For months, the parents of Lisa Hussin had to endure complaints from their new neighbour about their cooking, and when they eventually stopped cooking due to the complaints, the neighbour escalated to other antics to make their life difficult.
Lisa Hussin was so angry over the actions of the parents’ neighbour that she went online to share the story of what her parents had gone through the past few months.
“My parents have been terrorised by their new neighbour for half a year. They told my mum to stop cooking Malay food; they call them all “curry” coz they find it smelly,” said Lisa. “Even when my mum fried fish, they’d get angry and sometimes come near my mum’s door and scream “bloody shit!”
According to Lisa, the Chinese couple living beside her parents’ flat at Marine Terrace is said to be middle-aged local Chinese Singaporeans and is staying with a young child of 3 years old.
The neighbours had since reported to the police, National Environment Agency (NEA), the Town Council and Resident Committee for their cooking. It is said that all the agencies had visited the parent’s house to investigate but could not do anything to the parents.
The mother shared with Lisa that the lady neighbour had once stopped her at the lift and said something along the line of, “Can you stop cooking your curry everyday? It is very smelly”.
“To date my mum has (developed a) fear of cooking at home and now has totally stopped cooking. They didn’t want any confrontation and didn’t want to make any complaint to avoid conflict,” said Lisa. The mother also said that she is under stress from the neighbour.
The mother now cooks from her stall and bring the food back for consumption and on the days she does not cook at the stall, she would buy food back for meals.
But the neighbour’s action to disturb Lisa’s parents did not stop when the cooking did. The neighbour started to play music from a radio set placed right beside the flat and blasted Chinese music and talk shows on the radio into the late evening.
Apart from the issue with the radio, the neighbour has been smoking in the corridor, burning candle next to stack of cardboards and using 2 burners to burn incense. The incense emits a lot of smoke which flows into the parents’ flat, causing them breathlessness.
She said that her parents have been patient with their neighbours and tolerant towards their antics. The mother is reluctant to go for mediation as she does not want to worsen the situation.
But as the neighbour continued to disturb her parents, Lisa eventually went ahead to make a police report on them as she could not take the abuse suffered by her parents anymore.
After the police report had been made, the police informed her that they can only advise the neighbour to stop their acts. She was also informed by the police that she has to go to Singapore Civil Defense Force, NEA and Town Council to complain if she wanted action on the matter.
Lisa also said that she had also lodged a separate police report over the taking of pictures of her parents and nephews. She has since went to the relevant agencies to make a report and has yet to receive any replies from them.
In 2011, a ‘curry controversy’ erupted when it was reported that a family who had moved here from China objected to the smell of curry-cooking from their Indian neighbour. The dispute between the families got so bad that mediation was sought to come to a settlement.
Netizens reacted angrily and slammed the outcome as “unfair when the mediation resulted in the Indian family agreeing to cook curry only when the Chinese family were not home.
The Community Disputes Resolution Bill which was passed in parliament in March 2015 allows residents to haul recalcitrant neighbours who have “unreasonably interfered with their enjoyment of their residence” to a tribunal specialising in community dispute resolution cases.
Such unreasonable interference includes causing excessive noise, smell, smoke, light or vibration, and littering near or obstructing the neighbour’s home.
TOC has emailed all relevant agencies for their response on the matter and will include their reply when they respond.