A news report by Agence France-Presse, Reuters, as reprinted in The Straits Times today:
"OF ALL the countries in the Asean region, Vietnam has the most to smile about and Singapore the least, according to a list of the happiest countries on the planet.
"A new study published yesterday ranked the small South-east Asian country as 12th on a list of 178 nations, beating big economy behemoths such as Britain and the United States in a survey that measured people's well-being and their impact on the enivronment.
"Singapore, on the other hand, fared the worst of all the Asean and Asian nations ranked, coming in at 131st."
And from the horse's mouth:
"THE HAPPY PLANET Index, an innovative new index from nef (the new economics foundation) launched on Wednesday 12 July 2006, is the first ever index to combine environmental impact with well-being to measure the environmental efficiency with which countries provide long and happy lives. The results are surprising, even shocking. The ranking unmasks a very different world order to that promoted by self-appointed global leaders, the G8. For example, the UK is a disappointing 108th and the USA fares still worse at 150th on the Index.
"... The HPI shows that around the world, high levels of resource consumption do not reliably produce high levels of well-being (life-satisfaction), and that it is possible to produce high levels of well-being without excessive consumption of the Earth's resources.
"... But perhaps most importantly, nef calls for political organisations to embrace and apply new measures of progress, such as the HPI and properly adjusted GDP measures. Only then will we be equipped to address the twin challenges of delivering a good quality of life for all whilst remaining within genuine environmental limits."
(More details in the New Economic Foundation Web site.)