Piracy is a global menace and a huge issue for our maritime community.
This year’s theme for World Maritime Day is ‘Piracy: Orchestrating the Response’, raising awareness of the issue of piracy and encouraging co-operation between the member states to eradicate it. World Maritime Day is celebrated yearly by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO), during the last week of September. It is a day to focus attention on the importance of shipping safety, maritime security and the marine environment. This year the aim is to increase pressure at the political level to secure the immediate release of all hostages being held by pirates. The following objectives will also be pursued during the year…

Confucius is the person accredited most with shaping the deep
elements of Chinese culture that we can still see today. When looking at cross-cultural differences between East and West, Confucianism (long-term orientation and knowing your place in society) stands out as being the major difference from the short-term, individualistic orientations of the West. Thus, Confucius has influenced Chinese thought for over 2,500 years. Confucius’s Birthday, otherwise known as ‘National Teachers Day’ takes place in China and Taiwan each year on 28th September. Chinese philosopher & reformer (551 BC – 479 BC).

The UN World Tourism Association (UNWTO) established 27th September each year as World Tourism Day. Its aim is to raise awareness of the importance of tourism to the international community and its positive effect, socially and economically, on our society worldwide. The 2011 theme is ‘Tourism linking cultures’, with Yemen hosting celebrations. As we travel, let us engage with other cultures and celebrate human diversity.

In 2000, World First Aid day was introduced by The International
Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). It was brought into being to raise awareness of how first aid can save lives in everyday and emergency situations. Events and ceremonies are organised each year on the second Saturday of September.

Cross-cultural differences abound in all walks of life. This summer I
was invited by one of my French friends to her wedding in France. She was getting married to a mutual friend who was German. The city hall and church wedding ceremonies were held in both languages so that all guests could enjoy the wedding. After that the real differences began to show…

The festival of Paryushana Parva is celebrated by Jains (a Hindu sect)
across the world, mainly in India, in the Hindu month of Bhadrapad. It ordains them to observe the ten universal supreme virtues in daily practical life, which bring bliss into this and the next world. The main aim is the attainment of salvation, the ‘supreme ideal for a mundane soul’. The festival is for self purification and uplift, leading one on the right path away from materialism. It is for introspection and enlightenment.

Every day it seems we pick up the phone and speak to someone in
India, whether it is for IT support or just to be put through to the appropriate department of a large corporation.  Increasing numbers of companies are doing business with India (in JV’s, M&A’s, contact  centres and overseas operations) and this has implications for all of us. So, what advice can I impart about how to work best with Indian partners and colleagues? Here are ten key points that may give you a deeper insight…


  • This is the word Indians use to describe themselves.
  • Each ‘Metro’ has distinct culture – Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai.
  • Big difference between NORTH (Hindi speaking) and SOUTH (Tamil speaking) (and lots of other languages)• REMEMBER: French connection – Pondicherry


  • Indians are intelligent, enthusiastic, and motivated.•
  • They can be inhibited by the authority structure and by their lack of experience of Western companies.
  • Show interest in personal lives.• Praise good work.• Give direct clear instructions with firm deadlines.
  • Do what you can to make them feel part of the firm’s family. (photos, certificates, Intranet comms. Etc.)


  • India has over 300 national languages.
  • INDIAN ENGLISH is a distinct variety – like US English.
  • It has big differences in accent, stress, vocabulary (like US English).
  • It has small differences in grammar.
  • Indian English is very strongly influenced by local languages – e.g. speed of speech.


  • FAMILY is the most important motivator in India.
  • Indians abroad work for family and send money home (there is no social security).
  • Indians recognise a much wider variety of family members than we do in the West (the extended family).
  • Make Indian members feel part of your corporate family.


  • Education is very important in India.
  • Indians respect qualifications and education.
  • Graduates of IIT’s (Indian Institutes of Technology) are especially highly regarded.
  • They may be less respectful of experience unless it is supported by qualifications.
  • Show respect for education.


  • Respect is very important in Indian society.
  • Indians learn it at school.
  • They are very respectful of hierarchy, (young graduates much less so.)
  • Show respect for age and seniority.
  • Remember that foreigners are usually shown respect.
  • People will not contradict you out of respect.


  • This goes along with respect.
  • Many Indians will not feel they have the right to contradict you EVEN IF THEY KNOW YOU ARE WRONG.
  • Make sure you are dealing with someone who has worked with Westerners and who understands the importance of open feedback.
  • Find someone with experience who will be more prepared to take responsibility.


  • There is a danger that some Indians may give you wrong or inexact information out of a desire to please.
  • There is also a danger that they may overestimate their capacity or ability for the same reason.
  • Always ask ‘How’ something will be implemented in order to check viability.


  • Indians do not automatically prioritise requests unless urgency is stressed.
  • ‘One thing we have plenty of is time,’ is an Indian saying.
  • Give clear detailed instructions.
  • Say exactly when you need something. Stress importance.
  • Keep checking delivery status. (It shows interest.)


  • India like Latin countries in Europe is a ‘contact sport’.
  • Keep in regular friendly contact with team.
  • Be prepared to fly out to troubleshoot problems. (Face to face works best).
  • Good team leaders are often moved to other responsibilities.
  • Good team leaders often get overloaded with other work.

And remember: If you sometimes complain about how things work in India, they complain about how things work, or fail to work, in the West.


© Contributed by Barry Tomalin 2011 (http://www.culture-training.com/)

This month there are over twenty independence days stretching from
countries as far apart as Costa Rica and Vietnam, from Mali to North Korea. We wish all of these countries, a very happy independence day!

Libya – September 1, Vietnam – September 2,Qatar – September 3 , San Marino – September 3, Swaziland – September 6, Brazil – September 7, Andorra – September 8, North Korea – September 9, Bulgaria – September 9, Costa Rica – September 15, El Salvador – September 15, Guatemala – September 15, Honduras – September 15, Nicaragua – September 15, Mexico – September 16, Papua New Guinea – September 16, Chile – September 18 , Belize – September 21 , Malta – September 21, Mali – September 22, Saudi Arabia – September 23, Yemen – September 26, Botswana – September 30.