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SOUND

Solving Our Unwanted Neighbourhood


Disputes

Project Task 2: Conflict

TJ002
Charmaine Ong
Goh Chubin
Teo Wei Ling
Xia Bohan

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

We would like to thank Ms Joanna Hor, Deputy Manager of Community Mediation


Centre (CMC), and Ms Jovice Ang, Assistant Manager of CMC, for their valuable
feedback regarding our project. We would also like to thank the relevant authorities at
Sengkang Community Centre for permitting us to carry out our pilot test there.
Last but not least, we would like to thank our Project Work subject tutor, Ms Melissa
Ong, for her continued encouragement and support, as well as invaluable comments
which have helped us craft and improve our project.

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Table of Contents
Chapter 1: Introduction...........................................................................8
Chapter 2: The Kashmir Conflict...........................................................10
2.1 Introduction to the Kashmir Conflict............................................10
2.2.1 Positive Effect of the conflict.....................................................10
2.2.2 Negative Effects of the conflict.................................................11
2.3 Resolution and Evaluation...........................................................11
2.4 Lessons learnt..............................................................................13
Chapter 3: Neighbourly Disputes..........................................................16
3.1 Reasons for Choice of Topic.........................................................16
3.2 Link to Kashmir Conflict...............................................................17
3.3 Reasons for Target Audience........................................................17
Chapter 4: Project SOUND-Settling Our Unwanted Neighbourly Disputes
.............................................................................................................20
4.1 Aims of Project SOUND................................................................20
4.2 Project plan..................................................................................22
4.3 Introduction to the Virtual Micro Estates......................................23

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4.3.1 Why we chose an online platform?........................................24


4.4 Security measures.......................................................................24
4.5 Features.......................................................................................25
4.5.1 Notifications of Inconvenience........................................................25
4.5.2 Negotiations....................................................................................27
4.5.3 Video Conferencing.........................................................................29
4.5.4 Add-on: Favour Request List...........................................................31

4.6 Mediation Handbook....................................................................32

Chapter 5: Evaluation of Project..................................................36


5.1 Indicators of Success...................................................................36
5.2 Analysis of Pilot Test Results........................................................38
5.3 Feasibility of Project.....................................................................42
5.4 Manageability of Project...............................................................42
5.5 Strengths of our Project...............................................................43
5.6 Drawbacks of project...................................................................44

Chapter 6: Conclusion.................................................................46
6.1 Summary of Project......................................................................46
6.2 Further Applications.....................................................................47

Bibliography................................................................................ 48
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Appendices.................................................................................52
Appendix A- Letter to Community Mediation Centre.........................52
Appendix B- Reply from Community Mediation Centre......................54
Appendix C- Letter to SengKang Community Centre.........................56
Appendix D- Interview Transcript.......................................................58
Appendix E- Pre-Pilot Test Survey......................................................65
Appendix F- Post-Pilot Test Survey.....................................................67
Appendix G- Photographs of Pilot Test...............................................69
Appendix H- Pre-Pilot Test Survey Results..........................................72
Appendix I- Post Pilot Test Survey Results..........................................75
Appendix J- Mediation Handbook.......................................................78

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CHAPTER 1
Introduction

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Chapter 1: Introduction
From the Kashmir Conflict, we learnt that communication between involved parties and
external intervention is crucial in resolving conflicts successfully. Similarly, neighbourly
disputes also arise due to the neighbours' inability to communicate in order to resolve
the issue amongst themselves as well as their refusal to accept external intervention. As
such, our campaign aims to bridge the gap between neighbours with a 4-step plan to
improve communication and increase familiarity between neighbours, and resolve
conflicts through internal negotiation or external mediation. The key highlights of our
campaign, the Mediation Handbook and the Virtual Micro Estates, will educate the
public about conflict resolution through negotiation and mediation.

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CHAPTER 2
The Kashmir Conflict

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Chapter 2: The Kashmir Conflict


2.1 Introduction to the Kashmir Conflict
After the partition of India in 1947, Kashmir had to choose whether to join India,
Pakistan, or to remain independent 1. The Hindu Kashmiri ruler decided to join India, but
conflict arose because Pakistan claimed that Muslim-majority Kashmir should join
Pakistan instead. The desire for Kashmir's rich water resources and military strategic
location also fuelled further hostility between the two countries.

2.2.1 Positive Effect of the conflict


Efforts by foreign nations to resolve the conflict have opened Kashmir up to the world,
allowing Kashmiris to attain better job and education opportunities overseas 2.
Additionally, it helped to facilitate the transition in the splitting of two nations, by making
what belongs to which country clearer3.

1 The Washington Post, "Understanding the war, Kashmir." 15 July,


2004.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/kashmir/front.html (accessed 19 Aug 2011).
2 Mohammad, Ashraf. "The Gifts of War." Kashmir First. .
http://www.kashmirfirst.com/articles/politics/war_gifts.htm (accessed October 20, 2011).
3 Mohammad, Ashraf. "The Gifts of War." Kashmir First. .
http://www.kashmirfirst.com/articles/politics/war_gifts.htm (accessed October 20, 2011).
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2.2.2 Negative Effects of the conflict


India and Pakistan have fought 3 wars over Kashmir, leading to many casualties and
deaths.4 The displacement of people in the two countries during partition further resulted
in a million deaths5. Kashmir's economic growth fell drastically due to the destruction of
infrastructure and public funds being concentrated in the military . This caused a
significant fall in the standard of living in Kashmir 6.

2.3 Resolution and Evaluation


The international community actively encouraged India and Pakistan to communicate to
deal with increased misunderstandings and lack of trust. 7 Foreign ministers of India and
Pakistan were persuaded regarding economic and social issues 8. After the conflict
escalated due to external factors, namely the rise of Muslim fundamentalism in
Kashmir9, these informal negotiations proved worthwhile when trust was successfully
built and sustained between India and Pakistan. (To be linked to LL1)
4 The Christian Monitor, "Upsurge in boys drawn into Kashmir conflict." 3 October,
2003.http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1003/p07s01-wosc.html (accessed 19 Aug 2011).
5 The Washington Post, "Understanding the war, Kashmir." 15 July,
2004.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/world/kashmir/front.html (accessed 19 Aug 2011).
6 "Jammu & Kashmir Development Report."
2008.http://planningcommission.nic.in/plans/stateplan/sdr_jandk/sdr_jkch3a.pdf (accessed 19 Aug 2011).
7 "Impression should be dispelled that there is lack of communication (between Pakistan and India),"
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of India said, also acknowledged there was a "lack of trust" between
the two nations.
8 Daily Times, Dr Farah Zahra. "ANALYSIS: Sustaining the India-Pakistan dialogue." 29 July,
2011.http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C07%5C29%5Cstory_29-7-2011_pg3_2
(accessed 19 Aug 2011).
9 Tinaz Pavri, "Shall we talk? Communications during Crises in the Indian-Pakistan Conflict," The
Round Table, 98, no. 403 (2009): 473-481, (accessed October 18, 2011).
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The US succeeded in inducing communication by putting pressure on Pakistan to


negotiate with India10, leading to successful negotiations which adapted to each others
interests11. (To be linked to LL1, LL2)

Upon Pakistan's request for assistance,12 Bangladesh and the United Nations Security
Council mediated between India and Pakistan during the 1948 war, and successfully
brought about an immediate ceasefire13. This highlights the effectiveness of external
intervention in conflict resolution. (To be linked to LL2)

After further negotiations facilitated by the international community, India and Pakistani
agreed to maintain a permanent ceasefire in Kashmir in 2003 14, reducing tensions
significantly between the two nations.

10 Daily Times, Dr Farah Zahra. "ANALYSIS: Sustaining the India-Pakistan dialogue." 29 July,
2011.http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011%5C07%5C29%5Cstory_29-7-2011_pg3_2
(accessed 19 Aug 2011).
11 Dr Farah, Zahra. "ANALYSIS: Sustaining the India-Pakistan dialogue." Daily Times, July 29, 2011.
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\07\29\story_29-7-2011_pg3_2 (accessed October
18, 2011).
12 The Group of Eight (G8) is a forum, created by France in 1975, for the governments of eight major
economies: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada and Russia.
13 CNN, "India seeks solution to Kashmir conflict." 19 June,
1999.http://www.cnn.com/WORLD/asiapcf/9906/19/india.pakistan.01/ (accessed 19 Aug 2011).
14 Moonis Ahmar, "Pakistan Security Research Unit." Kashmir and The Process of Conflict
Resolution 16 (1 Aug 2007): 13.
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2.4 Lessons learnt


We can therefore draw the following lessons:
LL1. Enabling communication, especially via informal means, can encourage mutual
understanding and compromise to prevent conflicts from exacerbating and facilitate
their resolution.

