12/20/2012 17:53 | By Ang Kai Fong

Singaporeans unhappiest people in the world: poll

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you agree with the ranking, and would you consider yourself a positive person? Why, or why not?

Singaporeans the least positive in the world: survey

So apparently we’re not just “emotionless”, we’re the world’s unhappiest lot as well.

We’re not sure if that sounds contradicting to you but the latest readings from a Gallup survey – the same one that recently labelled Singapore “the most emotionless society” – have sadly suggested so – that Singaporeans are also “least likely worldwide to report feeling positive emotions”.

People here were less “upbeat” than those living in war-torn places like Iraq, Armenia and Afghanistan, Gallup suggested, based on a poll of 1000 respondents in each of 148 countries.

Nearly 150,000 respondents were posed five questions on whether they experienced a lot of enjoyment the day before the survey and whether they felt respected, well-rested, laughed and smiled a lot, and did or learned something interesting. While about 50 per cent of people in Armenia and Iraq did, only 46 per cent of Singaporeans could say the same.

Singapore came in first, ahead of Armenia, Iraq, Georgia, Yemen and Serbia, for being the least positive.

This led Gallup partner Joe Clifton to suggest that “higher income does not necessarily mean higher wellbeing,” given Singapore’s poor faring even though it ranks fifth in the world in terms of GDP per capita.

“Leaders who are looking for ways to further improve the human condition in their countries -- especially those societies such as Singapore that are doing well on traditional economic indicators, but not necessarily behavioral metrics -- need to do more to incorporate wellbeing into their leadership strategies,” Clifton advised.

On the other end, Latin Americans are the world's happiest people, with their region being home to eight of the top 10 countries for positive emotions worldwide. Panama and Paraguay came in top two in the survey, while Thailand and Philippines ranked at sixth and eighth respectively.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Do you agree with the ranking, and would you consider yourself a positive person? Why, or why not? Sign in with your Windows Live/ Hotmail ID below, and post your thoughts now!

Dec 20, 2012 7:50AM

definately agree, singaporeans r the most unhappiest lot.

how to be happy?

u work all your life like hell just to keep pay a stupid monthly housing installment. cant sell it either as that's the only place u can afford to stay. sell it n you got no house, n not forgetting we work like slaves?? our working hours are the highest yet paid the lowest amongst developed countries.

Is there anything to be particularly happy about??

How about working like hell and falling sick occasionally to spend another 50-60 dollars on just a bottle of cough syrup and some silly flu tablets???

This is Singapore. Where nothing is free, even the air we breathe is not.

Sg govt pays people in Pte Ltd environmental Institute to collect air samples ard singapore, and where does the money come from??? Our money, tax payers money.

The most ironic thing is CPF in Singapore.

They take your money, then they tell you they doing compulsory saving for your own good.

Like real ya.

Dec 20, 2012 11:37AM

We don't have peace of mind. Bus drivers go on strike, and our smart minister saw this as an excuse to make Singaporeans pay for their wage increase to prevent further strikes. Of course the minister can make us happy by suggesting that the bus company pays through their profits. After all we know the bus company made more than $110 million last year. I am sure the company can bear for the increase in the bus drivers' salary and still make $100 million easily without transferring the costs to us unhappy Singaporeans. Mr. Minister Sir, what do you think of this suggestion ? Don't just think of making money, and more and more money all the time, You have a duty to at least make the Singaporeans who voted for you  happy too. Then there is this international joke about crazy COE prices which makes owning a car impossible. We are living in a country where a second hand China car costs more than a brand new  Porsche in another country. Then every inch of breathing space is being utilized to build KHAW-ndominiums. Then the HDB sending red reminders threatening legal proceedings for overdue conservation charges of less than $100, the URA for not entertaining any excuse for human error, tearing of the wrong tabs of our parking coupons and proceeding with imposing of fines. I can write a 500 page book about all the reasons that make Singaporeans unhappy. And why not ? Can you blame us Singaporeans for being unhappy? We are facing problems like this in our daily lives.  Given a choice, I think Singaporeans can be much happier living lives of an aborigine


Dec 20, 2012 5:46AM

So agree, the govt are taking more money from us than we earn, so unequal

Dec 20, 2012 8:10AM

And don measure happiness by what makes people happy differently... family, frens etc???

come on, I can be happy with my family in any other developed countries so long as my family is with me and that the country is not war torn??? so it has nothing to do with family, fren, acquaintances.. it is just the environment itself.

So why r singaporeans unhappy??

is only cause we are constantly being exploited, overworked, underappreciated and over stressed and being treated like silly kids by the sg govt!

