Well-being and Humanities Education in Singapore , pp. 5 of 11

  • Income and wealth;
  • Jobs and earnings;   
  • Housing;
  • Health;
  • Work-life balance;
  • Education and skills;
  • Social connections;
  • Civic engagement and governance;
  • Environmental quality; and
  • Personal security.

Certainly, having a standard of living in which basic needs are met (e.g., having enough to eat, adequate housing, access to decent healthcare), having a sense of personal security (e.g., from violence and humiliation) and belonging (e.g., social connections), and having the skills and opportunity to participate effectively in society and political decision-making are necessary conditions for well-being. People can also gain a sense of well-being through culture and the arts and by being able to exercise basic freedoms and rights, such as rights to move freely from place to place, free speech and political association, and freedom from discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation and race (Sen, 2008).

Well-being in Singapore

Several studies of well-being have been conducted in Singapore or have included Singapore as part of a larger study (e.g., Gallup World Poll, 2012; Happiness Planet Index Report, 2012; Singapore Social Health Project, 2013; Swinyard, et al, 2000; Tambyah, et al, 2009; Yuen & Chu, 2012). They provide a snapshot of the current state of well-being in Singapore.

Tambyah, Tan, and Kau (2009) report that most Singaporeans are concerned about their economic well-being and are generally happy. Good health, having a comfortable home, stable employment, and being able to spend time with family contribute to this sense of well-being. However, they found that Singaporeans do not feel a correspondingly high level of accomplishment. Their perceptions of the overall quality of life are largely influenced by their social relationships and family life.

The Singapore Social Health Project Report by the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (2013) offers a good assessment of well-being in Singapore. They report on the state of well-being in several areas and their report is based on a meta-analysis of multiple data sources (e.g., government sources and statistics, surveys, etc.) and research studies (both local and international). The summary of findings from the report is included below in Table 1.

An Inspiring Quote

"[Open-mindedness] includes an active desire to listen to more sides than one; to give heed to facts from whatever source they come; to give full attention to alternative possibilities; to recognize the possibility of error even in the beliefs that are dearest to us."

~ John Dewey, How We Think

Newsletter Subscription

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up-to-date with new journal issues!