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Are Indonesians happy?

Three faces: kids at Lembongan Island

Well, that looks like a big yes. But hold on a sec – a poll has just been conducted by the US market researcher Gallop to see just how happy the citizens of different nations really are. And here is a summary of the results - which I have tabulated according to the percentage of people who are “thriving” (as opposed to “struggling”).

Rank, Country, %Thriving, %Struggling, %Suffering
1 Denmark 82 17 1
2 Finland 75 23 2
3 Norway 69 31 0
4 Sweden 68 30 2
4 Netherlands 68 32 1
6 Costa Rica 63 35 2
6 New Zealand 63 35 2
8 Canada 62 36 2
8 Israel 62 35 3
8 Australia 62 35 3
8 Switzerland 62 36 2
12 Panama 58 39 3
12 Brazil 58 40 2
14 United States 57 40 3
14 Austria 57 40 3
16 Belgium 56 41 3
17 United Kingdom 54 44 2
18 Mexico 52 43 5
18 Turkmenistan 52 47 1
20 United Arab Emirates 51 48 1
85 Indonesia 18 72 10
94 Malaysia 15 80 5
155 Togo 1 67 31

Data: Gallup World Poll

So the Danes are ranked in first place as the world’s happiest people.

Well good for them.

According to Gallop, the poll shows that money does NOT make for happiness.

But I’m not so sure on that. Sure the world’s richest country, the US, is not ranked first, but it’s also a safe bet to say that poverty certainly does not bring happiness either – none of the 10 “happiest” countries are poor (although Costa Rica, which is ranked sixth, only has a GDP per capita of around US$11,240, the country is still far from poor).

What’s good to see, though, is the strong streak of liberalism and secularism in the top ranked countries. In contrast, Saudi, for all its oil wealth and piety, is nowhere to be seen - and there is no place in the top ten for either Europe’s most religious countries (like Italy, Germany, Spain etc), or the “Great Satan” across the Atlantic.

Indonesia’s ranking of 85th is pretty bad and a whopping 72% of Indonesians polled said they were “struggling”.

I know it’s hard to believe, but that’s what the survey says.

But that’s no reason to get sad.

Just keep on smiling!





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