Monday, January 29, 2007

Catching Up With a Little Rant About Noise

It has been a long time since I really wrote anything in this blog. First I was just too busy with homework and studying for exams. Then I just got lazy. It seems like the less I have to do, the lazier I get. So I have just been posting a bunch of stuff I wrote for school a long time ago.

So what is up in Hsinchu? Well, right now I can hear the garbage truck roaming around the neighborhood. A funny thing about Taiwan is that the garbage trucks play music--much like the ice cream trucks in the States. Many of them play Für Elise, but mine plays something else that I can't quite place. When you hear the music getting close to your home, you bring your trash down to the street and throw it in the truck. If you live in a more up-scale apartment building, you might have a dumpster or something on the premises where you can put your trash anytime, and then someone else deals with it.

Here are a few videos (not mine--I swiped them from YouTube) of Taiwan garbage trucks:

This system seems to work fairly well, but a big problem for me isthat while classes are in session, I am seldom home for the garbage pick up. Last semester I was never home when the recycling truck came around (it only comes twice a week). I was up to my ears in beer cans by the end of five months. I'm sure I'm not the only person whose schedule conflicts with the trash pick up, but then again very few people live alone in Taiwan, so I suppose in most households there is usually someone at home who can carry out the trash when the truck comes.

Another problem is the noise factor. After a while you get used to the truly annoying tinny insane-asylum music, even when you can hear several trucks in different parts of the neighborhood all playing the same song at the same time but out of sync with each other. Being inured to noise pollution, however, is not a good thing.

It seems like they could come up with something more efficient. The trucks come twice a day in my neighborhood, which seems like a big waste of gas and effort, and which causes a lot of noise. I guess they come more than once to help make sure someone will be home when the trash collector comes, but if people could just put there garbage in a dumpster of some kind, then the truck could come only once a day. Maybe even once a week, though the warm climate might make that unfeasible.

Noise is second only to traffic on my list of annoyances in Taiwan. You would think that in a country where people live piled on top of each other in such density, there would be some concept of respect for other people's right to peace and quiet. Quite the opposite seems to be true. People here seem to have no inhibitions about making noise in just about any way possible, at just about any time of the day or night. One thing that really bugs me is people who shout on their cellphones. Old people are particularly guilty of this, as if they don't understand the concept that the very purpose of a phone is to make it unnecessary to shout. Of course there are also the young cretins that, in an attempt to be cool, supe up their scooters so they sound twice as loud as normal. Someone should clue these jokers into the fact that it is impossible to make a scooter cool. Motorcycles are cool. Scooters, by definition, are not cool.

I've already gone on at length about another source of noise in my blog entry "The Noisiest Place on Earth." Just a little update on that--now that almost every unit in my apartment building has, one-by-one, been renovated with a jackhammer, the unit directly across from mine in the next building is being rebuilt. It never stops.

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