LL2. Third parties can offer more objective perspectives and help the involved parties to
find a common ground to work towards a mutual agreement for conflict resolution.

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CHAPTER 3
Neighbourly Disputes

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Chapter 3: Neighbourly Disputes


3.1 Reasons for Choice of Topic
Neighbour disputes have gained in prominence over the years. HDB received a record
1,700 complaints of neighbour disputes in 2010, 15 and magistrate complaints have
remained high at 4,300 cases annually.16 This shows the need to tackle this problem, or
the increased use of litigation could further damage neighbourly relations and make
disputes more intractable.17

Neighbours are an important dimension of contemporary urban life as our


neighbourhood is the segment of society closest to home. 18 Good neighbour relations
often imply a more economically thriving neighbourhood. 19 The Singapore government

15 home-parliament the straits times 14/01/2010 b7 in brief


16 TODAYonline Number of Neighbour Disputes Hit High
http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC110808-0000102/Number-of-neighbourdisputes-hit-high Retrieved 9 October 2011
17 http://www.singaporelaw.sg/content/Mediation.html#Section2
18 F o r r e s t , R a y , a n d A d e K e a r n s . " S o c i a l C o h e s i o n , S o c i a l C a p i t a l a n d t h e
Neighbourhood." Urban Studies . 38. no. 12 (2001): 2125-2143.

19 E l l e n , I , a n d M Tu r n e r. " D o e s n e i g h b o u r h o o d m a t t e r ? A s s e s s i n g r e c e n t
evidence." Housing Policy Debate. 8. : 833-866.

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has been putting much effort in preventing conflict and maintaining social harmony.20
Thus, social cohesion, especially at the neighbourhood level 21, is of utmost importance.

3.2 Link to Kashmir Conflict


Pakistan and India were unwilling to communicate with each other. Similarly, in
neighbours in Singapore rarely interact with each other, as shown from our survey
results that 82% of residents talk to their neighbours less than 3 times a week.

How often do you talk to your neighbours?

2%
Everyday

27%
3-5 times a week

17%
<3 times a week

Do not talk at all

54%

Figure 3.1 New estate residents' response on how often they talk to their neighbours

20 National Library Singapore Social Cohesion and Harmony: Case Study of


Singapore http://libguides.nl.sg/content.php?pid=109756&sid=827175 Retrieved 9
October 2011
21 L i t m a n , To d d . V i c t o r i a Tr a n s p o r t P o l i c y I n s t i t u t e , " C o m m u n i t y C o h e s i o n A s
A Tr a n s p o r t P l a n n i n g O b j e c t i v e . " L a s t m o d i fi e d A p r i l 1 5 , 2 0 1 0 . A c c e s s e d
O c t o b e r 0 1 , 2 0 1 1 . w w w. v t p i . o r g / c o h e s i o n . p d f.

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Since we have identified that communication (LL1) and third party intervention is crucial
in conflict resolution (LL2), we have made this the focus of our project.

3.3 Reasons for Target Audience


Our chosen target audiences are residents living in newly built HDB flats, in areas such
as Sengkang and Punggol. Close proximity between apartments in HDB estates imply a
higher probability of conflicts.22 Space constraints, noise pollution, unpleasant smells
are several common conflicts prominent in Singapore. 23

Figure 3.2 Age Demographics on population of Sengkang and Punggol24

22 http://books.google.com.sg/books?
id=m3kl4xgKJ6IC&pg=PA208&lpg=PA208&dq=Close+vicinity+conflict+hdb+singap
ore&source=bl&ots=A4VTV4lkgq&sig=LVOfJpRXa1LBYKhbtjhWnVioc8&hl=en&ei=LwGoTv6xNoiGrAef_ztDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&sqi=2&ved=0CDYQ6AEwBA#v
=onepage&q&f=false
23 Kampong Glam Singapore A Word from the MP
http://www.kampongglam.org.sg/WordFromMP-25Jly10.html Retrieved 9 October
2011
24 http://sg.shownearby.com/place/Punggol-Singapore/1948/demographics/agegroup
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Also, in these regions, 71.4% of residents are working adults, who usually work late
and return home only after 9pm.25 This entails little familiarity between neighbours due
to limited time for interaction. Also, being new to the neighbourhood, neighbours are
significantly less familiar with each other compared to older estates. Conflicts are harder
to resolve when parties are not acquainted.26 Hence, providing a medium for them to
start communicating with one another would help to resolve conflicts.

25 House Visits Lam Pin Min Sengkang West http://lampinmin.sg/?p=165 Retrieved


20 October 2011
26 http://psycnet.apa.org/psycinfo/1978-31687-001
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CHAPTER 4
Project SOUND: Settling Our Unwanted
Neighbourly Disputes

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Chapter 4: Project SOUND-Settling Our


Unwanted Neighbourly Disputes
4.1 Aims of Project SOUND
Our project aims to build communication between neighbours and to promote mediation
as a solution to resolve future conflicts.

Mediators from Community Mediation Centre (CMC) confirmed that neighbour disputes
mainly occur due to lack of communication.27 With the increasing pace of life and hectic
lifestyles, 28 there is lesser interaction between neighbours today. This lack of familiarity
can perpetuate conflicts, making them harder to resolve. 29

27 Today, "Number of neighbour disputes hit high." Last modified Sep 13, 2011. Accessed October 9,
2011. http://www.todayonline.com/Singapore/EDC110808-0000102/Number-of-neighbour-disputes-hithigh.
28 Asia One Complain, complain, complain http://www.asiaone.com/News/The%2BNew
%2BPaper/Story/A1Story20101230-255612.html Retrieved 9 October 2011
29 Clarence, Chen. Asia One, "Complain, complain, complain ." Last modified Dec 01, 2010. Accessed
October 9, 2011. http://www.asiaone.com/News/The+New+Paper/Story/A1Story20101230-255612.html.
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Our survey found that 86% of the public remain unaware of mediation as a solution to
conflicts. Former Minister of Law, Professor S. Jayakumar, stated that people should
turn to mediation as it is an affordable, accessible and effective alternative to settle
disputes.30 From our survey, 60% of respondents would file complaints to Court to settle
conflicts (Refer to Figure 3.1 below), even for the minor scenarios, incurring higher
costs and more time on residents. Mediation is often a better option as it is quicker, less
stressful and cheaper than going to court. 31 Therefore, this calls for the implementation
of our project.

30 Community Mediation Centre Singapore, First. "CMC Annual Report 2003/04." (2004): 1-40.
http://app2.mlaw.gov.sg/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=BBnI5q2jbCg=&tabid=310 (accessed October 9,
2011).
31 http://www.human-law.co.uk/About-Mediation/Why-mediate.aspx
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Preferred Methods to Resolve Conflicts

15%
25%
Undergo Mediation
Lodge a Complaint
Discuss problem directly with
neighbour

60%

Figure 4.1: Residents preferences of methods of conflict resolution.

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4.2 Project plan

Decrease
misunderstandings
Ensuring Be informed of
neighbours
inconveniences
are in the
know

Discussions in forums
Bonding in real life
through completing
Increasing
familiarity
favours
Initiated by leaving a
message
Ameliorate conflicts
Resolution
through third parties
through
offering their say
negotiation
Facilitated by CMC online
Resolution for fullblown
Resolution
conflicts
through
mediation

Figure 4.1: Project SOUND's 4 tiers in tackling neighbour disputes

Previously, we have identified a lack of understanding and familiarity between


neighbours in new estates. Thus, our project takes a 4-tiered approach to tackle
neighbour disputes of different severity. (Refer to Figure 4.1 above) Mutual
understanding is increased through notifications of inconveniences, familiarity is
increased through discussions and completing favours. Negotiations can be initiated
when uninvolved parties offer their opinion through discussions, identifying better ways
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to resolve conflicts, followed by proceeding to actual negotiations between parties


(LL1). Moreover, mediation is a unique form of third parties' intervention where
professional mediators can provide assistance for parties in conflict to improve
understandings of each other, reaching a mutually beneficial agreement.

