x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Stressed Singaporeans more gloomy than Iraqis

Singaporeans are not surprised by the results of a Gallup poll that puts their home at the bottom of a global positivity index.

DUBAI // Singaporeans are not surprised by the results of a Gallup poll that puts their home at the bottom of a global positivity index.

Just 46 per cent said yes to five key questions about their happiness.

"Singaporeans are very grumpy people," said Mike Tham, a Singaporean telecomunications engineer working in Dubai. "We have an old joke: if you travel to any part of the world and see a group of people complaining, nine times out of 10 it'll be Singaporeans. Singapore is a more results-orientated system. People are always stressed and rushing to get things finished."

Tham and his family have been living in Dubai for five years.

"I want to stay away from Singapore for as long as I can. We visit every year for a holiday and I can see just how crowded it's got," he said. "We don't do much there - the beaches aren't as nice as here and neither is the nightlife. But the food is excellent, that's one thing I miss."

Tham's wife, Jovita, said life in Dubai was tough at first and she even considered moving back home.

Now she runs an orientation programme to help Singaporean families settle into the Emirates. "We have to prepare them to expect a lot of frustration when it comes to time-keeping and services," she said.

Despite initial qualms, she said the quality of life in the UAE had been much better for her family.

Edwin Tan, who also moved here five years ago, said he expected his home country to score much less.

"People are very unhappy in Singapore," he said. "We feel like second-class citizens in our own country.

"The government is more concerned about making money than it is about taking care of its people. I know a lot of Singaporeans who would leave the country and never return if they found an opportunity elsewhere."

malkhan@thenational.ae