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The weekly Telegraph 12-18 November has an article by David Fossett
entitled “Lecturing loudly on peace”. David lives in a town just outside
Tokyo. While visiting the famous Zen stone garden in Kyoto a tour guide
loudly lectured on the soothing effects of gazing quietly at the stone
garden. A quiet retreat in Hiroshima blasts “Auld Lang Syne” from speakers
hidden in the trees to indicate that the park is closing for the day. In
his town the daily round starts early with the rubbish collection truck
playing an electronic tune. This is followed by the paper recycling truck
endlessly broadcasting a tape requesting old papers. All through the day
sales vans cruise the streets with blaring loudspeakers advertising their
wares. Weekly the dairy produce van broadcasts a high-pitched female voice
listing every item available. At 5pm loudspeakers all around the town blurt
out calls for “all good children” to go home. As darkness falls the local
motorbike gangs rev up their highly illegal bikes. Fire engines and
ambulances wake him from sleep all through the night as they screech forth
while traversing the virtually deserted streets. He ends off by saying that
when he occasionally returns to Britain for short periods the silence there
is almost unbearable. I find this last sentence the saddest of all - all
around me I also see people so inured to the pain of noise that they
actually find any form of quiet unnerving. A CNN web report this week said
that the USA’s citizens spent $57 billion on illegal drugs in 1995. I
wonder why? Does it help the users to cope with their noisy lives?
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