Edmond Etchri – Office Manager of SHEQ, is the only employee in CEM originally from Togo, a tiny country in western Africa on the Gulf of Guinea. You may be surprised to hear him speak Cantonese fluently with Macanese local slang. 

Edmond first came to Asia in 1989 to study a university degree in China under a scholarship scheme offered by UNICEF. When he graduated in 1997, he moved to Macao, and then joined CEM in 1999 where he worked  in GED Chemical Laboratory from 1997-1998 as an intern.

This was a challenge as the Chinese culture differs greatly from West Africa, in everything from work life to personal and family relationships. However, he found himself perfectly fit in Macao as it offers a great fusion of East and West culture.  The most difficult challenge for him was to master the notoriously difficult Cantonese language, which is incredibly complex for foreigners to learn.

To Edmond, language is a mirror of a particular society. Following the saying “When in Rome, do as the Roman do”, Edmond views a new language as a different vision of life and tries his best to enjoy it. It appears that his language skills are amazing. He speaks Mandarin, Cantonese, English and Ewe (his native tongue), French, German and Portuguese. This gifted talent for languages definitely helps him to integrate into different cultures and adapt to different places.

Edmond sees Macao as his second home. He has a happy family of four here - a Chinese wife and two lovely kids. They all just love Macao – interesting mix of culture and diversity of population. In his opinion, one should look at cultural differences, such as the Chinese concept of “face”, as opportunities. Causing Chinese people to lose face, even if the offence was unintentional, could cause serious damage to a relationship. Understanding these cultural concepts, he thinks, is useful in both personal and corporate life.

“I am very fortunate having many friends and colleagues across the company who have provided me unconditional support and guidance over the past few years in CEM. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to everyone.” he said. The journey to him was not easy and the support from people around him helped a lot.