From the Guardian (G2): "According to the World Database of Happiness, compiled by Professor Ruut Veenhoven, of Rotterdam's Erasmus University, the 400,000 residents of this rocky Mediterranean archipelago are the most likely to describe themselves as happy - 74% did so - with Denmark, Switzerland and Colombia close behind. (The US is at 16, the UK at 21; Zimbabwe, Moldova and Ukraine came last.) "
Like other English dailies today, the Guardian reported the results of Professor Veenhoven's study about the Happy People of Europe. It turn's out that over 74% of the Maltese people are likely to describe themselves as happy. Wow!
The Gonzi government will shortly produce a spin based on this incredible statistic (surely) while Alfred Sant will probably claim that the Dutch Professor is probably receiving a backhander for this wonderful info. Tony Zarb is probably planning something militant against the offensive academic.
But the question remains... Happy about what? I mean - if I asked you if you were happy now would you say yes? Isn't it in our culture to shrug off adversity and say yes? Does that make us really happy? Or would it be more a question of satisfaction. In Maltese the questions would be different: "Int Ferhan?" as against "Int Kuntent?". Somehow I believe something got lost in translation. Not that we have no reason to be happy as a people but rather because the reporting of these results seems to be describing Malta as some kind of sunny paradise where all and sundry are happy happy people.
And I have my doubts. About being content and not about their being happy. Because at some point everyone can be ferhan about something (happy as in joy) but reaching the form of happiness that is contentment is another thing. And as far as I can tell as a people we stopped being kuntenti ages ago. Sometime after Il-Bidla tkompli.... (the Change Continues - a government slogan of the early nineties).
But then again I may be wrong.... and it is not an ignorant bliss that has hit our island but a veritable happiness. A happiness that us expats who rushed off to Brussels, Luxembourg and other lesser known bases will regret losing.
Whichever way we have a new smile after the Mona Lisa's to decipher. So tell me....
... what is everybody so bloody happy about?