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Newsletter: 2019 August

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"It is more important to release the right response than to send the right message."

- Edward T. Hall (1914-2009) -

August, a month named after the illustrious Augustus, emperor of the Roman Empire, must be glorious! This month, many of us in Asia will celebrate our respective National or Independence Days (Singapore on the 9th; India on the 15th, Malaysia on the 31st). Besides, the 5th of August is also the day to celebrate your friendship with friends.

Let me also take this month to introduce our advisory director, Su-Yin YAP. Su-Yin (or Su, as her friends call her) travels around the globe. She joins the team to share with us her thoughts as she reflects on news hitting the wires...

2019 June TCG newsletter image

Here is the answer for July’s Photo Contest:


Listed as UNESCO World Heritage Site, Hoi An is a picturesque ancient town that transports you to a melting pot of different cultures and rich heritage. You will enjoy walking through the narrow winding lanes, exploring temples to brightly coloured French colonial buildings, the ornate Vietnamese houses, and the iconic covered Japanese bridge.

Click the link below to learn more aboutVietnam (clip by touropia):

If you thought “Crazy Rich Asians” was the first, you are mistaken! The stage for Asian artists was probably set by the Broadway musical “Miss Saigon.” For avid theatregoers, you might remember its’ debut in London’s West End (that was 28 years ago! Ah! those good old days as a student strolling around Convent Garden…)

A Journey A Month...
Your Story. Our Story. The Human Story.

by Su-Yin and Keng Keng.

TCG News

There is endless strife around the world. At heart are people who cannot see eye to eye. Unfortunately, the resulting friction is costly and can impact generations. For example, in Hong Kong, tensions peaked between anti-government protesters and the police over the highly controversial extradition Bill.

For now, the government of Hong Kong has pulled the brakes, suspending the Bill indefinitely but the conflict continues. What it shows is that even with people who seem ethnically homogenous, they are divided by opposing mindsets and beliefs. Question is:Would these people be willing to find common ground, and look for ways to unlock the hidden value that comes with their differences? Would the desire to create a brighter future for all be strong enough to get everyone to the drawing board in a calmer manner? We wonder…

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As the final lunar eclipse of 2019 became visible to those in Australia, Africa, South America, Europe, and Asia in mid-July (by the way, the eclipse was on 17 July for us who are based in Singapore), a team of volunteers traveled from Singapore to Bangladesh to link up with other humanitarian workers. The purpose was to offer aid to people whose plight are invisible to most – the Rohingya refugees at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh.
A million Rohingya refugees, uprooted from Myanmar, are languishing in more than 30 camps at Cox’s Bazar. These people have lost almost everything: their possessions, family, livelihood, and dignity. Yet keeping them going is the hope for a better life.
What we can say is, the dream for a better life has always been a desire shared by all human. Whether a person who is in a refugee camp or a person living in a busy cosmopolitan city. It can be any one of us, from anywhere, of any background, all of us have the same wish – a better life for ourselves and for our loved ones.
Reflecting on the recent face-off in Hong Kong versus the multinational humanitarian force assembled at Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, it strikes us on the importance of finding shared values amongst differences is all it takes to create a unifying force vs. a damaging factor. In Hong Kong, differences brought to conflict people who are by appearance similar, and of seemingly shared cultural roots, but because of their inability to overcome profound differences in their thought patterns and attitudes, it resulted into serious clashes.
According to works by American anthropologist and cross-cultural researcher Edward T. Hall, what we can see in terms of our cultural differences amounts to only 10 percent. Look at the iceberg diagram below, a good 90 percent – is invisible, it includes attributes such as a person’s beliefs, core values, attitudes, perceptions and etc.

The invisible 90 percent is where all the energy lies. When a leader can harness this 90 percent, it can bring tremendous value that will propel a team to a height many would hope for. Unmanaged, the same 90 percent may also break, and destroy a team.

The two examples, Hong Kong, whereby a community divided, had wiped out some of its economic success and sent negative signals to the world. While at the refugee camps, we witnessed how different aid-workers and volunteers from different countries can come together, despite their cultural differences to bring reliefs to a group of people they have never met before.

Referring to Edward Hall’s quote at the beginning of this newsletter, if we are willing to find the way to release the right response rather than focusing on sending the right message, we will be able to navigate through the sea of differences. If we can master that skill, many issues shall become non-issues but only opportunities to create benefits to all.

Let’s celebrate our differences;

Together, we shall build a better world for a better existence of humankind!

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We, at TransCultural Group (TCG), are determined to play our parts in making the world a better place, and we have teamed up with the Cultural Intelligence Centre, U.S.A to bring their well-researched and designed CQ assessment tools to our clients in the Asia Pacific.

We are passionate about building bridges and breaking down walls. Please join us in our journey,

Beyond Boundaries – Crossing Cultures

We have so much in common, we just don't always notice it...

Spread the words, share the vision, do our part!