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Stressing about happiness

india Updated: Mar 23, 2008 21:33 IST
Hindustan Times
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In a survey conducted last year, the people of Singapore ranked financial security as the top priority in life — with 99 per cent thinking that they need more money to survive in the island State. That might explain why a consulting firm is now on the hunt for the ‘happiest’ Singaporean. By putting this elusive creature under the microscope, the rather orderly lot in Singapore hopes to spread that one thing that apparently eludes the population — no, no the guilty pleasures of smoking or chewing gum, but happiness.

Despite its material wealth and legendary economic success, happiness is in short supply in Singapore. Has this anything to do with a society that believes in the supremacy of order so much that breaking wind can generate as much guilt there as utter failure does here? The answer to that may lie in the findings of a study conducted in faraway Scotland and Australia that suggest that as much as
50 per cent of happiness levels in an individual is determined by his genes. So ‘happiness’ could be as much about you having a great time as it is about your hardwired disposition that allows you to recognise happy times.

Which brings us back to the sulky, never-satisfied Singaporeans. Half of the problem may lie in the fact that as a society they don’t see happiness even if it hits them with the force of a speeding truck. And one golden rule about being happiness: you can’t order or cajole people to be happy. Something that Singaporeans must come to grips with, la.