I am a European who has worked for half of my adult life in Asia – in Hong Kong, mainland China, Japan and just short of ten years in Singapore – plus a few years for Asian companies in Europe. Of course, when working in Asia, I also visited other Asian countries often for tourism, as my purchasing power was high.
And I envy you !!
Go! Go now, and you will never, ever, ever regret it.
Full (probably too long) answer:
I noticed that when the Japanese manager was about to leave, his colleagues bowed before him! I also noticed that none dared eat before he made the eat start!
Then after discussing with some Japanese people and making some research, I can see that power distance is common in Asian cultures, which has a huge impact on relocation decisions. And I wonder if its the same in Singapore
Power distance is probably present in most cultures, you may not have noticed it in yours, just as we don’t normally notice the air that we breath. It may well be present, but manifest itself in different ways. Just out of curiosity, you might want to discuss with those same Japanese people if they have noticed it in your culture.
However, the allure of Asia, to me, is the diversity of its culture. If you blindfold me and transport me to the high street of any European city I would have great difficulty of telling them apart, or even knowing which country I am in. They tend to have the same shops, often the same architecture. I speak a few European languages and when working I prefer to use (or learn) the native language if I can. I also spend a lot of time in bars, talking to people. I find that they, and my work colleagues, are not particularly different from one European country to the next. They are culturally similar.
Whereas, I find each Asian country to have a unique and very distinctive culture. Japanese seems very distinct from mainland China, which is still very distinct from Hong Kong, which has the remnants of its British association. Hong Kong is surprisingly different from Singapore, despite them both being ex-British colonies, both islands with roughly the same population densities and roughly the same population, and both with some of the world's busiest ports.
Singapore, is turn, is vastly economically different from Malaysia, from which it gained its independence only 55 years ago. Plus, it has more Chinese population. Malaysia differs from neighbouring Thailand, which is different from poorer Laos, which perhaps somewhat resembles Cambodia net door, which is different from Vietnam which is becoming industrialized and still has some lingering French colonial heritage. In terms of business, South Korea and Taiwan show that deferential attitude of which you spoke (“power distance”), plus the after work socializing (binge drinking) which I saw in Japan, but never had to take part in …
Perhaps because I worked for a major European company and they imported their corporate culture? Maybe not, as a German friend in South Korea has to do the drinking thing. And, when I worked for a major Japanese company in Germany, there was some “power distance”, but only among the Japanese. Their managers were intelligent enough not to expect it of the locals.
While I worked for a local Singaporean company, you could work for a European multi-national, if you are very concerned, but I see no need for that.
Singapore is wonderful. Singapore is safe, and clean. Singapore is more “first world” than Europe or the USA.
I have been in hospital all 3. Singapore was like a 5 start hotel. Europe was acceptable, and USA was like a budget motel with 5 star prices. Singapore has a great education system, so a great workforce. It has a superior infrastructure.
You definitely do not want a car. They are hideously expensive, so there is no gridlock, like Hong Kong. But the government compensates by providing more than adequate, air-conditioned, bus & train services. But you don’t need to call a taxi, as one will pass by every few minutes and can be flagged down for little more than the cost of public transport.
As I said, It is extremely safe (world’s 2nd lowest murder rate), with newspapers often reporting that police have nothing to do (compare crime rates with USA). European females have no fear of walking around during the hours of darkness, even after midnight. It is very common to see schoolchildren of all ages outdoors doing homework in the evenings. Safe, safe, safe.
As to “power distance”, the predominantly Chinese population might lean a little that way, but they had over a century of British influence, plus other cultures on the island (ethnic Chinese (76.2% of the citizen population), Malays (15.0%), and ethnic Indians (7.4%)) have tempered that. I will admit that there is a reluctance to criticize, or even ask questions of, management a few levels above one, but no one bows to anyone (not a Chinese thing) and there is no enforced socializing.
Singapore is “Asia 101”, so expect new experiences, but no frightening cultural shock. Now, go (and don’t forget to invite me for a visit ;-)!!
Sorry it’s so long. And please don’t hesitate to ask more questions