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BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF INDIA India, officially known as Republic of India, is located in southern Asia.

India consists geographically of the entire Indian Peninsula and portions of the Asian mainland. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the south-west, and the Bay of Bengal on the south-east, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north-east; and Burma and Bangladesh to the east. India consists of 7 union territories and 28 states. New Delhi is India's capital city. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people in the world. India was identified with its cultural wealth due to its long history. Four world religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhismoriginated here. India was colonised by United Kingdom and became independent in the year 1947 which was led by Mahatma Gandhi. It is also home to a diversity of wildlife in various protected habitats due to its exceptionally varied climates.

BRIEF INTRODUCTION OF MALAYSIA Malaysia is located in Southeast Asia and is divided into Peninsular Malaysia and East Malaysia by South China Sea. Thailand is located to the North of Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore to the South and Indonesia to the West. Malaysia consists of 13 states and three federal territories. It covers an area of 329 847 square kilometers and the population exceeds 28.5 million. The capital city of Malaysia is Kuala Lumpur. It was also colonized by British and achieved independent in 31 August 1957. Malaysia is a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic society with three main races Malay, Chinese and Indian. It is a founding member of the Commonwealth of Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Non-Aligned Movement and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

LANGUAGE The national and official language is Malay, which is the mother tongue of the majority Malay ethnic group. Malaysia contains speakers of 137 living languages, 41 of which are found in Peninsula Malaysia. The main languages spoken in Malaysia are Malay, English, Mandarin and Tamil. The government provides schooling in each of the three major languages, Malay, Chinese, and Tamil, within these three there are a number of dialectal differences. Furthermore, English is widely understood in service industries and is a compulsory subject in primary and secondary school. It is also the main language spoken in most private colleges and universities. English may take precedence over Malay in certain official contexts as provided for by the National Language Act, especially in the states of Sabah and Sarawak, where it may be the official working language.

RELIGIONS Malaysia is a multi-cultural society which enables anyone to practice their own religions except for the Malay community. Islam is the dominant religion in Malaysia whose followers make up 61 percent of the population as almost the entire Malay community is Muslims as stated in Malaysian Constitution. The Chinese population practices a mix of believe such as Buddhism and Taoism whereas majority of Malaysian Indians practice Hinduism. They are free to adopt their own religion as the principle of freedom of religion stated in the constitution. The main way to enhance relationship between different religions is tolerance. Christmas, Chinese New Year and Deepavali have been declared as national holidays besides Islamic holidays. Religious harmony has been seen as a priority by Malaysian politicians to ensure peace and stability of Malaysia's politic.

MEETING AND GREETING In social context, greetings depend on the ethnicity of the person you are meeting. In general, a handshake is normal as most Malays are aware of western culture. However, there might be some slight differences between how the ethnics greet. Malay women may not shake hands with men though they can do so with the same genders. Malay men may bow while placing their hand on their heart instead of shake hand with women. The Chinese handshake is light and may be rather prolonged. Men and women may shake hands but women must extend their hands first. Many will lower their eyes during the greeting as a sign of respect. As for

Indians, they may shake hands with members of the same sex. Nodding the head and smiling is sufficient when being introduced to the opposite sex. The greeting rules are seen very important in every culture in order not to offend anyone.

POWER DISTANCE: Hofstede's Power Distance Index measures the extent to which a society accepts the power is distributed unequally. Malaysia scores very high on this dimensions which is 104 out of maximum 120 according to the table provided in the reference section. This shows that Malaysia is a nation with high power distance as power is concentrated in the hands of a few who are higher in the hierarchy. Malaysians accept a hierarchical order in which everybody has a place which needs no further justification. Friendships and relationships will be influenced as people in high power distance society tend to select friends and partners within a cultural class. The high power distance culture portrayed in almost everywhere such as schools, workplace and even home. People are taught to have great respect for authority as they see authority as desirable and beneficial, and challenges to authority are generally not welcomed. For example, in a family, children are expected to obey all their parents' instructions as parents are seen to be the head of the family. The children will often be scolded or punished if they not obey the instructions. In school, students are expected to be modest, polite and respectful to their teachers as teachers are seen to be knowledgeable who rarely commit mistakes. Therefore, students seldom challenge their teachers' teaching although they may have their own ideas or not agree with them as they are afraid of making mistake. Students will not dare to express their thoughts even when they grow older. The same differences can be seen in patient-doctor relationship. Patients are less likely to challenge their doctors or admit that they do not understand the medical terminology. Hierarchy in an organisation is seen as reflecting inherent inequalities as centralisation is popular. Subordinates are expected be told what to do and not dare to disobey their superiors because of the fear of losing their jobs. Direct confrontation and assertiveness may be viewed negatively, so subordinates seldom discuss their opinions with their superiors or pointing out the errors of their superiors. This culture brings many disadvantages for the companies to lose out many good and innovative ideas which may develop company even further. Malaysia should try to reduce the power distance in order to develop a more creative and innovative country.

