It is a fact that most people live in the city don't talk to strangers, they keep to themselves and when a stranger does try to talk to them, their radar goes up, and they wonder what this stranger is after. But if you go within small towns, you see people are the complete opposite. They are more friendly, with a smile on their face, greeting strangers.
My sister who lives and works in Singapore leaving home at the same time every day. She gets to the MRT station at the same train each morning, every day, would most likely meet with pretty much the same people going to the same direction. For years, she would probably sit on the train with the same person but they never exchanged pleasantries, no eye contact, no head nod, no hello.
On the other hand, I'm a pretty social person. I can easily talk to everybody, the postman, the girl at the news stand, the jamu vendor, the girl in the small kiosk who sells instant noodles, teh botol, etc, the patient at the doctor's waiting room ... but it was never anything other than a brief chats. When I had my dog, Fatso, I would walk him regularly each morning. By doing this have made me new friends who also own dogs. We often bump into each other around the same time so we could chat, and our dogs could run and play together.
Inter personal communications have long been replaced with electronic communications such as cell phones, email, IM etc. Our living is full of these close encounters where we never make contact in person. We may know from the television or the internet about what's happening thousands of miles away, day and night. But do you know who is the person you see each day on the way to work or the person who lives next door to you?
**Image stolen from flickr**