Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - Page 4 News List

Pandas are why Taipei is happy: deputy mayor

Staff writer, with CNA

Photo showing the two-month-old panda cub Yuan Zai in Taipei Zoo yesterday.

Photo courtesy of Taipei Zoo

A deputy Taipei mayor attributed the city’s improved ranking in the nation’s “happiness index” to a two-month-old panda cub and improvements in infrastructure.

Taipei, which had an overall score of 65.1, moved up six places to finish second behind Hsinchu City among the nation’s 22 municipalities, counties and cities in this year’s survey conducted by the Economic Daily News and Nan Shan Life Insurance Co.

Taipei had the highest score of any administrative district for disposable household income, Internet connectivity, life expectancy and educational attainment (measuring the percentage of residents holding at least a college degree).

Deputy Taipei Mayor Tim Ting (丁庭宇) said at a briefing held to present the survey’s results that the birth of the giant panda cub at the Taipei Zoo on July 6 helped increase the happiness of the city’s residents.

The birth of the cub came after the zoo artificially inseminated its female panda named Yuan Yuan (圓圓) using sperm from the male panda, Tuan Tuan (團團).

As part of its “panda diplomacy,” China gave the two pandas to the zoo in 2008.

Ting also touted several infrastructure projects, such as the development of the metro network, the creation of the YouBike public bicycle rental system and efforts to rehabilitate the Tamsui River (淡水河), as factors in the result.

Hsinchu’s score of 71.1 was the highest in Taiwan in the well-being index, compiled for the second time this year and loosely based on the 11 core dimensions of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s “Better Life Index.”

According to the survey, Hsinchu led Taiwan in such categories as air pollution, health, community support network, housing, and life satisfaction.

The survey collected responses from 22,500 people.

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