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(LL2)

4.3 Introduction to the Virtual Micro Estates

Figure 4.2: Layout of Virtual Micro Estates

The Virtual Micro Estates is an online platform with the integration of notification
functions and forums to serve as a platform for interaction (LL1), along with mediation
features with the involvement of mediators to solve more severe conflicts (LL2). It will
follow the structural arrangement of the units in HDB flats (Refer to Figure 4.2 above),
with unit numbers only disclosed to those who approve by choosing privacy settings.
32 Conflict Research Consortium, University of Colorado, USA, "Third Party
Intervention." Accessed September 27, 2011.
http://www.colorado.edu/conflict/peace/treatment/3ptyint.htm.
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4.3.1 Why we chose an online platform?


Singapore is third most wired country in the world, with users of the Internet taking up
77.8% of the population33. Due to its high accessibility, the use of an online platform
makes it easier for us to reach out to our target audience, who can use it with great
convenience.34

4.4 Security measures


The anonymous environment the internet provides leaves room for malicious
behaviour.35 This is prevented by issuing passwords to accounts linked to unit numbers
by mail, so people cannot fake their identity.

33Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore, First. "Annual Report 2009/2010." (2010): 8-50.
http://www.ida.gov.sg/Annual Report/2009/main.htm (accessed August 20, 2011).
34 W i l l i a m Ke l l y C o n s u l t i n g , " T h e C o n v e n i e n c e o f t h e I n t e r n e t . "
L a s t m o d i fi e d A u g u s t 1 6 , 2 0 1 1 . A c c e s s e d A u g u s t 3 0 , 2 0 1 1 .
h t t p : / / w w w. w i l l i a m k e l l e y c o n s u l t i n g . c o m / i n d e x . p h p ?
o p t i o n = c o m _ c o n t e n t & v i e w = a r t i c l e & i d = 2 2 : t h e - c o n v e n i e n c e - o ft h e - i n t e r n e t & c a t i d = 1 : fi n a n c e & I t e m i d = 2 .
35Tang, Xiaoya. "Online Behavior: Cyber Bullying and Other Malicious Online Actions Lisa Brien
LI815." Weebly. Emporia State University, Spring 2009. Web. (accessed October 20, 2011)
<http://lisabrienportfolio.weebly.com/uploads/1/7/5/8/1758692/online_behaviour.doc>

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4.5 Features
4.5.1 Notifications of Inconvenience
Inconveniences generate the most common conflicts in a neighbourhood as ones
actions often compromise anothers welfare. 36 For instance, household renovations may
cause noise pollution. This adversely affects residents in the vicinity, such as disturbing
a child studying for examinations or interrupting the sleep of other neighbours. Hence,
to resolve conflicts caused by inconveniences, a feature in our website is designed to
notify residents of these problems in advance, so that they are able to negotiate for the
necessary arrangements to avoid such situations(Refer to Figure 4.3 below).

Figure 4.3 Notification board on home page of Virtual Micro Estates

36 Conflict Resolution Service, "Neighbourhood Disputes." Last modified 2008. Accessed October 25,
2011. http://www.crs.org.au/html/neighbourhood_disputes.htm.
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This informal negotiations thus prevent such conflicts from escalating through improving
understanding between neighbours (LL1). It will be displayed on the home page of the
website so that it is taken into greater consideration by users. 37 Furthermore, it also
ensures event schedules do not clash, since others can see what dates have already
been booked.38 Thus, this feature resolves and prevents tensions that may arise due to
the inconveniences, through communication between residents on the notification board
online.

37 N i e l s o n , J a k o b , a n d M a r i e Ta h i r. H o m e p a g e u s a b i l i t y : 5 0
websites deconstructed. New Riders, 2001.
38 AFP. "Singapore's 'void decks' reflect racial rainbow." Straits Times 24 Apr 2010. n. pag. Print. 13 Oct. 2011.
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4.5.2 Negotiations

Issue: Bird droppings prevalent now in our estate due to unknown man feeding them causing

Vick Ash: We should complain this issue to the Town Coun


Kian Hoe: Hey I we should confront the man together!

Nloria: I think we should appeal to the Town Council to place a sign No feed

Vick Ash: That sounds like a good idea!

Figure 4.4 Example of negotiation on forums of Virtual Micro Estates

A negotiations board will be placed on our website to trigger discussions amongst


residents on issues within the estates (Refer to Figure 4.4 above). Residents
uninvolved in the conflict will also be able to give their opinions on ways to resolve
conflicts and eventually, help those in conflict find a common ground for conflict
resolution (LL2). For example, incidents in Singapore concerning the dirtying of estates
due to bird droppings can be resolved through this medium of discussions. Some
residents in Singapore feed these birds, causing birds to flock to the estates, which
dirties the entire area. Through communication between residents on our negotiations
board, residents can offer various measures to resolve this conflict between the affected
parties. Those in conflict can negotiate with one another and finally come up with an

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agreement on the best solution (LL1). If the acting parties are not involved in the
discussion board, affected parties can negotiate and report the matter and appeal for
their solution to authority like the Town Council or Group Representation Constituencies
(GRC). For the case mentioned above, residents may be able to come up with a
consensus on placing a sign that states No feeding of birds in the estates. Hence,
through the negotiations and communication between residents, conflict can be easily
resolved.

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4.5.3 Video Conferencing


Our website provides a platform for facilitating mediation by supporting a video
conferencing function. Residents need not go down to CMC to carry out mediation
sessions personally.39 Instead, they can undergo mediation within the comfort of their
homes with mediators from CMC. In addition, the website is designed to be linked to
CMCs database so that residents can simply register their case via the Virtual Micro
Estates, rather than filling in a form twice (Refer to Figure 4.5 below). This
convenience provides an incentive for the public to utilise our website.

Figure 4.5 Registration form for mediation on Community Mediation Centre's website

39 Joseph W., Goodman. "The Pros and Cons of Online Dispute Resolution: An Assessment of CyberMediation Websites." Duke Law of Technology. : 1-15.
http://www.law.duke.edu/journals/dltr/articles/pdf/2003DLTR0004.pdf (accessed August 21, 2011).
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Since video conferencing is popular due to its convenience and low price, 40 our online
mediation services would appeal to the public. The use of web-cameras keep the
advantages that face-to-face mediation offers, as one can comprehend what the
opposite party is trying to convey through his body language without generating
misunderstandings41 (Refer to Figure 4.6 below).

Figure 4.6 Four-way video conference between parties in conflict and two mediators from CMC

401Justin, Massoud. MYCE, "Will video calling soon become as common as telephone calls?." Last
modified February 15, 2011. Accessed October 24, 2011. http://www.myce.com/news/will-video-callingsoon-become-as-common-as-telephone-calls-40079/.
41 D o h e r t y - S n e d d o n , G w y n e t h , a n d A n n e A n d e r s o n . " F a c e - t o - f a c e a n d v i d e o me diated communication: A comparison of dialogue structure and task
performance.."PsycARTICLES. 3. no. 2 (1997): 101-125.
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4.5.4 Add-on: Favour Request List


'Favour Budding' is a feature to increase familiarity between neighbours, even in real
life. Small favours like requesting for neighbours to help collect letters or newspapers
when a resident is overseas can be mentioned on the website (Refer to Figure 4.7
below), and it goes a long way in bringing neighbours closer in relations. 42 The favours
exchanged 'bud', as altruistic behaviour spawns with friendly actions from neighbours 43.

I need some salt from the grocer :(

Can anyone help me pick up hotdogs from IKEA? :D

Anyone want to trade cultural food? I want to share my new recipe for murtabak!

Figure 4.7 Example of requests that can be made on the Favour Budding feature

42 "Indicator 12: Exchange Favors with Neighbors." Pennsylvania Civic Health Index 2010. Pennsylvania,
National Conference on Citizenship. 2010. Web. 20 Oct. 2011. http://ncoc.net/Indicator_12_PA.

43 Eshel, Iian. "On the neighbor effect and the evolution of altruistic traits." Theoretical Population Biology. 3.3
(2004): 258-277. Print.

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4.6 Mediation Handbook


Currently, there are no free handbooks available in the market educating the public on
the basics of mediation. While CMC does have their own handbook, it focused more on
promoting itself as a mediation centre the public seeks when conflicts are encountered,
instead of having pointers about the mediation process itself (Refer to Appendix D:
Interview Transcript). Although there are mediation books available, these books are
rather pricey44 and thus not likely purchased by residents who do not see the
importance in it.

