Singapore ranks as world’s most emotionless society: survey

UPDATE at 22 Nov, 4:30pm: Adds Gallup partner's advice to Singapore leaders on improving citizens' lives

Are Singaporeans unfeeling?

The city state has been ranked the most emotionless society in the world, according to a Gallup poll.

The U.S. pollster conducted the survey in over 140 countries and asked questions such as: ‘Did you smile laugh a lot yesterday?’, ‘Felt respected or well-rested?’ and ‘Did you experience the following feelings a lot during the day yesterday? (Enjoyment, physical pain, worry, sadness, stress, anger)’.

Only 36 per cent of Singaporeans polled responded affirmatively to the questions – the lowest behind Georgia, Lithuania, and Russia.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Philippines came up tops as the most emotional society ahead of El Salvador and Bahrain.

Yahoo! Singapore sought the views of Singaporeans on these survey results.

Jose Raymond, executive director of the Singapore Environment Council and district councilor of the North East Community Development Council, disagrees with the poll, believing that Singaporeans are more than capable of expressing their emotions.

He said, “I don't think Singaporeans are an emotionless bunch. And based on my interaction with many Singaporeans, I can safely conclude that there are a lot of them who are either happy, sad, angry or worried of one thing or another.

“The very fact that we have a national conversation going on, and that quite a fair bit of Singaporeans have come forward to share air their thoughts and views show that people do care about what they want, and about what they hope for the future,” he added.

Luana Low, a public relations manager, believes it’s not that Singaporeans are lacking in emotions, but that they do not care enough.

She said, “I think that in our striving for excellence such as the paper chase and career, we end up missing out on a lot of the other things in life. We end up becoming more apathetic to societal events and changes around us.

“I don't think it's so much that we're emotionless, it's more that we don't really care about what's going on around,” she added.

Jon Clifton, a Gallup partner in Washington, feels that Singaporeans are sacrificing economic success and stability for what truly matters.

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

He also added, "This research shows that the solutions to improve positive emotions or decrease negative emotions do not necessarily go beyond higher incomes.

"Singapore leadership needs to consider strategies that lie outside of the traditional confines of classic economics and would be well-advised to include wellbeing in its overall strategies if it is going to further improve the lives of its citizenry."

What’s your view? Do you think Singaporeans are lacking in emotions?


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