Not a pull but total nuisance


Sometimes, it’s not the song that makes you emotional, it’s the people and things that come to your mind when you hear it.

— Author unknown

Music gives life to an ambience, any kind of music or genre, that is.

But any music with very high volume usually becomes noise and leads to a noisy environment that could drive away people. So, if the music is played at an eatery or other premises, it will most likely chase off patrons from the joint, thereby resulting in reduced revenue for the eatery or any other business premises.

This is the typical atmosphere at most joints, be they eateries or even departmental stores in the city here, especially in Metrocity, Matang. For example, I notice daily two adjacent joints in the area — both for dine-in customers — one is always full during lunch and dinner while the other is mostly empty during both meal times, mostly attributed to their different volumes of music plus of course the array of dishes offered and pricing.

I come to a conclusion the loud noise coming from the branded speakers of the usually empty eatery is the one that chases off customers. In fact, those youngsters manning the shop usually make sure that others in the three or four shops away could hear what songs or noises being played there.

This is the mentality with a hash tag ‘my music is the best’ and making sure others listen to it but in reality, such deed is judged as a ruckus because any loud music is a disturbance and not an entertainment — perhaps in pubs, bistro and karaoke, noisy music is excusable, but not in an eatery.

As far as I am concerned, the recorded prayer sessions that are played non-stop is tolerable and doesn’t get on my nerve, despite being from a different faith. There are two or three eateries in Metrocity playing these non-stop pre-recorded sessions but these recordings don’t chase away customers because the volume is tuned down and just provides background sound instead of noise.

Those joints preoccupied with noises instead of sound should take heed of this, namely just play enough for the ears, thereby producing sounds, instead of noise just for the simple viewpoint that loud music becomes noise and not sound. This is the simplest of musical philosophy and even an uneducated individual will surely know that it is sound and not noise that creates a happy and calm ambience. Their aim to attract customers certainly backfires.

This word ambience (which means the character and atmosphere of a place) has caused confusion to then Filipino President Joseph Ejercito ‘Erap’ Estrada whom I interviewed (and wrote) for The Borneo Bulletin, Brunei in 1999. It was their ambassador to Brunei Enrique Zaldivar (a good friend of mine) who told me that there was an incident when Erap was given the bill to pay after a dinner at one restaurant. He asked his secretary why the price was a bit stiff.

The secretary replied: “We have to pay for the ambience Mr. President. Then Erap questioned: “Who asked you to order the ambience.” All of us broke into laughter after Zaldivar shared about the occurrence.

Back to our musical poser, these youngsters (who are the culprits of the noisy joints) should know some background of an easy and comfortable ambience. With such knowledge, they would be able to attract more customers and gain higher income.

In fact, this so-called ‘must play music’ trait at any premises is only peculiar to a certain section of our community and has no relationship with race or faith. It transcends the borders of creed and class. It is a common phenomenon but unfortunately, it doesn’t suit all.

As a musician and artiste, I do enjoy an ambience that provides soothing music and sound. For that matter, any music that ‘trespasses’ (namely heard loudly from premises a block away) is considered as violating peace and causing public nuisance.

For the Penal Code Section 268, a person is guilty of a public nuisance, if he does any act, or is guilty of an illegal omission, which causes any common injury, danger, or annoyance to the public, or to the people in general who dwell or occupy property in the vicinity, or which must necessarily cause injury, obstruction, danger, or annoyance to persons who may have occasion to use any public right.

Of course, this only becomes a case if the concerned complainant makes a report to the police on disturbance and exasperation.

As of now, two joints in Metrocity have stopped having night-time musical entertainment after receiving public complaints. However, one of them still causes nuisance by its non-stop noisy tunes, from morning until midnight.

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