Singapore’s Hello Kitty Craze

McDonalds in Singapore was selling fairy tales inspired Hello Kitties at the end of May till June and that created a huge frenzy back home. My Facebook feeds were flooded with photos of Hello Kitties my friends bought and people whining about the US fast food company stopping their delivery service because of the terrible haze Singapore had thanks to illegal burning of forests in Sumatra.

Here is the collection of Hello Kitties.

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I think Hello Kitty is super cute and I adore her to bits. I used to have a Hello Kitty purse even when I was 25 and now, I own a Hello Kitty phone cover. If I wasn’t so pragmatic, I would have bought the Swarovski Hello Kitty figurines.

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Source: Swarovski USA

And I think I’ve found something I would love to have even more!

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Told you I love Hello Kitty! Sorry, I got carried away. Before you judge me as an immature woman who still acts like a child, do you know that Hello Kitty is well loved by the young and old in Japan? And if you haven’t realised, it’s a cat with no mouth. It’s not a sign of animal abuse! On the contrary, without a smile on its face means anyone can relate to it. It is meant to symbolise that Hello Kitty isn’t bound to any particular language and that she “speaks from her heart”.

I can understand why people love her but things got out of hand in Singapore, as usual. The last Hello Kitty on sale was the “Singing Bone” kitty and it sold like hot cakes. Apparently it is based on one of The Grimm Brothers dark tales entitled “The Singing Bone“. People queued overnight (I know them!!!) despite having to turn up for work the next morning only to be disappointed since it sold out fairly quickly. Those who managed to get hold of the Singing Bone Hello Kitty were selling them online for a much higher price. An online bid went as high as SGD$126,000 but no one knows if it was a genuine bid.

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Source: The Grimm Brothers, Wikipedia

Tempers flared and customers grew claws overnight when they found out that they couldn’t get hold of the last Hello Kitty. Am I surprised? No.

In 2000, McDonalds had a similar Hello Kitty promotion and people were even injured when a mob pressed against the chain’s glass door causing it to shatter. Singaporeans or not, living in Singapore will cultivate the spirit of kiasu-ism (afraid to lose out to others) in you. It’s a rat race out there be it in terms of education, which car you drive, where you live, how much you earn, whether you get a seat on the train etc. We Singaporeans are always in a rush to compete with each other, to see who will attain first position in whatever we do.

At times, this kiasu spirit brings us to places. Let’s not pretend that grades don’t matter simply by stating Bill Gates or Lord Alan Sugar as examples. We strive to do our best at school and sports. We strive to have the world’s best airport which I’m extremely proud of.

However, plenty of times our kiasu spirit leads to our downfall. It shows the world our ugly, ungracious, shameful side. Taking the recent haze drama as an example, people swept the different types of masks off the shelves and I heard some even got into arguments at the pharmacies! When boarding the trains, many (unfortunately) do not have the concept of “let passengers alight first”. And with this Hello Kitty promotion, we have again made the news.

Don’t blame the cat.

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