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Hongkongers not nearly as happy as Asian rivals

Global ranking puts city at a 'respectable' 64 out of 156 - but Singapore comes in at 30

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 11 September, 2013, 10:36am

In the happiness stakes, it seems Hong Kong is falling behind old rival Singapore, according to the latest global UN survey.

The city ranked 64th out of 156 countries in the World Happiness Report 2013, released on Monday. But it's a considerably happier place to live than the mainland, which was 93rd.

Singapore ranked 30th on the list, ahead of other Asian rivals South Korea at 41st and Taiwan in 42nd place. Japan was hot on their heels at 43rd.

And the happiest places? Those in northern Europe topped the list, with Denmark narrowly edging out Norway and Switzerland to claim the crown of contentment. The United States ranked 17th.

Lingnan University Professor Ho Lok-sang, who has run a happiness survey since 2005, said Hong Kong's ranking was in line with his findings.

"Hong Kong's level of happiness is respectable. It is not bad at all," he said. "However, I am slightly surprised as I thought it would be ahead of Singapore."

Singaporeans' extra disposable income, as well as their superior housing situation, could account for the disparity, Ho said.

Published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the report drew on Gallup World Poll data from the past three years to rank countries by factors including life expectancy, perceptions of corruption, gross domestic product per capita and social support.

Countries were rated on a 0-10 scale, with scores ranging from 2.936 (Togo) to 7.639 (Denmark). Hong Kong scored 5.523.

But Ho was not convinced by the methodology, saying it measured satisfaction - not happiness - and respondents were more likely to respond negatively to questions about satisfaction.

"If we ask about satisfaction, people look for a reason to complain," Ho said, adding that this was not the case with happiness.

Several locals were hesitant to say it was a happy place, citing the fast-paced, stressful environment. "I think it's because of the lack of space and the increasing population," said Amy Chung, a lawyer. "It's hard to find a place to relax. Have you seen grass here?"

Terry Choi, who works in finance, said: "The working hours are long and life is stressful.

"But Hong Kong is secure - especially compared with [mainland] China."



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This article is now closed to comments

Well seems like the Singaporeans took a look at our world class (rubbish) property system & finally realize how truly blessed they are.
It's absurd that this article again and again reiterate that HK scores higher in happiness level compared with the Mainland. Mind me for not being politically correct but must we scoop down to the level of a developing country to define our worth ?
It's hard to be happy when a person lacks the basic necessity for life - shelter
and with our teacher swearing at the law, the next generation will grow up worse than the current lot
How can we be happy when we've now got a corrupt government which also tolerates people peeing and pooping in public.
To keep on comparing one's self to others is not the path to happiness. This applies to both the personal level and a societal level.
There will always be someone better or worse off than you; so to compare to either end of the spectrum is pointless.
Don't give too much credit to mere grade school teacher. You don't need to be too well educated or culturally cultivated to be one. Thus I could easily let this one slide.


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