June 25, 2008

#11 Jumping On The Bandwagon @ Kiasuism

Although Malaysia is a vastly diverse country with considerable culture, there is a searing need to jump on the bandwagon or ape the latest trend that penetrates the local hemisphere and is deemed "cool" by self proclaimed local taste makers. In local terms, this trait is called "kiasu", a Hokkien term denoting fear of losing out.

Malaysians are not discerning when it comes to the trends they adopt and obsess over. The only requisites are that said trend/fad must come from foreign places and that it is hip in the eyes of their peers. Whether this is a new food establishment, fashion trend or even worshipping of celebrities (see previous post #10) & bloggers (future post), all Malaysians will move towards it like moths to a flame if it serves their ego and improves others' perception of them.

Some recent trends or developments favored by Malaysians: supporting newly successful foreign football teams, wearing scarves and skinny jeans (weather apparently does not deter fashionistas/victims), queueing for hours for popular donuts from otherwise ordinary establishment and promoting a certain cause or petititon which they don't really know much about (online support of releasing political prisoners makes you appear both anti-establishment and cool, depite the fact that you don't really care and would deny it completely should the federal authorities approach you).

This speaks volumes of the average Malaysian's insecurities that they are not contemporary or worldly enough. Now this is where you can take advantage of the situation for your own amusement or benefit. Put on your most convincing face and say to a Malaysian, "Y'know, the Urkel look is really hip in the States. It combines a sense of wholesomeness, nostalgia and intelligence. Everyone is digging it". Now sit back and be amused as the Malaysian rethinks his entire wardrobe.

But if you want to turn their insecurities into you own personal gain, try something like this; "Hey guys, have you checked out my blog recently? I used to be under the radar but I'm getting insane traffic these days and all these celebrity bloggers like XXX and AAA are saying how smart and witty I am. I think my blog is going to go global". You can now pat yourself on the back for a sly use of namedropping and reap the benefits. Enjoy.

*Caution: Constant manipulation of bandwagonners will cause them to develop schizophrenia or loss of identity. Proceed with care.


JenKin Yat said...

haahha wtf..think i'm barging into 1 thing..hopefully i'm not kiasu..

B.H. said...

Hi Jenkin,

Now. now I wouldn't be getting worried just yet. But first tell me, this potential bandwagonning you have committed, are you still conducting it or have your interests waned? Kiasuism is a fleeting fad. Anything lasting more than the 20 minutes you spent on it would qualify as an obsession.

Seek professional help accordingly.

Thanks for visiting!


Keong said...

Anything lasting more than 20 minutes is considered an obsession?? I'm pretty sure this blog post is as well. :)

By the way, your way of writing has a witty twist to it. How should I put this?.. It's like a script of a character Hugo Weaving would be playing.

Have you watched V for Vendetta? You might probably find it stimulating as your writing style has a lot in common.

B.H. said...


Yes, I enjoyed it very much. I think some questioning of a government can be healthy, it should lead to progress (not jail terms).

Thank you for relating my gibberish to such inspiring material. I am humbled and honored.

Seeyou around.


Surind Raj said...

hahaha, lol :)

So true!

I just discovered your blog last night & have been going through many of your posts.

Keep up the great job, & I am adding you to my blogroll as well.


Ara said...

So true...I almost laughed when Malaysians go crazy about The GAP store which opened its outlet here in KL last year..suddenly everyone was buying GAP..

Do u guyz know that the matsalehs themselves see The Gap as just the way we see our Pasar Malam?

"Gap? Huh..like the gap between my teeth!" - a quote from a foreign friend

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