Poll Finds Cambodians Generally Happy With Life

It’s one of the world’s 49 least developed countries and almost half of the voting population is unhappy with the current government. But 72 percent of Cambodians are generally happy and spend large amounts of their time laughing, smiling and generally enjoying life. That’s the conclusion of a poll released on Monday by global research company Gallup, which puts Cambodians in the upper half of the 143 countries surveyed for regularly experienced “positive emotions” in 2012. … Researchers with Gallup asked more than 1,000 Cambodians a series of yes or no questions to find out “whether they experienced enjoyment a lot, felt respected, felt well-rested, laughed and smiled a lot, and learned or did something interesting the previous day,” the report says. … Another report from the U.N. Development Program released in March showed that Cambodian’s have a surprisingly positive view of the country’s education system, which is regularly rated as one of the worst in the region. In that survey, 94 percent of Cambodians said they were satisfied with the education quality in the country, the highest rate of the 187 countries included in the report. Yet more proof of low expectations? Hean Sokhom, the president of the Center for Advanced Studies, said that surveys that measured relative indicators of happiness and well-being failed to account for the different ways the terms might be defined in different parts of the world. …

Colin Meyn and Hul Reaksmey