Public loudspeakers have done their job, let them go

By Le Dung   July 27, 2022 | 06:19 pm PT
Public loudspeakers have done their job, let them go
Loudspeakers in Hanoi in 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Giang Huy
I live in a small alley in the middle of Hanoi. My family's life is disturbed by loudspeakers every day - early in the morning and after office hours when everyone returns home from work.

There has always been one big loudspeaker at the beginning of the alley. But two years ago, to convey Covid-19 communications, authorities installed another four loudspeakers in the middle of the alley in a common ground. One of the speakers blasts its "messages" straight into the balconies of several houses, only 10 meters away, in deafening volume.

It is torture, twice a day, an hour each time, from 5:30 a.m. and 5 p.m., including weekends and holidays.

My house is not the closest to the speakers, but they cause enough disturbance: Talking means screaming at each other and television programs are technically in no-audio mode.

People who come home worn out from a working day have no rest. There's no chance to sleep in during weekends.

Old people are probably the only people who feel some nostalgia-tinged affection for the wartime communication tool, and even they are annoyed with it now.

Every neighborhood in cities has group chats now, and information like power cuts, vaccination schedules, or fire safety propaganda can be spread with an instant message click, at any time of day.

Hanoi just announced plans to bring back loudspeakers to all wards and communes by 2025. What are we doing that for? Aren't we a modern society? Do we need to add to the noise pollution we already suffer.

Maybe it's time we accept that loudspeakers have fulfilled their mission, just like food stamps of the subsidy period or paper letters of 20 years ago. They are history.

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