Mailbox: Compromise key to resolving disputes

A Cleaner in a long-running feud with his next- door neighbour attacked him with a wooden chair after a petty row in their corridor.

The improved framework for the management of neighbourly disputes is laudable in so far as it allows neighbours to resolve disputes in a less adversarial manner ("New tribunal for neighbours at war"; Mar 9).

Currently, residents can lodge complaints with the town council or Housing Board, or make police reports or magistrate's complaints. This often gives rise to an acrimonious relationship between neighbours, which makes for an unpleasant living environment.

In a diverse yet densely populated society, differences inevitably arise. The main test of our resolve as a community is how we react and deal with these differences.

Apart from providing residents with an additional means of resolving neighbourly disputes, the framework could ideally lead to a wider recognition of the need to be considerate towards others. Hopefully, this would lead to the entrenchment of social norms and acceptable standards of behaviour.

In resolving neighbourly disputes, the willingness to compromise, rather than a strict insistence on who is right and who is wrong, is a crucial part of the equation. This could, in turn, foster the kampung spirit and strengthen our sense of community.

Ultimately, while the legal framework may facilitate our pursuit of sociability as a basic good in life, its actual success in promoting neighbourliness depends on whether we, as individuals, recognise this as something inherently worth pursuing.

Dierdre Grace Morgan (Ms)

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