Recently there was an article published about the happiest countries in the world.
Immediately the normal reaction is to see where the Philippines stands in the ranking and obviously one is not surprise to find the country way down at 71 among the 156 surveyed by the 2019 UN World Happiness Report.
It is a fact, however, that happiness is relative. It comes in many ways affecting people differently. It varies from one person to another.
But when happiness affects the citizenry the same way, then the blissfulness becomes absolute and collectively it reflects on the country they are residents of.
This is how impressive Finland has become when, for a second year in a row, it has been named the happiest country in the world. What is amazing is that joining Finland in the top four are three other Nordic countries, namely, Denmark, Norway and Iceland. The Netherlands joined them in the top five. Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand, Canada and Austria completed the top 10.
So what got these phenomenal places to occupy the coveted rankings of happiest countries in the world?
Well, not only are the countries mentioned above affluent and developed but the reality is that the countries’ affluence and progressiveness are being used by government to its greatest advantage in making its people happy and contented living where they are.
Again happiness to every person is relative, but when the government truly serves the people well, fights corruption and all the evils that plague society, provides excellent health care, ensures high-quality education system, protect individual rights and encourages people to participate in civil society, then these also make everyone thoughtful and considerate such that cooperation with government becomes an obligation for everybody.
What stands out most about these countries, however, is that they are not populous and therefore not as troublesome and onerous to govern. Even their immigrants are said to be the happiest immigrants in the world!
Certainly, this cannot be said of the USA which came in 19th place, dropping one spot since last year and a total of five spots since 2017. With President Trump at the helm seemingly causing divisiveness among his people and anxiety among world leaders in his treatment of immigrants, expect America to slide further down in the list of happiest nation in the years to come.
But woe especially to the third world countries like the Philippines where to be happy individually continue to be a dream and aspiration. With a population of 107 million people living in over 7,000 islands scattered all over the archipelago, and with a government that has always been fighting poverty, corruption, criminality and lately the menace of illegal drugs, not to mention that China is now occupying our backyard armed and dangerous, while seemingly helping finance the Build, Build, Build program of government, it is unimaginable that there will ever be a time when the Philippines will be included at the top of this exceptional list of happy nations.