Today’s article on The Jakarta Post about In Search of A Good Night Sleep got my mind reeling and I know I just have to blog about it.
With the recorded population number of over 8 million (and I’m sure it is more), Jakarta is definitely one of the loudest city I have ever known. Not very many people especially the locals are aware of this because when you born-raise-grew up here and pretty much never left the city you will not get to see how loud Jakarta really is.
Let’s look at the malls here; just about every shop has music blaring at what seems to be 120 decibels. That is loud! Not to mention when they are having special events with stage and all then you can be sure the noise can be heard miles away. We are currently living right next to one of the many fancy new malls that seems to be popping out of the ground every few days! Advantage, groceries shopping is just a walk away; in fact they just opened an underground pass that goes straight to the Lower Ground where Carrefour is located. But, on some nights I swear I want to torch down that mall simply because they are being obnoxiously too loud! Last Friday, I noticed they had set up yet another stage by their outdoor park. Sound check? Possibly! But why on earth would they do that until way after 2 in the morning is beyond me. This is not the first time; since we’ve been living here they had ‘parties’ with blaring music a lot! Saturday night is forgivable, but Sunday or Friday night? Totally made me cursing my night away! And they are building an adjacent hotel to that mall? Maybe they should make sure that the walls are soundproofs!
Then you have the mosques! Where we are living now, it gets quite loud during the evening calls of prayer and in early dawn. There must be more than 10 mosques competing with one another. Imagine horrendous American Idol auditions with 10 or more wannabes put into one room each holding a microphone! At first, it gets really annoying because you know in its country of origin in Middle East, the call of prayers are not as loud as what you will hear here. I’m sure it does not only bother me, it also bothers other people whose houses are within close proximity to these mosques. If we, who are living on the 30th floor, can hear them loud and clear, imagine how would it be if you’re just a door away? But most people are afraid to voice their complaints for religion is still very much a super sensitive case on this country. Now, I’m used to it although I still miss the calmness of early morning breaking into my day. Noise ordinance is simply non-existent in Jakarta unless you have a sound proof home.
Fortunately some people are starting to realize the long term damage this type of pollution. Free from Noise Society is one of them (I hope they’ll have a website done soon!) to spread more awareness and give others courage to speak up. The group claims that 10.7 percent of people who conduct activities in the streets of Jakarta have hearing problems. Shocking? NOT!