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.A clerk has bought for his daughter the entire set of Encyclopaedia Britannica and she is still only in kindergarten.The fear of losing out to others is most evident in the intensity of expression on a parent’s face as she studies the marks in her child’s report book and then calls up another parent to surreptitiously elicit from her, through an apparently friendly chat, the information about her child’s marks, for purposes of comparison.It is not only in the field of education that kiasuism is manifested.The Singaporean on tour provides an extremely interesting case study.Having paid a large sum of money for the tour, the Singaporean makes sure that he gets his every cent’s worth, right from the moment he boards the plane to the moment he sets foot back on Singapore soil.He carries his pocket calculator with him to satisfy himself that the food, accommodation, facilities, entertainment, free gifts, etc., which form the tour package are exactly accounted for.There is the story of the group of Singapore tourists who were entertained with a show in their hotel, as part of the package.Now the show was a performance by a scantily clad and very acrobatic lady, with a python.There were two types of shows: Type A was ‘Lady with Python, Python does not touch Lady’, Type B was ‘Lady with Python; Python touches Lady’.Type B cost $10 more.Now the Singapore tourists were treated to Type A, but later discovered, through talking to other tourists, that they had actually paid for Type B.A great quarrel with the tour organiser and the hotel manager ensued, the Singaporeans demanding that either they be given another performance, or have the difference of $10 refunded.The tour organiser explained, with much effort, that the performance they had seen was actually Type B; it was just that the python had been too sleepy to climb out of its basket and coil itself around the lady.Apparently, the second drug that had been administered to it to get it out of the soporific effects of the first, in time for the Type B performance, was not working well enough.The explanation did not satisfy the Singaporeans who continued to clamour to see Type B and get their money’s full worth.In weary resignation, the hotel manager gave in; he gave instructions for a double dosage of the second drug to be administered to the python, as a result of which the reptile, suddenly roused to an unwonted level of energy, slid down from the lady’s torso and down the stage to the watching Singaporeans, causing pandemonium.The hotel manager was heard to remark gleefully, “Singaporeans get python; python gets Singaporeans.”It is often on a tour, when the Singaporean gets away from his country for a while, that kiasuism is manifested in its most conspicuous, even bizarre forms.A Singapore tourist was told by his wife that a fellow Australian tourist had peeped at her while she was in the women’s bath: She was enjoying herself with the other women in the steaming waters when she caught sight of the Australian gazing intently at her.He had no right to go to the women’s section of the bath, but on some pretext of looking for his wife, had managed to sneak in, and there had indulged his lustful eyes.The Singapore gentleman, on hearing this complaint from his wife, immediately experienced the acute pain of losing out; he had lost out to his Australian counterpart in terms of the pleasures afforded by the tour.Each of them had paid the same amount of money, but the Australian had got more for his money for he had had the additional pleasure of gazing upon a woman’s naked beauties.And since it was his wife’s naked beauties, the Singaporean felt that he had lost out twice over to the Australian.Now the Singapore gentleman knew that he would know no rest till the imbalance had been redressed.And the imbalance could only be redressed by his looking upon the Australian man’s wife in her nakedness, in exactly the same length of time that the Australian man had looked upon his wife, that is, a full minute.So he waited for an opportune time, and when the lady was in the bath, he made the pretext of going there to look for his wife, taking care to gaze upon the Australian lady’s nakedness a full 60 seconds.There the similarity of the two escapades ended, for while the Australian gentleman had apparently enjoyed his one minute, he, the Singapore gentleman, forced himself to gaze upon an enormous shapeless bulk thrashing about in the water.His first impulse upon setting eyes on the amazing bulk had been to turn around and run away, but kiasuism’s first principle of exactitude operated more strongly than his aesthetic sense, and he stayed till the full minute was over.4.KIASUISM AND THE ‘EAT-ALL-YOU-CAN’ BUFFETHowever, the ultimate manifestation of kiasuism is at the ‘eat-all-you-can’ buffet at which, for a certain price, a person can help himself to as much food as he likes from a magnificent selection, sometimes numbering as many as 35 different items [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]