What differentiates our handbook from CMC is that it aims to raise awareness of the
process and benefits of mediation to the public (Refer to Figure 4.8 to the right). By
having a better understanding of it, they would be more inclined to use mediation as a
form of conflict resolution, hence achieving our project objectives. In addition, the
handbook would be distributed to the public for free at community centre. It will also be
available for download online.

The handbook is made concise and be rich in illustrations such as comic strips as
people learn better with pictures. 45 An online quiz with questions regarding the

44 C o n fl i c t R e s o l u t i o n , " B o o k s o n M e d i a t i o n . " L a s t m o d i fi e d 2 0 1 1 .
Accessed September 27, 2011.
h t t p : / / w w w. c o n fl i c t r e s o l u t i o n . c o m / b o o k s _ o n _ m e d i a t i o n . h t m l .
45 Cliff, Atkinson. Sociable Media, "The Cognitive Load of PowerPoint: Q&A with Richard E. Mayer ."
Last modified 2004. Accessed October 24, 2011. http://www.sociablemedia.com/articles_mayer.htm.
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mediation process will also offer limited edition freebies if all questions are answered
correctly. This will provide incentives for residents to read our handbook.

We would be encouraging the public to undertake the public service mediation which is
virtually free and has a high rate of 75% in success in resolution. 46 A bonus would be
that residents who become interested in mediation consider undergoing professional
training to become a mediator under CMC, increasing the pool of mediators to offer the
service more extensively47.
To see the full Mediation Handbook, refer to Appendix J.

46 Ministry of Law, Community Mediation Center. Annual Report. Singapore: , 2010. Print.
47 Appendix D, Interview with CMC managers
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Figure 4.8 Preview of pages from our Mediation Handbook

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CHAPTER 5
Evaluation of Proposal

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Chapter 5: Evaluation of Project


5.1 Indicators of Success
We conducted our pilot test in Sengkang new HDB estates where we showcased and
explained our project proposals to the residents (Refer to Figure 5.1).

Figure 5.1 Pictures from the Pilot Test

A series of pre- and post-surveys were also used to determine our projects success.
The effectiveness of our project is gauged through publics receptiveness to our
proposed ideas, changes in publics mindset towards mediation and the opinion of those
who have been in conflict before regarding the effectiveness of our proposals in
resolving conflicts (Refer to Figure 5.1 to the right).

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Indicators of Success

Public's receptiveness
to proposal

Increased knowledge
of mediation and
communication to
resolve neighbourly
disputes

Proven effectiveness
of proposal in
resolving conflict

>75% of respondents
are willing to use our
proposed ideas

>50% of respondents
willing to switch to
mediation as conflict
resolution method.

>75% of respondents
who had conflict
before feels that our
proposal would have
better facilitated
conflict resolution.

Figure 5.1: Indicators of Success

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5.2 Analysis of Pilot Test Results


Will you make use of our Virtual Micro Estates in times of conflict and as a platform to communicate with your neighbours?

5%
Yes
No

95%

Chart 5.2: Respondents receptiveness to our proposal

95% of our respondents expressed that they would be interested in using our Virtual
Micro Estates as a platform to resolve conflict and communicate with their neighbours in
the future, (Refer to Chart 5.2 above) fulfilling our first success indicator.

Such positive feedback can be attributed to the unique functions of the Virtual Micro
Estates capable of effectively addressing conflict management issues and promoting
communication which appealed to the residents. Thus, the residents will use our
proposal to resolve conflicts.

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Preferred choice of conflict resolution method when faced with neighbourly disputes
Pre-Pilot test Survey Results Post-Pilot test Survey Results
55%

60%

40%
25%
15%
5%
t
Discuss problem directly with neighbour

Lodge a Complain

Chart 5.3: Respondents preferred choice of conflict resolution methods when faced with
neighbourly disputes

Our pre- and post- pilot test survey consist of a series of common conflict scenarios
where respondents will choose which method they prefer to resolve conflicts. Initially,
majority (60%) of our participants chose to lodge a complaint. However, after promoting
our website and handbook, thus raising their awareness of the alternative methods to
conflict resolution, 50% of our respondents become willing to switch from lodging
complaints to undergoing mediation (Refer to Chart 5.3 above).

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The increased in percentage of respondents willing to utilize mediation shows that our
handbook is indeed informative, clear and we have successfully met our project aim to
promote mediation as a means to resolve conflict. This is further complemented by
another set of result which shows that more than 85% of the respondents regard our
handbook as effective in raising awareness of mediation ( Refer to Chart 5.4 below).

How far would you rate the effectiveness of our handbook in raising awareness of mediation as a means to resolve neighbourly disputes?
(with 1 as the lowest and 5 as the highest)
60%
50%
40%
Percentage of respondents 30%
20%
10%
0%

Ratings

Chart 5.4: Respondents rating of effectiveness of handbook (Post pilot test survey)

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Another set of data which is specifically targeted at residents who have experienced
disputes with their neighbours before shows that 85% of them think that our current
proposals are able to better facilitate conflict resolutions if available during their conflict.
(Refer to Chart 5.5 below)

Do you think that our proposal would have better facilitated conflict resolution if available during your conflict?
Yes No

15%

85%

Chart 5.5: Respondents take on the effectiveness of our proposals

Since respondents would only choose our proposals only if they are more beneficial,
this set of results is especially significant as it highlights that we are heading in the right
direction where our proposals are able to tackle the root of the problem capable of
settling neighbourly disputes.

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5.3 Feasibility of Project


Our project is feasible as it is sustainable in the long run through collaboration with
established organizations. Our objectives parallel that of CMC 48 which seeks to promote
the use of mediation to resolve neighbour disputes. They would be most inclined to
collaborate with us and this is strengthened by an interview with them where they
express interest in our project. This collaboration also allows us to further widen the
scope of our project, reaching out to residents living in different estates.

Being IT-savvy, our target audience will be familiar with the use of the Internet and
would not have any trouble navigating through our website; negotiations and mediation
online can take place smoothly to reach conflict resolution, making our project feasible
to implement.

5.4 Manageability of Project


Our project is manageable by a group of 4 as there are guidebooks readily available
such as Creating a website for dummies 49 to aid us in the creation of our Virtual Micro
Website#. Free online tools such as ooVuu supports up to 6-way video chat 50, and

48 Community Mediation Centre (CMC), "Mission and Goals." Last modified 2011. Accessed October
22, 2011. http://app2.mlaw.gov.sg/AboutCMC/MissionGoals/tabid/298/Default.aspx.
49 David A., Crowder. Building a Website for Dummies. Foster City, CA: IDG Books
Worldwide, Inc, 2000.
50 ooVoo, "Video Call." Last modified 2011. Accessed October 25, 2011.
http://www.oovoo.com/HowToooVooItem.aspx?pname=HowToooVooVideoCalling.
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mockingbird51 allow the creation of the specialised structure of our website suited for
HDB flats. These show that our ideas are realistic and manageable. In addition, the cost
for setting up a website is low, affordable by us. 52

CMC is also able and willing to provide us with relevant information for the creation of
our Mediation Handbook. As long as there is funding from possible sponsors such as
the Town Council and CMC in printing of our handbooks to the public, there would be
minimal difficulties in carrying out our project.

5.5 Strengths of our Project


Our project is designed at the convenience of users where the Virtual Micro Estates
allows online mediation to take place and residents can also communicate with each
other anytime possible. Being easily accessible, an incentive is created for users to
utilize our website. Greater communication between neighbours is fostered as the
number of users increase. The problem of lack of communication between neighbours
which is a cause of neighbourly disputes is addressed. This is further complemented by
Ms Hor, Deputy Manager of CMC, who states that the use of the internet to implement
these measures is exceptionally effective in Singapore.
51 Sheena, Pakanati, and Chakrabarti Saikat. Some Character, "Mockingbird:
Wireframes on the fly." Last modified 2011. Accessed October 25, 2011.
https://gomockingbird.com/.
52 P i e c h n i c k , D a n i e l . " W e b s i t e S e t u p G u i d e . " A c c e s s e d S e p t e m b e r 2 7 , 2 0 1 1 .
http://websitesetupguide.com.

