Friday, 16 August 2013


 Note : This evening I chatted in the comment section of a blogger named Mecha Praline,, where he mention about kiasuland. That inspires me to write this.

We have no butter, but I ask you.

Would you rather have butter or guns?

Shall we import lard or steel?

Let me tell you.

Preparedness makes you powerful,

Butter merely makes you fat.

That was a speech by Herman Goerring, and also featured in the inlay of Fat Of The Land album by Prodigy.

before I discuss here about Kiasu, let it be clear on the definition of kiasu-ism itself.

To me, it's about fear of losing. In essence, it's about competitveness.

You see, the reason army do a lot of drilling and military exercises is about alertness.

First and foremost, before I started talking about Malay, is that I have to state here, that I'm not a pure Malay.

My skin color is the same color as those Kitol and Mendeliar folks that were blamed for the downfall of Malacca, even though I personally felt that the Portuguese basically outgunned the Malaccans. (I might be wrong anyway)

And so, reflecting back, if I criticised too much about the Malay folks, I might suffer the same consequences as Munsyi Abdullah, a mamak who criticised Malay as "lazy folks" while working under Sir Stamford Raffles.

Nevertheless, I have the same religion with Malays, my father was a pure Malay, I lived a Malay culture with my family although my father told me to mix more with non-Malays.

You see, during my childhood, the Malay kids used to call the name "Keling". I learned that (never sure whether it's true or not by the way, but it seems logical) Keling is from the sound of metal clinging, which were used on Indian slaves brought by the British to work on rubber plantations in Malaya.

There's no use telling them, that my Indian grandfather came to Malaya as a businessmen selling textiles. To them, I'm black and I'm a Keling, that's it.

My brother never suffered the same because he looks like a pure Malay. Ironically, my mother too (she looks like a fair skinned Nelydia Senrose)

Anyway, because I'm born that way, my father instill in me the same fear and kiasu-ism during my childhood.

The need to excel because you don't really belong to a race.

He didn;t force it to my bro though.

Ok back to the Kiasu story.

You see, in the Chinese culture (and mostly Asian culture), there's a term "lose face" whenever failure is imminent.

Beside individual self-instinct to propel forward, the "Lose face" siege mentality also drives the folks further.

When you have that, you tend to look the forest from the trees (see a bigger picture), and try to see an opening where you can either obtain money or goodness.

Or if a bigger picture is of no use, they try to focus and find any weakness.

If not, the Chinese old folks usually advice the youngsters to go back to Chinese history regarding 36 Strategy or other Chinese wisdom which were gained during the wars at China quite long time ago.

The beauty of this culture mindset is, you tend to look at business, or even ordinary things, in terms of War, or in terms of gaining advantage.

Honestly, I learn all this mindset while I was working in construction line.

To me, it's about fear of losing. In essence, it's about competitveness.

And it's good.

Still, as Malay proverb, "Buang Yang Keruh, Ambil yang jernih", take only what is good, and dump away all unnecessary things.

And Muslim folks also learn about Wasatiyah (taking the middle path, not to go to extremes).

Knowing this, I think it's unwise to be too much kiasu, because you lose advantage, and it's unwise to be so kiasu about kiasu-ism itself.

Do necessary things which give advantage for fear of losing.

Just that, about the Malays, I just wish the Malays have the same spirit of competitiveness.

That's why, I respected the Malay old folks (the old timers) who learn Silat. Because thinking about outdoing your enemy, if it's applied in real life, it's good.

My father learn in Agama school, and have the Eman Manan mentality like those in 80's Malay movies, which favours the Silat and Traditional Malay culture thinking.

My father was a Silat practitioner. Nevertheless, during the 70's and 80's, he felt outgunned by other folks who obtained economic advantageous thru cunning-ness, English education background, connections to politics, etc.

Especially when he saw his wife (my mom) who had English education background,  had a much better career-life and much better salary than he is. (after working in UM, my mom went to work in Kwong Yik Bank, now it's RHB bank after merger with other banks)

That's why, when one day, he learned that his eldest son was being called a Keling, he took effective measures, even though harsh, to make sure that his eldest son did not suffer like him.