New Zealand Oriental Bay
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Survival Tips for Neighbours from Hell

Decades ago, the local neighbourhood was the epicentre of one’s universe. It was a place where kids rode bikes, homemakers chatted over fences and lots of cups of tea were drunk.

Society today is so heavily focused on the individual’s needs and wants, good neighbours do seem hard to find.

What sort of neighbours do you have?

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#1 The Repressed Policeman/Woman –

These neighbours are apt to bang on your door late at night, telling you to turn the music down, especially when your teenagers throw a one-off party, in your usually quiet home. They like everyone to stick to the ‘rules’, at all times and will publicly shame you for any minor wrongdoing. Most neighbours give them a wide berth in the supermarket and walk on eggshells around them.

Survival Tip: Exercise caution.

#2 The Gardening Expert –

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Bordering on extinction, these types are often busybodies, who good-naturedly offer you gardening advice and give out various botanic “cuttings,” suggesting you plant them in particular spots of their choice, in your back garden. They are experts in extracting information about you, but can also be obsessive about how promptly you fix loose fence palings, cut back overhanging tree branches, or how many leaves blow over into their yard.

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Confront #2 types and they might become revengeful, landing you with a complaint letter from local council over perceived dog barking or pet birds squawking, because it has disturbed their daytime nap. They are notorious for mowing their lawns/operating whipper-snippers at annoying hours, mostly when others are sleeping, earning the ire of all other residents in the street.

Survival Tip: Take the good with the bad and compost the undesired plant cuttings.

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#3 The Sports Fan –

This ultra friendly, highly socialized, neighbour invites everyone known to man over to his/her place, generally on football nights, and often parties hard until 4am, at least four nights a week. Woo hoo! Not! Their house guests can easily be tracked by the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ detritus trail of empty beer bottles and fast food containers they leave in their wake.

Survival Tip: Earplugs – buy a decent set. You will need them.

#4 The Forgetful Neighbour –

These folks ‘borrow your garden/electric/tools’ and forget to ever return them. They mean well. This type is bound to cross swords with neighbour #1.

Survival Tip: Lock your shed and throw away the key.

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#5 The Loner –

Often perceived as ‘weird,’ this neighbour never acknowledges or socializes with others in the street. Easily identified by the house with windows and doors shut tight, even on sweltering days, this occupant is largely unknown. This neighbour arouses lots of suspicion from neighbour #2 .

Survival tip: Show some compassion. The Loner might think you are pretty weird too.

If you have a neighbour who is a closed book, respect their privacy, but look for ways to improve communication with them. It might be a small gift left at their doorstep, or as simple as a card, in their letterbox saying hello and wishing them a lovely day.

Kindness costs nothing.


#6 The Neighbour Everyone Wants –

This particular neighbour appears to be extremely rare in modern society, but I ask the question:

Are they hard to find or do we need to be open-minded and communicate better?

Survival Tip: Change your attitude towards #1 – #5.

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Although the previous examples are almost completely tongue -in -cheek and bear no resemblance to any person, living or dead, they do illustrate how blanket judgements and misconceptions can hinder open discourse and foster prejudice, or even hatred. If open communication is lacking or non-existent, divisive opinions will continue to spread.

Ron Mueck
Ron Mueck

In a neighbourhood, we have a challenge, even an obligation that comes with living there. To get along with those from all walks of life, for the ultimate benefit of the entire community. Shall we see it as an opportunity or a pain in the backside?

Queenslander home



Racism is taught in our society, it is not automatic.

It is learned behavior toward persons with dissimilar physical characteristics.

~ Alex Haley

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/alex_haley

In the wake of the Christchurch tragedy, keeping an open mind will foster better communication with our neighbour, no matter who or where they come from. We don’t necessarily have to agree or like their cultures, habits, food, or ways, we only need to understand and know them and acceptance will follow.

Our neighbours are a precious resource in maintaining community and increasing our integrated sense of belonging, and that is our best weapon against terrorist acts and radical thoughts.

If we fail as a neighbourhood group to understand them, we also fail to create any sense of “community,” for ourselves.

Something sobering to Ponder About

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Vejen, Denmark
Book review, Community

Invisible Murder – Book Review

With the topic of refugees and terrorism very much in the news, this novel by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis, is written for our time and makes for illuminating reading.

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Two impoverished Roma boys are scavenging for something to sell in the ruins of an abandoned Soviet military hospital. Purportedly to improve the lives of themselves and their poverty-stricken families in a rural village of Hungary, one of the boys embarks on a radical plan. Far away in middle class Denmark, Red cross nurse, Nina Borg inadvertently risks her own life and those of her family, to assist a group of Hungarian refugees but little does she know her actions will have disastrous ramifications.

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Source: Economist.com

“Jobbik. It had to be Jobbik, taking to the streets to protest the Jews, Communists and Romas from ‘ruining out nation.’ Lusja straightened herself up pursing her lips as though she had found something disgusting on her shoe. ‘God spare us from any more racist, goose stepping idiots.’ The driver turned in his seat. ‘Jobbik aren’t racists,’ he said. ‘They’re just for Hungary.’ Lusja straightened up in her seat and stared daggers at the driver, 128 pounds of indignant humanism versus 260 pounds of overweight-but-muscular nationalism. ‘And what kind of Hungary would that be?’ she asked. ‘A Hungary clinically scrubbed of all diversity? A Hungary where you can be arrested just because you skin is a different colour? A Hungary where it’s totally okay for Romas to have a life expectancy that’s fifteen years shorter than the rest of the population?’

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Source: Hungarianfreepress.com

A novel that is carefully crafted and well-balanced, allowing you to understand both sides, their personal  motives and furthermore, to feel empathy for the characters woven into the story line: The studious brother who in one brief moment is denied a legal career and betterment for himself, and his family, only because of a racially slanted agenda, his quest to save his wayward orphan brother who, by way of contrast, chooses an extremist, crash-through course of action, and the consequences for each; the innocent bystanders; the well-meaning humanitarians in Denmark, the terrorist thugs and ordinary residents of homogeneous, suburbia integrating with ‘foreigners’.

Are they all helping or hindering the cause? What toll does it take, personally, on those who help the less fortunate, the traumatized, the dangerous, and those on the fringes of society?

In the face of a changing Europe, this Scandinavian novel illuminates some salient points to ponder about inter-related events that shape our modern lives.

Rating 8/10

Other Novels by these bestselling authors: The Boy in the Suitcase