COLLECTIVISM VS INDIVIDUALISM Collectivism is one of the Hofstede's four dimensions of cultural traits. According to his theory, collectivism versus individualism is a measure how people in a society associate with one another. Malaysia, with score of 26 out of the maximum 120 is a collectivistic society. This shows that Malaysia focuses on serving the needs of the entire population over the needs of and individual. Malaysians normally try to fit into a certain group because of the sense of belonging and sense of conformity. They are encourages to maintain group unity and solidity to conforms to their elders, family and superiors. While countries with individualism focus on self-achievements and power, Malaysia focus on nurturing group influences. This culture is also inherent in home, school as well as workplace. Most Malaysian families are highly integrated with their extended families making them a collectivist. They tend to seek advice and listen to their family members for decisional making. This culture foster closer family relationship as the whole family will usually gather together to celebrate festival or help each other when facing difficulties. The culture of collectivism can also clearly be seen in school. For example, students usually carry out activities in group as they tend to be more courageous when belong in a group. In offices, many people only hang out with people of their groups or more commonly known as 'gangs'. They feel uneasy to communicate with people of other groups. Employer-employee relationships are perceived in moral terms like a family links. Loyalty in a collectivist society dominant and overrides most of other societal rules and regulations. Such a society foster strong relationships as everyone takes responsibility for fellow members of their groups. This culture should continue to be practice but we should not also neglect the importance of individualism is certain situations. ACHIEVEMENT (MASCULINE) VS NUTURING (FEMININE) Gender inequality is evident in every culture and society in the world. Masculine stands for a society in which gender roles are clearly distinct. Men are supposed to be assertive, tough and focused on material success. Women are supposed to be more modest, tender and concerned with quality of life. Femininity culture stands for society which gender roles overlap. Both men and women are supposed to be modest, tender and concern with the quality of life. Hofstede suggested calling this dimension the Masculinity Index (MAS). Malaysia score 50 out of the maximum 120. This shows that Malaysia is a country which practices both the masculine and feminine culture. Rather, Malaysia is shaping into a more feminine culture. There are time when people in the society emphasize on a win-lose situation and competitively fight out a differences whether in terms of financial or status situation. For example, this dimension is seen around election time, with ferocious battles between

candidates. This shows the masculine or achievement culture. But most of the time, Malaysians tend to seek win-win solutions by emphasize compromise and negotiations in resolving conflicts which prefer feminine or nurturing culture. For example, the increase in number of househusbands and working women shows that feminine has been practiced in Malaysia. Men and women are treated equally with low discrimination between genders. They are given equal opportunity to be educated and chances to study overseas, as well as chance to choose their preferring job. Women also have chances of being awarded a promotion and to held important position. The burden of housework can also be shared by men. This proves that Malaysians today value and recognize women's rights.

UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE Uncertainty avoidance deals with a society's tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. The extent to which the members of a culture feel threatened by ambiguous or unknown situations and have created beliefs and institutions that try to avoid these is reflected in Uncertainty Avoidance Index suggested by Hofstede. Malaysia obtains a score of 36 out of maximum 120. This shows that this society has a tolerance for uncertainty and ambiguity. Malaysians are able to adapt themselves quite well to the rapid and ever changing environment. They might feel comfortable in unstructured situations which are unknown, surprising and different from usual. People believe that there should be no more rules than are necessary and should be abolished or changes if they are ambiguous or do not work. Schedules are flexible and innovation is not seen as threatening. This culture also can be seen at schools and workplaces. Students are usually given assignments to complete within a limit period. Although they will leave the assignments aside and work on them at the eleventh hour, which is not a good habit to be practice but they usually tend to complete the assignment on time. This enables students to learn handling their stress with the ability to solve problems and difficulties. Students may also be asked to give impromptu speeches in schools either is Bahasa Melayu, English or Mandarin. This helps develop the ability if students to adapt to unstructured situations and handle emergencies. As in employments, employers tend to favour employees who have their own opinion and perform well in emergency situations as the business environment is no longer static and change from time to time. This type of company will likely to survive in rapid changing business nature.


Malaysia is a high context society. This means that meaning is often less direct when compared with other western countries. Malaysians are likely to rely on implicit communication rather than on explicit messages. Words are less important and greater attention must be given to additional forms of communication such as voice tone, body language, eye contact and facial expressions. The cultural traditions shape the behavior and lifestyle of group members, causing members of high context culture to be over polite and indirect in relating to others. They are reluctant to say no or express their thought out explicitly, for fear of offending and embarrassing the other party. Malaysians usually communicate indirectly, especially in delivery bad news. For example, in school, teacher approach high context culture especially when giving assessment or remark to students about their performance. They will use more gentle words when criticizing students' error because of the fear of deteriorating the students' confidence level. In workplace, when the superiors ask subordinates to redo their report, it does not necessary means that the report is not good. Maybe the report needs improvement or maybe it is acceptable but do not meet the superior's target. The actual meaning lies behind the non-verbal clues portrayed by the speaker. Malaysians like to agree things with which they actually disagree, allowing the context of the discussion or past relationship to convey the disagreement. This is normal in Malaysia but such indirect communication seems dishonesty for those from low context culture. Therefore, Malaysians should work towards achieving an average context culture in order to avoid misunderstanding by express meanings in words.