The Sinkie Pwn Sinkie Phenomenon

Elsewhere, they might call it the Crab Mentality or Tall Poppy Syndrome. Is the Sinkie Pwn Sinkie phenomenon a different concept? Not really but of course in unique Singapore, we have our unique ways of seeing the world and calling things. All the following concepts depict negative behavior towards another that stems generally from envy and jealousy. The Sinkie Pwn Sinkie attitude may root from a few more possible ingredients such as spite or KPO (being a busybody)

Since this is one of his favourite topic, our satki friend Yoda Tan has a lot to say about it. During his student life in Australia, the Sinkie Pwn Sinkie phenomenon was very much alive. You would have thought being micro-minority in Australia, Singaporeans would huddle together look out for one another in a close knitted group like the other nationalities, such as the Malaysians or Taiwanese. Nah, not when many of us couldn't help splashing one another with a dash of SPS.

Satki Yoda
14 January 2014

If you follow the hardwarezone forums, you might be aware of the "sinkie-pwn-sinkie" phrase that floats around - why do Singaporeans constantly put down their fellow Singaporeans or treat their fellow Singaporeans with disdain (something I tend to be guilty of at times as well)? 

Some social scientists theorized (through experiments on animals) that the greater the population density, the more selfish people become, and the more they behave like rats trying to climb on top of each other to escape from a hole. This makes intuitive sense - the more competitive the place, the more you want others to do worse than you so you can do well relatively. After all, happiness is relative...

So anyway, my personal experiences with this sinkie-pwn-sinkie attitude have been an eye opener, and I list these examples that I have come across partly to get them off my chest, but also partly for your entertainment. 

#1 - The classic know it all sinkie who believes everything others do is easy, and only whatever he does deserves credit

Well, we all know this guy. Tell him you are doing engineering, and he'll tell you how easy engineering is compared to what he does. Tell him you run a business, he'll tell you business is for people who can't get jobs. Tell him you work a stable job, and he'll tell you you have no initiative and entrepreneurial spirit. 

There's no pleasing this guy - he just wants to prove, due to his own insecurities, that you aren't better than him - over-competitive or pure ego usually causes this....

#2 - the pro-establishment sinkie who thinks everyone who has something bad to say about the gahmen is just a case of sour grapes 

Then there is the pro-gahmen guy, who talks down and is condescending to everyone who can see the flaws of the gahmen, insisting they are just sour grapes who can't conform and succeed in the system (while conveniently forgetting you earn twice as much as them and are probably their bosses or equal, and meet the narrow definition of Singaporean success much more than they do). 

#3 - the SPG who wants only to mix with angmohs, but forgets the colour of his own skin, or the guy who insists on mixing only with people who he thinks are worthy of his status

This kind of guy goes around proclaiming he doesn't want to mix with Singaporeans or Malaysians, but is up there with angmohs and wants to mix with them. Also, there is the kind of guy who tries to pick his friends, and just treats everyone with outright condescension. 

Eh, u think other people want to mix with you meh? The last guy I knew who tried this ended up with depression because no one wanted to mix with him - he ended up cutting his studies short to return to Singapore because of depression. 

Because of this over competitiveness, we Singaporeans end up a fragmented group who don't belong anywhere - too atas to mix with our own type, but an outcast trying desperately to fit in with other groups we consider "worthy" of our company. 

Lucky I have some claims to Malaysian heritage. So even though I'm not atas enough to mix with most Singaporeans, most Malaysians welcome me with open arms. Heng ah 

The guest blogger

Satki Yoda is a young Singaporean working overseas in East Australia. He drives a satki Black Vios with capacity to produce loud music.


  1. Australia has a very strong tradition of tall poppy syndrome.

    Although they are proud to have Aussie who can whole their own against international opponents, in world competition, ordinary people are not allowed to out perform other people in money or fame.

    Only the following are immune from attack from tall poppy syndrome:

    Popular international actors/actresses
    People who held high office that are non political, eg governors, commissioners
    Religious leaders

    If you are a professional, like a doctor, accountant, lawyer etc, in most countries you get respected and well renumerated.

    In Australia the general public make it a sports to put down these professionals and pick on their human fault whenever possible. Most blue collar works complain that these professionals earn too much, even though in majority of the cases, the gap between annual income of these professionals and blue collar workers are really very narrow, compare to other OECD countries, and in many cases, the professionals actually work longer hours much more than the blue collar workers which is limited by the very same union they pay fees to protect their interests (which makes it hard for employers to organise overtime work)

    This also explains why Australian average wages is so high (since the workers keep demanding wage rise in the belief that they should be paid as well for the physical work compared to mental work in an aircon office)