'Kiasu' is a Hokkien (a Chinese dialect) word for 'fear of losing'. This word is so widely used by Malaysians and Singaporeans that it is incorporated into their English vocabulary.
Controversially, Kiasu culture somehow is always associated with Singaporeans and it's a highly contagious disease as seen in people that migrated over either to work or live. A few of them that I know might be reading these and I am sure they can relate to the following antic, besides the usual urges for freebies.
- Always must win.
- Must not lose face
- Never mind what others think
- Outdo everyone you know
- Pay only when necessary
- Take but don't give
- Vow to be number one
- Yell if necessary to get what you want
Personally I think Kiasu culture is due to the competitive nature of the country and in order to stay ahead as the economy hub in the region, people are constantly push to excel. However there is a limit to everything, thus people need to acknowledge and recognize of their Kiasu symptoms before it turn them into a ruthless selfish society.
Finding balances in life is part of the challenges.