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  • Writer's pictureAudrey Chin

The GALLUP Polls– Should Singaporeans Even Care?

Updated: Jun 10, 2022



According to Gallup Singapore ranks as the least emotional country in the world and also the least positive

Is this heartbreaking? Should we be concerned?

First, lets see what the poll questions are  –

Gallop measures daily emotions of a sample of about 1,000 persons in each country.

The questions that they ask residents are:

Did you feel well-rested yesterday? Were you treated with respect all day yesterday? Did you smile or laugh a lot yesterday? Did you learn to do something interesting yesterday? How about enjoyment? Did you experience anger? Did you experience stress? Did you experience sadness? Did you experience physical pain? Did you experience worry?

To measure emotionality or the presence/absence of emotions, Gallup averaged together the percentage of residents in each county who said they experienced each of the 10 states.

So what does a low or high emotionality score mean?

A country will have a high emotionality score if most of it’s residents report experiencing many of the 10 emotional states during the day i.e., you’re not just happy, you’re also sad.

A country where people don’t experience, don’t notice experiencing, or prefer not to report experiencing any of the ten states would thus score extremely low.

Singaporeans may not lack emotionality. They may just have been too busy to notice what they were feeling or felt it was none of the Gallup poll-taker’s business.

As for being the least positive…

Well, if you didn’t notice or didn’t report many positive or negative states (for whatever reasons) then clearly your score on being positive will be low.

The local newspapers like to diss the good citizens of their own country.  They didn’t mention that although Singapore scored low on positive emotions, we also scored low on negative ones.  Guys! Despite the high mortgage rates, outrageous car prices, crowded MRT, the gahmen, the furriners, the damned cost of living, we are not the most negative people in the world.

Just in case you’re interested, Gallup says that negative emotions are highest in Iraq, Bahrain and the Palestinian territories. That’s where they have guns and bombs and no one is sure they’ll sleep through the night and wake up alive the next morning. So… hey … let’s get real here about how bad we think our lives are.

Should we care?

All of the above data are part of a larger Global Wellbeing Report that Gallup has been carrying out since 2005. The reports of the 2005-2009 surveys (published in 2010) can be found at

It makes for befuddling reading when Singapore’s and Korea’s residents responses who that they have the same average daily well-being score as the residents of Bangladesh, the Congo, India and Sri Lanka AND lower scores than those of Zimbabwe, the Sudan, Turkmenistan and Malawi!

What can it mean when the residents of Panama claim the best daily well-being, followed by Paraguay, Indonesia, Iceland, Namibia, Malaysia and Costa Rica?

The only conclusion I can make, and I do have a Ph.D. in analyzing social statistics, is:

A – Some people see the hole in the doughnut while others see the edible bits.

B- States of reported well-being have very little to do with the existence of objective stress factors like war, hunger and poverty.

C – Guys! We might be a bit whiney here.

The good news is we could all be happier if we did the following:

Worry less and find more things to smile or laugh about

Respect ourselves and not angst when others put us down (including Gallup polls)

Take a five minute break every hour to rest ourselves

Try to learn something interesting everyday


As for anger and stress … Close your eyes, let it overwhelm you, then forgive, forget and let it go. COME OFF IT … HOW CAN WE SAY WE’RE WORSE OFF ON A DAILY BASIS THAN THE FOLKS IN NIGERIA, VENEZUELA, RWANDA, CAMBODIA ?!?

What do you think? Is this easier said than done? Do share. Leave a comment.

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