Sunday, August 14, 2011
What a curious crew it was, who assembled in the marquee downstairs. My neighbours.
All came for the meeting to discuss the enbloc offer.
A motley assortment of people, over half of whom I had never seen before. All Chinese, mostly old-ish men, and (my conclusion after the session) fairly political.
When I arrived, no one gave me the attendance list to sign. I think they thought I was someone’s daughter or a maid until someone asked “You’re an OWNER?”. I clearly didn’t fit in and I couldn’t make sense of the undercurrents, knowing looks and many folded arms.
My husband, who had promised to come downstairs, never did. Instead he stood in the balcony and kept rubbing his tummy to indicate hunger.
Occasionally, the kids waved at me.
With mosquito coils burning at our feet, strangers proffering mosquito repellant – the first neighbourly act I have experienced living here - and small ceiling fans weakly rotating in the muggy afternoon heat, there were flare-ups and antagonism aplenty.
Two hours later, the verdict was this: No to an enbloc offer, no to even setting up a sales committee. So that’s that.
But this is what I learnt:
A quarter of all the units are owned by one person. It doesn’t take a genius to figure that if going ahead requires 80 percent agreement, that one person saying no – and he did – negates the whole deal.
Only one-third of the complex is owner-occupied. I now know why nobody really cares what happens around here. Calls to spiff up the complex instead after the enbloc was called off - note TV antenna in the picture above, yes, plenty of people here still use TV antennas - was met with impassive silence.
Funny place, this. But yes, things remain the same!