Commentary: Singaporeans are happily unhappy to be the happiest in Asia
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Commentary: Singaporeans are happily unhappy to be the happiest in Asia

Disappointed Singaporeans could be a tiny happier with some point of view

The response of Singaporeans to the latest World Happiness Report 2024 position the place as the happiest spot in Asia was completely predictable, as they uttered a collective: &#8220Certain not?&#8221

Produced on 20 March, the once-a-year report placed Singapore top rated in Asia for the 2nd year working. The leading 3 happiest places in the environment had been all from Scandinavia: Finland, Denmark and Iceland. 

Overall, Singapore was ranked 30th in the earth, ahead of the likes of Taiwan (31st), which faces a perennial existential menace from China, and South Korea (52nd), which has one of the highest suicide premiums in the earth.

It is also telling that “the top nations no more time include things like any of the most significant countries” this kind of as the United States or the United Kingdom, in accordance to the authors of the report.

So I guess we must be pretty joyful then. Though you would not be able to inform from our response.

Supply: Kat Egoshina on Unsplash

How accurate is this report?

Besides six essential aspects such as gross domestic merchandise (GDP) for every capita, balanced lifestyle expectancy and social assistance, there ended up up to 3,000 respondents in just about every nation who were being requested to rank how pleased they were from just one to 8. 

Responses from the earlier a few a long time are made use of to supply an “up-to-date and robust estimate” of daily life evaluation, reported the authors. “A sample dimension of 2,000 to 3,000 is significant sufficient to give a moderately very good estimate at the countrywide degree.” 

But netizens here had their doubts, to say the the very least. 

“How???” explained a person, followed by a series of laughing emojis.  

A different claimed: “Happy for the wealthy and wealthy I suppose.”

“The only times Singaporeans (are) content is when they occur to Malaysia,” claimed an additional dryly. 

Getting not happy is what will make us, us

It all reminded me of a discussion I had with my sister-in-regulation when she grew to become a citizen many years back, where I informed her: now that you are a Singaporean, you must study how to complain.

At danger of sounding like a Government spokesman, the aged cliche however rings real — we only don&#8217t know how superior we have it. 

In gentle of the current political and corruption scandals below, a South Asian colleague told me: “You Singaporeans do not know what corruption is — just hold out till you appear to my region.”

Really do not get me incorrect: I am not suggesting that we sit down and shut up. We need to discuss up about difficulties and results in in Singapore. We should really all be asking more of our Federal government and our politicians, and extra importantly, executing our element to make society greater. 

Source: In Studios by The Majurity Trust on Unsplash

And there are actual and urgent troubles to be tackled — inflation, widening inequality, just one of the cheapest birth prices in the planet and establishments that are extremely dominated by the ruling get together, to title just a couple of.  

But we need to have to recognise that Singapore is an outlier in that matters — transportation, Governing administration paperwork and much more — largely function in an economical method. Handful of countries, even sophisticated and prosperous types, can say this. Singaporeans, who are so nicely-travelled, will know this by now. 

Just try choking in the smog of Hanoi — briefly ranked the most polluted city in the planet previous thirty day period — or combating the site visitors jams of Jakarta. How about having by on US$204 a thirty day period, the minimum amount wage in Cambodia?

At any time been stranded in the middle of nowhere by a general public transportation employee strike? Or how about dealing with down a Authorities formal who needs a bribe?

Resource: Mark Stoop on Unsplash

The grass is always greener

Most likely getting clean up streets, Taylor Swift concerts, mainly affordable health care and the ideal airport in the earth have designed us all — and below will come the Governing administration&#8217s favourite word — complacent. Maybe even a very little spoilt. 

From time to time, it will take an outsider to see items differently. A Pinay pal and Swiftie summed it all up: “It’s so liberating to just appreciate a live performance, dance your coronary heart out, and not fret whether or not there’s a pickpocket or how you are going to get property.”

By all suggests, complain when the grievance is warranted. But perhaps Singaporeans could all be a bit happier with just a little perspective. 

In the meantime, I’m heading to obtain something to complain about so I can write-up it on social media.  

Nicholas Yong is a veteran journalist who has labored at media stores this kind of as BBC Information and Yahoo News Singapore in excess of the earlier 17 several years.

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Highlighted impression adapted from Eugenia Clara on Unsplash and Shawnn Tan on Unsplash.

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