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Kiasu

Definition

Kiasu is a Hokkien word that means a grasping, selfish attitude.

What is 'Kiasu'

A Chinese adjective used to describe a person's fear of losing out (to someone else). Kiasu is a traditional Chinese word, but is most popular in Singapore. It translates roughly as "scared to lose".

Explaining 'Kiasu'

Kiasu describes being (or a person who is) greedy, unwilling to share, or competitive in order to advance one's self. Examples of Kiasu include driving aggressively to get to the front of a traffic line or registering young children early at top schools, prior even to knowing the child's aptitude. Kiasu describes the idea that one must outdo and outshine all others, have more of any given thing, pay the least amount for items (thereby getting the best deal) and always be the first or best.


This concept has been applied to such financial ideas as marketing campaigns, store sales and understanding market psychology.


Further Reading


The 2015 Singapore Swing: Depoliticised Polity and the
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… security and personal taxes, in my view, also trigger the kiasi and kiasu fear among … The PAP was able to invoke the spectre of economic meltdown in Greece as an … most popular campaign videos was a speech given by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's finance minister …

Exploring the Factors Affecting the Use of Kiasu Tactics.Exploring the Factors Affecting the Use of Kiasu Tactics.
search.ebscohost.com [PDF]
… security and personal taxes, in my view, also trigger the kiasi and kiasu fear among … The PAP was able to invoke the spectre of economic meltdown in Greece as an … most popular campaign videos was a speech given by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's finance minister …

Postcoloniality and ethnography: Negotiating gender, ethnicity and powerPostcoloniality and ethnography: Negotiating gender, ethnicity and power
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… security and personal taxes, in my view, also trigger the kiasi and kiasu fear among … The PAP was able to invoke the spectre of economic meltdown in Greece as an … most popular campaign videos was a speech given by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's finance minister …

Raising successful children: children as accumulation strategy and the renegotiation of parenting arrangements in SingaporeRaising successful children: children as accumulation strategy and the renegotiation of parenting arrangements in Singapore
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… security and personal taxes, in my view, also trigger the kiasi and kiasu fear among … The PAP was able to invoke the spectre of economic meltdown in Greece as an … most popular campaign videos was a speech given by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's finance minister …

Competitiveness in the Workplace: Attributes and Team BenefitsCompetitiveness in the Workplace: Attributes and Team Benefits
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… security and personal taxes, in my view, also trigger the kiasi and kiasu fear among … The PAP was able to invoke the spectre of economic meltdown in Greece as an … most popular campaign videos was a speech given by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's finance minister …

Lee Kuan Yew and MalaysiaLee Kuan Yew and Malaysia
www.tandfonline.com [PDF]
… security and personal taxes, in my view, also trigger the kiasi and kiasu fear among … The PAP was able to invoke the spectre of economic meltdown in Greece as an … most popular campaign videos was a speech given by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's finance minister …

The story of kiasu: expressions of identity and status via conspicuous consumption: an ethnographic study of Singaporean young women in a newly adopted cultureThe story of kiasu: expressions of identity and status via conspicuous consumption: an ethnographic study of Singaporean young women in a newly adopted culture
researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au [PDF]
… security and personal taxes, in my view, also trigger the kiasi and kiasu fear among … The PAP was able to invoke the spectre of economic meltdown in Greece as an … most popular campaign videos was a speech given by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Singapore's finance minister …



Q&A About Kiasu


What are some examples of people being described as Kiausi ?

Some examples include driving aggressively and paying little for items so that they get the best deal possible. They always want more than others have and do not like sharing with anyone else.

How can you describe Kiasu?

You can describe kiasu as being (or a person who is) greedy, unwilling to share, or competitive in order to advance one's self.

Why would someone be described as Kiasu?

Someone might be described as kiasu if they drive aggressively to get to the front of a traffic line or register young children early at top schools, prior even knowing their aptitude.

Where did the word originate from?

The word originated in China.

Is there any other way that we could use this term ?

Yes , we could use it when describing Singaporeans' behavior towards education , housing , jobs etc .

What is the definition of kiasu?

The definition of kiasu is someone who is greedy, unwilling to share or competitive in order to advance one's self.

When was this concept first applied?

This concept has been applied since ancient times but was popularized by Lee Kuan Yew when he coined it during his speech on National Day on August 9th 1965 .

What does Kiasu mean?

Kiasu means a person who is unwilling to share or give up anything.

How does this concept apply financially ?

This concept applies financially when marketing campaigns are created and store sales are run . It also helps understand market psychology .

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