Are Asians Happier?

fountainhall
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#1 Are Asians Happier?

Postby fountainhall » Sun Apr 08, 2018 1:58 pm

Further to my comments on Whither Democracy in Asia, merely as an exercise I decided to look up the World Happiness Reports to see how countries in East Asia have fared over the previous 12 months. The listings are produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Most of the data comes from the Gallup World Poll and other sources such as the World Values Survey. The Gallup questionnaire includes 14 areas of living – business & economic, citizen engagement, communications & technology, diversity (social issues), education & families, emotions (well being), environment & energy, food & shelter, government & politics, law & order (safety), health, religion & ethics, transportation and work.

How all that is collected let alone boiled up together to produce a World Happiness Report beats me. But for what it’s worth, here are the placings for 2018. Alongside each I have inserted the change between 2018 and 2017. The only comparison I cannot make is for Laos which appears to have no entry in 2017.

2018 Placings
26 Taiwan +7
34 Singapore -8
35 Malaysia +7
46 Thailand -14
54 Japan -3
57 South Korea -1
71 Philippines +1
76 Hong Kong -5
86 China -7
95 Vietnam -1
96 Indonesia -15
110 Laos ?
120 Cambodia +9
130 Myanmar -16

Based on these scores, over the 12-month period people have become considerably less happy in East Asia. Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand fare worst. Cambodia, Malaysia and Taiwan fare best. The other differences worth noting, I think, are that both Hong Kong and Singapore have dropped significantly. This is hardly surprising when you talk with citizens in those countries. Despite their relative wealth, costs in both cities are rising dramatically, pollution is worse and each has specific problem issues the governments seem unable to tackle.

The big surprise for me is Malaysia. Despite its massive corruption scandals, growing religious divide and increasing opposition to the party which has ruled the country in its 61 years since Independence, it would appear that Malaysians are quite a bit more happy. I find that hard to believe. But then, as has been said about listings in the past, how accurate is any of this type of listing?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Happiness_Report

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Gaybutton
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#2 Re: Are Asians Happier?

Postby Gaybutton » Sun Apr 08, 2018 4:45 pm

Ever since the Trump election, I don't trust the accuracy of these kinds of reports, surveys, polls, or anything similar. Maybe this report is accurate and maybe not.

However, if you ask the Rohingya if Asians are happier, the answer is no.

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#3 Re: Are Asians Happier?

Postby deanagam » Sun Apr 08, 2018 7:32 pm

Are the samplings for the polls and surveys taken from every tier of the population, or basically reflecting the opinions of kleptocrats whose largesse have spread to the people who took part and responded?

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#4 Re: Are Asians Happier?

Postby thaiworthy » Sun Apr 08, 2018 9:01 pm

Thailand Ranked World's "Least Miserable" Country Again

NEW YORK: The Land of Smiles was named the least miserable country out of 66 economies ranked by the Bloomberg Misery Index, which assumes that low inflation and low unemployment translates into satisfaction among the populace, finishing in first place for the fourth straight year and just edging out its regional rivals.

“The Bloomberg Misery Index relies on the age-old concept that low inflation and unemployment generally illustrate how good an economy’s residents should feel,’’ the news and research agency said in posting the results on its website.

Thailand has had persistently low unemployment for many years, the unemployment rate ranging between 0.4-1.2% since 2011. A remarkable result. Many workers who do lose their job in the formal sector are able to be gainfully employed in the informal sector of the economy, and still support themselves and their families. Street vendors and motorcycle taxi drivers belong to this latter category.

According to the Bank of Thailand, the country's inflation rate was low at 0.66% last year while the country's unemployment rate was 1.04%.

“Inflation in Thailand has also been consistently low,” Bloomberg said. Thailand’s consumer confidence has been steadily rising along with business and industrial confidence.

https://www.thaivisa.com/forum/topic/10 ... nked-world’s-‘least-miserable’-country-again/
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Jun
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#5 Re: Are Asians Happier?

Postby Jun » Mon Apr 09, 2018 12:03 am

This survey appears to be missing some criteria that I would find important.

The 2 most obvious examples are working hours & climate.
The Japanese work longer hours than most European countries & the South Koreans significantly longer. In China, it seems surprisingly common to work 6 days a week. Having a 1 day weekend would not increase my happiness.

I personally would not be too happy in one of those countries where the winters are extremely cold, since it makes just going for a stroll into a chore.

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#6 Re: Are Asians Happier?

Postby aussie » Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:12 pm

Jun wrote:This survey appears to be missing some criteria that I would find important.

The 2 most obvious examples are working hours & climate.
The Japanese work longer hours than most European countries & the South Koreans significantly longer

The same for many in Taiwan. One of my Taiwanese friends was an accountant at the 101 building in Taipei. He started before 900 am and often did not finish work till after 800pm each day. Even if they had finished their work earlier they had to wait till the bosses and everyone else went home or it would look bad. He has a new job and better life overseas with his boyfriend in Europe and is much happier now.

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#7 Re: Are Asians Happier?

Postby Gaybutton » Mon Apr 09, 2018 5:41 pm

Jun wrote:The 2 most obvious examples are working hours & climate.

I'm wondering how much those actually factor into it for people who have never known anything else and, as far as they know, that's the way it's supposed to be.

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#8 Re: Are Asians Happier?

Postby lvdkeyes » Tue Apr 10, 2018 10:36 am

It seems to me that most This seem very happy with their lot in life even though many work with only 1 day a month off. Maybe it's the Buddhist element that makes a difference.

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#9 Re: Are Asians Happier?

Postby fountainhall » Tue Apr 10, 2018 11:54 am

When I moved to Hong Kong almost 4 decades ago, it had just changed from a 6-day working week to 5 1/2. I don't recall anyone complaining. One member of my staff basically asked me what she would do if she had more free time, apart from seeing another movie. There really was not much in the way of leisure activities around that time apart from TV and movies. Whereas I thought that half day's work would feel like an imposition, the other half of the day was seen much more as a bonus! As others have noted, it really all depends on what you have been used to.


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