Seriously if there is a better non pap body in my constituency, I will gladly be first in queue to vote against pap.

Why do I or anyone have to work so hard and pay such expensive houses?

Don't give me the crap cause singapore's land is scarce etc..

and why do I have to make compulsory cpf contributions only to withdraw the money when I have one leg in the coffin already???

Sg govt should seriously review its cpf policy and many many more policies now that a younger, more capable and more expressive working generation has emerged. We are the generation who want see our hard earned money, want freedom to use our own money, want freedom to widen our horizon the way we want.

Not some silly, stupid compulsory savings that I can see but cant touch?? That I only have ''limited' freedom for this money when I am already one leg in coffin? CRAP.



Dec 20, 2012 9:57AM

Did they survey the other life forms in our solar system?


I thought we might be the least happy lifeform in the universe.


Our wise leaders have successfully turn our country into a big multi-national corporation,

where high managements are only profit driven, always and forever going for higher pay and bigger bonuses for themselves only. 


We the citizens are now only the employees of this big corporation.

If we as employeess of this "country" are not happy, we are not even allow to STRIKE.

Like any common employees in any company, we can are all expandables and can be easily replaced by more willing and obedient foreign talents.

Dec 20, 2012 12:22PM
We are an unhappy lot we call ourselves "Blockheads" living in blocks earning low wages compared to our standard of living even our Malaysian neighbours fare way better than us.
Our culture of greed among the well to do and our government don't care about the general public people send their children abroad and pray they stay abroad for a better life.
Dec 20, 2012 1:59PM
I am not at all surprised that Singaporeans have been pegged as the world's unhappiest people. You feel it in the atmosphere there; people are constantly on the move, usually to work. They start work early, finish work late. It's insane; the whole 9-5 work hours shtick does not exist in Singapore. 

As for Singaporeans being an emotionless race, well there's truth in that too. They are a rather apathetic lot. 

These above issues are due in part to a hectic work (and academic) schedule, a conservative environment and cultural influences. People there should really take the time to slow down and take a breath. There's more to life than work.
Dec 21, 2012 3:13AM

i agree too. i would not consider myself as a positive person. Singaporeans often have to work overtime cos of their job and we also have to worry not being sack by the boss. too many MEDICAL LEAVES = being sack by the boss. hence, we seldom spent time with our family members. in the end, the money we earn everytime times ends up in paying our monthly bill and taxes. the price of everything increase except for our salary. life is so unfair. how to be happy???


Dec 20, 2012 5:59AM
Should PM Lee be ambitious enough, and be able to acquire, obtain, or purchase enough jurisdiction, as well as gravel, and sand, to fill up the entire adjacent waters beside Singapore (probably owned by Johor and Riau), and thereby giving Singaporeans an additional island the size of the main island, and name it with a decent Singlish name like "Singapore Two (Too)", hence allowing us a new ballpark, not to construct more CBDs and HDBs, but instead to rebuild the kampongs and 1960-1980s impoverished housing estates, so that there is less diversity, and a better way for my elders to spend their CPF moolah, instead of on casinos and vices, I think that makes me smile, a little not a lot, still that is i guess a smile nonetheless..
Dec 21, 2012 1:54AM

Judging by the popularity votes (on these posts), you can see it's true that Singaporean agree that they are unhappy. The posts that say they "agree they are the unhappy lot", or have some complaining  comments, will get the most votes.  I remember about 8-9 years ago, when Katrina Rowtree (from an Australian show called Getaway) came to do a travel show on Singapore, she commented that "nobody is smiling" while filming on the train. Happiness is how you feel on the inside, and it shows on your face.

Dec 22, 2012 1:27PM
I agree that Singaporean on average are earning alot less than what they used to get 10 years ago...foreign investors and CEOs sitting high up could use their middle management (who usually are local), to squeeze the life out of their staff. Workers can get replaced easily if they do not take up extra work (so called working more efficiently). Labour can be found so easily by importing from another country who are cheaper, hence 2 for the price of one. Big companies with big fat CEOs are the blame for a lot of these unhappiness...greed and inhumane.
Dec 22, 2012 6:09AM
our government always want to strike to be world nos.1 any thing they can and ministers  salary always compare with 1st world country,but  we  as local worker  must compete with 3rd world workers in terms of salary sure die la,how to be happy.
This third world workers go back become superman because here earn $1.00 become many dollars.for us local 1 is 1,sure die.
Dec 26, 2012 7:40PM

I have never thought about whether I was happy or not all my life living in Singapore. I guess I took things for granted and was relatively happy without really  actually thinking about it.  But recently, I must say I have been feeling angry and unhappy with everything that's happening.at home. For the first time in my life, I find living in Singapore hard. I notice that I have started to think that perhaps my daughter should consider living away in the future as there doesn't seem to be much of a future for the young people here. I'm old now so I  don't think about moving away .


