Sunday, 21 December 2008

(Lack of) Neighbourliness

I was just thinking about my neighbours this morning. We have moved in for 5 months now but strangely I have not met any of the 7 neighbours living on the same floor. I've only chatted with the guy next door but even then, it was very brief and stilted conversation. I had not spoken to his wife and his parents even though their main door is merely a foot away from ours. I could even peer into their living room from my balcony. We're that close!

I find the lack of neighbourliness very strange. While we do not hesitate to make friends online, when it comes to real life, we keep to ourselves and mind our own business. It's quite sad actually.

The funny thing is, while they're unwilling to make friends, they're very forthcoming when it comes to making complaints. It's ironic that while I was thinking about getting friendly with my neighbours, I received a letter from the management this morning. One neighbour had lodged a complaint against me and Rusty. He claimed that Rusty urinated outside his house entrance (without my knowledge).

I remember now. Last night Rusty dashed out of the house when we opened the door and ran along the corridor until YK caught up with him. Could it be he peed outside the neighbour's flat and YK failed to notice? I highly doubt it though because Rusty doesn't pee indiscrimately. Even then, I feel that the neighbour should have come up to me and I would gladly clean up the puddle instead of resorting to complaining to the management. It's only natural for male dogs to mark their territory (and find their way home), nothing to be upset about really.

Naturally I was quite peeved to receive this letter for I had been a responsible dog owner who cleans after Rusty everytime. You'd be surprised at how much dog poo we come across on our walks everyday. I guess the letter serves as a good reminder to watch my dog vigilantly so that we don't become a nuisance to the other residents.

When I was growing up, we knew all our neighbours and greeted them by name. We visited each other regularly, bringing food and cakes each time. The spirit of cameradie was very strong and everyone looked out for each other. Sadly that is missing in our life today.

When we first moved into our apartment, I was naive to think that the spirit of neighourliness is still alive. I am disappointed. I should really start working towards my ultimate dream of living in a private property with a garden for Rusty to wander around in.

Meanwhile, we just have to abide by the rules of communal living. I'll walk over and apologise to my neighbour if I have to. I just hope they're not hostile and would react graciously.

6 comments:

ckl said...

Sadly I thinking that's a very S'porean thing. My Mum, who is still living in S'pore, told me the mgt is so sick of her neighbour complaining about her - one moment is the plants on the balcony, next is the noise from the air-cond, then the water dripping from the air-cond... the list goes on.

Blur Ting said...

You are right.I can remember now how when we first lived in a condo years ago, the neighbour downstairs would ring our door bell to complain about water dripping from the plants, about the dog, about this and that. Sigh.

mooiness said...

Can't really say much about the petty nature of some Singaporeans, but I'd say that going up to them face to face and saying a simple sorry works a treat sometimes.

You'd be surprised how well it diffuses the situation. Plus once they feel that they can talk to you, they'd probably be friendlier.

Nick Phillips said...

It's the same here. I really hardly know any of my neighbours but then with the kind of neighbours I have, that can be a good thing :D

Loz said...

I moved into a new place 6 months ago and have met neighbours on one side only. I think that's more common than it used to be and not just in Singapore

Michelle said...

I hope you and Rusty find that dream home, Ting.