Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Of Living in gated communities IV: The not-so-secret moral police

Maya called me yesterday afternoon, asking me if I wanted to go for a walk with her. Having slept all afternoon, partly due to the unberable heat and my PMS, I thought it would be a good idea indeed to walk around the compound with Maya.

One of the priveleges of living in a private gated area is that we have the freedom to walk within the walls without the need to wear abayas. And without the silly cat calls of the local men or their stares either.

One of the best parts about walking round with Maya is that I hear stories from her about some of the odd residents. She has lived here for a while and she is very friendly with everyone. She is the live wire of the compound.

So I asked her the updated story of Jane and Ray . Ray is the hunky and muscular gym instructor. I used to have personal training sessions with Ray myself. And he is good (and yummy too just not my type). He told me that he used to be a boxer, so you can imagine the sort of muscles he has. Jane is a resident who also works on the compound doing some admin work. After the fight, Ray was suspended for awhile, and was banned from being seen round the public areas of the compound. Jane basically hid herself as much as she could, as she felt that people all round were talking about her.

Maya told me that Ray is now back on the job. He conducts swimming lessons for the children.

"So its all bridge under the water for them then?" I asked Maya.

"Not really. You know that Jane sometimes organizes aerobics lessons by the pool on Saturdays? Well as it happens we had a class last Saturday and Ray was helping her move some of the floor mats from the Gym to the pool. So while waiting for the class to start they sat round the pool, talking. And someone called the manager to report to him that those two were sitting together by the pool."

So whats wrong with them sitting together by the pool now? The manager has the power to prevent two people who are not related to each other to sit near each other now? I thought it was childish for the person to report it to the manager.

"Do you know who complained to the manager?"

"Well he didn't say but I can guess who. Anita probably."

"Ahhhhh Anita."

Anita has appointed herself as the not-so-secret police who lurks round the compound, compiling gossips, putting her nose into everyone else's business and then reporting them to the Manager. I generally stayed out of her way and didn't have much to do with her until lately.

Just the other day we had an all ladies evening out. As we were waiting for the rest to show up, Anita came. Anita, noticing that we ladies were all dressed up, asked where we were going. And you know by the questions she asked, she was upset that she didn't know that the ladies were going out prior to the day, she wanted to know how often we went, she was very surprised that we were going not with our husbands and the biggest sin of all, she was not invited.

Maya told me how she found Anita hiding behind the bushes spying on some residents. Maya was talking a walk when she noticed some movement behind some bushes and saw the oultline of Anita. When she asked Anita what she was doing behind the bushes, she said,

"Shhhh look! That 60 year old woman with kissing with that 60 year old man!"

How sad is that? Spying on your elderly neighbours kissing?

Anita walks round the compound, often as if she was the manager herself. I used to really hate it if she gets on the shopping bus with us. She tends to have a "special sense of time." She has no qualms about being late and is not apologetic about being late either. Sometimes we had to wait for as long as 30 minutes before she comes back to the bus, and not apologizing either. The bus driver didn't dare leave her behind because he knows how close she is to the Manager. And she would create Hell for him if he drives off without her. Until Anita received a warning letter from the management. And after that she was seldom seen on the bus again.

Anita came from a country that used to have a secret police that reported things to the authorities. Could it be that although she no longer lives there, she is accustomed to having a secret police, even when living in a place where there was none, she had to appoint herself as one?

Why then would she choose to live in a Western compound only to insist that her form of moral values are upheld by her neighbours?

I wonder why some people just cannot resist from poking their noses into other people's business? Boredom? Do nosy people have a "nosy" gene? Don't they have anything else better to do with their time than just going round spying on their neighbours?

In the end it becomes a vicious circle. People find out what she is like and they stay away from her. She in turn gets hurt as she didn't get invited into their circles, into their conversations and their parties. And then she perseveres harder to find out what they are up to.

Dr Phil, Is there a cure for such behaviour?


elisataufik said...

oo err..
now I'm getting apprehensive.

Sunflora said...

Heheheh elisa, dont worry and just be yourself :)