Not what we were expecting, but it's not inaccurate either.

Published 2016-12-01 12:17:06

Singaporeans love global rankings – but it’s mainly because we’re told constantly about how well we tend to do in them.

In fact, it’s almost to the point that we’re our own High Expectations Asian Father, feeling a tinge of injustice whenever a global ranking comes up and we’re somehow not at the number one spot, or at least in the top 10.

Most recently, our collective egos were inflated again when it was announced that our students have been ranked the world’s best in Mathematics and Science by the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) – something that has been credited to the Ministry of Education (MOE)’s attempts to shift curriculum to emphasise on thinking skills, and catering syllabi to different learning needs.

But perhaps the obssession with ranks stems from how in our entire Singaporean lives, we’ve been faced with rankings for almost everything.

From the schools we go to, to how well we do in a cohort, to the estates we decide to settle down in, we rely on rankings for our decisions – and for most part, the one of the top is always seen as the ‘best’, regardless of our actual needs.

So it was only natural that our very Singaporean selves were completely drawn to a map by Information is Beautifulwhich apparently showcases what each country is number one at – kinda.

“Because Every Country Is The Best At Something”

Image Credit: Information is Beautiful
Image Credit: Information is Beautiful

The map looks pretty impressive at the start, but look closer, and you’ll find claims which are rather…odd.

For example, Mongolia’s number one in Velociraptors. Yes, velociraptors.

The others are questionable at best, and one can’t help but wonder where the information came from.

Fortunately, the team at Information Is Beautiful has provided a spreadsheet of the articles from which they got the data, and the years they were published.

Image Credit: Information Is Beautiful
Image Credit: Information is Beautiful

Singapore Is Number One For The “Healthiest People”

Image Credit: Information Is Beautiful
Image Credit: Information is Beautiful

While we can only trust in the accuracy of the articles cited with regards the other countries’ results, I’m pretty sure this came as a surprise to all of us, who were expecting “Mathematics and Science”, or perhaps “Airport” to pop up.

To give the team the benefit of the doubt, we checked out the corresponding link from where they got their information – this article on India Today published in 2015.

This is also supported by a recent article by the World Economic Forum, which unveiled that while Singapore was number one in terms of the world’s healthiest countries – this rank was also shared with Iceland and Sweden.

So while the map isn’t inaccurate, it doesn’t reflect an exclusive ‘number one’/’best’ feature either.

But you can’t blame the team – given the sheer number of rankings (no matter how obscure) that come out each year, it’ll be hard for a neutral party to pick which one best represents a nation, or which one the nation wants to be best represented for.

What did you think of the map? Let us know!

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