Here's the restroom in our commons' area. The sign reads: "Please don't use."
Our cherished monkey bars
We're frustrated with our building's security guards. What's new? In my other post on this topic, I complained our security guards were afraid of teenagers who trespassed into our commons' area, where the slides and monkey bars are. The teenagers have been known to sit on the benches next to the playground, making parents and their tiny children uncomfortable -- people who either rent or own apartments in our building and who pay monthly dues for security. We have no idea why they're in our playground.
At one time, the teenagers would settle in on the benches so that they'd have four or five individuals packed up against each other like sardines. Then they'd get loud and obnoxious, laughing at dumb stuff with shrill, fake cackles, throw cigarette butts and juice boxes on the floor of the playground and annoy the shit out of the rest of us. For some reason, the guards were terrified of them. The night guard would let out a loud sigh, and ask: "What can I do? I pick up their butts and show them that it wrong to litter, but they don't listen." What can you do? Kick them out!
One night, my daughter slid down the slide and over a lit cigarette. We'd only been there for a couple of minutes, so I didn't see who threw it. Only two teenagers were around, on the bench, of course, a smoky-smelling grumbly guy and a fat girl, so I picked on them. When I pried the guy and his languid butt off the bench, she started shrieking at me. Realizing he was about to land on the sidewalk outside our building's grounds, he argued: "It wasn't me. It was another person." About five minutes later, when we were finally enjoying our moment in the playground, a woman came over and told me:
"It was him." I didn't know one way or the other. I was just upset at the tobacco stain across my daughter's bottom.
When I confronted some other assholes, see http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_lFBv1ZCoPwY/SpN3qbirtMI/AAAAAAAAAzk/ojM6ZQjA7OU/s1600-h/DSC00073.JPG, they got really pissy, especially the one in the purple tank top. What amazed me was when I asked them if they lived in our building, not one of them did. Our security guard, whom I'm back to now, had just let them come on to our grounds because he was afraid of them. He was stunned that I took a picture of them, like a bunch of 14-year-olds were dangerous or something. He also warned me about my behavior; when they started to shout swear words from the street, I had gone out to the street to continue the conversation and get clarification on words said.
One of the reasons I'm going on about this is that I do not, not for the life of me, understand why people who are chickenshit want to become security guards. It's like someone who doesn't know how to swim applying for a job as a pearl diver. Plus, I'm honked off at this guy. The other night, my family was hanging out in the playground at the commons' area at around nine. My daughter was mucking around fairly quietly, climbing up the swinging latter and sliding down the slide. I was whispering to my wife. The same friggin' security guard, who was too afraid to tell the teenagers to be quiet and get f^%$ off private property, sauntered over and said: "Please keep it down." Before he could continue, I asked:
"Why didn't you take care of the teenagers? Where were you then?"
"I'm not complaining now," he said with a smile. "I just came over to say hi."
Every month, four apartments on 11 floors in eight buildings pay either NT$1,700 or NT$1,900 for this security team and services. We don't have a swimming pool or a weight room. We don't have billiards' tables or an MTV. All we have are the two playgrounds. We are simply paying for the elevators, the buildings to be cleaned, the lousy security and these play areas. And not even... For example, Taiwan was hit by a sandstorm last Sunday. But we didn't get the sand swept out of the building until yesterday, after I complained. In fact, I complained twice. The first time, on Thursday, I was told that I am responsible for cleaning the landing outside the elevator on the floor I live by this same guard. The second time, when I took it up with his boss, I got the floors swept. They were not mopped however and nobody touched the windows.
When I totaled up the money they're taking in to show the manager, it came to around NT$700,000 a month. I deducted NT$210,000 for the salaries of seven security guards and NT$40,000 for electricity. "So, you're banking NT$450,000," I said. "The night time security guard tells me it goes right in your pocket."
"No, what does he know?" was the reply. "By the way, it's NT$409,000. We keep this in the bank for the tenants, that is all. How do you think we can continuously maintain the sidewalks or buy all these pretty flowers?"
Again, I find this troubling. We moved in a year ago. Since then, the sidewalks have been ripped up and redone twice. The flowers he's talking about are sitting in pots all over the grounds. Is it his brother or a cousin who owns the landscaping company? Does his wife work for a florist? What is he getting back in kickbacks?
On Friday night, I discovered yet another thing. The garbage cans in the commons' area have disappeared. This seems in keeping with the garbage services they don't provide. The tenants in my building are expected to chase the garbage trucks and deal with our own trash, even though we pay NT$1,700 or NT1,900 a month in security and service fees. When I asked my old friend, the night security guy, what I should do with the greasy bag left over from my deep-fried pig-blood rice squares, he said: "Take it up to your apartment and throw it away. [What? Are you stupid?]"
There is a solution to the garbage. The manager says if I pay an extra NT$300 a month, he'll get an ama to come up the eighth floor and take my trash out evenings. It's not really a solution, because when I told my wife, she went through the roof. We have filed a complaint with the government as of Saturday morning. My wife says there are other complaints with this office from our complex, particularly about the lack of garbage service. I'll ask her for the contact number and put it up on this site.
If you'd like to know more, here's a link to my last rant and the pissheads who used to invade our playground: http://patrick-cowsill.blogspot.com/2009/08/security-guards-in-taipei-whats-use.html