Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bittersweet ...

My neighbourhood will on the 1st of July be officially classified as a gated community. And I have bittersweet feelings about it. For the benefits of my international visitors, I live in a place called USJ Subang Jaya which are divided into various sections from USJ 1 up to USJ god knows how many (twenty plus in all I would think) ... LOL!

And almost all of these sections have their own neighbourhood community associations that look into the well being of their own neighbourhood. It's all voluntary mind you and if funds are needed, the hat will be passed around to all the residents of the neighbourhood community.

When I first moved in here, the place was a nice and decent place and it is still is. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else and I even bought a condo here, which unfortunately construction is stalled at the moment. But as of a couple of years ago, the crime rate has gone up considerably (the same as everywhere else in this country) and there were quite a lot of break ins in my neighbourhood.

And these robbers were bold, they actually break into people's houses in the afternoon when some of them are at work. I've had both my left and right neighbours houses broken into and we didn't even know anything about it even though, my mom was home. We only knew about it when the Police dropped by in the evening after the neighbours came back and found their house a mess.

In fact, once I think they even tried to break into my place when no one was in. But it was a failed attempt cos my place is covered with an alarm system and it triggered and I was informed about the attempted break in by the alarm company who called me and the Police who came and checked out my house and found the back door tempered with. I guess the alarm must have frightened them off.

And that wasn't all, one of the residents just a few house away from me was slashed in the arm and robbed of her car in the middle of the afternoon as she was opening her gate to get into her house. After all these incidents, the residents community decided to hire some security guards to patrol the streets all day long. It was really sad that we had come to a point in life where security guards were needed in your own backyard, but it was all for the best. I felt a little safer sleeping at nights knowing that there were guards patrolling the place outside.

Now, back then, the guards just patrolled the area and just about anyone was allowed to drive in, out and around the neighbourhood. The section I live in is a pretty small and cozy section and has about five entrances and exits into it. So you could drive in from one entrance and drive out any of the others and vice versa. And the guards couldn't do all that much to check who came in and out of the neighbourhood.

Even with the guards, the crime didn't stop. It decreased a little but there were still spates of break ins every now and then cos just about anyone could drive through the area. Then a little over four months ago, a petition by the residents community to the local council to allow the neighbourhood to put up barricades and guard houses at all five entrances and exits were put in motion. And finally after a long 'battle' with the council, approval was given and the barricades were built.

And come July 1st, the barricades would officially be active with all the gates being closed from 11pm to 6am in the morning. All residents here were issued with car stickers to allow them to come in after the gates were down and those without stickers who wanted to come in after 11pm would not be allowed in unless they were cleared by any of the residents here. Even if you wanted to drive through in the afternoons with the gate open, you still had to sign in at the guard houses before you were allowed in. That made the neighbourhood all that much safer.

Now, while I'm really happy with these cos at least now no Tom, Dick or Harry with bad intentions on his mind were allowed into the neighbourhood at nights or at least were monitored in the day time, it still left me with a bittersweet feeling. On one hand I'm so much more at ease knowing wifey, the kids and mom are 'protected' at home while I'm at work, I feel a little sad that a regular road user who pays for his/her road tax is denied the right to use a common road.

And it brings me to this question. Is the world really becoming so bad that we have to fence up our neighbourhoods and not allow someone from another neighbourhood access to enter? Is this the sign of what's to come in the future? Are we all going to be so disconnected from everyone that we end up being isolated in our little corner of the world? No, maybe I'm going a little too deep with this. It isn't as bad as I make it out to be. But it sure looks like it's heading in that direction. A lot of places are being gated up and denying access to 'outsiders' from coming in.

I don't blame them in the least. In fact I embrace the idea. What with all the craziness that is happening in this world today. I am so much more at ease knowing that even as I type this post there are security guards on their bikes patrolling out there. I am so much more at ease knowing that when my kids go to the nearby park, there is someone out there looking out for them but I can't shake this feeling that somehow this is all wrong. Somehow, some genuine person out there who may just want to drive through the neighbourhood just to look at houses (which I myself do at times) or even take a short cut, will be denied access just cos he's not a resident here.

But then, I suppose I'd rather be safe than sorry and as much as it does bug me that this gated community thing will one day isolate all of us from each other, I cannot think of a better solution to deter crime. While the crime rate may not completely stop here cos if someone up to no good wanted to steal all your possessions and sinks (ok, maybe not your sinks la... LOL) and no matter how much of security you may have, he'll probably still find a way to do it. But at least it does make anyone with bad intentions think twice before they even do anything.

So, I do apologize to any of you outsiders who happen to come to my neighbourhood and are denied access just cos you're not 'one of us' but you could always tell the guards you've come to visit me and I'll gladly tell them to let you in ... LOL! I know I would be pissed if I were to drive to some other neighbourhood and be denied access to it just cos I'm an outsider so to speak. Well, at least now you know why I have bittersweet feelings about all this.
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50 comments:

  1. Nick, there are pros and cons of staying in gated community, but I guess with the increasing crime rate, gated housing areas sound sensible. My new house is in a gated area too. So every month paying the developer some service charges for maintaining the gardens, security etc...... :)

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  2. Hey.. I'm one of those "miserable" people that goes house watching too. Nice whaaattt... LOL!

