Love thy neighbour!
By Amornrat Sidhu
A cup of sugar lent. A watchful eye over our property when we are away on vacation. A warm hello. Some sweets sent over for Diwali. Having good neighbours is pure luck, and having great neighbours is pure bliss. We often see them more than our families, and they can make or break a happy home. Memmers of the Thai-desi community share heartwarming stories about the neighbours who have impacted their lives and their homes for the better.
PRAVEENA SETHI, CEO at Mongkhol Furniture NS
We don’t get to choose our neighbours, it’s the luck of the draw! I’ve been really lucky to have ones that have basically become family. This is one such instance of why I’m grateful to have them in our lives:
Casper, the Friendly Dog
I have been part of the Grand Royal Nisachon Sathorn family for nearly 15 years, and have experienced many acts of kindness from my neighbours. The first one took place during our first year there.
One night, we went out for dinner as a family. We got a call from our helper that our dog, Casper, had slipped out of the gate and disappeared. We immediately rushed back home and began to look for him. We were one of the first to move into the neighbourhood, so many of the houses were still under construction and unfinished. Additionally, the weather took a turn for the worse. We looked for Casper in the dark with umbrellas and flashlights while lightning flashed, rain poured, and thunder roared.
A neighbour heard us call out for Casper and called to ask us what happened. Within minutes, a message was sent to the moobaan chat group, and a few came out into the rain to help us find him. We finally found Casper on the second floor of an unfinished house, in the bathtub unable to get out. He was wet and scared. To us, Casper is a part of the family and it meant the world to my family and me that we found him. Thanks again, Grand Royal Nisachon family.
CHALITA PREM SAKCHIRAPHONG, MD Radiologist
I may not be a good neighbour, but I am definitely surrounded by great ones. Here are a few incidents that speak to that!
The Grass is Green on Both Sides
While we were adding faux grass and plants to our garden, many people were coming in and out of our apartment carrying big potted plants, bags of soil, and gardening equipment. Our pup was very stressed and territorial with all the commotion, and he would bark at every slight movement. I was terrified that our neighbour would complain, pausing our gardening plans, so I wrote a note apologising to them.
However, the opposite happened. The neighbour sent me tea and cake and some chew toys for my dog. She said that, although she isn’t a pet owner, she understands, and can patiently wait for the whole balcony to be done, so I don’t have to worry about the noise or the barking at all. Since then, we have become good friends, warning each other about leaving car headlights on and reminding one another about pest control days. She helped put my mind at ease, and I got a good friend out of it!
As I was a newbie with a balcony garden, I had no idea that while watering my plants, I was wetting my downstairs’ neighbour’s balcony furniture. Instead of complaining and sending me warnings via the building management team, they sent me a sprinkler head for the hose so that water would come out in a fine mist instead of gushing through the hose. This saved not only my plants from being overwatered, but their balcony, keeping their furniture nice and dry.
KIRAN KHANIJOW, Homemaker
Despite disliking spooky stories, I believe that Halloween is a special holiday because of its power to bring a community together. I’ll never forget one time when one of my neighbours made that happen.
As most of our children go to international schools, they are accustomed to celebrating Western holidays like Christmas and Halloween. However, as I live in a Thai/Chinese neighbourhood, these holidays are considered regular days, and not often celebrated. Having a daughter who enjoys celebrations, I always wished that there would be a way to celebrate in my neighbourhood. To my surprise, my wish eventually came true.
One day, I saw a note with an orange balloon attached to my gate. It was an invitation to all the children in the neighbourhood to go trick or treating within the area. It was truly a very sweet and thoughtful gesture put out by one of our neighbours.
On the actual day, all of the kids dressed up and gathered at this family’s home. As they paraded to each home, each neighbour opened their doors and distributed lots of candy. At the end of the day, there were lots of sweets, tired kids, and happy smiles!
AZIZ GILANI, Managing Director at Country Biomass
I was about 12 years old when this happened, and this memory is still with me nearly two decades later.
Drive to the ER
Once my dad got very sick late at night, and at that time, he was the only one in the house that could drive. I remember that my mother tried to get in touch with ambulance services, but she could not reach them. She was on very good terms with an aunty in the neighbourhood, so she rang her doorbell around midnight and asked if her husband could drive us to the Emergency Room. The aunty’s husband was nice enough to drive us and stayed there until my father was discharged from the ER. He was only discharged at 3am, but our neighbour made sure he dropped us back home safe and sound.
Great neighbours allow more than peaceful living. They can improve your mood, give you companionship, share information, and even save a life. You are also someone’s neighbour – you also have the potential to be someone’s good luck charm and, more importantly, guardian angel. What kind of neighbour will you be from here on out?