What makes S’poreans happy?

In Uncategorized on 04/01/2018 at 10:30 am
When TRE used this How PAP can make S’poreans happy without “raiding” the reserves there was a considered reply.
MENTAL HEALTH in Singapore is a CONSEQUENCE of not a CONDITION for happiness. Being happy in Singapore means first having enough to put food on the table, to have a decent job, and to be able to educate your children.
Well this explains why ang moh tua kees like Kirsten Han and Seehan Peelay don’t resonate with ordinary S’poreans.
The piece in full. It’s not the usual BS from Aussie tax-dodger and welfare cheat Oxygen (he uses his CPF account to hide money from Aussie authorities while claiming welfare benefits) or pals.
It’s a totful, informative piece even if it takes a couple of cheap shots at me.

As usual CI takes a truncated reading of Richard Layard’s research and misses the context of his findings.

Richard acknowledges that the state has tackled issues of poverty, unemployment, education and physical health and he now points to the need to attend to mental health and wellbeing AS WELL.

In case, CI can’t remember (since he claims he lived in London before) Britain has a reasonable social welfare system that supports those unemployed, retired, single parents and so on. It has a SAFETY NET that ensures that those who fall through the cracks are not forgotten. It is not a perfect system and it has been abused in the past but increasingly tightened to prevent exploitation.

By and large, therefore, (and there will always be exceptions) putting food on the table, having a roof over your head is not a critical issue because of the welfare system.

Talking about doubling salaries and increasing happiness marginally therefrom is merely saying that if one has ENOUGH the increase in wealth is not THE priority and indeed good relationships are central to happiness and contentment. So in this regard Richard Layard’s findings are nothing new for people in this part of the world.

A second cultural condition which differs from that in Singapore is that in Britain, by and large, the successful are not always envied; often they are criticised for being exploitative, corrupt etc (think about Philip Green). Many more people here think that if you are successful, you have probably been lucky, had good connections or was at the right place at the right time; nothing to do with intelligence and being clever. Most people believe that given the same luck or opportunity they would be just as successful. In others words, there is nothing special about being rich or successful.

Because this is their attitude aspiring to be rich and wealthy is not an obsession. People marry, for example, not because their partners have money; firemen, policemen, brickies are often preferred to bankers.

The long and short of this and many other more nuanced considerations which ‘anglophile’ CI misses is that wealth does not have the same priority in the order of things here in Britain as it does in Singapore and for good reason.

My final point is CI’s spurious suggestion that mental health can solve the problem of Singaporean’s unhappiness. MENTAL HEALTH in Singapore is a CONSEQUENCE of not a CONDITION for happiness. Being happy in Singapore means first having enough to put food on the table, to have a decent job, and to be able to educate your children. CI has put the cart before the horse. And the reason why he has missed this obvious point, is he (through luck, good connections etc, not intelligence) is living in a ‘private estate’; i.e. out of…

Re the last para taking a cheap shot at me: Napoleon wanted to know only one thing when he promoted generals to Marshalls,  “I know he’s a good general, but is he lucky?” because “I’d rather have lucky generals than good ones.”

And waz wrong with being well-connected rather than intelligent?

I met a girl on Christmas Day that juz finished Pre U in RI. I was shocked to hear that in her cohort there were about 1200. In my time, late 60s early 70s, RI had a population of around 1200. Now even taking into account the growth in population, in one component of intelligence (academic results), there’s simply too many intelligemt people.

So being lucky or well-connected, or both, is a lot better than being intelligent.

Whatever, writer should consider moving over to Chris K’s FB wall. Too many anti-PAP nuts there now. Help needed to return the wall to it’s former status as a safe place for thinking anti-PAPpists, those who want PAP to improve or those who just want to a more open society.

  1. stop bellyaching about getting a cheap shot – it is unbecoming of a cynic.

  2. in ur days how many universities were there in sg? how many university students? in 1980 lord dainton said sg is too small to have two unis, and SU NU should merge… (I also point out in those days, knowledge was worth more money; today, you get it free on google)

    when the issue of having more unis came up in mid-80s, I said to tan chin nam (who is he? hehheh) we cant use uni student nos. in usa as guide – in usa secretaries have degrees; he replied, if that makes them better secretaries, then fine; I hope secretaries in sg now get paid enough so that degree holders fight to become secretaries

    carly fiorina, after getting degree, started as receptionist in a real estate agency near Stanford, and steadily rose from there; I am sure many secretaries with degrees in sg look forward to the same career

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