Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Down in the dumps

So we made yet another world-class top-ten: #10 on Gallup's list of the most pessimistic countries in the world. We're right up there with Greece and a bunch of rather depressing Euro countries, Haiti and Taiwan, so we're really partying with the best of them.

The linked article also recalls another poll in which we bottomed out as the "least emotional people in the world". Has anyone really seen an unemotional Singaporean? What with the road rage, the railing at government inefficiencies, the whining and complaining that's become our national pastime (along with shopping and food bingeing), "unemotional" is quite an ironic description of the Singaporean mood-meter reading.

Which is why I suspect Singaporeans are fantastic liars when it comes to providing information for inconsequential surveys. It's ingrained somewhere in our psyches from our immigrant peasant roots that we never let on how happy we are, especially in front of strangers. To do so would be tempting fate to reverse our fortune with a disaster or three. A couple of generations ago, people named their children after farm animals so that passing mischief makers -- mortal or ethereal -- would mistake the subject of discussion for a common thing, instead of the bundle of joy it was and so not bother trying to make off with it out of malice or spite.

Interpreting the Singaporean response to Gallup's latest poll has to be read within our cultural context. The fact that we made it to the top-10 pessimist list actually means the opposite. We actually are a damned happy people, but you'll never hear about that from us.

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