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ASIA / PACIFIC
Page 16 n THE ASIAN REPORTER
Asia finds money brings happiness
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H AW TH ORN E LOBSTER H OU SE
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INGAPORE — Emerging Asian nations are
finding out what developed ones did years ago:
money — and the stuff it buys — brings happiness.
Levels of self-reported wellbeing in fast-growing
nations like Indonesia, China, and Malaysia now rival
those in the U.S., Germany, and the United Kingdom —
rich nations that have long topped the happiness charts,
according to a recent Pew Research Center global survey.
It says it shows how rises in national income are closely
linked to personal satisfaction.
The pollsters asked people in 43 countries to place
themselves on a “ladder of life,” with the top rung
representing the best possible life and the bottom the
worst. Pew carried out the same survey in 2002 and 2005
in most of those countries, enabling researchers to look at
trends over time.
But the data also suggested that there is a limit to how
much happiness money can buy. For example, 56 percent
of Malaysians rated their life a “seven” or higher on the
ladder, significantly more than the 36 percent in
Bangladesh, a poor country. Yet the public in Germany,
which has far higher gross domestic product per capita
than Malaysia, expressed a life satisfaction level of 60
percent, just four percentage points more than Malaysia.
While wealth is clearly important to happiness, other
research has indicated it is far from the only factor.
Women tend to be happier than men, for example, and
unmarried and middle-aged people tend to report lower
levels of wellbeing than married and younger people,
Just as Asians were likely to have reported rises in
personal satisfaction over the last five years, they were
also especially confident about the future. Broad
majorities of Bangladeshis, Thais, Indonesians, Chinese,
Filipinos, and Indians are expecting their life in five years
to be higher on the ladder than it is today.
The survey showed the people in Jordan, Egypt, and
Tunisia were among the least satisfied among emerging
nations, and also the least optimistic about the future.
The researchers suggested the political and social turmoil
in the region might be a factor. Spain, which has seen its
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LADDER OF LIFE. A child runs to a family member receiving her
at the arrival hall of the international airport in Beijing, China. Levels of
self-reported wellbeing in fast-growing nations like Indonesia, China, and
Malaysia now rival those in the U.S., Germany, and the United Kingdom
— rich nations that have long topped the happiness charts, according to
a recent Pew Research Center global survey. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)
economy contract, showed a decrease in reported levels of
wellbeing since 2007.
On the key findings, in eight of the 14 emerging
countries surveyed in both 2007 and 2014, the percentage
who say they stand at seven or higher on the “ladder of
life” increased by double digits. Some of the biggest gains
occurred in Indonesia, China, Pakistan, Malaysia, and
The survey also asked respondents whether their
household had each of the following nine items: a
television, refrigerator, washing machine, microwave
oven, computer, car, bicycle, motorcycle, and radio. In
findings that were replicated across 37 of the countries,
the more items a person had on the list, the happier they
tended to be.
The research was based on 47,643 interviews in 43
countries with adults 18 and older. It was conducted
between March and June this year. The Pew Research
Center is a nonpartisan research center that informs the
public about the issues, attitudes, and trends shaping
America and the world. It is funded by a charitable trust.
World leaders wrap up Asia summit
24 22 SE H aw thor n e Blvd.Por tlan d OR. 9 7214
November 17, 2014
Continued from page 5
and 13 in Myanmar’s purpose-built
Obama, Chinese Premier Li
Keqiang, Russian Prime Minister
Dmitry Medvedev, South Korean
President Park Geun-hye, and Indian
Prime Minister Narendra Modi were
among 18 leaders attending. And it
was the first ASEAN summit for
newly elected Indonesian President
In recent years, journalists flown in
to cover the annual gathering have
only been granted superficial access
to officials. And Myanmar, which ran
the event with military-like disci-
pline, a legacy of a half-century of dic-
tatorial rule, kept the press farther
from participants than most hosts.
Below are some of final statements
and comments made on the sidelines:
South China Sea
Territorial disputes in the South
China Sea, which is of tremendous
strategic importance to everyone,
including Washington, need to be
solved peacefully and through
dialogue. Southeast Asian nations
and China should work toward the
early conclusion of a Code of Conduct
in the South China Sea.
While not on the official agenda,
recent backslides of Myanmar’s
once-heralded reforms were raised on
the sidelines, as were expressions of
“deep concern” about persecution of
the country’s stateless Rohingya
Muslims. U.N. Secretary General
Ban Ki-moon urged President Thein
Sein to address the issue of
citizenship — an underlying issue
behind violence and systematic
Ebola poses a global threat to peace
and security and relief assistance is
needed to help fight the deadly virus
in the hardest-hit West Africa
nations, home to most of the world’s
5,000 deaths. When necessary,
leaders from Southeast Asian nations
will seek technical assistance from
the World Health Organization to
help detect and respond to public
Islamic State group
Participants reiterated that they
supported efforts to restore law and
order inside Iraq as it — and the
world at large — struggles with
threats posed by the Islamic State
group. They called on Iraq and
international partners to ensure the
protection of civilians and access to
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humanitarian assistance for those
affected by the conflict. They
demanded the immediate, safe, and
unconditional release of all those who
are kept hostage by the group or
associated individuals and entities.
importance of peace, security, and
stability on the Korean Peninsula
and stressed the need to return to
six-party talks aimed at dismantling
Pyongyang’s nuclear program. Those
talks, which brought together China,
Japan, North Korea, Russia, South
Korea, and the United States, broke
down in 2008.
Associated Press writer
Todd Pitman contributed to this
report from Bangkok, Thailand.
Yuna Kim named Winter
Continued from page 9
role with the organizing committee.”
In a statement, the local organizing
committee said Kim “will be a great
asset as she will play a high- profile
role promoting the games and
engaging the public as she
participates in major domestic and