Everyone is aware of this problem but I find it is getting out of control – noise pollution. Here in LOS it seems that the best way to promote your product or performance is to deafen everyone around you. A few examples and experiences:
Car audio – I used to live in a serviced apartment on a beach on the edge of Rayong. It was normal custom for the boy racers (1600cc Japanese car with spoilers and huge exhaust) to drive up and down the beach road blasting the most ridiculous 'music' as load as possible and then park to drink and play more of the same. The girls seemed so impressed by it. The audio systems in these cars were beyond belief. Massive speakers in every possible location and even a transparent box full of plastic balls in the boot which danced around to show how powerful the bass was. You could even feel the vibrations of the car driving past the apartment. This would go on until the early hours at the weekend.
Thai disco – I have only been to a few of these places before the Santika disaster but they normally involved a band playing cover versions of Thai pop songs. The songs were never sang, they were shouted and the sound system usually could not cope and became distorted. Not exactly a great performance.
The pickup food stall – Everyday we see pickups with loud speakers selling all sorts of stuff. Pretty annoying at the best of times but imagine a pickup driving around your village at 6am and 6pm everyday blaring out “food for sale” in Thai every 10 seconds. Bricks will be thrown if he enters my soi!
Product promotion – I’m sure just about everyone of us has been to the local Carrefour, Tesco Lotus, Big C etc. to be deafened by some promotion girl in a miniskirt and boots shouting into a loud speaker for 10 minutes at a time about something like bloody shampoo. What on earth can they be talking about? This noise pollution is exacerbated by a) more women shouting into loud speakers at the food section (normally promoting crap sausages and ham), b) the supermarket Tannoy system (take away the T and you get annoy), c) the audio and video section where bored assistants relive their boy racer weekends by blasting their favourite CDs to the happy shoppers (these sections are normally the most empty) and d) the numerous TVs in almost every aisle promoting yet more products. The overall effect, well on me anyway, is to get my shopping done in the smallest amount of time possible and leave me with a feeling that is the equivalent of temporary brain damage and hearing loss. I even plan a shopping strategy now – I’ll go for the heavy stuff (beer, water, detergents etc), pay for it and get it into the car whilst the Mrs. has a specified time limit to do food and cosmetics. Believe me the time limit is enforced and she knows it or she will miss out on some purchases. That’s an incentive for a Thai lass to get things done quickly. I remember going to Tesco Lotus in Rayong a few years back and they had some sort of promotion with a katoey dressed up and dancing like a prat to music played incredibly loud. I was appalled and had to find a checkout as far away as possible. A week later I recognised the same katoey cleaning the floors in the same supermarket – nice touch, hire quality performers.
Boxing show promotion – Again the pickup with loud speakers, but normally the decibels produced here could rival a small aircraft. A total pain in the arse in just about every tourist location and the boxing ain’t much better.
Go-go bars – Of course music is important in these places but have you ever managed to have a conversation in one with your drinking buddy?
Beer bars – Why oh why do we have to put up with so much live music in these places and which is played so loud. I have only seen one decent band in Pattaya. The rest simply stop me going in, bloody racket.
Car exhausts – Hinted at above. It seems that the driver gets some sort of self gratification from making his 1600cc Japanese saloon car sound like a rally car or a ten wheeled truck. Can’t work this one out at all. I would refuse to get into such a vehicle to preserve my pride. I have seen such cars with so many modifications (spoilers, stereos, exhausts, skirtings, lights, rally seats!!, suspension lowering etc etc) that they could probably have bought a decent and more powerful model with the money spent on such nonsense.
Dogs – Let your dogs stay outside all night and morning, barking to their delight and keeping the whole village awake. No wonder I need a drink each night, it’s the only way to get a decent night's sleep.
TV – The Mrs. (and the rest of the village) will turn up the volume until vibration is achieved, particularly if it is one of those moronic Thai soaps. I even caught her talking on her mobile to her mum in the same room whilst performing this act. Unbelievable.
It seems that Thais have no concept of noise pollution and the damage it can do to people or maybe, to be fair, they have just been brought up with such madness and have become immune to it. Personally it really affects me and I just can’t handle it.
Oh god, she’s just tuned in to another Thai soap. Thank god for a big garden, dogs to play with and the iPod.
Noise to foreigners is what bad smells are to Thais.