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Why is Singapore not the happiest country in the world?

I am surprised that Singapore is not the happiest country in the world (Singapore falls 4 spots in World Happiness Report to No 26; March 21, online).

Douglas Chua Hock Lye

I am surprised that Singapore is not the happiest country in the world (Singapore falls 4 spots in World Happiness Report to No 26; March 21, online).

We have a per capita gross domestic product of S$73,167 — one of the highest — and a life expectancy of 82.7 years, which is ranked 5th in the world, as well as freedom, generosity, social support and lack of corruption.

Based on the six factors, why are we ranked 26th then, slipping four rungs from last year?

On the generosity factor, we have witnessed Singaporeans answering calls on a national scale to donate and support the needy and those who are deprived. And the social support given to people of all races is well documented.

Singapore is also known for its zero tolerance for corruption, which has ensured an honest, capable government that has earned the people’s trust at every general election. How many countries can declare that there is no corruption in their government?

I suspect Singapore has been penalised on freedom, which is a subjective classification that depends on what one wants or expects. Human rights advocates continue to hammer at Singapore on press freedom, individual rights, our drug laws and judicial independence.

But our freedom brings us peace in a multiracial, multi-religious society.

And if it also gives us happiness, longevity, progress and prosperity, then Singaporeans should be proud to say that we are the happiest country, regardless of our ranking by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Solutions Network.

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