Families come out tops in Asia in recession

Fri Dec 18, 2009 12:47am EST
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By Miral Fahmy

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Every recession has a silver lining, with a survey showing a majority of Asians believe their families are the most important part of their lives as the global economic turmoil puts more careers in jeopardy.

In the poll of more than 33,000 people across the Asia Pacific, 95 percent of respondents felt family came first, while more than 8 in 10 wished they had closer ties with people in their communities.

The wide-ranging survey, one of the largest snapshots of opinions and trends in the region, was conducted by global marketing communications firm Grey Group in 16 countries.

"Because of the credit crunch, there has been a recent shift in the Asian mindset from the 'I' to the 'we'," Charu Harish, regional communications planning director for Grey Group Asia Pacific, told Reuters.

"More people feel that the world around them is changing, politically and economically, that they're insecure in their jobs and the one thing that they can rely on, that roots them is family. Families give people a lot more sense of control."

Although many Asian countries were not as hard hit as Europe and the United States by the global economic meltdown that began late last year, the financial crisis has not left the region untouched.

Japan's economy slid into recession, Australia's weakened, and the crisis also slowed down the economic growth of powerhouses such as India and China, while countries that rely on remittances from migrant laborers, including Bangladesh and the Philippines, have also felt the pinch.

Harish said the research showed that many Asians were moving away from the Western-style individualism adopted by developed countries in the region to the more traditional ways of extended families that look after each other.   Continued...

<p>A couple walks around a shopping mall in Tokyo October 17, 2008. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon</p>