Of Pendatang Chinese and Kiasu Chinese at the Tokyo Olympics…



Not all Chinese are created equal.

Rebel Chinese are those in Taiwan, but at the Olympics that island nation is known as Chinese Taipei. There are 23.5 million of them.

Mainland Chinese are China Chinese, 1.4 billion of them. They have a modern day emperor, Xi Jinping.

Pendatang Chinese are Chinese in Malaysia. There are 7 million of them. Pendatang means immigrant. They immigrated to Malaysia (at the time, it was Malaya) from China.

The Chinese are still Pendatang even though they have been in Malaysia since the 19th century. Some can trace their ancestry to 15th century Melaka. Still, no matter how long they have been in the country, they are called Pendatang by the Malays. Pendatang is a pejorative, an insult.

Ironically, the winner of the most medals in the Olympics for Malaysia is Lee Chong Wei, a Pendatang.

Kiasu Chinese are the Chinese in Singapore. The population of Singapore is 5.8 million, and Kiasu Chinese make up 76%.

Why are they called Kiasu? The word means fear of losing. They are afraid of losing to others, afraid of being second, and take the attitude of “die die also must win”.

With such a small population, Singapore has not been successful at the Olympics. Kiasu Chinese remains Kiasu.

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