Monday, January 10, 2005


So here begins my rambling talk again, though I am very sure that the passion won't last for more than 10 posts in this blog. But who cares, I will still write as long as the lukewarm interest is still flowing in my veins.

I just went off from an enlightening talk with one of my good friends Xuan Ni (a.k.a. Ah Kong), in which we talked about "kiasuism", a term originally coined from "kia su" which means "afraid of losing" in Hokkien dialect. Well, we happened to come to this topic and we admitted to being kiasu fellows. But then, as if to defend this characteristic normally disregarded in our society, we both said "Who is not kiasu anyway" in unison.

Kia su is normally perceived as "cowardy, selfish, not magnanimous nature of someone who is always comparing and competing with others, lest losing out to someone who was originally worse than himself". Hah, as it races across my mind, who is not afraid of losing out?

  1. A child's reaction when his or her neighbour's child get the newest toy while he failed to get one? Wail.
  2. A secondary school student's reaction when he missed out the top spot by 1 mark? Oppressed dissatisfaction. Or claiming for extra marks from the most gullible teacher.
  3. An over-weight girl sees her crush flirting with a pretty girl. She checks out Atkin's diet.
  4. An SPM student got straight 10 A1. Another SPM student get 12 A1 and 1A2. The Ministry of Education thinks the latter is a better student. The next day, fathers of them are found fighting on the street.
  5. A woman past her menopause age found that her peer using SK-2 became fairer than her. She secretly gave up her Shiseido Whitening Cream which turned out to be a disaster. The next day her daughter was found at the nearest Giant's SK-2 counter.
Haha.. my arid creativity can't fabricate more examples now, but I am sure all above happens to every stratum of the society in every single day. So I think it is all too common in our ranks and files. It is not that bad anyway, we are all the same. Wrapping it up with 2 mantras:

  • Be kiasu, but don't let others realise it.
  • Be intelligent, but lead others into thinking that you are only half as intelligent than you really are.

I learnt that from Confucious.

p/s: The fact that I write blogs is sort of the manifestation of kiasuism too. :-)


Anonymous said...

aih, I m here to fulfill my promise to post a comment here in this very insightful n meaningful site. Since my name was mentioned, I feel honoured (or rather, obliged) to post a comment about the topic of kiasuism.
Since the birth of the word Kiasuism, it has been a term frowned upon by many, especially among students. A mention that a particular student is kiasu is sure to make peers keep a 10m distance from this person. To me, being Kiasu is not the crime, rather the person's actions that may result from his or her being overly kiasu. For instance, a kiasu person (in terms of classmates) will cease to share their knowledge with others for fear of others becoming superior to themselves. Also, one can never expect a kiasu peer to celebrate in one's success, hence being friends is less meaningful coz the kiasu friend's well wishes will seldom reach us. However, from my experience and encounters with conventionally-recognized kiasu ppl, not many descend to the extremely low level of the examples said above. Rather most of us would be at the moderate kiasu level, to which all the examples given belong.. Maybe its not exactly being kiasu, its not being brave enough to differ from others. For example, one thing i alwiz do tht will be classified by many to be a 'kiasu act' will be my habit of finding out wat others have studied during exams. come to think of it, now i realize it sounds really kiasu, yet to me, i have taken it for granted tht its a habit.. maybe unconsciously i m already very kiasu.. anyway, kiasuism could be turned into positive energy to spur one to work harder. after all, competition makes the best out of ppl. A tinge of kiasuism is necessary to keep the competitiveness in us in check, so tht we do not slack too much.. that's for the less self-motivated, i guess..
Kiasuism is a way of life in the increasingly competitive social settings of our generation. Once again, as always, moderation is the best way of life.. Be kiasu enough to excel, but not so kiasu u make ppl feel like nauseating. N expertise in acting will be a plus point as to fabricate the true kiasu self in us. Then again, living behind smokescreen could be more suffocating for oneself than to be oneself.. So its better to realize that "there's always a higher mountain somewhere" (my interpretation of a mandarin saying) n to be ready to take failure as it is part n parcel of life.. N everything will equal out somewhere; we win some n we lose some, n no one is worse off for not being the best in everything...
Abt leading others to think tht one is only half as smart as one is, tht is the best guidelines to humility, but there are situations where humility may not be the best course of action.. there are times when it is necessary to intimidate others, but the thought of using psychology war is so disgusting to many of us. Yet its the only way to fight off opponents who use dirty tricks, however high n mighty one wanna be...
ahhh, juz lotsa crap.. one of the reasons i hate writing is tht my thoughts are usually so very disorganized... =( Hope what i said is understandable...

youngyew said...

anonymous: Oiih, now still anonymous or not? :P :P Now that we are together, in your reflection, who do you think is the most kiasu? :P