Neighbours everyone would love to have next door

Neighbours everyone would love to have next door

SINGAPORE - A Housing Board block at Toa Payoh Lorong 7 will continue to enjoy its own Christmas light-up, after resident Martin Silva's festive decorations outside his ground-floor unit received the green light from authorities.

Mr Silva is not the only one whose personal projects have brightened up the community. Here are some other neighbourly initiatives which have made headlines in the past.

1. Vegetables for all

Hawker Derrick Ng's high-rise vegetable garden feeds not just his family, but his neighbours too. The 33-year-old grows kai lan, xiao bai cai, kangkung, tomatoes and sweet potato leaves in planter boxes along the common corridor outside his flat in Tampines.

What started out as a way to "provide good food for (his) family" led to bountiful harvests which he shares with the neighbours.

Mr Ng even tells them to pick what they need for cooking. "If you want to throw a hotpot party, just go to the corridor and pick, as long as you don't destroy the plant," he said.

2. World Cup screenings

Wanting to share the excitement of the 2014 World Cup, 26-year-old fresh graduate Rooban Kanth set up his 42-inch LCD TV outside the empty terrace house next door.

The match screenings proved a hit with neighbours and migrant workers in the area. But when a crowd of over 70 people formed during one match, the police dispersed the gathering for safety reasons and told Mr Rooban to bring the TV back indoors.

3. Mini community library

Some people lend books to friends. Wedding planner Bryan Lim, 24, lends them even to strangers. In August, he put up a small bookcase outside his two-storey semi-detached house in Wolskel Road with the words "Take a book, leave a book" painted on its shelf.

The move is part of a global book-sharing movement called Little Free Libraries, with participants building tiny libraries in front of their homes, bus stops and shops.

4. Shelter from the rain

Such neighbourly projects aren't just a recent phenomenon.

In 1996, diving company owner Simon Tee rigged up a shelter outside his office on Tanjong Katong Road, after witnessing commuting students at a nearby bus-stop getting drenched in the rain.

By 2001, a shelter had been built over the bus-stop. But some passers-by still used Mr Tee's zinc-sheet shelter during sudden downpours.

This article was first published on December 12, 2014.
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