Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last week we went to a friend's home for dinner. They live in an old apartment block (old in Hong Kong means more than 30 years old) which has all the advantages of high ceiling, spacious layout, large rooms and good value for your money.

So we were eating and chatting round the dinner table, and the kids started playing after they'd finished their food. The girls started playing with hula hoops, the boys ran around a bit, the adults laughed. Twenty minutes into this generally fun-filled social interaction, the door bell rang. It was the downstairs neighbour.

He complained that we were too loud. My friend's husband dealt with him, and said look mate, it's only half past nine. These are kids. Kids jump around.

The neighbour said, I've complained to the management office many times. I wouldn't have come up here myself if you had stopped this racket.

What racket? We have friends over for dinner. We closed all the windows. It's half past nine.

The neighbour said, This shouldn't happen! (meaning there shouldn't be any noise, I guess)

And on that note, the husband said, then I have nothing to say to you, and shut the door.

Fifteen minutes later, door bell rang again. This time it was the police.

Long discussion for another half hour. The police had been downstairs, listening for noise. They said they heard kids jumping. Wife said, I want to complain about that man coming up here and harassing MY family! We in the background muttered, should charge neighbour for wasting police time! Police looked resigned, police remained polite. Police left. I looked at the watch. It was quarter past ten.

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