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By differentiating our website from other social-networking sites through its unique
features such as video conferencing etc., our website is specifically created for the
purpose of resolving neighbourly disputes. This provides a reason for users to access
our website, allowing us to achieve our aims to resolve conflicts.

5.6 Drawbacks of project


Our project is mainly targeted at the IT-savvy population, there is still a proportion of
residents who are the elderly or of lower income groups who do not prefer or are unable
to use such virtual platforms. We cannot address this population and if conflicts involve
any single party who do not approve the use of the online mediation service, it would be
more feasible for them to undergo traditional face-to-face mediation.

In addition, there are also certain advantages of face-to-face communication which


cannot be presented in our Virtual Micro Estates. Face-to-face communication helps
people express their feelings and ideas better through nonverbal clues such as tone
and facial expressions53. When conflicts occur, paying close attention to the nonverbal
signals may help one accurately respond to others emotions so that tensions could
be released to resolve the conflict54. Communication online through our website is

53 Kathleen A., Begley. Face to Face Communication. Boston, MA: Thomson NETg,
2004.
54 Helpguide.org, "Conflict Resolution Skills." Last modified 2011. Accessed October
25, 2011. http://helpguide.org/mental/eq8_conflict_resolution.htm.
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unable to convey important nonverbal massages. Thus, it might be more effective for us
to transplant the video-conferencing function to online communication between
neighbours on our website as well.

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CHAPTER 6
Conclusion

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Chapter 6: Conclusion

6.1 Summary of Project


The creation of the Virtual Micro Estates and handbook is structured according to our
lessons learnt and it is successful in fostering communication between neighbours,
bridging their relationship as well as addressing the need to resolve neighbour disputes
in our society today as accessed by our indicators of success. Even though there a few
limitations in our project which may hinder our project, they are not too overwhelming to
render our project ineffective. Therefore, we are confident that our proposal is efficient
and feasible in making communication and mediation accessible and convenient online
to be an effective way to resolve neighbour disputes.

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6.2 Further Applications


Instead of just targeting residents of new HDB estates, we can further extend our
project to those living in private estates, since neighbour disputes do also occur in these
neighbourhoods55, such as the Everitt Road dispute. This can be made possible by
changing the layout of the website to suit the different characteristics of their estates,
such as different bonding activities according to their age groups.

CMC is already involved in youth outreach educating students about peer mediation.
We can also distribute our Mediation Handbook to schools through collaboration with
CMC, further exposing students to methods of mediation more formal than peer
mediation. Thus, better equipping them with valuable skills which they can choose to
utilise when faced with future conflicts.

We can also integrate our Virtual Micro Estates onto Facebook. By tapping on this
popular medium56, the publicity for our website can be increased, ensuring a steady flow
of residents utilising it, making it sustainable in the long run.

55 National Library Singapore, "SingaporeInfopedia: Everitt Road


neighbourbourhood dispute." Last modified 2005. Accessed September 23, 2011.
http://infopedia.nl.sg/articles/SIP_441_2005-02-02.html.
56 T h e H u ffi n g t o n P o s t , " Fa c e b o o k U s e r s N u m b e r A l m o s t 7 0 0
M i l l i o n : Re p o r t . " Ac c e s s e d S e p t e m b e r 2 7 , 2 0 1 1 .
h t t p : / / w w w. h u ffi n g t o n p o s t . c o m / 2 0 1 1 / 0 5 / 3 1 / f a c e b o o k - u s e r s n u m b e r- a l m o s t - 7 0 0 - m i l l i o n _ n _ 8 6 8 9 6 7 . h t m l .
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Appendices

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Appendices
Appendix A- Letter to Community Mediation Centre
Temasek Junior College
22 Bedok South Road
Singapore 469278
Project Work Group 002
22nd August 2011
To Whom It May Concern:
Requesting for Interview Regarding Creation of Mediation Handbook
We are a group of students from Temasek Junior College who are currently
working on our GCE- A level examination Project Work paper. We would
greatly appreciate if you could grant our group a face-to-face interview with
an experienced mediator as part of our research for our project task.
Our project is entitled SOUND Settling Our Unwanted Neighbourly
Disputes. The main focus of our project seeks to resolve social conflicts
between neighbours in new estates through the creation of a handbook on
mediation skills as well as a website entitled Virtual Micro Estates. The
handbook will include simple tips and details on basic mediation skills which
will be brought across in the form of illustrations such as comic strips. We
hope that through reading our handbook, the public will be equipped with
basic peer- mediation skills and also be more aware of utilizing mediation as
a means to resolving disputes between their neighbours in the future, if any.
In addition, if the public are faced with difficult situations and in need for
further mediation, the handbooks will refer them to CMC. The Virtual Micro
Estates website is a visual representation of the HDB estates and it holds
several functions such as chatrooms and forums, allowing users to
communicate online as well as being able to facilitate conflict resolving
discussions with the help of a mediator or third party.
The Community Mediation Centre has been successful in organizing and
participating in events annually to encourage mediation as an effective
conflict resolution method. Therefore, we hope that the creation of our
handbook would complement the Community Mediation Centres efforts in
promoting mediation.
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With the expertise and experience of your mediators, it would be fortunate if


you could provide our group with valuable insights regarding our project in
these areas:

Current situation of social cohesiveness of new HDB estates


Effectiveness of mediation in resolving conflicts
Tips and pointers where the public can take up simple mediation skill
to resolve conflicts between neighbours
Feedback on the effectiveness of our project and how well can it
complement CMCs current efforts in promoting mediation.

The interview would take approximately 40 minutes to an hour Alternatively,


we may also conduct our interview through phone or email if more
convenient.
We sincerely hope that you would favourably consider our request as your
invaluable experience in this field would greatly aid us in the creation of our
handbook.
Our contact address is ongpeijiacha@tjc.edu.sg or 98535814 for our group
leader, Charmaine Ong, if further information concerning our project is
required.
Thank you very much!
Yours Sincerely,
Temasek Junior College
Project Work Group TJ002
Ong Pei Jia Charmaine,
Goh Chubin,
Teo Weiling,
Xia Bohan

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Appendix B- Reply from Community Mediation Centre


From: MLAW_HQ_CMC@mlaw.gov.sg
To: maine12329@hotmail.com; ongpeijiacha@tjc.edu.sg
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2011 22:26:04 +0800
Subject: RE: Request for Interview Regarding Creation of Mediation
Handbook
Dear Charmaine,
We refer to your email dated 1 September 2011.
We are heartened by your group's interest in the work of the Community
Mediation Centre. We note your request to conduct an interview and are
available to meet your group for a discussion at 10am on Thursday, 8
September 2011.
Do let us know if you are able to meet then.
Thank you.
Regards,
Joanna Hor (Ms)
Deputy Manager, Community Mediation Unit
Ministry of Law

From: Charmaine Ong [mailto:maine12329@hotmail.com]


Sent: Monday, 5 September, 2011 10:40 PM
To: MLAW HQ CMC (MLAW)
Subject: RE: Request for Interview Regarding Creation of Mediation
Handbook
Dear Ms Hor,
Thank you very much for the speedy reply. My group would be delighted to
come down this Thusday, 8 September, at 10am to the Community
Mediation Unit Ministry of Law for the interview.
Thank you once again.
Cheers,
Ong Pei Jia Charmaine
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Temasek Junior College


Project Work Group TJ002
From: MLAW_HQ_CMC@mlaw.gov.sg
To: maine12329@hotmail.com
Date: Mon, 5 Sep 2011 22:53:53 +0800
Subject: RE: Request for Interview Regarding Creation of Mediation Handbook
Dear Charmaine,
See you on Thursday then. Our office address is The URA Centre, East Wing
45 Maxwell Road #01-13.
Regards,
Joanna Hor (Ms)
Deputy Manager, Community Mediation Unit
Ministry of Law

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Appendix C- Letter to SengKang Community Centre


