Neighbourliness lost in divisive collective sales

These days, it is impossible to live in Singapore and not be aware of the en bloc fever raging across the nation.

As media reports have suggested recently, we may be at the peak of this cycle, as land-strapped developers have re-stocked their land bank and market forces and fatigue are doing the rest.

While the en bloc fever will eventually die down, life will profoundly change for many residents of condominiums which attempted collective sales, irrespective of the final outcome.

Every collective sale purportedly brings in a windfall of millions of dollars.

Yet, the minority "No" camp remains largely unmoved, leaving many in the "Yes" camp mystified by their reluctance to seize the golden opportunity and sign on the dotted line.

The division can leave a permanent chasm between the residents.

Although the principle of 80 per cent "Yes" vote is seen as a fair way to conclude a collective sale, often it is the minority who do not support it wholeheartedly who take flak from their neighbours from the beginning of the exercise.

Relations could get ugly when the two camps are divided by just a few percentage points.

New alliances are formed and, sadly, the past friendly relations are easily forgotten.

This division is the most painful part of the whole exercise.

A few of us will not mourn losing out on the millions, but will certainly miss the friendliness and neighbourliness which we cherished so much for so long.

A collective sale should be of collective minds and hearts, and not just another sale.

Deepak G. Gurnani