Observations On China After An Eight Day Training Trip

A crowded China train station

Recently I just came back from an 8-day trip in China. It was exciting being able to train them in teambuilding, self leadership and DISC personality Profiling. Here are some personal insights on the Chinese people that made me sit up and think about why we should not be slack and complacent in our work.

1.    They are hungry for knowledge

I was particularly impressed by their dedication to be able to sit still for hours and just listen to you speak. They will also spend time after the session to clarify their questions. Some were not just learning, they were synthesizing the information to see how they can apply it into other parts of their lives!

2.    They work harder than you or me

Imagine a university student being paid just RMB 1000-1500 a month! (That is equivalent to SGD 212-320 or USD 146-219 as at Year 2009). They are willing to work at least 12 hours a day without complaining! This sometimes includes even the harshest conditions (eg, not having proper sanitation, dirty and dusty work environments).

3.    They are aggressive and will get what they want

Despite the high unemployment rate in China due to the recent bleak economic conditions  (according to government statistics, about 30 million workers lost their jobs), I can still see people walking into factories and asking for jobs, being willing to do anything they can put their hands to.

4.    They are extremely resilient

Tough times have called for tough measures. Everyone is assigned duties to cook and the meals that they prepare are relatively simple. I saw how the Chinese have communal livings where they can survive on bread, vegetables and a little bit of meat. The amount of meat they eat in a week is the same as how much we eat in 2 days!


As a Singaporean, I know that we have our pride and work ethics that we hold on to, but we must always be mindful that we are not competing in Singapore, but against the world economies that are moving rapidly and becoming increasing competitive.