Monday, November 12, 2012

Kiasu-ism, Uniquely Singapore

My recollection of the earlier days of experiencing kiasu-ism is during test and exams times, where my classmates would swear that they were unprepared for the exams and tests, and only to come out from it being one of the top few students several times.

So I thought ok, they must be very bright. Until one incident where we headed to one of my classmates' house to work on a project and the mum commented innocently on how tired we must be with the exams as her daughter has been cramming through the nights for a few weeks. Lol.

Then there's another group of classmates who would never share notes citing that their handwriting is more like a scrawl and hardly legible but these are the same people who try very hard to peer at your notes, at the corner of their eyes, wondering why you have do much to write about when they did not scribble half as much. *evil grin*

Honestly I thought that would be the last of such petty kiasu-ism when I graduated. And THEN, I became a mum. 

Wow, once you are one, you are suddenly being judged / watched / critiqued on what and how much your child does, how you raise your child and what your child can accomplish. From the friendly girlfriends you once knew, the heat is on and I suddenly find myself being able to define, very clearly, the difference between friends and acquaintances. 

Need a hand? Here's some tell tale signs. :)

1) The strategic PV mums

2) The smoke screen mums

 Funny Confession Ecard: You mean Joseph did not have any help and he basically achieved these on his own? But I thought that he has a tutor?

3) The non committal "if-I-were-to-share-too-much-my-kid-would-lose-out" mums

So on this Monday of a new week, my goal is to still stay sane, relatively unfussed with all these "competition" in this parenting jungle and motivated to just be the best fun mum that I can be for Dumpling. :)


  1. Alot of the stress faced by students are also due to parent's kiasuism in wanting them to look good when compared to their friends kid. I think to some extent it may motivate the child but most times it just crushes a child's morale. I always tell myself that I hope never to be a kiasu mom and I hope I don't have to bite my words.

    1. Frankly, it is a fine balance based on the local society and culture. It is amazing how much "half bucketful" information I have been receiving / the silent but deadly comparisons the kids are subjected to these days. Somehow, I personally feel that the camaraderie between mums whom I thought were friends may not be as true as I thought that they were. It really is such an unhealthy way to raise a kid. Of course I want my child to have that fighting spirit but not at the extent of lying about things. LOL

  2. I find that a fine balance, between helping the kid to adjust to the ks-ness & competitiveness of our society, and still giving him room to breathe & have fun. Which is why we are thinking of homeschoolIng! Totally understand where you're coming from, growing up I had friends who always moaned they will fail their tests & they always passed with flying colours! ;)

    1. I am still thinking about HS in Primary school too. Hmmm. I prefer my child to have a more holistic exposure - life is beyond the academics and where she can learn more about sports and / or Arts.

  3. I learn something new here. I have always thought ks means simply wanting to copy others due to ignorance and the greedy want of everything.

    The first 2 tell take signs you listed are type of people I do not like. Type 3 is hard to tell. Some people are just not friendly, informative, or perhaps just having a bad day and don't wish to talk too much? But it is indeed annoying if a friend does that.

    1. Hi coyz

      Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment! Yes, kiasu-ism seems to be around in various forms and various degrees! I too thought that maybe those friends were not too descriptive until I realized and found out that it's selective sharing with other mums too. Lol. Ah well, it takes all kinds to make the world. :)


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