These reports, published a few days ago, shouldn’t come as a surprise to most ordinary Singaporeans like us. Ordinary Singaporeans who work like crazy just to make ends meet and ending up with not much of a life. I’m just one among many who go to work and try our best to make do with what little we earn but its incredibly difficult and extremely stressful but we continue to do it. Majority don’t have a choice. Is it any wonder then that most rather just drop dead instead of getting stuck with hospital bills ‘cos that’s what’s gonna happen if we continue to walk & work ourselves to death. Work-life balance just goes out the window for most of us in this kind of environment.

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Most workers in China, Singapore stressed-out, survey finds

Deutsche Presse-Agentur, May 3, 2007

Singapore – Chinese workers suffer the most work-related stress in Asia, followed closely by those in Singapore, a survey published Thursday found.

The recruiting firm Hudson surveyed more than 2,400 employment decision-makers in Asia and found that 53 per cent of employees in China reported being stressed as the country undergoes rapid economic development, according to findings published in The Business Times.

Singapore followed close behind at 52 per cent and Japan was the lowest at 35 per cent.

Singapore had the lowest proportion of respondents reporting a fall in work-related stress over the past year, the report added.

Stress levels for employees in Singapore are rising because of rapid increases in workloads that have prompted more firms to plan additional hiring in the second quarter, the survey indicated.

‘Singapore has a higher proportion of respondents saying that the increase in work volume is the key driver of stress levels than any other market survey in Asia,’ the report said. ‘Demand for talented staff if outstripping supply in many areas.’

The Hudson Report also found that a majority of Asian business leaders intend to hire more staff.

Fifty-six per cent plan to increase their staff from April to June, compared with 52 per cent during the second quarter of 2006.

Sixty-two per cent of the respondents in the information technology and telecommunications sector said they would hire more staff this quarter.

Fifty-nine per cent of respondents in the banking and financial services sector also said they intend to increase their head count.

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Another first for Singapore: Fastest walkers in the world

TODAYonline, Thursday • May 3, 2007

Loh Chee Kong
cheekong@mediacorp.com.sg

FROM airports to public housing, Singapore has achieved many firsts. Now, the bustling city has landed a less welcomed honour — its pace of life is literally the fastest.

According to an international study by a British psychology professor, renowned for his quirky experiments, Singapore left 34 other cities including Madrid, Guangzhou, New York and London, trailing in its wake as the “fastest-moving city”.

Landing the title of the world’s fastest walkers, Singaporeans clocked the shortest time of just over 10 seconds (10.55 seconds) to walk a distance of over 18 metres (60 feet or about 4.5 car lengths). This was followed by Copenhagen (10.82 seconds) and Madrid (10.89 seconds).

With the help of British Council researchers, Professor Richard Wiseman, who had famously led an experiment in 2001 to find the world’s funniest joke, had timed the walking speed of 35 men and women at each of the city centres.

In Singapore, the experiment was conducted on Orchard Road.

According to Mr Michael White, adviser to the British Council Science Department, the experiment was carried out in all the cities during identical times on a single day last year, on “a busy street with a wide pavement that was flat, free from obstacles and sufficiently uncrowded to allow people to walk along at their maximum speed”.

Said Mr White: “(The researchers) only monitored adults who were on their own, and ignored anyone holding a mobile telephone conversation or struggling with shopping bags.”

The results of Singapore’s brisk walkers showed an increase of over 30 per cent when compared to a similar study by an American academic in 1994, which had also established that pedestrians’ speed of walking provides a reliable measure of the pace of life in a city. It also said that people in fast-moving cities have higher rates of coronary heart disease.

Back then, Singapore ranked just 15th on the survey, which was topped by Dublin.

In the current test, European cities dominated the top 20 rankings, which included three Asian cities with Guangzhou coming in fourth while Tokyo ranked 19th.

Overall, the pace of life in the world has risen by 10 per cent between 1994 and now, with Asian cities registering the highest increase.

“The pace of life in our major cities is now much quicker than before. This increase in speed will affect more people than ever, because for the first time in history, the majority of the world’s population are now living in urban centres,” said Prof Wiseman.

He also told British newspaper The Times: “What happens is that as people get more stressed and hurried, they spend less time with their friends, they don’t have time to exercise, they eat poorly and they drink and smoke more. It’s these factors that build up to cause the risk.”

And the most slow-moving city on that list? Malawi’s Blantyre, where pedestrians averaged 31.6 seconds — about three times longer than Singaporeans — to walk the same distance.