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Sound Trucks From hel_l Cruising The 'Hood


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Sawasdee Khrup, TV CM Friends,

Our sympathies go out to Khun CmArtSpace, and the noise problems he or she is dealing with.

Yesterday morning, around 8-9am, one of the "sound trucks from hel_l" visited our neighborhood (Nong Hoi area), making multiple passes every fifteen minutes or so for over an hour (the route and interval of each pass undoubtedly designed by classified military software designed to inflict maximum ear damage, and brain damage) while playing what sounded to my sleep-deprived ears like bad Hindi film music. The volume was so strong that the sub-bass could be felt through the walls of the house.

Unfortunately the onslaught of this audio-mayhem came at a time when we were struggling with insomnia after coming off a week's worth of antibiotics, and to describe the mental states of both of us (human and orangutan) in here, as approaching the "incoherent" red-zone on the "disorientation scale" is probably correct.

Having already gotten into "trouble" during the elections a few years ago for going out and confronting Americano-style the driver of a political-candiate's sound-truck that parked directly in front of our house and blared away for over half-an-hour, we held our fire in check this time. Fortunately the driver of the "political" sound truck did not call his police connections or whoever, and have us busted, threatened, or raped financially, but simply went to see the Nai Moo Baan (village headman) who, fortunately, we have some "cred" with by virtue of having been friendly to him (which was not motivated, swear, by thoughts of "future social insurance," but just an accidental encounter and mutual act of kindness before we even knew he was the venerable Nai Moo Baan). He came and saw us, and appropriately, in the very indirect way of Thai communication, conveyed to us that our behavior had been across-the-border, gave us a phone number to call and make an apology. And, oh yes, we took his advice ! Is one benefit of living here long-term realizing that a farang in Thailand has no "face-to-break" when dealing with Thais, and that apologies, and "humble" behavior, have a very high cost-to-benefit ratio ?

Of course, for yesterday's Sound-Of-Satan delivery truck, there was a nasty voice over screaming at hyper-volume as well: swear that they were repeating the name "Oprah" over-and-over, like a mantra. We're afraid to find out what that's about, but if you do know, okay, please do tell :)

A neighbor we've been "kind to" in small ways, and enjoyed talking with, and enjoyed playing frisbee with her children (single mother of three children), three weeks ago decided to bring home two dogs to live, and they bark constantly at all hours. One of the dogs, a very small bundle of hyper-energy, has obviously recently given birth to puppies judging from the full and pendulous state of her teats; why she's separated from the puppies ... better not to ask, and not to know, "why," we think. Our strategy in "the dog case" was to go and find a DVD of one of Miyazaki's exquisite animations with sound-track in Thai (in the remarkable 'Princess Mononoke' Miyazaki hand-painted forty-thousand of the scenes, as well as using CGI), and present it to her as a small gift for her children, and to indirectly mention (technically using what the linguistic genius of MIT, Dr. Steven Pinker, calls "the language of implicature") how much we'd appreciate her help with our 'insomnia problem.' Results so far: definitely quieter on the canine-level on average, but some days "acute." A "mitigating factor" here is that the two new dogs' barking is often triggered in the wee-hours by their being visited by the dogs-who-roam-at-night who seem to enjoy standing in front of the gate of the house and watching the ruckus their presence generates.

And then: there's the fighting cock that constantly screams "I'm-a-turkey" nearly twenty-hours per day non-stop. Mr. Chicken-Gone-Turkey is owned by a policeman: interesting to note said policeman is renting a very cheap room in a rather fallen-down building (guess is that the rents are less than 2000 baht a month), but drives a rather newer top-end four passenger pickup truck with all the extras (mabye high six-figure baht price even bought used ?) ... definitely better not to ask, and not to know, "how," we think. And, we don't want to buy a rooster :)

All-in-all, the last few days have reminded us of the "psychic texture," of a Hunter S. Thompson's novel (perhaps "Fear and Loathing" ?) ... but I don't think we ingested any insect poison to access these "altered states," and we never "use drugs," other than those prescribed by our wonderful physician, Dr. Tawatchai.

So, what once was a very (relatively) quiet neighborhood, is going through a spasm (plague ? tsunami ?) of sound-pollution. And the sad "non-moral" of this tale may be that no matter what amount of "due diligence" is applied in selecting the place where you live, noise problems can develop. The poet John Donne once wrote (concerning sexual desire): "if all else fail, 'tis but applying wormseed to the tail" (the herb worm-seed thought to diminish lust [1]) In this case our take-away from that poem ('Farewell to Love') is that if all else fail, 'tis but applying ear-plugs to the ears :)

best, ~o:37;

[1] Worm-seed: ancient Latin name "semen sanctus," modern (Linnean) name "chinopodium," a cruciferous herb (clusters of four leaves in the shape of a cross), an ancient herbal remedy for expelling worms from the body (anti-helmintic). At least one modern critic completely disagrees with the "majority opinion" of this analysis of the last line of Donne's always puzzling (and with multiple levels of sub-text) poem: cf. "Riddling Wonders: Gold Coins and the Phoenix in Donne’s Genre-Defying Verse" by Siobahn Collins, University College Cork. She points out that herbal compendiums of Donne's time only list the herb as an anti-worm remedy. PM us for a link to an essay by her if you wish. She also points out that in the materia medica of India, wormseed is listed as an aphrodisiac ! Note: wormseed and wormwood are two different species.

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Having already gotten into "trouble" during the elections a few years ago for going out and confronting Americano-style the driver of a political-candiate's sound-truck that parked directly in front of our house and blared away for over half-an-hour,

To bad no one made a video of that one! :lol:

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