Hougang neighbours passive-aggressive spar over corridor space via handwritten notes

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Things between some neighbours are coming to a head during this pandemic when everyone is home and brooding.

On June 26, a HDB flat occupant, Sharen Tan, shared on Facebook group Complaint Singapore her tiff with her neighbour in a bid to publicly vent her frustration.

And for her, her issue is not even new.

Two-year issue

According to Tan, who lives in Hougang Avenue 6, her next door corner unit neighbours have been at it for two years ever since she moved into block.

The source of the bickering?

The puny shared space between the two units that has been the source of many conflicts.

Photo by Sharen Tan

Handwritten notices exchanged

Most recently, the tiff has become more passive-aggressive in nature.

Instead of shouting matches or fisticuffs, the two units have been putting up handwritten notes to tell the other party to be more considerate.

Tan put up her notice on her living room window.

It read:

“Kindly be more considerate ‘Human’. Please don’t lean against our window panel while wearing your shoes.”

Photo by Sharen Tan

Her neighbour responded, mocking her tone.

Kindly be more considerate ‘human’. Please do not think the corridor is ‘Yours’. Common corridor is a shared ‘Space’.

Photo by Sharen Tan

Shoe-wearing problem

Tan’s neighbours insisted that the shoe-wearing incident was a one-time occurrence when one of the occupants lost their balance.

Speaking to Mothership, Tan expressed her exasperation as she alleged that the action has been a repeated and intentional act from her neighbours that has been happening for more than a month.

She claimed she was concerned about the structural integrity of her window panel given that her neighbours would continue to deliberately lean against it.

Photo via Facebook

Provided a chair

To prevent her window panel from being used as support, Tan even provided a chair beneath her sign for her neighbours’ use as prevention.

Photo by Sharen Tan

Corridor cluttered

When Tan first moved in, she said her neighbours’ bulky belongings took up significant space in front of her windows.

The items included shoe racks, a personal mobility device, and bicycles.

Photos by Sharen Tan

Worse, she would find the neighbours’ shoes propped up at her eye level when her windows are open.

Photos by Sharen Tan

Shin Min Daily News reported that the neighbours had become used to occupying the corridor space as Tan’s unit was vacant for two years before.

According to the neighbours, they were quick to apologise to Tan about the issue, and cleared the clutter and shoes as directed by the authorities.

However, Tan claimed that she had to repeatedly request help from the town council, as the clutter was only gradually removed over a period of four months.

Incident after incident

Tan told Mothership that she contacted the authorities several times, as she faced issues with the neighbours intentionally littering and frequently burning joss paper at the corridor.

Photo by Sharen Tan

When she first moved in, she put up a display of two dolls and a stack of joss paper in front of her windows.

According to Shin Min, the neighbours said Tan also told them that she saw a “ghostly image” of the previous unit owner, which the neighbours felt was an attempt to scare them.

Tan told Mothership that she was shocked to hear this, as she had previously sought permission from the neighbours carry out her ritual as it was inconvenient to have it indoors.

Tan clarified that this was a Chinese ritual she did to send off the deceased as a form of respect and gratitude for the old tenant, whom she purchased the unit from.

Tan said she only proceeded with this ritual as she is in contact with the old person’s son, who apparently also claimed that they faced similar issues with the same neighbours.

As a single mum of one, Tan remarked that she is extremely concerned with her neighbours’ behaviour, especially since her wheelchair-bound mother will be moving in soon.

Unfortunately, she sees no other option but to turn to the media as her neighbours have rejected attending a mediation session with her, and neither the Housing Development Board (HDB) nor the town council have any authority on this matter.

Neighbour disputes

When dealing with disputes amongst neighbours, HDB encourages residents to settle their conflicts amicably wherever possible.

In more serious cases, formal mediation services are available at the Community Mediation Centre.

Top images by Sharen Tan