What do you see?
What do you see when you look at this photo? A photo of a fairly typical HDB corridor? Or do you see "Obstruction of the Common Property"? It can be argued that it's the latter and that owners are not supposed to leave things out in the corridors.
I bring this up because the adoption volunteer and I were speaking just now about why it is that only certain things seem to be enforced. Say I complain about a cat downstairs, the cat is likely to be removed - but what if I complain about the complainant with plants in the corridor?
We brought this up at the meeting on Monday - that some complaints are based on personal vendettas and that's why anonymous complaints should not be entertained. If there is a nuisance it should be dealt with, but not if it's a frivolous complaint or a complaint by one neighbour to get another neighbour into trouble.
The adoption volunteer was saying that it wasn't fair to enforce action against one complaint and not against another. She said why the TCs will ask for removal of community cats, but not enforce against these other people who are breaking the 'rules'. That includes (in some of the TC bylaws I've seen) not removing soil from common property, no throwing of objects from the building, no use of the common property as a living or dining area.
Now this is not to say that I am in any way against plants in corridors (though in some areas I do think that when people start moving out what looks like half the contents of their flat,that it can be an obstruction). I think that in fact they give the area a nice feel - and remind me a little bit of a kampung environment in what is essentially a big concrete block. People like greenery and nature - and they will try and create little pockets of it where they live, which I think speaks of the resilience of people to adapt and to create a nice living environment.
What's interesting though is that some of these people who have plants turn around and complain to their town councils about cats defecating in what is arguably something they're not allowed to even have (ie the plants in the corridor). And the TC takes their side and has the cat removed. While I agree that cats should not be defecating in the neighbours' pots, it doesn't make sense to me that action against the cat is taken, but that something actually in the TC bylaws isn't enforced - ie telling the owner to remove the plants.
Does it mean that action is only taken when there is a complaint? And is that really the sort of community we want to become?