Thursday, May 12, 2016

neighbourly relations

It’s become a bit of a ritual so I thought I’d log it.

Neighbour Ah Qiong likes to treat us all at the nearby shopping mall’s food court when the exams are over, or whenever there is early dismissal for a public holiday.

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* Ah Qiong with Yi Shen

She also likes dropping in with pots of red and green bean soup whenever she makes it.

I’ve never had much luck with getting close to neighbours. The people who live opposite us, in seven years I have never seen the man crack a smile much less looked into his eyes. He lumbers up and down, passes us on the stairs, as if we were invisible.

Right now, Ah Qiong is the closest thing I have to a neighbourly Neighbour, the sort which people in the 60s and 70s might have plenty of when the community spirit was strong. But it's an interesting sort of friendship, because we are different in so many ways. She disapproves of many things I do (without saying so outrightly but I know so because she shouts at her kid to not do it, like cycling in the rain or flouncing themselves onto display beds in Ikea), and I raise an eyebrow at many things she does, like being what I deem as over-protective.

Another lady I met today from Ipoh who came to study in Singapore said the one thing she found odd when she came here in the early 80s, was that people here don’t invite friends back to their homes. At least, to a much lesser extent to what she was used to in Ipoh.

I thought about it. It’s true. Very few people come to our place. Up till now the kids have never invited a single friend back home. The one time Day’s friend came, it was because he insisted on coming over to visit, such a sweet boy.

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