Everywhere, we see natural disasters devastating homes, wars displacing and separating families, and retrenchments threatening livelihoods. And, today especially, we are facing a possible confluence of all these factors—a “perfect storm” of climate and pandemic crises and a global economic slowdown. It’s a situation that’s likely to raise anxiety levels in many of us.
We’ve had two long years of worrying about Covid-19 infections, losing loved ones to the coronavirus, and fears about food shortages—remember the panic buying at supermarkets in March 2020?
In Singapore, many of us also deal with a different type of fear—a fear of failure, of being left behind, and of missing out the best. Before FOMO (“fear of missing out”) made its dent in our consciousness, we already had kiasu—the fear of losing out.
At times, it’s a very real fear—worrying that we may be overtaken by better performers at work, that our children may not do well in school and therefore not be able to get a good job later, that we are missing out on what everyone else seems to have.
In this world that is increasingly “VUCA”—volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous—we are confronted with fear on many sides:
Can I cope with rising prices from inflation?
Could I lose my job or have my pay cut?
Will I get Covid-19, or lose a family member to the disease?
Can I afford to buy a home and raise a family?
Can my children do well in school and secure a good future?