Singapore – Water will pour if smoke rises. That was the drift of the war of the notes between two neighbours in a Housing and Development Board (HDB) block.
They left angry notes on each other’s doors. The first note asked the recipient to “stop pouring water out of (the) service yard” as all the clothes put out to dry by the neighbours below got “drenched”.
“Please do be considerate for us as we hardly get much sun to dry our clothes with the water from your (flat) pouring (down), we had to re-wash and hang out to dry again,” said the note.
Retorted the upper-floor neighbour in a note: “Water only goes down when (smoke from) your cigarette comes up. Be considerate and likewise.”
Such wars of the notes are becoming more common with work from home, it is said. With people spending more time at home because of the pandemic, there is a greater risk of altercations between residents.
Last month, a resident in Clementi showed frustration with his noisy neighbour in a note pasted on a lift.
The resident complained that the neighbour often banged the door “so loud that the entire building is shaking”.
The writer threatened to complain to the police or the town council if the banging continued.
The Ministry of Law advises people to approach the Community Mediation Centre (CMC) if they cannot solve misunderstandings between neighbours.
Mr Tan Lam Siong, a volunteer mediator at CMC, believes that such disputes occur when both parties feel slighted by each other.
Therefore, they are likely to regard complaints to the town and police reports as provocative acts leading to further retaliation, he says.
“And when that happenens, we know that the parties are heading towards a collision course and it would be even harder for us to resolve the dispute,” Mr Tan adds.
His advice? Cool it. Control your emotions. Don’t jump to conclusions. Hear each other out. You may be able to work out something instead of rubbing each other the wrong way.
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