Bangkok rates bottom in nation's happiness stakes
The people of Mae Hong Son are the happiest in the country, while Bangkokians are the least happy, according to the results of an Abac poll released yesterday, which marked the International Day of Happiness.The lower level of happiness in the capital was attributed to stress from materialism, high crime and bad family ties, the pollster said.
The Academic Network for Community Happiness Observation and Research (ANCHOR) at Assumption University surveyed opinions of 12,429 people nationwide from March 1-19. They rated people's happiness on a scale of 1-10 based on 17 indicators, and found that general happiness has dropped from last December's 7.61 score to 6.58.
Individually, the happiness indicator with the highest score - of 9.23 - remained the people's unity in expressing loyalty to the country, religion and the monarchy.
That was followed by family relationships at 7.28, current vocation (7.20), physical health (7.18), mental health (7.14), culture and tradition (7.07), community relationships (6.75), housing and infrastructure (6.56), access to medical services (6.51), financial security (6.18), education (6.11), safety in life and property (6.08), social justice (5.39) and natural resources and environment (5.36).
Indicators that had a less than 50 per cent score were the government's transparency and local administration at 4.08, overall picture of politics at 4.02, and politicians' quality and morals, at 3.04.
On the provincial front, the survey found the happiest province was Mae Hong Son at 60.9 per cent, followed by Phang Nga at 60.7 per cent, Chaiyaphum at 60 per cent, Prachin Buri at 57 per cent and Uthai Thani at 56.6 per cent.
Key factors for happiness in these five provinces were the environment, rural lifestyle, good relationships in family and community, high safety in life and property, low crime rate, pride in local history, little-to-moderate urbanisation and materialism, and more importantly, loyalty to the nation, religion and the monarchy, which boosted their unity.
Bangkok ranked lowest at 20.8 per cent after Samut Prakan at 22 per cent and Phuket at 24.2 per cent. These provinces were least happy because of high urbanisation and materialism; high crime rates; relationships in family and community in crisis; drug problems and alcoholism; disunity and bias in society; anger; public antipathy to government and local administration due to lack of transparency; pollution and health problems.
The poll also presented "Thailand's roadmap to happiness" comprising four aspects: promoting patriotism as a common value that unite citizens; promoting trust in the government by getting it to be transparent; promoting trust in public officials by revealing what fines and fees are be spent on; setting up common goals - such as being a leader in the AEC, which could lead to helping Thais communicate in English and work with foreigners.