British-based market research company YouGov released its annual study yesterday (24 July) where it found out that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong is deemed as Singapore’s most admired man, while President Halimah Yacob is the city-state’s most admired woman.
Looking at YouGov’s list for Singapore’s most admired figures, PM Lee ranked 8th for men’s category, whereas Madam Halimah came at the 11th place for women’s.
Although PM Lee and Madam Halimah were chosen as the most popular Singaporeans, but the majority of respondents picked former US president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama as Singapore’s most admired individuals.
Both of them top the chart for the men and women’s list.
Philanthropist Bill Gates took the second place and American business magnate Warren Buffet came in third. Other notable personalities that made it to the top 10 include Jack Ma (5th place), Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg (6th place) and British footballer David Beckham (7th place).
Apart from PM Lee, singer JJ Lin is the only other Singaporean who made it to the top ten where he took the tenth spot.
As for the women’s list, Michelle Obama is Singapore’s most admired woman for the second year running, followed by Queen Elizabeth II. Most of the figures in the women’s category are politicians like Nobel Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi (6th place), German Chancellor Angel Merkel (8th place), former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (9th place) and former British Prime Minister Theresa May (10th place).
Methods used to generate results
In order to find out Singapore’s Most Admired people, last December, YouGov collected open-ended nominations from people across 41 countries by simply asking them – Thinking about people alive in the world today, which (man or woman) do you most admire?
Upon getting the answers, they then compiled a list of the 20 men and 20 women who received the most nominations and were nominated in at least four countries. YouGov also added an additional 10 popular local figures into the list for the individual countries.
Then in January 2019, they used the curated lists to poll each of the 41 countries by asking only two questions:
- Who do you truly admire? (respondents are allowed to make multiple selections)
- Who do you MOST admire? (respondents are only allowed to pick one name)
These two numbers were combined into a percentage share of admiration, displayed on the right of each name in the graphic table, which shows the full results for every country including local celebrities and public figures.
Over 42,000 respondents in 41 countries were polled online from March to June for the annual survey, of whom 1,112 were Singaporeans.
Based on the chart, PM Lee only scored 3.32% and Madam Halimah got 3.31%. Now, this brings us to another question of whether is PM Lee and President Halimah really admired by Singaporeans?
Their scores are relatively lower compared to other renowned personalities in other country’s list like Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed who scored 16.01% and singer Siti Nurhaliza who scored 20.01% in Malaysia’s list. Both of them were placed first in Malaysia’s list.
Even individuals in the Indonesia’s list scored better than PM Lee and President Halimah. Indonesian engineer and former President B.J. Habibie got 15.19% and entrepreneur Susi Pudjiastuti secured 16.41% in the men and women’s category respectively. These two individuals were also placed number one in Indonesia’s list.
However, if you look at Singapore’s list, Singaporeans did not place number one as The Obamas took the spot. This somewhat shows that PM Lee and President Halimah are not that admired after all by Singaporeans.
On top of that, the individuals from the 41 countries are mostly unfamiliar names to most people. Therefore, since the names on the lists are unfamiliar, respondents most likely picked individuals that they know, but not necessarily admire.