09 February 2011


I received some news that someone committed suicide this evening. Whilst I do not know the details, it is definitely a very sad and depressing moment for those left behind by the deceased.

Someone said before that it is easy to die but it is hard for those remaining immediate family members who are close to the victim. How do you even begin to process and cope with the sudden loss of someone dear to you and overcome the feelings of helplessness and self-doubt? There would likely be a series of self-questioning whereby you ask yourself what you could have done or what you didn't do to prevent it? The self-blame would likely continue for some time until the person manages to overcome the negative feelings associated with the passing of the loved one.

The above survey shows the suicides per 100,000 per people per year versus the happiness index of a selected number of countries. Singapore is not on the chart. If a line is drawn, the suicides rate would be inversely proportional to the happiness index and this definitely makes sense. Essentially, it just means the higher the happiness index, the lower the suicide rate. However, there is one apparent outlier. For instance, India has one of the lowest happiness index but their suicides rates are also low. As with most statistics, the correlation is not always applicable in all cases and there will always be exceptions.

I wonder where does Singapore stand amidst all this? With all the mounting societal pressure to excel in all areas, would we be in the mid to low range of the happiness index, I wonder? What is our average happiness index and what is your happiness index?