Singaporeans live on a high-density tiny island, where the overwhelming majority live in high-rise buildings.
Most tenancy agreements will contain terms that give the tenant quiet enjoyment and exclusive possession.
Civil behaviour among neighbours is something that everyone expects and takes for granted.
Yet in the recent case, in the Housing Board flat this does not seem to be the case and, worse, there appears to be little that can be done when faced with inconsiderate neighbours (Singapore's first Exclusion Order: Man's noisy neighbours say they will not comply, Jan 7).
I have neighbours who have children who play sports in the house, resulting in frequent heavy thuds that jolt one from a proper dinner conversation and increase one's anxiety. The screams of the children can be heard from one level down.
While HDB has been very kind to respond by making visits to remind such families, it would be naive to think that everyone should be given the benefit of the doubt, and that mediation is the solution. If that were the case, we would just need counsellors and no prisons or police.
We are not a litigious society and most people do not want to take the legal route and spoil the kampung spirit with people whom we might share a bus with or bump into at the neighbourhood hawker centre.
However, there are times when enough is enough. Understanding that there will always be some urban noise is one thing, having to deal with unreasonable levels of it is another.
It is disappointing to hear of laws that seem to have no bite, especially when it is something that affects more than two-thirds of Singaporeans. I hope the relevant authorities will look into protecting those who live in HDB flats.
Daniel Tan Jia Hao