Kiasu is one of familiar words spoken by Singaporean or who ever live in Singapore for sometimes like me for example.In simple word, it means *fear of losing*.
After 10 years living here and married to one Singaporean, I can understand the meaning and the feeling of this words to all of us here. This word can be viewed positively or negatively depend on who make the judgement out of it.
The negative attitude towards this word would be: selfish, proud, aggressive, competitive, impatient, inconsiderate,rushing, stressful and list goes on.
When you merry the negative meaning of this word and parenting, you will see a lot of negative comments when come to the Singaporean parenting skill. A lot will tend to think that Singaporean have no heart to their kids and creating a stressful environment for them. They just could not understand or hack any positive attribute of this word into parenting world.
I am a foreigner too here, but I can understand it. Everyday I learn to adjust and understand what is the dynamic of living in this highly organized country.
When you look into Singapore, you realize that this country is very small in term of size and population, there are about +/- 4.8 millions people living here. And every 1000 people they only give birth for 9 babies per year. The size of the land it self is nothing to compare to Bali as one of the small island in Indonesia. Singapore land size is 699 Km, Malaysia is 329,847 km, Indonesia 1,860,360 km [the largest country in south east Asia] and Philippine is 300,000 Km. With all these fact and figure Singapore is really *a small red dot* among the giant countries in South East Asia.
Furthermore this country is young it is only 45 years old, and there is no natural resources here. Singapore does not have mining, gold, timber, oil or even agricultural income. Most of the things are imported from neighbor countries.
Practically this red small dot has to depend on their own selves, especially their people. The people are the major driven force for this country. They are the one who generates income for this country. Singapore needs to have quality in the people in order to sustain the country’s growth and longevity. If I am a Singaporean government, it is not an easy job.
Allright! back to what is the whole point of me want to raise this topic of Kiasu parenting that is perceived happening here in Singapore. Like I had mentioned on my earlier paragraph, a lot will go against it. However for me personally, Singapore need this. Singapore need to have the kiasu attitude for survival. As a Singaporean, they need to have a strong self-drive to go forward and sustain the future of this country and their own self. This can only happened if there is a strong discipline and will. Otherwise, without those 2 strong quality, it is very hard for this country to sustain their economy and future.
To compete internationally and gain the international trust to invest on this country is very important. High qualify population and skill is required for investor to keep pouring their money into this country.
Singaporean have been living in this highly competitive motion since their independent day. They struggle and strive to bring their country forward. They work and sweat hard, to deliver what is Singapore today. Check this video to show you how Singapore Today! In 45 years with that much land and that much population, bare that in mind!
Therefore, Singaporean can feel this sense of urgency. Parent feel it from the place where they work, they are required to give their best performance all time. This notion hands down from parent to their children too. It is very common that the discussion on the dining table would be *study hard, do well in school, go to the best school, be the best in your field* and so on. Some parents extend the effort further by sending their kids to many enrichment classes to help their kids prepared better. Some kids in Singapore starts very young, they go for their enrichment program when they are only 2 years.
Despite my full support for being *kiasu parent*, I have to agree if these kids are not motivated in proper way there will be a tension or leads into depression if not handle properly. However with the right attitude from the parent to introduce the correct value of survival the kids will eventually understand it. Or the instinct become very natural for Singaporean, there is no stress about it. It is a common understanding for Singaporean and part of their character. It is like the old saying, the apple will not go far from their tree. The same notion goes here: Kiasu Parent, Kiasu Kids! lol.
In my opinion if you want to survive here in Singapore, you need to be Kiasu, because you can not depend on anybody else to take care your future. You have to stand up tall and strive to do your best for your own future in this highly demanding and competing environment.
The world is getting smaller, compact and edgy! If you are not prepared you might not be able to cope up with fast and the speed of growth. It is happening everywhere not just in Singapore.
~ Opportunities multiply as they are seized. ~