Kiasuism As A Major Part Of Singaporean Culture And Society

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Kiasuism has served as a unifying force to bind Singaporeans together, thus fostering a sense a sense of national identity. Kiasuism has value in its ability to unite the masses and instil a sense of belonging in Singaporeans, which is especially important in an increasingly globalised and cosmopolitan world. Kiasuism is of practical use to us today because it can be used to unify a nation, or to conjure up nationalistic and patriotic feelings in people.

Living in an increasingly cosmopolitan world today, it is essential that a nation be able to develop a sense of national pride and belonging in its citizens, as without such feelings of patriotism and loyalty to their country, citizens will not feel the need to contribute and give back to the society that raised them. Therefore it can be argued that kiasuism does have an integral role to play in society, as it is able to evoke a sense of belonging and loyalty in people living in an increasingly globalised world.

A sense of national identity can help keep citizens united through shared experiences, traditions and culture. This sense of belonging can help motivate new arrivals to learn about the local cultures and assimilate into the country. It has been noted that Kiasuism is not only an individual value but also a cultural norm. Although kiasuism has manifested into certain undesirable behaviours, kiasuism is very much intertwined with the singaporean culture and has officially been declared as being “hailed as a national fixation in Singapore”(Australian Macquarie Dictionary). Research has found that Kiasuism is not only a value endorsed by some individuals, but also a characteristic of the Singaporean society.

As mentioned previously, Kiasuiusm was the top characteristic identified by Singaporeans in a 2012 national survey. As a widely shared cultural norm, a reminder of Singaporean culture could bring kiasuism to mind as well. There have been reports of egregious Kiasu behavior which are mocked in the newspapers, and even a local cartoon character called ‘Mr. Kiasu’ which was popular for his amusingly extreme Kiasu behaviors.

Although Mr. Kiasu is exaggerated, Singaporeans relate to him as he illustrates the behavior they see in daily life, and captures a key characteristic of Singapore’s cultural fabric. As such, kiasuism is a national cultural that is unique to Singapore and unlike other countries, Singaporeans identify very strongly with this term, and is a deeply rooted feature in the Singaporean society.

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