Hongkongers are the least happy when compared with their counterparts in Singapore and Osaka, Japan, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Tuesday, citing a survey.
Hong Kong scored 6.89 out of 10, the first time it has fallen below 7, on the Happiness Index developed by the City University of Hong Kong. The city scored 7.32 in a similar survey 10 years ago.
The latest figure was even lower than the level of 7.11 during the dark days of the deadly SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) outbreak in 2003.
Singapore has the happiest residents, with a score of 7.56, and residents of Osaka are not far behind, at 7.41.
Even those looking for a job in those two cities, scoring close to 7, were happier than their counterparts in Hong Kong, who scored below 6 on the Happy Index.
In Hong Kong, respondents with tertiary education are the most unhappy group.
On the whole, the 1,153 Hongkongers interviewed for the survey last month are less happy than Singaporeans in all six categories covered.
Hongkongers’ overall happiness scores were 6.7 for “leisure and entertainment”, 5.88 for “public health”, 5.66 for “economy”, 4.9 for “environment”, 4.41 in “politics and society” and 4.22 for “housing”.
Singaporeans scored 7.85 for “environment”, 7.62 for “leisure and entertainment”, 7.45 for “public health”, 7.4 for “economy”, 7.27 for “housing” and 7.11 for “politics and society”.
Only in the “economy” category did Hongkongers feel happier than the Osakans, who scored 5.23.
Dennis Wong Sing-wing, professor of criminology and social work in the department of applied social sciences at CityU, said the results reflect the fact that Hongkongers, especially the youth, are increasingly discontented with the government.
One reason, he said, is that Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying seems to have emphasized “one country” rather than “two systems” in governing the city.
Wong warned that Hongkongers’ distrust of the government stemmed from its ignorance of dissenting political views, in particular after the Occupy movement.
He said dissatisfaction with housing policies could be a time bomb.
“The Singaporean government provides 80 percent of the total housing supply to its local people so that they don’t need to suffer from high property prices,” Wong said.
“Why can’t the Hong Kong government do it? Is it because the government dares not deal with the property hegemony?”
Wong also warned that the government should beware of the widening income gap, which may trigger riots some day.
The University of Hong Kong and Lingnan University conducted similar surveys earlier.
Both found that the happiness and satisfaction of Hongkongers last year fell to the lowest levels in at least two years.
Translation by Vey Wong
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