Book Review: Mr Kiasu: Everything Also Like Real

My Kiasu is a popular comic series from Singapore that was created by Johnny Lau and first published in 1990. It was my favourite comic when I was still in secondary school. I collected the first few series and was entertained very much by the gags and antics of Mr Kiasu. I stopped buying after the title was spin-off into the Kiasu Krossover series and my memories of Mr Kiasu faded. The last Mr Kiasu book was published in 1999, but it's now back.

It's interesting to note that publisher Shogakuken has decided to take the risk to publish this book. Is Mr Kiasu still relevant today? I believe to a certain extent "kiasu-ism" is still well and alive today. The world has moved on and in this new book, so has Mr Kiasu because he has been told to move on, well, he was fired from his job.

The jokes are still what you would expect from a Mr Kiasu book. For fans who have read the first few books, I'm not sure how these jokes would make you feel today. I felt that the jokes are rather tired. That's not to say that the jokes are bad. If I was still the 12-16 year old kid, I would have no doubt laughed hard at them. I believe this book is released to appeal to the new crowd, people who never knew about Mr Kiasu.

There's definitely nostalgia when I see Mr Kiasu again. This time he's trying hard to survive in this new world with rapid globalisation. The book's split into three chapters. The first two are filled with single-page gags while the last is a long form narrative. The stories are, well, alright. It's very typical Mr Kiasu type of humor. There are different types of humor and you'll really have to flip through some pages to see if you're into this sort of humour. The artwork by Johnny Lau is still really good. That guy can really draw.

One thing I noticed about the new book is there is a lot of product placement. Logos and services of several companies were displayed and mentioned. It happens quite often.

This book doesn't appeal to me as much as it did many years ago. I believe kids today may still find the jokes funny.


This review copy is provided by book seller and distributor APD Singapore (website | facebook). You can get the book from them and major bookstores in Southeast Asia.


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