Posted by: coolerbecky | January 2, 2010

The Extent of Stupidity in Singaporeans

Okay, so I’ve just got back from a shopping trip with my sister at the local supermarket and was rudely shocked by the extent of kiasuism in Singaporeans today.

For those of you not in the know (in other words, non-Singaporeans), kiasuism means the engagement in kiasu behaviour. That being said, I was highly appaled at the rather jarring rudeness of some of my fellow countrymen.

What, you still don’t know what kiasu means? Well, let’s have a quick refresh in Singaporean culture then, shall we?

Kiasu is a Hokkien word which literally translates to “fear of losing”. It’s a term used in the Singlish (Singaporean English) and Manglish (Malay English) creole languages to denote appalling behaviour in Singaporeans and Malaysians… everywhere… due to their fear of coming in last. It’s a bit like a cross between a “dog in a manger” and “sour grapes”. Its widespread use is because most southeast asians have this as a common attitude due to the highly competitive nature of their environment.

Let me provide you with an example of this behaviour that I encountered at the supermarket. My sister had assigned me the task of finding her a nice bag of red onions from a pile of similarly packed bags. As I dug down into the pile, I was joined by an elderly lady who started tossing the bags around willy-nilly in her quest to find a nice bag of onions. The shocker came, however, when I finally unearthed a bag of beautiful onions. While I was examining the onions in the bag, the elderly lady (a woman whom I would usually be quite respectful of in any other environment), reached over and gave both my arms a HARD WHACK. I was so shocked that I dropped the bag, which she snatched away and carried off into the sunset.

See what the old lady did there? The act of beating someone in order to steal the best bag of onions from a pile of millions of onion bags is a prime example of kiasuism.

My sister returned to find me standing there and staring off into the middle distance like some kind of fool. Whereupon she asked me to stop looking like a fool and be normal. I told her that that would be impossible to do seeing as I nearly had my arms taken off by a psycho old smiling lady.

Another example of this would be in the ungracious behaviour that we encountered at the checkout counter. The clerk had just finished ringing up the goods when a woman approached us, asked if we had quite finished with our shopping trolley and if she could take it. We were clearly reloading the trolley with our stuff so we said no. Whereupon she tried to glare us down for the trolley while we took it out of the store to the car.

That lady was seriously suffering from a case of kiasu as well. When you must have someone else’s trolley because you can’t be bothered to get your own from outside because darn it you need those precious seconds for shopping, you are being extremely kiasu.

Some Singaporeans maintain that kiasuism is an integral part of society to be proud of. Frankly, I can see how the world could be a better place without it.

I want my onions back.


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