They look classy and peaceful during the daytime, but stunning and modern Housing Board community is also a spot where things appear so strange during the night,  bumps are audible in the neighbourhoods. Like there are marbles rolled or dropped on the floor and chairs and other furniture are pulled back and forth,  these are the only few sounds that the Serangoon North occupant, Terence Ng, an associate engineer in late 20’s, heard in some nights.

” This is an ordinary case yet remain so strange and unaccountable,” he told. ” The dragging of furniture appears so unusual to me but eventually I get used to it. But still, I am  so curious about it  and can’t find an answer to the questions that play at the back of my mind.”

Usually, this case is not being discussed, the case became controversial only after Tan Chuan-Jin, the Speaker of Parliament posted in his fan page two weeks ago about a certain occupant or resident who said that she heard chairs that were like being dragged inside the unit which is located at the next level of this area. During the investigation, it was discovered that there were no occupants in the said area and the one who occupied here died already.

The other occupants of the flat shared that they heard some strange sounds, like opening the doors,  tiptoeing in the floor at midnight, when everyone is asleep.

The CEO, Ms Lena Chan, 41 years of age, said, ” she heard some furniture moved back and forth and sometimes a knock on her door of her flat in Toa Payoh can be heard, though when she tried to find out who did it, she found no one.

“We learn to embrace it, though sometimes can be disturbing already,” she explained.

A 49 housewife, Ms Lorraiine Guay said she once heard doors banging and once she felt that her flat in Tampines was shaking.

Actually, some neighbours suspected us of banging the doors in the middle of the night alternately even us heard those banging .”

ENGINEERS’ EXPLANATIONS
While those strange sounds seemed disturbing already, engineers rationalized to the Sunday Times that there are possible reasons why all those took place.

Mr Chong Kee Sen of The Institution of Engineers (IES), Singapore explained that sounds vary in tone, depending on the mechanism which carries those sound waves.

” The sound that travelled via floor slabs in the neighbouring unit does not imply that those really came from the  above units.”

The sound might be from another building or areas and it will be audible when it travels either vertically or horizontally via floor slabs above occupants head, he stressed.

” Those structures are reinforced solid, which are a good conductor in the transporting of noise. The sound has the tendency also to travel through open windows,” reiterated by Mr Crispin Casimir, a credible building surveyor from CC Building Surveyors, a building consultant establishment.

The director of Vertes Technologies, an engineering firm, Mr Chiam Soon Kiam, confirmed and gave some explanation.

“The housing units are built in uniform structure thus any sound can pass via these structures over few units either below, above or beside your location. Airborne sound can penetrate and be transmitted easily through the doors, windows, circulation or opening spaces,” he added.

At times, the sounds heard every other night can possibly be due to the contraction or expansion of glued materials.

Mr Chong shared, ” For instance when a plastic pipes or steel are glued  or mounted on walls or floors, various movements produces a noise that penetrates via wall or floor, which can be very audible farther from the real source.”

COMPLAINTS MPS RECEIVED
Members of  Parliaments in the different district told that they received less than 10 complaints annually of unexplained noise at night time.

Mr Baey Yam Keng, the MP of Tampines GRC said, ” There was one unit owner who complained of some neighbours disturbing them because of the noise they created but later it was discovered that the water pipe that moves if somebody turned on the faucet and it sounded like dragging of furniture. After the plumber adjusted the pipe, the noise vanished.”

However, there is some noise which is harder to solve, he told. Residents often not able to record the sound or tell as to the time it will happen. The starting point of the sound is hard to trace.

There was one unit owner who kept on hearing the metal gates of their neighbour being opened at night and this particular unit is unoccupied yet.

It affects the psycho -emotional aspect of the resident, she told. ” During the night, the noise appears more precise, especially when the surroundings are quiet and you are alone. That is the right timing for people  to listen to their thoughts and perceptions.”

Around Chua Chu Kang GRC, Zaqy Mohamad, the MP said, a certain resident kept hearing a sound like someone is knocking at night, which was actually the lift motor’s working sound.

During the daytime, there is a relaxing atmosphere in the unit, thus at night time, sounds turn vivid and more noticeable, he further added.

But as some sounds are difficult to explain, noise at times came from a vivid cause.

Mr Zaqy, cited, the disputes that arose between neighbours due to complain about children jumping in the area.

In a situation like that, understanding and more patience in all sides are needed.

Mr Baey favoured, ” It is quite impossible to acquire total tranquil environment in an HDB. It’s is actually great to have a reliable neighbour, so when a problem arises, together they can find a remedy. It boils down to trust, interaction to one another  and creating a relationship.”

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