'Kiasu' culture can be an asset

It is better to be kiasu ("afraid to lose") than kiasi ("afraid to die") ("'Kiasu' culture is stifling originality in business: NMP"; Wednesday).

A businessman who is afraid of losing out will strive to do something well or better than his competitors, to keep his company ahead of the pack.

This being so, he has to think differently and unconventionally from a new perspective in terms of innovation, creativity and productivity.

There is nothing wrong with entrepreneurs obtaining grants to help them in their businesses when operating expenses are high, especially in the areas of rent and manpower.

After all, these grants are only temporary measures to give fledgling entrepreneurs a head start.

On the other hand, being kiasi can be a liability, as people who embrace such a culture have a tendency to forgo long-term results in favour of short-term gains.

If the dichotomy between kiasuism and kiasiism is studied and analysed in perspective, one would realise that the former need not necessarily be a liability.

In fact, being kiasu can be an asset if we embrace it in an environment that suits us.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2016, with the headline ''Kiasu' culture can be an asset'. Print Edition | Subscribe