Temasek Junior College
22 Bedok South Road
Singapore 469278
Project Work Group 002
11th August 2011
To Whom It May Concern:
Requesting Permission to Perform Pilot Test of Project Work Task at
Sengkang Community Centre
We are a group of students from Temasek Junior College who are currently
working on our GCE- A level examination Project Work paper. We would
greatly appreciate if you could give permission to us to perform our pilot test
for our project task.
Our project is entitled SOUND Settling Our Unwanted Neighborly
Disputes. The main focus of our project seeks to resolve social conflicts
between neighbors in new estates through the creation of a website Virtual
Micro Estates and a handbook on mediation skills. We hope that through our
project, the public will be equipped with basic peer- mediation skills and also
be more aware of utilizing communication as means to resolving disputes
between their neighbors in the future, if any.
Our pilot test is to distribute a sample of our Mediation Handbook and invite
members of the public to test our online website Virtual Micro Estates,
which functions as an online platform with forums, chatrooms as well as
integration of social networking games to construct and facilitate
communication between the new neighbors. From this, we wish to gauge the
interest of the public in our proposal for Virtual Micro Estates to facilitate
communication and bonding between neighbours, and our Mediation
Handbook to equip the general public with knowledge and awareness of
mediation as a means of resolving conflict.
If there is a course going on, we would like to approach the residents after
the course. Our handbooks would be distributed to the residents through
their letter slot. Moreover, other necessary information such as email
address would also be collected so that accounts information can be mailed
to the granted invitees.
We hope to conduct the pilot test at the blocks at Sengkang Community
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Centre from 7a.m. to 12p.m. noon on the weekend of the first week of
September (10 11 September).
Once again, we sincerely request for permission for us to conduct our pilot
test at the Community Center. We assure you that our pilot testing will not
cause a great inconvenience to the public and hope for a positive reply. Our
contact address is ongpeijiacha@tjc.edu.sg or 98535814 for our group
leader, Charmaine Ong, if further information concerning our project is
required.
Thank you!
Yours sincerely,
Temasek Junior College
Project Work Group 002
Ong Pei Jia Charmaine,
Goh Chubin,
Teo Weiling,

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Appendix D- Interview Transcript


Date: Thursday, 8 September 2011.
Time:

10am to 11am

Location:

Community Mediation Unit Ministry of Law


The URA Centre, East Wing 45 Maxwell Road #01-13

Interviewees:
Ms Joanna Hor, Deputy Manager, Community Mediation Unit,
Ministry of Law
Ms Jovis Ang, Assistant Manager, Community Mediation Unit, Ministry
of Law

Ms Hor: Speaking of your plan on doing a handbook and a website, I think


that it is a good thing that caught my attention. We dont have anything in
terms of tips and pointers where the public can learn mediation skills
because at the center, our cause is only to provide mediation to conflicting
parties. So when the parties come, they register either through walkthroughs
from the court, HDB and the police. Then we set up a mediation session,
which is voluntary, so the people can either come here to the centre here or
our branch in woodlands or the subordinate court.

Charmaine: In view of the recent curry issue, there were a lot of


misconceptions arising from the article itself as well as the readers
who knew little of mediation and were thus misled, so do you have
any views on whether mediation should be better promoted to the
public?
Ms Hor: What you pointed out is right, that it was due to a newspaper
inaccuracy that resulted in a furore over this issue. Slightly moving ahead,
what were looking at is public mediation, I think the proposals youve
suggested to me are practical and things that can be carried out. It is good
as long as you have the resources. The stuff like you mentioned like the
handbook to educate people about mediation as well as the website, these
are good initiatives if we have the resources and manpower to do it. Some
other things that weve done in the past are road shows and exhibitions,
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mainly these two for public education. But we also brief our partners in key
agencies what kind of cases they can refer to us that are suitable for
mediation.

Charmaine: What do you think is the most crucial factor in ensuring


that conflicts are resolved in the CMC, seeing as how 25% of
conflicts handled by CMC walk away unresolved?
Ms Hor: We dont access what are the reasons when parties dont reach a
resolution. Like mentioned earlier, mediation is purely voluntary so if the
parties are not agreeable with the solutions that either party raised, they are
free to walk out anytime. The fact that mediation is voluntary and yet we still
get 3 out of 4 cases settled is actually a very high statistic.

Charmaine: Do you think offering a handbook with skills would be


receptive by the public?
Ms Hor: We always emphasis mediation as a life skill, so even at a teenager
level, were already trying to inculcate a certain level of mediation skills in
them through peer mediation workshops, which is what were doing for Youth
Outreach. It is compulsory for the students if the school picks it up. They give
us feedback that it is generally useful and things like that. As for adults,
whether or not they would see this as something useful I think mediation is
something everybody has to use in their lives at one point in time whether
its just helping your friend or conducting a formal mediation session. Maybe
the question should be thrown back at yourselves that whether or not you
think mediation is something that is useful for you.

Charmaine: Weve had a short survey on whether or not people


would approach a mediator in times of conflict and nobody chose
that. The age group was relatively random, but we did not keep
track of it.
Ms Hor: Without keeping track of the age group, it would be hard to access
your results because it would affect what they chose. Our disputants are
generally between 30 to 60 years old, so the fact of the matter is that young
people would not use mediation at this age. Also if you see a breakdown of
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our demographics, a majority of our cases are neighbour disputes, meaning


that people are old enough to buy a house and live there for long enough,
and not between youth, especially since the mindset when youre young is
that you dont want someone else to be interfering on your conflict, that you
want to resolve it yourself. But since most of our cases come from brick and
mortar issues, like neighbour disputes and all that, so it necessarily attracts a
certain demographics of people.

Charmaine: We also found through recent newspaper articles on


mediation and our survey results that a lack of communication was
the main cause of conflicts. Do you have any opinions on this?
Ms Hor: That is definitely one of the reasons for conflict. The very nature of
mediation is getting the parties to talk to each other, so in the eye of
promoting communication, if it was just a result of lack of communication,
usually the conflict is resolved quite quickly. But often why it does not get
resolved could be due to more reasons like maybe one party is just a bit
more stubborn and they dont want to give in for whatever reasons that they
have which we sometimes hear during the mediation session itself.

Charmaine: Our group was proposing to create a website mainly to


promote communication between neighbours more conveniently so
that they would accept it compared to dropping anonymous letters
or such. It is named Virtual Micro Estates which would be
structurally like the actual HDB estate itself where you can click
around and see others profiles, and can drop messages on other
neighbours wall. Since you have to be logged in to do it, you cant
do it anonymously. We have also come up with security measures to
ensure security in the website by issuing passwords and logins
linked to the unit number on the website by mailing out the letter to
the address of the particular unit number. Its supposed to correlate
with the actual building arrangement in that particular HDB. It
would be easier to sort out the problem by eliminating anonymity so
that you can clearly sort it out with this person.
We also wanted to carry this out at new estates, as residents there
are a more IT savvy generation, being new couples of a younger age
group. Weve also found a past attempt by Hilda Ng, who set up a
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Facebook page for fellow residents in Segar Meadows in Bukit


Panjang, and succeeded in attracting many people.
Do you see any areas of improvements for our project?
Ms Hor: I think the handbook idea is probably a bit more user friendly than
your website. I mean it really depends on the target audience that youre
reaching out to. For your website, we do see it limited in terms of who are
the people connected and whether there are people who actually find it
easier to go behind a screen and then talk to their neighbour rather than talk
to them face to face. I see the relevance of you targeting a younger
generation since young people these days always go online then talk to
people face-to-face. The handbook idea is good, but its just how you want to
go about in the distribution of your handbook, in terms of monetary funding.

Charmaine: Actually, we will be pilot testing by distributing our


handbook at Punggol or Sengkang Community Centre, as well as
putting the handbook in a softcopy available online with the
guidelines to conflict resolution found on HDB and other websites.
The guidelines usually have 3 steps to conflict resolution, 1 st to talk
to your neighbour, 2nd to try mediation, and 3rd to lodge a magistrate
complaint. Usually little is written for the first 2 steps and the
mediation section would only offer a link to the CMC website and
little else. We were thinking if anyone was interested in resolving
their conflicts, were giving them more resources to do so, rather
than just going straight to lodging a complaint.
Ms Hor: I think if its like that, mediation may or may not be done the right
way. I mean if youre thinking of conflict resolution, obviously youll be
resolving the conflict in a way, but if youre looking at mediation, where you
are just offering tips to mediate, then I dont think it will be very useful. How
are you assured that mediation is done right? And whether or not it would
make the problem worse in the end? Which is why our mediators are trained.

