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The seven species of neighbours in KL

Written by
Joyce Koh
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people of kl, neighbours, low res

Illustration: Sio Yean



1. The Maggot
The Maggot is an aggressively mutant stink bug which deposits household waste wherever it pleases, stinking up corridors and attracting mini versions of itself. This inconsiderate nightmare is also likely to try out its sound system at two in the morning and renovate its home to the point of destructing yours.

2. The Exhibitionist
Most commonly found in the southern areas of Bangsar, the Exhibitionist is supremely confident in its skin. They usually congregate in pairs and their behaviour in public is usually not suitable for minors. A milder variety of the Exhibitionist is usually of the wrinkly middle-aged (male) variety that walks around without a shirt.

3. The Anti-social
One of the more common species is the Anti-social, usually lurking away in condominiums and cars with tinted windows. Although you have been neighbours for (gasp!) ten years, you can’t exactly remember his name, or even what he does for a living. We suggest you at least get his name so you know who to yell for in an emergency.

4. The Kepoh
The Kepoh has acute night vision and flexible necks, all the better to crane over the pagar and spy your every move. With their incredible memory and excellent sensory awareness, nothing in the community gets past them. Researchers have recommended them for community-based crime prevention programmes.

5. The Kakak
The Kakak is literally your neighbour’s maid, whom you see and interact with more than you do your neighbour. This species is usually seen doing the gardening, cleaning the windows, enjoying the facilities, bringing the fluffy golden retriever out for walks and generally being the master of the house.

6. The Pianist
This is a cultural must. Any neighbourhood worth its Tiger Mother salt will have a Pianist tinkling away on the piano. If you’re lucky, you get a talented kid who’s already playing sonatas with grace and style. If you’re unlucky, you get a frustrated parent who’s constantly yelling at the kid to practise their scales. Either way, thank your lucky stars that you didn’t get someone who’s getting acquainted with the saxophone.

7. The Nice Family
And then there is the Nice Family, the picture perfect group that’s the ideal version of families in primary school textbooks. The little family goes for walks in the evenings, flies kites on the weekends, smiles and waves to the neighbours, and enthusiastically joins in the gotong royong activities. A souped-up Nice Family passes you goodies during festivals. We really appreciate those murukkus.

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