Monday, August 20, 2007

US kids cite very simple things that make them happy, according to an AP-MTV survey on youth happiness. Having strong relationships with others: family, friends and significant others -- in that order -- give them the security they need to be happy. Other indicators of youth happiness have to do with having a sense of belonging with some form of religious organization, and close parental bonding. Surprisingly, kids are also happier attending school (I suppose than not). Concerns for material well-being seem to have more to do with concerns over income disparity across the ethnic divide rather than with personal concerns.

Could it be that our kids aren't the selfish, angst-ridden, ungrateful little brats that we take them to be after all? Could it be also that despite the world having changed so much in the last couple of generations in terms of personal access to wealth and technology, our fundamental happy-factors haven't changed at all? What makes these kids happy are pretty much what would have made our ancestors happy, according to the results of this survey.

If these survey results are to be believed, then I wonder if the developments the PM promised us in his Nat Day Rally speech are going to be enough to make S'poreans a happier lot in the long-run. We can look forward to a whole slew of initiatives that will take care of our material concerns, some necessarily pragmatic (like tweaking our CPF in consideration of our longer life-expectancies) to the extravagant (beach resort HDB dwelling, anyone?), but if we don't do something about building better relations with our fellow S'poreans and FTs, our beautiful house will still not yet be a home.

But that, of course, is only what the govt can realistically promise -- better infrastructure, better living conditions. There's nothing wrong with having a nicer house, I guess, but it depends on ourselves as residents to make life pleasant for everyone, family members, guests and even our neighbours as well. Whatever the govt is promising, being happy is ultimately a do-it-yourself endeavour. Shall we roll up our sleeves and start work on it?

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