Being a good neighbour begins with a smile

The majority of Singapore's population lives in HDB flats or condominiums ("Neighbours - let's live and let live" by the Singapore Kindness Movement; Jan 10).

It is inevitable that residents in the same block will meet in the morning when they leave their homes for work or school.

There is no better way to start the morning than to smile and perhaps say "hello" to the neighbour we meet in the lift.

Occasionally, we read of neighbours squabbling and being engaged in disputes for years, with arbitration and the police failing to resolve the problems.

We need to put in some effort to co-exist and live harmoniously with one another.

There is no better way to start the morning than to smile and perhaps say "hello" to the neighbour we meet in the lift.

I am 70 years old and have lived in three HDB flats since 1970.

In all three places, while I keep my metal gate locked, I have always left my front door open.

My immediate neighbours noticed this and began to do likewise. This led to us becoming friends.

The cultivation of good neighbourliness does not require much effort.

If we can just take the first step, the rest will fall into place.

Neo Poh Goon

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 11, 2017, with the headline 'Being a good neighbour begins with a smile'. Print Edition | Subscribe