Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The not so happy Kingdom?



The not so happy Kingdom?

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
A woman rides a toy car with her children on Koh Pich yesterday in Phnom Penh. A recent World Happiness Report ranked Cambodia low on the happiness index. Eliah Lillis

The not so happy Kingdom?

Cambodia ranked toward the bottom of the list in the annual World Happiness Report released this week, though it improved on its scores from earlier years.

Civil society figures said they weren’t surprised with the low grade as human rights violations, injustices and corruption play a role in assessing people’s contentment.

The Kingdom was ranked 129 out of 155 countries surveyed for the report, released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network – a global initiative for the United Nations – based in New York. Norway was at the top of the list and Central African Republic last. Vietnam came in at 94 and Thailand at 32.

The report, first conducted in 2012, this year “gave special attention to the social foundations of happiness for individuals and nations”.

The ranking considered six factors, such as trust, which was measured on perceived absence of corruption in government and businesses; generosity, which was based on recent donations; freedom to make life decisions; and healthy years of life expectancy.

Some 3,000 people were surveyed in each country, and were asked to evaluate their current lives on a ladder where zero represented the worst possible life and 10 the best possible. In Cambodia, the average score for 2014-2016 was 4.168. In 2016 Cambodia ranked 140 out of 157 and in 2015 it ranked 145 out of 158.

“I’m not very surprised that the ranking for Cambodia is low, taking into consideration that good governance is a factor for happiness,” said Preap Kol, executive director of Transparency International Cambodia.

Factors that promote peace and happiness include good governance and social harmonisation, he said. “That would be something that I would like to recommend for the government to take a look at,” he added.

Social analyst Meas Ny had similar sentiments. “In recent years, Cambodians have faced several problems that have not been resolved by the government, people have been detained unjustly and political tensions have escalated.

“That creates unhappiness among people,” he said. “I think [the report] reflects Cambodia well.”

However, government spokesman Phay Siphan said the ranking didn’t reflect reality in the Kingdom. He said social advances, such as clean water, are among factors that would add joy to people’s lives.

“Everyone is happy,” he said. “They polarised Cambodia.”

He said the country had made progress on corruption with its Anti-Corruption Law and the Anti-Corruption Unit.

“We’ve improved a lot,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • ‘Kingdom one of safest to visit in Covid-19 era’

    The Ministry of Tourism on January 12 proclaimed Cambodia as one of the safest countries to visit in light of the Kingdom having been ranked number one in the world by the Senegalese Economic Prospective Bureau for its success in handling the Covid-19 pandemic. In rankings

  • Ministry mulls ASEAN+3 travel bubble

    The Ministry of Tourism plans to launch a travel bubble allowing transit between Cambodia and 12 other regional countries in a bid to resuscitate the tourism sector amid crushing impact of the ongoing spread of Covid-19, Ministry of Tourism spokesman Top Sopheak told The Post on

  • Kingdom accepts Chinese vaccine, PM first to get jab

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said China would offer Cambodia an immediate donation of one million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine produced by the Sinopharm company. In an audio message addressing the public on the night of January 15, he said Cambodia has accepted the offer and

  • Reeling in Cambodia’s real estate sector

    A new norm sets the scene but risks continue to play out in the background A cold wind sweeps through the streets of Boeung Trabek on an early January morning as buyers and traders engage in commerce under bright blue skies. From a distance, the

  • Quarantine site in north Phnom Penh inaugurated

    A four-building quarantine centre in Phnom Penh’s Prek Pnov district was formally inaugurated on January 6. The centre can house up to 500 people, according to Phnom Penh municipal governor Khuong Sreng. At the inauguration ceremony, Sreng said the municipal hall had cooperated with the Ministry

  • ‘Beware of WhatsApp fraudsters’

    The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications warned members of the public who use WhatsApp to vigilantly guard against a new trick employed by hackers that involves the use of six-digit codes sent to potential victims via the popular messaging app. The ministry said hackers could