Tuesday, April 30, 2013


Handwritten notes are still useful for some things!
Have I mentioned that our neighbors are kind of noisy?  We live in a building with four units per floor: A, B, C and D.  It's a local building, which means no amenities, barely functioning doormen and questionable safety mechanisms.  It also means that we can hear the following while we are in our apartment with our door firmly shut: our neighbor's parrot, our neighbor's dog, our other neighbor's shopping cart, our neighbors arguing across the hall, our neighbor upstairs hammering and drilling, any television or radio that our neighbors are watching, the elevator doors and also every push and pull of our neighbors'  external metal doors / gates that are quite popular in Asia.  America this is not.

For a little while, a while back, it was pretty unbearable because our upstairs neighbor, an old man who lives by himself, would ratchet up his television and radio volume very late at night.  It made it pretty difficult to sleep.   Because he refused to pick up his telephone (the mobile number provided to the front desk is, surprise surprise, outdated) and because he refused to come to his door no matter who knocked on his door or rang his doorbell, we had ourselves a problem.

However, I solved the whole problem quite diplomatically, if I say so myself.  I wrote a little note in Mandarin (in the traditional characters, or 繁體字, for those of you keeping track).  I figured he was likely a local Hong Kong guy and would not read simplified Mandarin.  Plus I was trying to woo him, and you do not woo a crotchety Hong Kong native with the written language of the People's Republic of China.  Politics, people.  It's all in the details.

In my note, I asked him very politely if he would please for the sake of his very apologetic and sleepy neighbors, keep the noise level down.  Then I attached some snacks (delicious pineapple cakes and fried crullers coated with sugar and sesame, if you must know) from "my hometown, Taiwan" (I figured throwing in a mention of another contested semi-autonomous province wouldn't hurt either - seriously, that's how politics work here) to a little bag, and latched everything to his door.

It worked like magic!

He has been so cooperative that, now that we are leaving the apartment (soonish - that's drama for another day), I've decided to write him another little missive, to let him know that we are deeply grateful for his cooperation and that after our departure he must please raise his radio and television volumes back to the levels he finds most desirable.  I even threw in a smiley face for good measure.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I am so impressed! Look at your smooth political skills!