Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Horrible Neighbors or Horrible Me, Part II

Continuing with where I left off in the previous post: There are two types of roofs in our community: those that sit at about 30 degree angles, and those that hang at about 90 degrees. 

The same day that some tiles had fallen (about ten years after the houses had been constructed), the manager of the building company was on the scene, and within a week or two as I recall, they had begun repairing (free of charge) any roofs that had visible problems. After some negotiations between a few members of the community and the construction company, the company agreed to check all of the roofs and reinforce all of the tiles with steel screws, free of charge. Alas, this gesture of good will was apparently not enough to subdue the warmongers' cry to sue the company to tear down and replace all of our roofs anew.

Many times when I and/or my partner would go outside for a walk in the park across the street, we would be approached by one or two of the group of five who were leading the charge and pressuring others to sign. I would attempt explain why I didn't agree with suing the company, but it was kind of like talking to walls. All they would say is, all of the roofs are dangerous and need to be replaced. It was as though they couldn't see or were purposely ignoring the fact that gravity would affect clay tiles sitting at 30 degree angles differently from those hanging at 90 degrees. I agreed that the ninety-degree roofs should be fixed, and I was okay with having all of the roofs reinforced with steel screws free of charge, but apparently this wasn't good enough for those leading the charge to sue.

So, the community hired a lawyer and an engineering consulting firm, while those in the group of five took turns knocking on doors, saying sign, sign, sign on the dotted line. Finally, I decided to speak my piece at one of the community meetings. I realized that it wasn't going to be easy because I would have to say it all in Mandarin Chinese; nevertheless, when my time came, I stood up and began to speak. About 30 seconds later, I felt a hand on my shoulder physically pushing me off to the side. I was so surprised; it was almost surreal, for I had never in my wildest imagination conceived or perceived that anyone would care to, let alone dare push me aside. At that moment, I thought to myself, if it's war they want...

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