It goes without saying that the national character and mentality of the local Malaysian staff greatly differ from that of the Japanese. Even the term “Malaysian” encompasses a mixture of ethnic people with Malay, Chinese, and Indian backgrounds, making it truly a world of diversity.
The most important thing beyond communicating with the local staff who have diversified backgrounds is to explain everything clearly to obtain their understanding and consent before going ahead to do anything. Many things that are tacitly understood among the Japanese often need to be explained here. While this can be difficult and cumbersome at times, it is also enjoyable if seen from a different perspective. And as obvious as it may be, I feel the importance of building a good relationship with our team members through small details, such as stopping what I am doing to pay attention to whoever is talking to me.
Living abroad means having contact with and accepting different cultures and customs. In terms of work, I have to pay attention to religious rules and etiquette, as well as the different ways of thinking according to different races of people-things that I would otherwise pay little attention to in Japan. It has been nearly three years since my transfer to Malaysia and after about one year of being here, I was able to understand in depth such cultural differences. It is because I began having personal interactions with the Malaysian people, which has allowed me to deepen my understanding of the history and cultures of this country.
From working with people of various backgrounds I have learned that new values can be created when I directly face the different characters and senses of values inherent of the people. Sometimes this may mean confrontations of different opinions, but this is important, because teamwork cannot be established if everyone keeps their mouth shut and gives up on communicating with each other. Precisely because our team is comprised of members with a diversity of cultures, it is important to think that it is normal that we cannot understand one another. Therefore I try to explain things in detail and make sure the workplace environment is such that everyone can communicate sufficiently. As a result of such effort, I believe the entire team including myself is able to grow through mutual earning and absorbing of good points. I think it is wonderful that new perspectives and ideas can be created through encountering people with different senses of values.