JEDDAH: KHADIJAH HABIB
Published — Tuesday 12 February 2013
Last update 12 February 2013 12:26 am
Saudi Arabia is the Arab world’s most future-oriented and optimistic nation, an international study said. The news resulted in excited Saudis taking to social media to voice their delight, and some, their surprise. A hashtag on Twitter “Saudis most future optimistic Arabs" was trending in the Kingdom and comprised tweets of optimistic Saudis as well as others who were sarcastic in their comments.
Rimtk tweeted that Saudis are optimistic because they are believers who “always count on God’s support.” A cynical tweet came from Hilal Al-Qasai: “Optimistic, despite high rents and debts.”
“Reality does not show so, but we are optimistic,” said another tweep Qayoom Shafi. Omar Attami was skeptic of the study’s credibility, saying: “How can we be optimistic? The reality is different. I wonder what is the interest of those who developed the study.” Faisal replied saying “Muslims are optimistic because they are Muslims.” The hashtag is still attracting reactions and comments.
The study, Future Orientation Index, ranked Saudis 12th globally, just after the United States. The study was based on the results of the analysis of 45 billion Google queries, in which those who searched for 2012 events were considered less optimistic while users searching for future events, particularly those in 2013, were considered future-oriented and optimistic.
Germany ranked first, followed by Switzerland, Japan, United Kingdom and France in the study that was conducted by Dr. Suzy Moat of the University College of London (UCL) and Tobias Preis of Warwick Business School.
Another study by Bayt.com and YouGov survey showed 49 percent of Saudis surveyed think 2013 would be a better year in terms of personal financial status and that work conditions will improve and more jobs will be created.
However, the survey showed a general pessimism in expectations for 2013 in the Middle East and northern Africa.
According to the Future Orientation Index researchers, optimism about the future is largely linked to the income and wealth of an individual.