Stickman Readers' Submissions May 10th, 2004

LOI – Land Of Illusions

LOI – The Land Of Illusions

Once you get accustomed to the heat and smog of Bangkok, or should I say, once you gag and sweat your ass off after departing from the 767, another uncorrectable factor that seems to overwhelm the senses is the non-stop noise / sound pollution. No, I'm not talking about the 123 decibel level of bar music. However, I am still trying to figure out why the bars insist on wasting electricity and ruining my ear drums by setting the volume control on 10, on their 99,000 watt stereo systems. It seems to me the reason for visiting a bar(s) is to engage in conversation with friends or meeting new friends or a combination of both. I am sure there is a logical and simple reason why the music has to be played at 123 decibels in the bars during regular business hours.

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I must admit that I am partial to some sounds and noises. For example, the sound / noise of a properly tuned Detroit V-8 engine with dual turbo exhausts is music to my ears. That sound / noise is sweet. I guess it's all a matter of perception.

The sound/noise of a V-8 is kind of like the sound of someone racking a shell into a Remington 810. Once you hear it, you never ever forget it. But I don't want to talk about the sound of shot gun shells being pumped into a Remington 810 or the rumble of the twin turbo mufflers behind a 350 or 440 cubic inch Detroit motor. The chances of hearing a big block Detroit V-8 or the pump action of a Remington in Thailand are smaller than winning the Lottery, unless of course, you live in South Thailand. And speaking of south Thailand, WTF is all that stuff about? I'll let Dana explore that Quagmire.

Seriously, sound / noise pollution in the cities of Thailand is forcing me to actually try on (and maybe buy) one of those MP3 players everyone is selling now-a-days. Certainly listening to pop music or any music for that matter, beats listening to the racket of 110 cc motorbikes whizzing past you at lighting speeds. I often wondered why some motorbikes are ear splitting (as they whizz pass) and others are no louder than a whisper. After conducting extensive research on this subject (I talked to one Thai guy), he told me they actually gut the inter baffles inside the muffler so their bikes go faster. Wow!!! Why didn't I think of that? Gut the muffler on your motorbike, which increases the sound of the motor and makes it go faster. Presto !!!….The louder it is, the faster is goes. TiT

At least now I think I understand why they do it. It's all about the illusion. Yes, we live in the land of smiles (LOS) but we also live in the land of illusions (LOI).

I must certainly drop a short email to the folks at Honda and Yamaha and ask them why they are spending millions on research and development to regulate proper manifold exhaust pressure, insuring maximum horsepower on motorbikes when they could save millions by simply eliminating mufflers altogether. These high paid Japan engineers should pay more attention to the consumer for sure.

Back to the volume control issue on bar beers 99,000 watt stereo systems. Now this question still stumps me. Wait !!!!!! Hold on!!!!! It's coming to me slowly. If gutting the muffler on motorbikes make them go faster then it follows logically that increasing the volume level of the music makes it sound better…… DUH

Who says wisdom doesn't come with age? I can't wait until I am 70. I will have the answer to why they can't lay level sidewalks on Sukhumvit. Oh, how I love Thailand. Really I do. Honest.

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Stickman's thoughts:

Seriously loud sounds (noise) do not seem to bother the Thais like it bothers us. The one thing that REALLY bothers them is bad smell, whereas we seem to have a much greater tolerance.

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