Friday, July 17, 2009

The morning ritual II

A while back I was posting about the morning ritual in the office and how I was glad that no one actually air kisses me. Well, not anymore as one coworker (a man) decided to kiss my cheeks every morning when he passes by. At the beginning I was taken aback and almost told him no (hey I was not very close to him you know), but I held myself and now I have gotten used to it. I notice that female coworkers don't kiss or shake hands among themselves (except with a higher ranking manager), but one decided to shake my hand every morning. Another female coworker saw it and asked why I was given a special "treatment" like this. She replied:"She is from overseas so I want to give her some international touch."

Today, I discovered that people who handle well the morning ritual win the heart of others and could be considered having the right social skills. It was not the first time I heard comment like this :" This manager is so cool, he says morning to everyone everyday". The contrary is true as well. Managers who don't go greet others from office to office are considered rude and bad in communication.

Thinking about it, the morning ritual could be an ice breaking process if one greets you every morning. It could strike into small talks and this is how a relationship starts to build. I notice that when I have an issue, I prefer to discuss openly with managers who shake my hand every morning than managers with whom I rarely see or talk to.

At this point, I haven't built up the courage to purposely go from office to office to greet everyone, but I finally managed to remember whom I have said good morning. However, when this coworker comes to air kiss me, systematically I just hand out my right hand then immediately realize ops I should raise my face instead. I blame it to the Confucius's notion of "Guys and girls shouldn't have body contact" that has been poisoning my little Chinese mind. :-)

Note: Not every company is having the same morning ritual. In hubby's company, he kisses very female coworkers (lucky him!) and the females kiss among themselves.


  1. in my office we shake hand between men and women kiss each other and men (in the exception of one of my male co-worker who kiss other men (he is from Morocco)).

    those who arrive before 9H20 greet every one in the office, but those who arrive latter only greet on their way to their desk (they don't want to be seen arriving late ^^ ).

    my only difficulty is remembering who I did shake hand on arriving to not shake their hand a second time at coffee break

  2. Bee Ean,

    A wonderful post, my dear! It is a good education following you through your intercultural education process. I get very tired of the air kissing thing and don't like it but your efforts at learning make me want to do better with it.


  3. When I used to work in Singapore, I always have a habit of saying 'good morning' loud, clear and cheery to everyone in the office. :) I feel it's a great way to brighten everyone's day. But I have to say some Singaporean office workers might find me irritating to be so cheerful this early in the morning and gave me a black face. :p