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Mr Kiasu

Posted on: May 9, 2008

The Coxford Singlish Dictionary, a light-hearted lexicon of Singlish published in 2002.Image via Wikipedia

 

I learned a new word today: kiasu.

We are showing ‘kiasu‘ when we load up up our plate with food “just in case” the food gets finished. Over-competitiveness.

It is a Mandarin word, and Singaporean cartoonist, Johnny Lau, has a cartoon character, Mr Kiasu, who in Singlish, “everything also I want”, “everything also sure win”, “everything also I grab”.

Apparently, the closest English expression is ‘dog in the manger’. I cannot eat the hay, but I will not let you have it either!

Apart from the fun of learning a little about Singapore culture and humor, this reminded me of Steve Roesler‘s post on over-managing our children. I thought you might appreciate it.

I wonder what the opposite is? Certainly the word ‘savor’ comes to mind. It being the weekend, it is nice to think of judging the shopping so finely that we have a few really delectable meals . . . and a bare fridge by next Thursday.

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1 Response to "Mr Kiasu"

Hi! I saw your comment on RWW and dropped by. Chose to comment on this because I’m from Singapore, so the idea of being “Kiasu” isn’t foreign! =)

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