Tag: Mr Kiasu

Mr Kiasu: Why You So Like Dat?

The life and times of being scared to lose.

Everything Also I Want: with those four words, Mr. Kiasu was introduced to Singaporeans just over two decades ago. This title of his first comic book had it all. Here was a character who dreamt about sales and discounts, tried every free sample at a supermarket, and when he knocked down a motorcyclist, got out to check his car’s windscreen. In other words, Mr. Kiasu was the typical ‘90s Singaporean, someone possessed with the fear of losing out.

Mr. Kiasu’s depiction of a national trait clearly resonated with Singaporeans. They snapped up the first 4,000 copies, and then the second. In 1993, just three years after it was first published, the comic had a third reprint and became an annual series. Everything Also Must Grab was Mr. Kiasu’s motto in his second book and he was living up to it. Not only had he grabbed his own radio show, Mr. Kiasu now fronted national campaigns, and had his own magazine, mug, T-shirt, watch, bumper sticker, burger, and even ruler — most rulers are 12-inches, but Mr. Kiasu’s one was an inch longer.

Read the rest at POSKOD.SG

Lost Local Things

Singapore Design

“Days Of Being Wild” is a book by Dana Lam about the opposition political parties during the Singapore General Elections of 2006 that was published and designed by Ethos Books. This is interesting on various aspects, firstly, it is a book about the opposition political parties in Singapore and secondly, it has an interesting design background. According to Mr Fong Hoe Fang, the founder of Ethos Books, the book was not very well-publicised by the local media nor well-stocked by local bookstores because of its content. That aside, just by looking at the cover and the first page, some interesting design concepts appear. The juxtaposition of the massive crowd gathered to hear a rally by an opposition party against the riot police sets up the theme of opposition. In the pages of the book, the way the text is set allows for what Mr Fong calls “a-story-within-a-story”, the blue words belong to the author but the red words are quotes from people on the streets.

Singapore Music

I stumbled upon Kopi Kat Klan, a lost local band, when a friend couldn’t stop gushing and giggling about this really sweet song by them, “Ice-Kachang”, so she googled and found “Why You So Like Dat”. Truly authentic lyrics that only a Singaporean can understand.

Singapore Comics

“Mr Kiasu” comics has got to be one of the most recognisable local icons that eventually died out. I always wondered what happened to it and I found that Youth.SG actually tracked Mr Johnny Lau, its creator, down and interviewed him about Mr Kiasu, why it stopped and what he has been doing ever since.

Read the interview here.

I classified these three items under “Lost Local Things” because many of these things have never been recognised as truly Singaporean by the government, yet when I tell fellow Singaporeans about it, they nod in agreement about how Singaporean it is. These things become lost because they engender taboo topics as determined by the government: Singlish and opposition political parties. This is just the tip of the iceberg of what is lost, now if only more of us will start digging and start remembering what it means to be a Singaporean.