08 August 2015
SINGAPORE — After 50 years of nation building, meteoric economic growth and progress, the picture that emerges of the Singapore identity — described by Singaporeans themselves — is not exactly charming or cheerful.
For many Singaporeans, the words that come to mind are “kiasu”, “hardworking” and “stressed”. The adjectives complement one another to showcase, in a way, a nation on steroids — a competitive citizenry that is obsessed with being No 1 in all that it does.
This, at least, is according to a street poll conducted by TODAY of 525 respondents here — 354 Singaporeans and 171 foreigners — across all ages, who were asked to pick any three words to describe the Singapore identity.
While there were differing opinions, the most commonly cited attitude among the Singaporean respondents was “kiasu” — a Hokkien word that captures the uniquely Singaporean trait of being afraid to lose out.
… It is no surprise that Singaporeans were appreciative of the city’s safe environment, said Dr Damien Cheong, research fellow at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies whose area of expertise likes in homeland defence and security studies.
“As Singaporeans are well-travelled, they know that in many countries, they have to be extremely careful about personal safety, which can ultimately restrict activities. Here, the fact that one can walk, jog and cycle along the streets after dark anywhere one pleases, gives one much more autonomy,” he said.
CENS / Online / Print
Last updated on 16/11/2015