There is a lot of talk about wanting Malaysia to become a developed nation, but what is lacking is the explanation on what to expect from such.
What makes more developed nations, happier nations?
In The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell, she explains the quirks of Denmark, a nation that has continuously been voted as the “happiest nation on Earth”.
Some of the revelations speak of the trust system among residents, such as Russell herself experiences from time to time with locals warning her about forgetting to recycle, needing a permit to raise a foreign flag in from of their homes and even how bicycles need to have safety lights that blink 120 times a second as per their regulations.
But at the same time, it undoes the story of how Danes are not religious – seeing as how they actually pay a communal tax for their church and their teens go through confirmation in churches there.
Also highlighted is the economic point of view from a Dane, in which taxes are paid even if it is 52 percent, eating out is not a normal occurrence with the VAT being 25 percent and also the fact that the nation doesn’t seem to have any credit cards.
I would recommend everyone have a quick read and think of what it would mean in a Malaysian context if it was even possible, even if it is highly improbable. Because one of the things Russell highlights is the fact that Denmark – while being happy – is also very much homogenous.
So one has to wonder, if Malaysia wishes to be a developed nation, what model would it look like, and how would our diverse society look like from an economic and social standpoint.
Since I’m done reading this book, it is available to be loaned for those interested in reading it.