Singaporeans 'unemotional'

Tue, Nov 27, 2012, 00:00

We all know that money can’t buy you love, but folding cash clearly doesn’t make you happy either, if Singaporeans are anything to go by.

In fact, to paraphrase another quote from British pop yore, the residents of the city-state are, at best, comfortably numb. Despite a per capita income of $33,530 (€ 26,000), an enviably low unemployment rate, and status as the richest country in the world by some measures, Singapore is the most emotionless society in the world, a recent Gallup poll shows.

With a population of just 5.3 million, Singapore has built an economy with ingenuity and hard work in the finance, pharmaceuticals and electronics sectors. The size of the economy has almost doubled in a decade.

Yet, rather than spend their time feeling wildly positive about their achievements,or even crushingly superior, Singaporeans are unlikely to report either positive or negative emotions. They are the least likely in the world to report experiencing emotions of any kind on a daily basis, with only 36 per cent of Singaporeans responding affirmatively. Filipinos are the most emotional, with six in 10 saying they experience a lot of these feelings daily.

“If you measure Singapore by the traditional indicators, they look like one of the best-run countries in the world,” Bloomberg quotes Gallup partner Jon Clifton as saying. “But if you look at everything that makes life worth living, they’re not doing so well.”

Some positives

When Gallup asked people to say whether life would be better or worse five years from now, the Greeks were the most pessimistic, perhaps unsurprisingly.

The most satisfied people in the world are the Danes; the Togolese are the least satisfied. The people most likely last year to report feeling stress, anger, sadness, worry, or pain were Iraqis.

It’s not all bad news. Singapore’s score on the Overall Work Happiness gauge is at its highest since the survey by JobsCentral began in 2009. This year it was 59.8, up from 56.4 logged in 2009, the Today website reported.

And according to another survey, by the Economist Intelligence Unit, Singapore will be the sixth best place to be born in 2013 – the top countries are Switzerland, Australia and Norway. Ireland comes in 12th place, behind Hong Kong in 10th place, but ahead of the UK in 27th place .