Insights From Plants & Animals

It takes a lot of guts and faith to conduct the following experiment. I have no doubt that the video has gone viral, but I’m not sure if some disclaimer should be added as wild animals or even domesticated ones can be unpredictable. For this, I’m not kidding when I say “don’t try this at home”.

Of course, you don’t have wild elephants running around in your home, but once in a while, a family member may go on a rampage. What do you do? Stand there and impress her with your calmness? She will, in a all likelihood, interpret your calmness as lack of concern for her anger and anxiety. Don’t expect elephant behaviour here. So don’t try this at home.

The great detective Sherlock Holmes is able to deduce the occupation or even personality of someone he has never met just by examining their belongings under a magnifying glass. While mere mortals like us may not be able to do that with as much precision, it is still possible to infer quite a lot of things about your neighbours just by looking at their plants.


Space is often a luxury in HDB flats. Still, that does not stop HDB dwellers from growing all kinds of plants from orchids to herbs along common corridors. From the condition of the plants, one should be able to tell the attitude of the owner towards gardening. Plants are like children. They need care and attention. They need to be nurtured. When the plants grow beautifully, you can tell that the owner is responsible and committed. You know that for them, gardening is not a passing fad. When asked to move the plants by authorities, they can get pretty upset. They love their plants.


When you see the plants withered and limp, you know that they have been neglected. The owner is either too busy with other things or he/she could have completely forgotten about them. If this happens to me, I would get rid of all the pots and clean up my act, so to speak. If I have no time and/or energy for plants, I shouldn’t just follow what my neighbours are doing. If the plants are still left there in their sorry state, the owner obviously doesn’t want to lose out on the right to grow plants.


And if the owner tries to mask the eyesore presented by the withering plants with a fake, stunning blossoms, it brings us to another level of understanding of the character of the owner.

© Chan Joon Yee

Dewdrop Books