Robert Raymer tells me that he was pleasantly surprised to find an article by educator Denis Harry in The New Straits Times telling readers why they should be wary of the Mrs Koh type :
... who is lurking somewhere waiting to pounce on her next promising victimThe character is from Robert's short story Neighbours. (You can download the PDF here.) Writes Harry :
Neighbours, a fine work by Robert Raymer in Lovers and Strangers Revisited, highlights Mrs Koh as the central character. She fabricates stories to create rifts between neighbours. Sounds familiar, doesn't it? Maybe this is because there are many Mrs Kohs in this world, people who really are venomous, vicious and potentially damaging, ready to trample on whoever stands in their way.
Raymer is spot on in creating Mrs Koh's character as she is portrayed as someone we both love and loath at the same time. When you hear her loud voice mentioning someone's name in high decibel, you know she wants your attention and she knows she gets yours.
On the other hand, deep inside your heart you keep praying that she does not talk about you. Whether you want to admit it or not, we all have a certain degree of nosiness. Sensational stories surely catch our alert-as-a-rabbit's ears. Unfortunately, they come with a hefty price tag.
Mrs Koh is someone we would call a nosy parker. ... In real life, you can never argue with whatever a Mrs Koh says; she is always right.
In addition to that, she knows everything and wants you to be aware of that too. Here is the sad irony: someone like Mrs Koh may appear warm, friendly and welcoming to those on first encounter with her. Her ability to crack jokes and make fun of other people's flaws and sufferings make her a "people magnet", drawing in audience the moment you anticipate she is going to say her first word.