Sometimes “community” can seem like a big word, but building it starts with the smallest of actions.
“If you talk about community within the neighbourhood. We may not have a strong one. Because yet we cant blame anyone, because that is what life is like in the city. Time is all committed to work. Even when we enter the lift, we stand next to each other be we are just staring at our phones. Sometimes, all it takes is to just look up and smile – the day already starts better. But it takes two to build relationships. We have to let others know that they can count on us if they ever need help. Knowing that others think of you and look out for you will really give you that sense of belonging. It’s the first step to building a community.”
“I’ve been living here here for about 2 years. For a long time, I had no idea who my neighbours were. It was just like going to a hotel – just checking in and checking out every day. But after you meet face to face, things feel different. It’s as if we already know each other so much more. It finally started to feel like I had neighbours and that I was’t alone after all.”
“Most people nowadays like privacy. We live in high-rise buildings just a door away from each other but we prefer to just be left alone. I think we forget that at the end of the day, the thing that builds the neighbourhood is the people.”
In this increasingly fast-paced society it is easy to forget that we are surrounded by people, who like ourselves, appreciate simple friendly gestures, being treated with kindness that will better our lives. It requires us to reimagine our daily interactions and how we care for one another.
Building relationships goes a long way, and for the residents of Boulevard Residence, it is a necessary step for the creation of a sense of belonging among themselves. With a small effort from each of the residents, they took the first step to reach out to their neighbours. They came together to begin a community, to make their homes a better place to live in, and ultimately, to care for the people who are in the closest physical proximity to them in their everyday lives.
My name is Vineetha. I am 14 years old and I enjoy learning languages. I started learning Mandarin in kindergarten, when my mother enrolled me into a Chinese school. As a nurse, my mother is fluent in many languages. I’ve seen the way she can switch between Tamil and Cantonese, Malay and Mandarin. It’s amazing! I wish to be like her too. When I speak other languages, I get to hang out with friends of different races and learn more about their cultures. I can even interact with them in their languages. At home, I speak Mandarin with my sisters too! It’s our secret language. I don’t see learning languages other than my mother tongue unusual. But many still wonder why an Indian girl is learning a language that is not her own. I took six years to learn Mandarin and it wasn’t easy. I feel sad when my friends doubted me; when I spoke to them in Mandarin, they would reply me in Malay. I hope that more people will open their minds to do the same as me. Maybe one day, I will get to see people wear others’ cultural costumes on Malaysia Day.