In a news article recently published on the subject of Happiness, Singapore style, I learned that from a survey of 1500 people, Singaporeans can be grouped into six clusters based on their values and lifestyles. The article then asked, which type are you?
The six types are:
1) Conservative Family Oriented – 17.8%.
Typically married, middle-aged and religious; frown on premarital sex and divorce; Savvy online, least eco-friendly; highest share of high-income earners and university graduates. (This cluster was known as traditional family-oriented and included lower-income married women who valued customs.)
2) New-age family-oriented – 18.6%
Young, bleeding-heart types who prioritise loved ones; most wired and eco-friendly of the lot; love volunteering and taking up a cause; not materialistic, less averse to premarital sex and divorce, may not be religious; age 20s to early 30s, larger share of singles, middle-income earning, and most have secondary and tertiary education. (Group has expended thrice since 2001.)
3) Feel-Good Entrepreneurs – 18.6%
Best represented by the gungho female social entrepreneur who channels creativity and resourcefulness into a cause, even if it is not profitable. Highly educated. and least conservative of the lot. Can be from a younger or older set, high share of singles. Most are middle or high- income earners.
4) New Age Entrepreneurs – 21.5%
Yuppie, ambitious males running their own start-ups or climbing the corporate ladder. Most are young or middle aged. Most status conscious of all; likely to wield the latest smartphone or flashy car, or to be seen at ‘it’ clubs like Avalon or Pangaea; While many are married, they placed the least importance in family relations.
5) Traditional Entrepreneurs – 12.4%
Less tech-savvy and not as well-educated as the rest, this hardy group hails from the pre-independence generation. Most are married and aged 45 to 64. Most entrepreneurial and self reliant of all; place great value on family and religion, tend to be conservative.
6) Materialistic Dreamers – 11.1%
Typically represented by the solidly middle-income, older and married woman with secondary education; yearn for branded goods and luxury items; do not care much for volunteering and the environment; not entrepreneurial.
Just in case you are wondering at this point what has happiness got to do with this grouping, the researchers draw links between what people value and how happy they are. Eg, the more family oriented, environmentally conscious and online savvy the respondents were, the more likely they were satisfied with their personal life, or ‘subjective personal wellbeing’. Volunteerism, entrepreneurial spirit, conservatism and eco-friendliness contributed to respondent’s greater satisfaction with living in Singapore, or ‘subjective social wellbeing.’
People hate to be pigeon-holed and so do I, but in this case, I wanted to see where I belong. So after a careful study of the group, I could immediately eliminate myself from the entrepreneurs and dreamers. At best, I belong to the conservative family oriented group, although I am not religious and do not frown on divorce, and I consider myself slightly eco-friendly rather than totally not.
Perhaps I am an in-between but there are some people whom I could immediately fit exactly into the pigeon-hole. (Yes, in my circle, there is definitely a Materialistic Dreamer.) Most of my friends are like me though, mainly conservative-oriented. I guess birds (or in this case pigeons) do flock together.
What was curiously obvious to me is that schools play a part in shaping your values if parents do not play a firm role in the child’s life (With exceptions, of course.) I believe I am conservative because of my Nanyang Education in the 70s, a Chinese school. Yes, I frown on premarital sex and do not yearn for brands and status. A friend from another girls’ school told me how her daughter was told off by her schoolmates for wearing Giodarno instead of Zara. Her daughter subsequently transferred to a Chinese medium secondary school where she felt more comfortable. And we all know which girls’ school has the reputation for pre-marital sex and abortions, even if untrue.
With this knowledge, I try to impart my ‘conservative family-oriented’ values on my sons rather than let them be influenced by school culture: Saturday nights are Grandparents’ night. Brands are not important, practicality is. Divorce is fine, pre-marital sex is not. Status is from your self-esteem. When you have self confidence, you don’t need status.
Of course, these may fall on deaf ears soon as they become adults but I do hope they see the link between values and happiness.