Charmaine: So if we take the handbook more as exposure to the


public on mediation skills instead of trying to resolve the conflict
straight away and mediate, as an add on to CMCs current outreach,
do you think that would be more feasible?
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Ms Hor: Actually our public awareness at this stage, were thinking of raising
awareness of CMC to the public, because this a centre that is set up for the
public and you dont even need to track somebody on your own. All you need
to do is come here, pay $5 for administrative fee because this is a public
service, and we facilitate the entire process including giving you a trained
mediator. So we train our mediation very thoroughly to go for a 2 day
workshop to equip them with skills. I mean, if youre talking about more basic
just what mediation is, a handbook like that can provide that. But
sometimes, you do need a certain controlled setting where the party has
someone else to facilitate their discussion which would actually help the
problem more than the 2 parties who already hate each other.
Im wondering what kind of tips you will put inside, because if youre talking
about conflict resolution as a whole, tips would definitely be talking to your
neighbour, write a letter to your neighbour, put in their letter box. They are
all sorts of ways that are things that people already knows. But what they
dont know is mediation skills and yet you cant just convey mediation skills
using a few words in a book. So content-wise, how strong will these tips be?

Charmaine: We wish to clarify a few things. Our proposal is not that


the 2 parties mediate within themselves but for a neutral party to
help them mediate to resolve the conflict.
Ms Hor: Being neutral is even more difficult to determine these days,
because I think one of the beauties of mediation is that the party is
completely, or at least tries to be completely neutral, which is not something
that is easily achieved if you dont understand what mediation really is.
Perhaps it help more since the 3rd party neighbour would be exposed to the
quarrels by the parties since they live near each other, such that he/she is
more aware of the situation than an external party or a mediator, so they
would understand the situation better since they have been listening to it
and maybe talk to their neighbours a little about it.
Another thing that I suddenly remember is that it really depends on the
culture of the society in the first place. In Singapore, people generally dont
want to be involved in other peoples business. Mediation is not a culture.
Most Singaporeans dont want to step in to help versus a western country
where people step in to help very easily, being just part of the way people
really are. So do you think that mediation culture can start even lower by just
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telling them there is someone to help you, rather than, you go and help
someone?
In terms of the handbook, I think you need to consider what society is like
first. If the society is really ready to do something like that would tell you
whether or not this plan is really workable and feasible and realistic. Like our
own handbook doesnt tell you mediation tips but how does mediation work,
where can I go, what kind of disputes are handled by CMC, who mediates. So
these are things that brings the people to us, and if youre in trouble you can
just call the hotline or come to us.
So what we try to do instead is to build this mediation culture from young. In
terms of the primary and secondary schools where we conduct assembly
programmes, they are to let them know that we conduct mediation.
Secondly, we have a peer mediation workshop, which is a bit more in depth
as the school would select student leaders who are a bit more mature or can
take on such skills and are willing to learn. We do this from young so that
hopefully, 10 years down the road, the work that you want to do may work
out a little later.
The main issue here is: content of the handbook and distribution methods

Charmaine: Do you think there are any plus points to our Virtual
Micro Estates the website for people to communicate with each
other online?
Ms Hor: I think that that is good, when in time to come, as the world
becomes more IT savvy, it is good to use an IT platform to get neighbours
talking to one another. It seems futuristic and possible. Now, it may not be as
effective but in the future I dont take away the possibility of it. Your target
group of new estate residents feels more possible since theyre younger
people.
Regarding the proposal in your letter on mediation chatrooms, I think another
issue is that there is this cloak of anonymity where you can hide behind the
screen and say something without any repercussions and the thought that
you can just drop one angry term. In mediation where you know the 4 people
there, if they enter a chatroom and they type mediation via chat I dont see
feasibility to it as they may intervene each other and it is hard for the
mediator to type over them.
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The use of webcams would seem more feasible since they can see each
other and are talking as per normal.
Charmaine: We were actually thinking of structuring the chatroom
such that after party A and party B have their say, they cannot
continue talking until after the mediations have given their say in it.
The plus point that were trying to draw from it is to make
mediation more accessible to the public through this online
platform, although I agree that webcams would be a better way to
combat the problem.
Ms Hor: Moving ahead, I think increasing accessibility online is definitely a
good option that you are trying to do. Its just how practically you can carry it
out that will help the discussion and not make it even more detrimental in
their relationship, because at the end of the discussion, the parties will still
see each other face to face. It may not help in their real face-to-face
interaction because they never really sat down to talk about it.
Charmaine: Our consideration was that those in new estates are
generally younger people but are still working, so they dont see
their neighbours as often because they are either at work or going
out. We hoped that by increasing this accessibility it would make it
more feasible for them to take up. Were thinking of tackling the
problem by linking it to our Virtual Micro Estates so that people
cannot be anonymous if they want to access such forums.
And perhaps they can still undergo the same procedures as
mediation in CMC, filling up the forms and processing it here. In
other words, offering it as an alternative compared to coming down
to the centre or having a mediator come down to your house. Do
you think that it would be okay?
Ms Hor: I think it is worth exploring but unless we see details we think that
itll be hard to tell. What is the pros and cons? I think if youre just looking at
the general idea now, typing would be less effective than webcam. But I do
see why webcam is useful also since younger generation may not have time
to come so we offer this alternative to them. And even if it is the same
procedures, talking to the person face-to-face will be different from seeing
them in the webcam.
Charmaine: Earlier you said that the people who come for mediation
are generally in their 30s to 60s. Because we were thinking of
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reaching out to those in their 20s for our proposal using the new
estates so that it would be more convenient for them to resolve
conflicts online as they may be busy and not want to come down to
have their conflict mediated.
Ms Hor: I think its definitely a good direction to move towards if you are
talking about the new generation. Young people these days have their lives
revolving around iPads and such, so screens may be more familiar to them,
but the practicality of it may need more fine-tuning, but the direction is good,
something that society is veering towards.
We can give some comments on tips for the handbook if it is just on exposing
people to mediation. I think itll be more interesting to hear from you what
kind of tips you think people need.
Charmaine: Thank you very much for your time!

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Appendix E- Pre-Pilot Test Survey

Project Work Survey:


Settling Our Unwanted NeighbourlyDisputes
Pre-Pilot Test Survey
We are a group of students from Temasek Junior College currently working on
our Project Work which mainly aims to resolve social conflicts between
neighbors. This is a short survey on whether you have encountered any of
such conflicts before and your take on this issue.
This survey will only take 5-10 minutes to complete.
1. How old are you?
10-20
20-30
30-40
40-50
50 and above
2. Do you ever have any conflict/s with your neighbor/s?
Yes / No

3. If yes, have you tried to approach your neighbours to resolve the


conflict?
Yes / No

4. How often do you talk to your neighbours?


Everyday
3-5 times a week
<3 times a week
Do not talk at all
5. What do you think is the main cause of conflicts between neighbours?
(You may choose more than one)
Lack of communication
Lack of tolerance
Differences in cultures
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Differences in values
Others(please specify):___________________
Below are a few conflict scenarios. Please choose which option of
conflict resolution would you prefer to undertake.(1) Discuss
problem directly with neighbour, (2) Undergo Mediation, (3) Lodge a
Complaint
1. Water dripping from wet clothes on your laundry from neighbour living
directly above you.
1
/
2
/
3
2. Your neighbours making noise (playing of loud music, quarrels etc.) late
in the night disturbing you and your family.
1
/
2
/
3
3. Your neighbours are always leaving items along the shared corridor
obstructing the walkway.
1
/
2
/
3
4. Constant heated arguments between you and your neighbours due to
clash in cultures/interests.
1
/
2
/
3
5. Your neighbours are rude to you, sometimes inconsiderate in their
actions.
1
/
2
/
3
6. Your neighbours pets (e.g. dogs and cats) are being a nuisance to
you.
1
/
2
/
3
7. Disputes over religious practices such as burning of incense.
1
/
2
/
3
8. Your neighbours are smokers whose smoke often seeps into your
apartment, affecting you and your family.
1
/
2
/
3
9. Your neighbours are gamblers who owe loan sharks money, and you
are constantly being harassed by the loan sharks who splash paint on
your doors etc.
1
/
2
/
3
10.
Your neighbours are intruding your personal/ privacy space.
1
/
2
/
3

-End-

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Appendix F- Post-Pilot Test Survey

Project Work Survey:


Settling Our Unwanted Neighbourly Disputes
Post-Pilot Test Survey

We are a group of students from Temasek Junior College currently working on


our Project Work which mainly aims to resolve social conflicts between
neighbors. In order to gauge the effectiveness of our project which is the
creation of the handbook, we would like you to complete this short survey.
This survey will only take 5-10 minutes to complete.
Below are a few conflict scenarios. Please choose which option of
conflict resolution would you prefer to undertake.(1) Discuss
problem directly with neighbour, (2) Undergo Mediation, (3) Lodge a
Complaint
1. Water dripping from wet clothes on your laundry from neighbour living
directly above you.
1
/
2
/
3
2. Your neighbours making noise (playing of loud music, quarrels etc.) late
in the night disturbing you and your family.
1
/
2
/
3
3. Your neighbours are always leaving items along the shared corridor
obstructing the walkway.
1
/
2
/
3
4. Constant heated arguments between you and your neighbours due to
clash in cultures/interests.
1
/
2
/
3
5. Your neighbours are rude to you, sometimes inconsiderate in their
actions.
1
/
2
/
3
6. Your neighbours pets (e.g. dogs and cats) are being a nuisance to
you.
1
/
2
/
3
7. Disputes over religious practices such as burning of incense.
1
/
2
/
3
8. Your neighbours are smokers whose smoke often seeps into your
apartment, affecting you and your family.
1
/
2
/
3

76 | P a g e

9. Your neighbours are gamblers who owe loan sharks money, and you
are constantly being harassed by the loan sharks who splash paint on
your doors etc.
1
/
2
/
3
10.

