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Concepts of Chinese folk happiness

Abstract

Discourses on Chinese folk happiness are often based on anecdotal narratives or qualitative analysis. Two traditional concepts of happiness popular in Chinese culture are introduced. The paper constructs a concept of Chinese folk happiness on basis of the findings of a scientific survey on the Taiwanese people regarding their concepts of well-being at nation and personal levels. The survey has revealed that people’s concepts of well-being are consisted of a diversity of elements including political, economic, social, and cultural factors, as well as health, family, job, and social relationships. The paper compares these concepts with the traditional notions of Chinese folk happiness.

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Notes

  1. The Hung’s household sampling method is a sampling technique used in census survey conducted periodically in Taiwan to select either a male or female household head as the interviewee on basis of the qualified male and female distribution in the population sample.

  2. The reason that the numbers do not add up to 100% is that for some demo variables, only the major items are listed, minor ones are omitted. Examples of these are marital status, income, and religion.

  3. This item was added based on a suggestion from Ling Ying Bing.

  4. According to two polls commissioned by the China Commission (September 15–17, 2006, and August 10 to 12, 2007), many people thought China is unfriendly to Taiwan government and Taiwanese people.

  5. A national poll conducted by the ERA poll center on people’s attitudes toward crime and law and order problem conducted on March 21, 2007 revealed that for the last three months only 55% of those survey were satisfied with the law and order situation in their residential neighborhood, while 34% expressed dissatisfaction. Webpage: http://www.survey.eracom.com.tw.

  6. A poll done by the United Daily Poll Centre on December 25 and 26, 2006, United Daily, Dec. 31, 2006,\ , A4. United Daily and China Times are two leading newspaper in Taiwan.

  7. Data from the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics of the Executive Yuan, United Daily, Aug. 27, 2007, A2.

  8. According to a poll (United Daily, Feb. 26, 2007), 51% of people viewed the ethnic confrontation was worsening, an increase of 12% over 2006.

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Acknowledgments

I thank the two reviewers for their constructive comments that help to improve the paper. Portions of the paper are drawn from a larger paper on the well-being of Taiwan society. The data used in this paper are based on a survey that is a part of a research project—“Research on Well-being of Nations” (project 965908) funded by the “Project of Promoting Academic Excellence and Developing World Class Research Centers,” of the National Central University. I am greatly indebted to Professor Alex Michalos for his constructive comments which help improve the paper. I am grateful to Professor Cummins for allowing me to use the well-being questionnaire of the Australian Center on the Quality of Life as reference for designing the questionnaire of this survey, as well as his advice and guidance. The works of Professor Cummins and Professor Michalos and Professor Veenhoven have been a constant source of inspiration in my thinking in the well-being issues. My research assistant Liu Shih-Ching has given me good support in my research. I also thank S. C. Lee and Y. B. Ling, colleagues at the Graduate Institute for their comments on the early draft of the questionnaires. I am grateful to Bomy So of Social Survey Center of Academia Sinica in her help and advice in doing the statistically analysis of the samples.

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Correspondence to Po Keung Ip.

Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 4.

Table 4 Selected samples of additional items of national well-being

Appendix 2

See Table 5.

Table 5 Selected samples of additional items of personal well-being

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Ip, P.K. Concepts of Chinese folk happiness. Soc Indic Res 104, 459–474 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11205-010-9756-7

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Keywords

  • Chinese folk happiness
  • Well-being
  • Confucianism