Looks like Singapore really took criticism as the world’s most least positive society to heart.
The findings of the latest Gallup poll released on Monday showed that the city-state recorded the best improvement — emotion-wise — worldwide.
It was one of three countries that showed a double-digit (24) percentage-point increase in positive emotions, far ahead of Afghanistan and Madagascar which had 13 and 14 percentage-point increments, respectively.
Last year, Gallup reported that in its poll conducted in 2011, Singapore scored an all-time low of 46 per cent on a positive experience index, the lowest in the world.
In this year’s report, the polling agency said that in its 2012 poll, Singapore scored 70 per cent, placing the nation in the top half of the world ranking.
"The rise took place among all demographic groups, even as other societal measures remained steady," said a Gallup in an article released on Monday. "Perhaps the most significant contributing factor to the increase was the unprecedented attention leaders and the media gave the findings last year."
Commenting on the findings in the Gallup Business Journal, Gallup senior consultant Leong Chee Tung said the figure "seems to be an anomaly".
"Perhaps by the time Gallup conducted the 2012 study, all the attention that the 2011 study received contaminated the results," he said, noting that its 70 per cent figure is its highest in five years. "It may be useful to take the study at face value and consider any structural factors (trading labour for leisure, shaping up of social safety nets) that may have caused this shift."
The annual poll, which surveys positive emotions across more than 140 countries around the world, gauges the percentage of adults in each locality who experience a range of positive emotions based on their responses to a series of questions.
For the year 2012, Syria was listed as the least positive country in the world, followed by Iraq and Serbia. Attributable to its ongoing civil war, Syria understandably faced the largest year-on-year fall in percentage points on the index, falling 14 per cent from 60 in 2011 to 46 per cent in 2012, a figure that is its lowest since 2008, said Gallup.
Meanwhile, the most positive countries in the ranking were Paraguay and Venezuela (tied at 86 per cent), followed by Panama and Costa Rica (84 per cent), Colombia and Kuwait (83 per cent) and Guatemala (82 per cent). The Philippines is notably the most positive country from Asia, chalking up an 81 per cent score on the positive emotions index.