Saturday, February 11, 2012

Aiyah! So Kiasu!

I've been meaning to do a post on Kiasuism for a long time now, but a while ago when I was at a fashion sale (and not my Le Flea Boutique I hasten to add!)  my goodness it was a good reminder about how Kiasu people can be.

For anyone out there who who doesn't know what Kiasu is, it can be essentially defined as "fear of losing" and it's a common behaviour in this lovely land.

Anyway at this fashion sale was one lady who to me epitomised Kiasuism. She was first in line in the queue to get in and then raced in, barging past everyone with eagle eyes to make sure she got the best of what was available. Her thing was designer bags and in her Kiasu ways she had managed to already pick up 3 in the space of 5 minutes, clutching them closely to her chest wildly as if it was the end of the world and the bags were the only food  left to eat whereas I was just drifting around in a Saturday morning hazy mood.

Very soon after my arrival in Singapore I became aware of the Kiasu mentality and it's a great way to explain away a lot of things here.

Most of us probably face Kiasuism everyday whether it's the Kiasu auntie who elbows you out the way to make sure she is first in line in the juice queue in Chinatown (or wherever) or the person that always tries to barge past you on the MRT to get out the doors first - even though you are both getting out at the same stop.

Actually the latter is pretty familiar to me from the London underground, just the difference is that there if someone tries this on someone they either a) get some serious verbal abuse or b) get a big shove and I've seen this deteriorate into a full on fight in some instances. Another Kiasu sighting of filling up one's plate at a buffet also seems strangely familiar to me.

Yes even boorish driving habits and the lack of signalling on the roads is down to Kiasuism because quite frankly nobody wants anyone to get ahead of them on the roads either.

And if somethings being given out free, or exclusively or on a limited basis guess what - Kiasuism strikes with queues to be first, take what you can and run even though you may have absolutely no use for it, just like in this video...

And when you hear parents talking about how they put their kids on the wait list for the branded schools light years in advance, this too is thanks to....Kiasuism!

But it's not just about getting ahead, it's about getting the most out of something that you can and to really make sure you are getting every cents worth, or every freebie out there possible. This man shaking his car up and down whilst filling up at the gas station across the Straits in Malaysia (in Johor Bahru) trying to get as much bang for his buck when it comes to his petrol exemplifies this just beautifully! Perhaps he is afraid of losing out on an extra mile or two...

And I'm certain the whole getting ahead thing is why I always feel like the only idiot who steps to one side when it looks like my path will collide with another's when I'm walking somewhere. For the longest time I had no idea why this was and then I realised it was none other than - Kiasuism!

I've definitely been noticing sneaky signs that some of the Kiasu mentality is rubbing off on me - and when you're surrounded by it on a daily basis it's like that age old saying....if you can't beat em, join em!

1 comment:

Kuen said...

It's because we are chinese lol. You noticed only chinese seems to be the one doing it.