Reader’s Digest carried out separate surveys across the region-in Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Earlier, we’d also done similar polls in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ), Canada and South Africa.
Everywhere, firefighters, doctors and teachers rank very high. The Philippines, like India, also rated farmers as very trustworthy. Real estate agents, fortune-tellers and politicians ranked poorly everywhere. Thailand also rated taxi drivers as very untrustworthy. Former presidents-Dr Kalam and Nelson Mandela-were ranked the “most trusted personality” in both India and South Africa. Only telemarketers and car salespeople were even less trusted than politicians, in Canada and Australia.
Businessmen also rated poorly in all countries except India, where five were in the top 15. Journalists everywhere took a seat somewhere in the bottom quarter in a list of 40 professions (No. 32 in Australia, No. 30 in Canada and India). Judges ranked better (No. 12 in Canada, No. 20 in Australia), but No. 26 in India.
Overall, the people most trusted are the kinds who feature regularly in Reader’s Digest. Hong Kong’s most trusted person is Josephine Siao, a philanthropist who fights child sexual abuse. In the Philippines it’s Rosa Rosal, actress and philanthropist. The Thais have very high regard for their monks and spiritual leaders, but Dr Pornthip Rojanasunan, a forensic pathologist, came first. Malaysia seems the most sporting: squash and badminton champs, their iconic cartoonist “Lat,” and a shoe designer took top spots.
Efficient Singapore is unique for choosing a chief justice, an ambassador and a former police commissioner among its top four most trusted people. But Singapore, where one rogue expat trader once brought down Barings, a trusted old British bank, remains skeptical about those in the finance industry.
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