Singapore, 3 October 2013. Mallika Naguran, founder of Gaia Discovery and a sustainability consultant, was part of a panelist invited by Singapore's major news medium Today to comment on the topic of happiness. Apparently, Singaporeans are an unhappy lot despite economic progress, low unemployment rate and rising affluence. The half hour show Voices Today was broadcast live today, with a repeat edited full hour version screened two days later.
In the episode, Mallika Naguran gave her views on a way forward to secure happiness, that is by building on internal and external resilience. "Resilience is the ability to bounce back from hardships while continuing to function. Individuals who are resilient will be able to withstand hardships. Cities that are resilient will help to provide for each other and give each other a helping hand."
Mallika, who was born in Singapore, provided an example of city resilience. "Community gardening, for instance, can help people who are poor or who have just lost their jobs. They can still fend for themselves as they can draw food from the garden. That's one way of people in a community coming together to provide resources for everyone to draw from."
A firm believer of sustainability, Mallika finds the phrase "sustainable development" an oxymoron. Happiness is an important aspect for consideration in the pursuit of development as Singapore seeks to increase its economic growth through means such as drawing in foreign workers and transforming nature areas for development. "Sustainable development will have to bear people's happiness in mind as at the end of the day, growth is not just a digit hike - it is meant to improve people's quality of life," she says.