Recently, Singapore ranked 27th in the latest world happiness report. It was a delightful promotion from a 32rd position, and one of the only two Asian states to have made it to the top range of thirty. Not bad, huh?
World Happiness Report used factors such as levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom, and corruption to derive at whether a country was happy. Results were obtained from around 1,000 responses and on a three-year average.
Did the World Happiness Report checked into the realities of those living in Singapore?
1) Singapore is suffocatingly costly to live in. The already high cost of living is consistently going up and is affecting everybody. Housing, cars, utilities, medical consultation, commodities, food, groceries, basic necessities are expensive. GST and transport fares are also on the rise. Absolutely helpless Singaporeans cannot say or do anything in against of price increase.
2) Singaporeans are unhappy at work. True enough, they undergo long hours of working, are underpaid, receive negligible or no salary raise, have poor work life balance. There may have interpersonal conflicts and unfair treatment at work as well as lack of support from superiors.
3) Singapore’s climate is intolerable. Throughout three-quarters of the year, what one can feel is all humidity and hotness. Cooler months are heating up under global warming and urban heat island effect. Such hot temperature leads to pestering discomfort and sicknesses.
4) The competition from other countries is getting overwhelming. The government always push forward the idea that we need foreign talents because of our lack of resources. Singaporeans not only have to compete with their own fellow Singaporeans, but the foreigners, especially those who are highly skilled and qualifiable for highly paid jobs.
5) There is also competition within the country. Singaporeans compete in education, in job seeking and in career. Expectations on Singaporeans are highly demanding in the discriminating society of employment. The government also keep stressing for achievement and excellence, it’s so pressurizing for our children!
6) Singaporeans are unable to freely air their opinions or grievances. They are required to obey and be very compliant. So, the way of life is to suffer in silence.
Did the World Happiness Report interview average Singaporeans?
An acquaintance of mine, Ruan, is a mother of two school children who struggles with the high cost of living. Her husband works as a Grab driver who only earns when he has bookings. She sees herself as the main breadwinner of the family, but there is no salary increment for her to help her tackle the increasing costs. How can we expect her to be happy? Ruan also feels that bad bosses and colleagues deprive her of happiness too.
Some Singaporeans will say that we shouldn’t think too much, but try to be happy. The idea is to build up happiness internally from one’s mind since it is hard to receive happiness from any external source. Because for some of us, we were born in this country and have nowhere else to go. So we are forced to be satisfied and to just be happy with what we have.
In a 2018 survey, nearly one in five Singaporeans aged between 19 to 30 expressed they wanted to migrate. In another survey conducted earlier in 2016, it was discovered that 42% of Singaporeans had already developed migration in mind. So, if the country is truly a happy place to live in, why have there been many Singaporeans who wish to leave?