    But yeah, it is better in every way to know that your family is safe. Nowadays, the criminals have no mercy that it's too scary to think about. I hope your neighbour is okay..

    If I were to move to KL with the kids, I am definitely going to be staying in a gated community too. Especially since the hubby works the graveyard shift sometimes. I know my mom would rather we live here.. but eventually the kids and I will have to live with my husband, right?

    So, since I need a gated community to stay in and would love to come by your neighbourhood, I just stay in your community lah! LOL!

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  3. Hahah!! Sinks huh nick??

    Be thankful you will live in a gated community. At least you will better security after this.

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  4. My sister's house was broken in to the other day. It's a really scary thing.

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  5. Rose - Yes, sometimes the pros outweigh the cons and I do feel more at ease with having the security around :D

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  6. Shemah - Yeah it is nice, wifey and me just love driving around and looking at peoples houses that one day someone is going to call the cops on us ... LOL!

    Yeah, in this day and age, I guess having security patrolling outside can do wonders to ones peace of mind.

    And I'll leave your name with at the security booth with the guards, just say you're here to visit that nut case Nick who just loves to complain about anything and everything and they'll let you in ... hahahah!

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  7. Kadus Mama - LOL, ok maybe not the sinks la ...

    I am, I am thankful that I live in a gated community but it still can erase the feeling that one of these days we're all going to be so isolated from each other ... sigghhh ...

    But I'm thankful to know that we're in a more safer environment :D

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  8. Tammy - Gosh, I hope your sister is alright. That can be quite a scary thing.

    I remember how scared I was during the attempted break in to my place. I waited till the cops came before I even stepped into the house!

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  9. I bet the crime rates will go up with all these price increase. As I was reading this post, I got sick to my stomach. I had my share of stolen items before but god forbid for any break ins. An alarm system is a must these days. Heck I even got my tires messed up before.

    I just hate it when we had to get to that extent. It's gonna be troublesome. I seriously think it would T_T

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  10. Thinking about crimes or break ins, I would prefer the kind of security your place is giving. It just happened that your place is the favorite place of burglars, lol! Now that it's heavily guarded, they might be thinking of a Plan B by now, hehee.

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  11. What a shame that the minority always have to spoil things for the majority.

    My parents came round tonight and were quite upset that during the night some lowlife came around and stole all their new plants from the front garden. It's a brand new house and they were just establishing and landscaping. these clowns they just came along and yanked them all out of the ground. They didn't even dig them out so they could reuse them. Just wanton vandalism. It makes me sick when people do stuff like this.

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  12. Yeah I know that bittersweet feeling... crime rates have gone so high til it restricts our freedom.. but it's always better to be safe than sorry.

    For instance, I always feel paranoid whenever I'm in a carpark even when I do see a security guard nearby. I never let my own guard down. But I'd rather have that paranoid feeling as it keeps me on my toes.

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  13. sigh.. I do understand.. when I was young, there was no such thing as gated community and I was free to cycle to the neighboring housing area to play with my friends and a lot of people don't even lock their doors when they were at home... things changed so much ya...

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  14. I would prefer to live in a gated community as well..if possible, with a security booth in front of the house..LOL..

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  16. Isn't it just a sad, sad world when we have to gate everything to keep jackasses who steal out? I really have an intense disdain for people who rob others. It sucks to work so hard for what you have to just have some f@@@ing a$$#@!# take it from you because they want to.

    I live in a gated community as well. Pretty much every one worth living in is gated these days. Of course nothing is jackass-proof but I do feel a little safer than not one.

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  17. The crime rate is very scary. Having a barricade is probably the best idea. I share the same concerns as you. That's probably the reason why the apartment that I bought has security guards watching the development round the clock. For the sake of our family, it's something we have to do. You're right about the isolation part. It is exactly the case in Singapore. We no longer have that kampong spirit here.

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  18. Wow... it's just getting worst. I mean they can take what they want, but just don't harm people. I don't know how anyone can be so heartless...

    Btw, nice new header :)

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  19. Dude!! Unfortunate that we live in times where public safety and security are so far down the priority list of the people in charge! I remember those days when you can walk about without even feeling unsafe...now daren't even walk to my brothers place which is just a short distance away. What has become of this beautiful country of ours? Its so sad!

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  20. Maslight - Yes, crime is also going to be on the rise right along with the price increase.

    The world is becoming a really unsafe place to live in these days ...

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  21. Marlene - Yes, I'm sure these crooks are already formulating plan B! LOL! It's not just my area, it happens just about everywhere else too. These crooks are not that choosy about who they rob ...

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  22. Gypsy - That sucks! What is this world coming too?

    We've had clothes and shoes stolen from our place that we can't keep our shoes and stuff outside anymore.

    People just can't be trusted these days ...

