A happy nation of grumblers

Dear Straits Times,

I refer to the 16 Dec 2010 article by Mr Jeremy Au Yong.

Mr Au Yong points out that the claim by Mr Buettner of Singapore being one of the happiest in the world is based on comprehensive polls and studies over seven decades by Gallup, the World Values Survey and the World Database on Happiness. That unfortunately, is not true. The Gallup Global Survey, the World Database on Happiness and the World Values Survey began in 2005, 2000 and 1990 respectively, not over seven decades.

Furthemore, the conclusions from the three surveys are not unanimous, with Singapore’s ranking varying from as low as 94th out of 154 countries in one Gallup survey to 7th out of 103 countries in the World Values Survey. It’s hard to imagine how Mr Buettner could have come to the conclusion that Singapore is one of the happiest when three of the four rankings he has chosen to use indicated otherwise.

It wasn’t just the World Database of Happiness that put the United Arab Emirates (UAE) above Singapore in terms of happiness. The Gallup study also put the UAE above Singapore. You must really scratch your head and wonder how did Mr Buettner decide Singapore to be first when most of the studies placed the UAE above Singapore.

As far as the World Database of Happiness is concerned, the first place is without question, the UAE. The question is whether Singapore came in second. That depends on whether you classify Israel and Cyprus as Asian or European which is in itself quite debatable.

Things like tolerance, good housing, healthcare and social mobility are commonly available in most first world cities. Furthermore, good but unaffordable housing like in Singapore makes people frown not smile. I wouldn’t consider trust in government as being important for happiness. If we can be happy simply by trusting our government, then we might as well all be North Koreans.

How can a fair and unbiased picture of how the nation as a whole thinks or feels be captured in a poll of just you alone? How do you prove that you are not biased? If you are unable to, then wouldn’t all the theory you have sprouted on the basis of your own opinion amount to nothing more than crap? Shouldn’t that be the stuff of tabloid newspapers? Since when has the Straits Times gone tabloid?


4 Responses to “A happy nation of grumblers”

  1. auntielucia Says:

    Great stuff. Samplings are silly except for those who make a living out of them! Like DB 😀

  2. aquarius Says:

    There are people around licking the balls such……I guess.

  3. Agagooga Says:

    Do you send in any of these letters?

    Do they get published/replies?

  4. anony Says:

    He got paid to write this, ythat’s why. This is not the first time. Recall that fellow who ran a one-man agency who regularly sings praise of Singapore’s economy? Somebody investigated, and found him out -that he was ‘sponsored’ by the govt!

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