“Come back home before 12 midnight!” my dad shouted out to me as I left the house for a party. My neighbour who was watering his plants heard this and got extremely mad.
“Excuse me? Who are you to tell me what time I have to come home?” he questioned my dad. I heard this while walking to the lift and decided to turn back to find out what was going on. The neighbour looked really, really angry.
“Hey, calm down, buddy. I was only talking to my daughter,” my dad explained.
“Yes, but who are you to tell me what time I have to come home?” he asked again.
“Hey, my dad was talking to me. Not to you. You can come home whatever time you want, dude,” I interjected the conversation.
“HE SAID IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE AND I HEARD IT. IF HE DIDN’T INTEND IT FOR ME, WHY DID HE SAY IT IN A PUBLIC PLACE? WHO IS HE TO TELL ME WHAT TIME TO COME HOME?!” he shouted. He was gesticulating a lot, his face was red, and he was trembling.
“OK, look, as a father, I just wanted to make sure my daughter is safe and I want her to come home before 12. As for you, you didn’t need to listen to what I have to say. Got it? I hope it’s clear now,” my father explained.
“Yes, I’m going to come home anytime I like, and it’s not up to YOU to tell me what to do, you stuck-in-the-mud old man,” he said, pointing his finger at my father, and rolling his eyes at the same time.
I sighed, “OK, whatever,” I muttered under my breath. My dad shook his head in resignation.
“Anyway, you should get your household in place. I’ve overheard the quarrels you have with your wife – do something about it. I’ve heard about how you are hoarding things in your air raid shelter – clear it out. It’s so dangerous, you know? Do something useful instead of going around telling people what to do, you hear me?” the neighbour continued.
“Yes, we are working on these. Thanks for your concern.”
“And it’s ridiculous! There’s this guy who stays at the next block – I heard he’s your. He’s a con-man, I heard. A cheater. A liar. A wayang-king. Seriously, what’s wrong with people in your family? All bloody hypocrites!” the neighbour refused to give up.
“He’s a very distant relative. Actually, we don’t even really talk to each other, not even during Chinese New year…” I explained.
“You’re all the same,” he cut me off, “I’m coming home at 1am today. I am doing whatever I like. You just watch me!” he gave my dad a death stare and said.
“Keep your archaic thinking to yourself and your daughter! Stop shoving it down my throat!” he gave his parting shot, went back to his house and slammed his door shut.
But that’s what we did, I thought.