Your neighbours are intruding your personal/ privacy space.


1
/
2
/

1. Will you make use of our Virtual Micro Estates in times of conflict and
as a platform to communicate with your neighbours?
Yes / No

2. Is our handbook clear in conveying the message of ultilising mediation


as a means of conflict resolution as well as promoting conmmunication
between neighbours?
Yes / No

3. How far would you rate the effectiveness of our handbook in raising
awareness of mediation as a means to resolve neighbour disputes?
(With one being the lowest and 5 being the highest)
1
2
3
4
5

4. How far would you rate the importance of communication between you
and your neighbor/s after reading the handbook? (With 1 being the
lowest and 5 being the highest)
1
2
3
4
5
5. For those who have experienced neighbourly disputes before, do you
think that our proposal would have more effectively facilitated conflict
resolution if available during your conflict?
Yes / No

-End-

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Appendix G- Photographs of Pilot Test

Materials used during Pilot Test

Showcasing of our Virtual Micro Estates to resident


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Resident viewing our Mediation Process Handbook

Explaining our project to resident

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Manning our Pilot Test Booth

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Appendix H- Pre-Pilot Test Survey Results


Total number of respondents
1. How old are you?
Options

42

No.
Respondents

of
3
20
19
0
0

Percentage of Respondents
7.0%
47.6%
45.2%
0.0%
0.0%

2. Do you ever have any conflict/s with your neighbours before?


No.
of
Options
Respondents
Yes
13
No
29

Percentage of Respondents
30.1%
69.0%

10-20
20-30
30-40
40-50
50 and above

3. If yes, have you tried to approach your neighbours to resolve the conflict?
No.
of
Options
Respondents
Percentage of Respondents
Yes
19
45.2%
No
23
54.8%
4. How often do you talk to your neighbours?
Options
Everyday
3-5 times a week
Less than 3 times a week
DO not talk at all

No.
Respondents

of
1
7
22
11

Percentage of Respondents
2.0%
17.0%
54.0%
27.0%

5. What do you think is the main cause of conflicts between neighbours? (You may choose more
than one)
No.
of
Options
Respondents
Percentage of Respondents
Lack of communication
38
90.2%
Lack of tolerance
21
50.0%
Differences in cultures
21
50.0%
Differences in values
15
35.7%

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6. Below are a few conflict scenarios. Please choose which option of conflict resolution you would
prefer to undertake. (1) Discuss problem directly with neighbour, (2) Undergo Mediation, (3)
Lodge a Complaint
a. Water dripping from wet clothes on your laundry from neighbour living directly above you.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
22
52.4%
2
4
9.5%
3
16
38.1%
b. Your neighbours making noise (playing of loud music, quarrels etc.) late in the night disturbing
you and your family.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
11
26.2%
2
2
4.8%
3
29
69.0%
c.

Your neighbours are always leaving items along the shared corridor obstructing the walkway.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
14
33.3%
2
4
9.5%
3
24
57.2%
d. Constant heated arguments between you and your neighbours due to clash in cultures/interests.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
10
23.8%
2

10

23.8%

22

52.4%

e.

Your neighbours are rude to you, sometimes inconsiderate in their actions.


No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
14
33.3%
2
18
42.9%
3
10
23.8%

f.

Your neighbours pets (e.g. dogs and cats) are being a nuisance to you.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
11
26.2%
2

14.3%

25

59.5%

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g. Disputes over religious practices such as burning of incense.


No.
Options
respondents
1
2
3

of
10
15
17

Percentage of Respondents
23.8%
35.7%
40.5%

h. Your neighbours are smokers whose smoke often seeps into your apartment, affecting you and
your family.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
13
30.9%
2
2
4.8%
3
27
64.3%
i.

Your neighbours are gamblers who owe loan sharks money, and you are constantly being
harassed by the loan sharks who splash paint on your doors etc.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
0
0.0%
2
0
0.0%
3
42
100.0%
j.

Your neighbours are intruding your personal/ privacy space.


No.
Options
respondents
1
2
3

of
0
2
40

Percentage of Respondents
0.0%
4.8%
95.2%

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Appendix I- Post Pilot Test Survey Results


Total number of respondents

42

1. Below are a few conflict scenarios. Please choose which option of conflict resolution you would
prefer to undertake. (1) Discuss problem directly with neighbour, (2) Undergo Mediation, (3)
Lodge a Complaint
a. Water dripping from wet clothes on your laundry from neighbour living directly above you.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
22
52.4%
2
20
47.6%
3
0
0.0%
b. Your neighbours making noise (playing of loud music, quarrels etc.) late in the night disturbing
you and your family.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
22
52.4%
2
20
47.6%
3
0
0.0%
c.

Your neighbours are always leaving items along the shared corridor obstructing the walkway.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
22
52.4%
2
20
47.6%
3
0
0.0%
d. Constant heated arguments between you and your neighbours due to clash in cultures/interests.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
6
14.3%
2

36

85.7%

0.0%

e.

Your neighbours are rude to you, sometimes inconsiderate in their actions.


No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
8
19.0%
2
34
81.0%
3
0
0.0%

f.

Your neighbours pets (e.g. dogs and cats) are being a nuisance to you.

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Options
1

No.
respondents

of
18

Percentage of Respondents
42.9%

24

57.1%

0.0%

g. Disputes over religious practices such as burning of incense.


No.
of
Options
respondents
1
6
2
36
3
0

Percentage of Respondents
14.3%
85.7%
0.0%

h. Your neighbours are smokers whose smoke often seeps into your apartment, affecting you and
your family.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
16
38.1%
2
26
61.9%
3
0
0.0%
i.

Your neighbours are gamblers who owe loan sharks money, and you are constantly being
harassed by the loan sharks who splash paint on your doors etc.
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of Respondents
1
4
9.5%
2
20
47.6%
3
18
42.9%
j.

Your neighbours are intruding your personal/ privacy space.


No.
Options
respondents
1
2
3

of
2
37
3

Percentage of Respondents
4.8%
88.1%
7.1%

2. Will you make use of our Virtual Micro Estates in times of conflict and as a platform to
communicate with your neighbours?
No.
of
Options
Percentage of respondents
respondents
Yes
40
95.00%
No
2
5.00%

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3. Is our handbook clear in conveying the message of utilising mediation as a means of conflict
resolution as well as promoting conmunication between neighbours?
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of respondents
Yes
42
100.00%
No
0
0.00%

4. How far would you rate the effectiveness of our handbook in raising awareness of mediation as a
means to resolve neighbour disputes? (With one being the lowest and 5 being the highest)
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of respondents
1
0
0.0%
2
0
0.0%
3
6
14.3%
4
21
50.0%
5
15
35.7%

5. How far would you rate the importance of communication between you and your neighbor/s
after reading the handbook? (With 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest)
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of respondents
1
0
0.0%
2
0
0.0%
3
0
0.0%
4
15
35.0%
5
27
64.3%
6. For those who have experienced neighbourly disputes before, do you think that our proposal
would have more effectively facilitated conflict resolution if available during your conflict?
No.
of
Options
respondents
Percentage of respondents
Yes
11
85.0%
No
2
15.0%

Note total number of respondents for this question

13

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Appendix J- Mediation Handbook

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