Are Singaporeans an emotionless lot?

Are Singaporeans an emotionless lot?

A new international poll has found Singapore to be the most emotionless society. Find out why and what Singaporeans feel about being labelled as such.


Are Singaporeans emotionless?

According to a news report by Bloomberg and CNN, Singapore has come out tops for being the most emotionless society in the world.

So is it true? Are we Singaporeans emotionless?

The poll
International surveyors, Gallup had interviewed about 1000 residents in 150 countries over a period of three years to measure their daily emotions. Questions that were asked included whether people felt well-rested or stimulated by learning, smiled and laughed (positive emotions) or felt worry, sadness, stress or anger (negative emotions).

I don’t feel a thing
A measly 36% of Singaporeans surveyed said they felt something during the course of the day, be it positive emotions such as happiness or negative ones like frustration. This number was the lowest amongst the 150 countries polled and surveyed by Gallup. Also pulling in low numbers are countries from the former Soviet Union states such as Georgia and Lithuania, with 37%; and Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, with 38%.

On the other side of the spectrum, our Asian neighbour The Philippines has been found to be the most emotional society with 60% of those surveyed feeling one emotion or another throughout the day.

Are Singaporeans an emotionless lot?Implications
The implications of this state of non-emotion is significant as Jon Clifton, a partner at Gallup and director of the Gallup Government Group writes, “To continue to be competitive in today’s world, Singapore must begin focusing on behavioral-based indicators that move beyond GDP. “

Clifton adds in an accompanying article for the Gallup Business Journal,”The bottom line is that Singaporeans are productive, highly disciplined citizens who are not enjoying their lives much,” and “This culture has won historically, but it will not move to the next level until its leadership takes wellbeing seriously.”

Riches and success no guarantee for emotional fulfillment?
Yes, we might have the highest number of millionaires in the world as well as  one of the lowest unemployment rates at 1.9% but from this survey, it would seem that the average Singaporean is an emotionless automaton.

Some academics have also tried to pinpoint the reason for this with Leong Chan-Hoong, research fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies saying, We are taught to keep going and not make too much of a fuss.” and William Wan, general secretary of the Singapore Kindness Movement, adding that generally Singaporeans still “take themselves too seriously.”

Emotional response
The response to the results however belie this emotionless tag that Singaporeans have been given with many commenting for or against the results on public platforms such as forums and social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.

On Facebook, Edward Alexzandra Peters wrote, “Where got time to laugh? Wake up, must fight for place on trains, lunch time, must fight for place to sit down and eat, go home must fight for place on trains.”  While Melody posted on Twitter, “How can Singaporeans be the most emotionless in the world when they complain the most every day? I’m baffled.”

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Written by

Wafa Marican

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