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.
Most people wouldn’t remember the first time they ran or jumped around. For me, that moment of freedom only came when I was 21. I threw off my crutches and walk without pain. It felt like I was flying. I was a sick kid. My feet would swell whenever I applied pressure on it. It was like living with a time bomb. I could never go out and play. I would watch my siblings from afar, at the comfort of my home. When I was 21, I decided I’m not having of these. Everyone’s going away to Kuala Lumpur or another city, and I was still stuck in my parents’ home. I wanted a life like other people. With a prosthetic leg, I could finally run and play and jump! I could finally feel normal. Of course, people still stare. I still remember the first time I wore my shorts out. A close friend encouraged me. He told me, “Don’t give in to what other people think of you. You wear shorts, you go anywhere you want! Just be yourself.” Since then, I’ve conquered many things. Flying fox, swimming, zumba dancing. The sky’s the limit! That is also why I want to do paragliding next. There’s nothing stopping me. Now, when people stare, I let them be. Why can’t they just look at me, as me?