When I was a kid, I knew everyone in my housing area. Back then, it was a Government quarters and has around 14 houses and 14 families live there. I know all of them. Some only vaguely but mostly I know them well. My siblings and I always go out of the house everyday, playing guli, racing bicycle, playing soccer, fly kite, gasing, jengket-jengket, climb trees, played rounders, police sentry, aci duduk, selipar tiga, nyorok-nyorok, and all sort of fun stuffs. No one worried about safety and all, cause there was practically nothing to worry about. We played, and sometimes we hurt ourselves, went back home and mum put on medicine. The next day, we’re out doing the same thing again. Those are the times that had past. Those were 10 years ago. Today, I don’t even know who lives next door, with a distance only separated by half-a -feet-thick wall.

I’ve been living in this D’Shire Apartment unit for more than a year already. The tenant next door when we Petronas scholars first moved in had already moved out somewhere last year, without us even realising it. This year, somebody else moved in, without us realising it too. Yet we were only separated by less-than-a-feet thick wall.

A few days ago a neighbour from upstairs passed by us when we were going to school, and told us not to let the door bang each time we go out of the house, cause her baby is sleeping at that time. Is that it? Is that all the contact that we’re gonna have with our neighbours? Are we gonna go talk to the people that live around us only when there’s something they do that transcends over the boundaries of the walls and floors that bothers us, and nothing else? Have we been reduced only to people who care only about our own importance and our own only? And yet we profess we care and love and respect each other, mutual connection with all human being. We didn’t take seriously what that lady told us. Heck, that complain is the first words she ever said to us. No greetings, no saying hello, no smile. Why do we bother then? That door bang by itself anyway, we don’t exactly intend it to. We just don’t bother to stop it every time we open it.

It’s sad to think that we city dwellers are living ever closer together, yet becoming ever stranger to each other. No wonder there’s so much crime and conflict in cities like this. When we stop caring for each other and those who live around us, we can’t expect those who live around us to care for us, can we? I’ve only been here in this apartment for 1 years plus, but it’s obvious enough that it’s not only me and my housemates who are experiencing this. Perhaps we shouldn’t ask what can we do, but rather, do we even care to do anything about it? The blame is on every one of us all, but it seems now that this is the acceptable way of living. People have stopped caring about their neighbours here. Will there be a time when all this will change for the better? I’m not too hopeful, but if it would ever happen, it sure would be nice…