Taiwan, HK govts 'a let-down'

Taiwan, HK govts 'a let-down'
A protest in Hong Kong.

MS AGNES Wu, a Taiwanese in her 30s, is fed up with the Taiwan media and incessant bickering among the island's politicians.

"The media here is forever fixated on unimportant news, while the political parties care only about their own interests," said the secretary with an electronics company.

For these reasons, Ms Wu would rank Taiwan as only the third happiest place in which to live, after Singapore and Hong Kong, and ahead of mainland China.

Her sentiments are similar to those expressed by some 1,000 Taiwanese polled in a survey conducted in the four economies between July and September.

Slightly over 40 per cent of respondents in Taiwan picked Singapore as the place where they think people are the happiest, as did 48.8 per cent of respondents in Hong Kong and 32.2 per cent in mainland China.

Unhappiness with their own governments appeared to be the main reason Taiwanese and Hong Kongers saw the grass as greener in Singapore. They were the least satisfied with governance, one of 11 indicators of well-being measured in the survey. In China, the main gripe was pollution.

Hong Kong teacher Connie Cheung, 60, felt that her government was being chased by problems instead of planning ahead. She said: "Our government is so short-sighted. There is no land, then we reclaim; no homes, we build; no labour, we import."

But there are also those like Chinese citizen Meng-Yao Yinan, 21, who think home is still the best. Currently studying hotel management in Singapore, he plans to return to China eventually after working in the city-state for a few years. He graduates next year.

He considers the Chinese as the most fortunate, citing strong family ties. This mirrors survey findings which show Chinese respondents being most satisfied with support from family and friends.

seokhwai@sph.com.sg

Additional reporting by Pearl Liu in Hong Kong and Lina Miao in Beijing


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