I’m not going to go far, to some otherworldly paradise. I’m starting right here, where I actually live. If I were given the chance to change how things are now, this is how it would be. There are other matters here but these are the proverbial elephants and sacred cows.
- No disappearing pavements. This a village built and organized by the government and we all have the same area size—no more, no less, no exceptions. No house goes over their boundaries and even if it’s just a plant box (yes, Ma! I’m looking at our own house), aesthetics and nature are not excuses to make a street narrow.
- Leave vacant lots alone! They’re meant to be common areas for everyone. It is up to us to improve it. Or not. But just because you’re the only person who maintains the plants and shrubs there, that doesn’t make it yours. And having all that “extra space” when no one really has just sets things up for neighborhood squabbles. We could do with fewer fights here.
- Do not use abandoned houses as giant garbage bins. Yes, no one has lived in that place for years now. Ghosts are still up for debate. But don’t contribute to its deterioration by dumping trash and dead kittens there.
The Organization and Structure
- Consult the people more. Annual meetings don’t do us any good. By the end of every single yearly assembly (when the association remembers to hold one, that is), neighbors have fought over more stuff than actually agreed on anything. And the association wonders why the rest hate meetings.
- Let the neighborhood feel that there is an association. They’re not just people who we vote for in one afternoon then disappear for three years. And those caravans and festivities don’t really count. Face it: even without you, we’d still have that because we’re Filipino—we live for that stuff! The association is supposed to check on stuff like proper garbage disposal, road maintenance, and if that old guy is still building that walled garden that would inconvenience people, among other things.
- Love your own neighbor. Requests to use the gym will flood your office. I know. I can imagine. But to make a group of old folks go through fiery hoops just to have one request approved is despicable. You people are there to help make lives in this neighborhood easier, not harder!
- Please hold all karaoke and videoke parties on weekends or holidays. Not everyone is out there celebrating with you and others badly need rest, sleep, peace and quiet or all of that.
- If you don’t like neighborhood cats and dogs, let the association handle them. Chase them away but—PLEASE!—don’t kill those creatures. They may not be anyone’s pets but they too have lives like you. And “you” includes kids as well, not just adults.
- Acquiring more stuff is okay as long as you know the boundaries of your house. No disappearing pavements and streets.