Singapore's Happiest PersonSaturday, April 19, 2008
Stressed-out Singapore named its happiest person on Thursday at a conference that aimed to make people in the city-state feel better.
Andy Goh, 35, the manager of a local engineering company, was named "Singapore's Happiest Person".
"A lot of times, happiness is not just money and stuff, so you've got to count your blessings: health, family, friends, helping other people," Goh said after receiving 200 dollars (148 US) and a trip to the Thai resort island of Phuket.
The aptly named Philip Merry, chief executive of consulting firm Global Leadership Academy, began his search for Singapore's most cheery resident last month.
The winner was announced at the end of the two-day New Science of Happiness and Well-Being Conference, organised by Merry and his wife.
It seemed like a grim task after a poll by advertising firm Grey Group found that nine in 10 people living in the city-state, Southeast Asia's wealthiest economy, said they were stressed.
The contest called for written nominations, between 300 and 1,000 words, explaining why the candidate was a "model of happiness," Merry said. Nominees had to be 18 years or older.
A surprising 207 entries were received, Merry said.
"I literally thought when we launched... 'are we going to get anybody?' Not only did we get 207 stories but we've got such fantastic stories," he said.
"There is a lot of happy people that we just don't talk about or recognise."
Nominees were whittled down to four finalists including Zaibun Siraj, 61, a training consultant at a local polytechnic. She recently published her own book, "Zany, Zeal, Zest and Zing: The Z way to happiness."
In the end, Zaibun's zaniness could not top Goh's simple prescription for feeling good.
"Look not too far, as it's probably already close to you," the happiest man advised.