doctor, engineer) and honorific titles are used in business.
Malays and Indians use titles with their first name while Chinese use titles with their surname. Business Card Etiquette • Business cards are exchanged after the initial introductions. • If you will be meeting Chinese, have one side of your card translated into Chinese, with the Chinese characters printed in gold. • If you will be meeting government officials, have one side of your card translated into Bahasa Malaysia. • Use two hands or the right hand only to exchange business cards. • Examine any business card you receive before putting it in your business card case. The respect you show someone’s business card is indicative of the respect you will show the individual in business. Act accordingly. • Never write on someone’s card in their presence. Communication As an extension to the need to maintain harmonious relations, Malaysians rely on non-verbal communication (i. e. facial expressions, tone of voice, body language, etc). Such a communication style tends to be subtle, indirect and. Malays may hint at a point rather than making a direct statement, since that might cause the other person to lose face. Rather than say “no”, they might say, “I will try”, or “I’ll see what I can do”.
This allows the person making the request and the person turning it down to save face and maintain harmony in their relationship. If you are unsure about the affirmative response you received, you may want to continue the discussion, re-phrasing the question in several different ways so that you may compare responses. If the response was given because the Malaysian did not know how to respond in the negative without causing offense, this may come out. Alternatively, they may have someone else give you the bad news. Silence is an important element of Malaysian communication.
Pausing before responding to a question indicates that they have given the question appropriate thought and considered their response carefully. Many Malaysians do not understand the Western propensity to respond to a question hastily and can consider such behaviour thoughtless and rude. Malaysians may laugh at what may appear to outsiders as inappropriate moments. This device is used to conceal uneasiness. Do not show anger in public as it makes Malaysians uncomfortable and creates a feeling of powerlessness. There is a greater chance of achieving a good outcome id you are calm, whereas little is resolved by shouting.
Business Meetings • It is a good idea for the most senior person on your team to enter first so that he or she is the first to greet the most senior Malaysian. • This gives face to both parties as it demonstrates respect towards the Malaysian and shows that you respect hierarchy within your company. • It is customary for leaders to sit opposite each other around the table. • Many companies will have their team seated in descending rank, although this is not always the case. • Expect the most senior Malaysian to give a brief welcoming speech. You need not reciprocate. There will be a period of small talk, which will end when the most senior Malaysian is comfortable moving to the business discussion. • Meetings may be conducted or continue over lunch and dinner. • Meetings, especially initial ones, are generally somewhat formal. Treat all Malaysian participants with respect and be cautious not to lose your temper or appear irritated. • At the first meeting between two companies, Malaysians will generally not get into in-depth discussions. They prefer to use the first meeting as an opportunity to get to know the other side and build a rapport, which is essential in this consensus-driven culture.