Singapore made most progress among four societies: Poll

It's voted overall No. 1 in social progress, topping China, Taiwan and HK in survey

TAIPEI • Singapore has made the most progress among four ethnic Chinese societies in Asia, in the eyes of people living there, according to a recent study.

The social progress survey was carried out by Singapore's Chinese daily Lianhe Zaobao, Beijing's Horizon Research Consultancy Group, The University of Hong Kong Public Opinion Programme and Taiwan's Global Views Monthly magazine from mid-September to mid-October and published late last month by Lianhe Zaobao and Global Views.

The survey measures overall social progress through nine indicators: government administration, parliamentary efficiency, media credibility, talent supply and demand, social order, corporate responsibility, mutual trust, market response and wealth distribution.

Singapore was voted overall No. 1 by respondents of the four regions, followed by mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in this order.

Among the survey respondents, 67.8 per cent of Taiwanese, 59.2 per cent of Hong Kong people, 54.8 per cent of mainland Chinese and 47.8 per cent of Singaporeans voted Singapore as the society which made the most progress, reported Global Views.

In contrast, only 13.5 per cent of mainland Chinese, 9.2 per cent of Hong Kong people and 9 per cent of Taiwanese perceive their own societies that way.

Singapore, Taiwan and China are dissatisfied in their self-assessment of "wealth distribution", hinting that the poverty gap remains a common challenge across the regions, the study said.

Singapore and Taiwan respondents saw China as the society which made the next most progress.

China saw Hong Kong and itself as the second and third societies which made the most progress after Singapore.

Taiwan scored very low across the regions surveyed except in Hong Kong, where it was perceived as second after Singapore.

A total of 3,654 ethnic Chinese above the age of 20 in Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as 12 cities in mainland China and 20 counties and cities in Taiwan, responded to the survey conducted online and via phone interviews.

In the media credibility category, Singapore came in tops at 6.87 on a 10-point satisfaction scale, followed by China with 6.57 points, Hong Kong with 5.29 points and Taiwan with 4.03 points.

Singapore also scored a range of 6.11 to 7.78 points across all nine indicators, with top marks in government administration, parliamentary efficiency, media credibility, talent supply and demand, and wealth distribution.

The city-state, the overall best performer, leads the pack with 7.26 points in the "parliamentary efficiency" category, with participants being "quite satisfied" with their government.

The survey also noted that as Singapore turned 50 this year, coupled with the passing of pioneer leader Lee Kuan Yew, a nostalgic atmosphere has swept over the nation.

Thus, when looking back on history, Singaporeans cherish particularly their current achievements, leading to the higher overall satisfaction with their society.

Singapore, Taiwan and China are dissatisfied in their self-assessment of "wealth distribution", hinting that the poverty gap remains a common challenge across the regions, the study said.

Kua Yu-Lin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2015, with the headline 'S'pore made most progress among four societies: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe