The Hello Kitty Wars

It was January 2000 and McDonald’s Singapore had just launched 6 pairs of Hello Kitty dolls together with her boyfriend, Daniel.  Dressed in different costumes they were to be sold in low-priced Happy Meal combinations across their 114 outlets.  So began what became known as the “Hello Kitty Wars”.  At its peak, almost 300,000 Singaporeans representing 8% of its population crowded their stores in the hope of securing the limited edition trinket.  The resulting fights, squabbles and queue jumping made headlines and required Government intervention to restore calm.  In Singapore, such behaviour is labelled using the Hokkien word “kiasu” – literally the fear of losing – that you will miss out on your rightful share.

Details at


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