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  23. Perky - But it's such a sad state of affairs to be living a life of paranoia. What happen to the good old days when you could walk around in the still of the night and not worry about something bad happening to us?

    But I guess I'd rather be safe than sorry too.

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  24. Sting - Exactly. We never locked our doors when I was a kid. We were never ever afraid to venture out alone. Now I wouldn't want my kids to be out on their own and my gate is perpetually locked!

    Things have changed so much and it's just getting worse by the day.

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  25. Monica - LOL! Actually the security booth is not too far from my house and that makes me feel a whole lot better ...

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  26. Michael Wong - I'll come check your blog out soon.

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  27. Corrina - It really is a sad, sad world! I suppose some people just want an easy life or are just too plain lazy to work so they steal from people. It probably is so much easier. Besides if they get caught, they'll end up in jail and it's free food and bed for them ... but you're right, I do hate f@@@ing a$$#@!# like these too ...

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  28. BT - Yeah, that's whats missing these days, that kampung spirit. Back when I was young no one ever locked their doors and we could walk into a neighbours house as we saw fit. These days, they'd call the cops on you.

    It's a scary world but it's better to be safe than sorry.

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  29. Rozella - It is and it's getting worse by the day. I suppose the lure of easy money can make people heartless at times ...

    And thanks for the compliment on the header :D

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  30. Adrian - Tell me about it. Remember the days we used to hang out outside your place, by the side of the Fed Highway or Sean's Section 8 house till the wee hours of morning and nothing would happen to us?

    These day's either the cops will question us or we'll probably get mugged. It is sad, very sad that our children wouldn't be able to experience the things we did in our younger days when people were so much nicer to each other ...

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  31. gated communities are starting to pick up here in kota kinabalu as well!

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  32. Alaaa... there's this one park that my friends and I love to go to at subang. We just lepak there and have long talks.. Nice la.. But if that neighbourhood becomes a gated community as well, there goes our 'heart2heart park'.. :( So from an outsider who lepaks at USJ as well, I so feel this post! :(

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  33. Nice new look! I like it. It's very nice!!

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  34. Perry - First of all welcome to my blog :D

    Gated community is probably going to be the way of the future I guess, especially with the rise in crime nowadays ...

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  35. Nick, make sure the guard dont sleep at night oh!!

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  36. Syura - Exactly, that's what I feel bitter about. The genuine ones get shut out. But that's probably going to be the way of the future soon. We all live in our own little holes isolated from everyone else ... sigghhh ...

    But then, with the crime rate, this is really for the best, I guess ... like I said, bittersweet.

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  37. BT - Thank you :D I kinda like it myself. It bring out the 'lazy' in me ... LOL!

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  38. Molly - LOL! You actually do have a point there but I always here them doing their rounds on their bikes at all hours of the night till morning ...

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  39. There was a joker over here where a really blur robber broke into someone house twice on the same day.. He still doesn't know until the police caught him & realized that he came into the house twice!! *faints*

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  40. Janice - LOL! Now that is one stupid robber la. How can anyone rob the same house twice and not even realize it? On the same day some more!

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  41. Nick, I used to think that I too will never leave SJ. After living there for so many years, I was definitely a Subang girl and most of my buddies were around there too. But now, after getting married, it's been more than 6 years since I can call myself a Subang girl, and though I miss it sometimes, I'm actually pretty content with our current area. No plans to leave PJ any time soon! :)

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  42. Marzie - The strange this is I've lived in PJ for close to 20 plus years and I don't miss it one bit ... hehehe ... But PJ is a nice and old area, depending on the location la.

    There's something about Subang that just keeps me staying here, maybe cos it's soooooo close to where I work ... LOL!

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  43. That's the future we are going to live in... Gated community seems like a prison to me. It's sad.

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  44. "one of the residents just a few house away from me was slashed in the arm and robbed of her car in the middle of the afternoon as she was opening her gate to get into her house."

    I WOULD MOVE...or buy a really big, scary dog

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  45. Cidao - It does seem like a prison and it just makes everyone feel more like strangers. That's the sad fact of the world we live in today ...

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  46. Meleah - I would love to but then that would require a lot more money which I couldn't afford to part with, so I'm hoping the security thingy helps a little ...

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  47. true, even with guards, there is no guarantee of no breaks in. sometimes I can't even trust the guards you know.

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  48. Deana - Ya, I agree. I've heard of cases where the guards with in cahoots with the thieves!

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  49. USJ, I was quite nearby last month while on a holiday cos i stayed with my sis. She lives just across Subang Parade, the old subang jaya houses. Yes I heard the crime level is getting bad from her. Her car was car-jacked in front of her house, with her and two young kids inside. Lucky they got down safely at knifepoint. They were in shocked too. She also told me about some hot issue with Hannah Yeoh lately.. been reading up her blog too.

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  50. Constance - That's Subang Jaya for you. The place where loads of 'exciting' stuff happens ... LOL!

    Yeah, I've heard of a few more car jacking cases over here. We just have to be more careful, I would say.

    And there are some hot issues going on with Hannah Yeoh with some morons just giving her grief!

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