Photo source: Pixabay
This Chinese New Year, I made an effort to get to know the neighbours staying above and below me. All it took was a pack of 6 Mandarin oranges in a brown paper bag (so that it’s environmentally friendly) with an awesome sticker featuring a paper-cut of a monkey.
It did take guts to knock on the door to start a conversation with a stranger, but I felt that it was something I had to do. I have given out Mandarin oranges staying on my floor in the previous year. And, I really wanted to again this year. But, with a tighter budget, I could not really do so, given that there are five families that I now know. Therefore, I decided to prioritise how on to use my resources.
I remember reading an article about important it is to know the neighbour above and below us, as we will often have to discuss things like plumbing issues and noise levels (his ceiling is my floor…that kind of thing) in the long run. It’s always better to get to know another person when there’s no matter to resolve yet. So, I set out with my $9 box of 12 Mandarin oranges in total, to build those bridges. It does not cost much to get to know your neighbour, but it does call for sincerity and courage.
I guess my parents trained me well. As a kid, I visited our neighbours’ houses during festive occasions. This meant that our families could talk easily whenever there were matters that come along with daily living. As kids, we often played like elephants, stomping around as we ran, and jumping from bed to bed like pirates on the high seas. As the neighbour below my house worked the night shift. He badly needed the sleep in the daytime. So, he’d politely come up to remind us to be less of elephants.
I think that’s the best way of going about HDB living. There are many things we can resolve and negotiate, if only we stopped living behind closed doors the whole year through, only to emerge when a pipe bursts or a bomb falls and we are left in our columns of bomb shelters.
Imagine the scene, our tiny rooms are stacked one on top of the other, we are near the end of the world, and we have never met each other before.
Well, even then, it will not be too late to throw up or down a Mandarin orange to feed your neighbour. Just warn him first so that he does not think it is a grenade!