I believe the ranking is generally correct. I don't think I'm a positive person now.  I find no joy in the daily running of my business. I find myself worrying EVERYDAY about how to keep the business a going-concern. I'm very tired. Wages have sky-rocketed and so has everything else. I pity the younger generation living here. It's sad that Singapore has turned out the way it has. I think that once Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew has left us, Singapore will leave with him. I do not recognise Singapore and many of the younger Singaporeans anymore. I do not know know they are. We have become horrible people and everyone is chasing after a quick buck. We have forgotten who we are. I think Singapore has sold its soul to the devil in exchange for financial success and prosperity. Is it any wonder that we have become so selfish and intolerable? Is it any wonder that the younger Singaporeans CHOOSE not  to have children when they can? Why should we be surprised at anything anymore?



Disillusioned Singaporean



Dec 22, 2012 7:46AM
Gone are the days where true Sporeans are happy. 6 yrs ago, I couldnt even survive with a pathetic pay which I worked long hrs with a miserable low wage as a single parent with HDB loan to pay so as bills, kids school fees, medical fees etc etc. Late payment kena lawyer letters. So I decided to reside where my kids were borne  which I made the right choice. No doubt working in a foreign country with super high tax, I still can afford to buy a brand new car after 2 yrs of working and even have my own roof which I owned now. My kids are happy and doing well in their studies. No stress even though my work force is tough. 4 weeks paid leave unlike working in Spore given 7 days a yr is like taking away the BOSSES LIFE ............... Only thing that missed out is having a MAID !!! who care about life without a maid........................lmao
Dec 22, 2012 6:06AM

Sorry to One and All.

I'm a person who generally see things the Negative way to attain positive.

I'm neither happy nor unhappy as a SINGAPOREAN borned and live in this tiny country i am proud to called MY HOME. I've served my NS as does my son and my youngest who is going to served our nation in NATIONAL SERVICE soon.

But, on the contrary, I'm really ****ed off at the mention of HDB.

Has HDB credit control even considered the plight that me and my children are going thru ???

We live in a rented singled bedroom room ( Me, 2 son and a DAUGHTER ) sqeezed in.

With a draw down salary of approximately S$5,000, i was told by a Miss Adora Liang ( Credit Control ) that it is not sufficient to service a HDB LOAN ( In Black and White reply ) !!!... But, a single woman who draws S$ 1,800 a mths can service her BTO housing loan !!!...

What is going on in statutory board ???


SO, HOW COULD SINGAPOREAN BE HAPPY ??? When a citizen basic necessity is not even being CONSIDERED nor GRANTED ???


Would i still be proud to PROCLAIMed myself a SINGAPOREAN ???  I think better NOT...
It would be a shameful thing to do when a basic housing is not even being granted....

Whereas, i'm paying rent to help someone else OWNS a home ??? WHAT RUBBISH ???


I would think that the above is ONE MAJOR ISSUE that we, SINGAPOREAN r not happy!!!

WHAT is our MP doing to help... " Is Like That One Lah "....

Dec 25, 2012 7:51PM
I agree...... What happiness do you have every day? after a long days work, we come back home to ease our mind, but never once. Before i retire to bed i have to think what are the payments to pay, paid and is my salary sufficient  till end of every month. Moreover fear haunts me everyday what other payments has yet to  come thru letter. My child's education?................

Dec 22, 2012 6:36AM
We do not need to talk about anything else because too much and never end.
Just imagine a country which a piece of paper can be more expensive than a car
with this high standard of living and must-compete-with-3rd world -worker-salary, kind of salary 
how can  be happy without talking about other things.
Dec 22, 2012 11:42PM
The survey is quite close to the truth. How to verify its accuracy? Simply ask Singaporeans to comment. And all their unhappiness will surface.
Dec 21, 2012 2:07AM
Agree, even when Christians came out from the churches after attended Sunday services, their facial expressions did not appear to be joyful or cheerful. Instead, they appeared serious and aloof. They also observed to be in a hurry for other activities or agenda. I tried to be happy and cheerful, however, due to the passive responses of others I have to be more cautious and careful not to be mistaken or misunderstood of my intention especially towards the opposite sex.
Dec 20, 2012 10:32AM

someone once said about Mahatma Gandhi: if people would only knew what it took to keep

Gandhi in poverty. Substitute 'Gandhi in poverty' for 'the Lee's and PAP whiter than white.'

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