This post contains some swearing. You have been warned.
I’ve lived in Serangoon my entire life. In 2004 I moved from Serangoon Ave 4 to Ave 2, staying in the 12th storey of a HDB block. My block is strategically located next to several potential sources of noise pollution: A multi-storey car park; hawker centre stalls just across the road from the car park; and trees. Lots of trees that are home to Asian Koel birds.
If you don’t know what Asian Koels are, have a quick look at this video posted by a brave YouTuber who had the courage to go up close for a recording while withstanding their annoying cackle:
Yes. This bloody bird has ruined my good night’s sleep countless numbers of times. But it gets worse.
There is someone in my neighbourhood (whom I shall henceforth refer to as Driver Dumbass) who likes to honk their car horn REPEATEDLY. Sometimes for as long as one to three minutes. I don’t know where exactly Driver Dumbass parks his car, but I’m going to assume that it’s in the multi-storey carpark. Maybe…
- Driver Dumbass is trying to check that his horn is in working order. Sure, but you don’t need to honk it continuously for ONE FULL MINUTE or longer. I have a Class 3 licence, I was a driver in the army. A simple tap or double tap is enough to make sure that your horn is working.
- Driver Dumbass’s kid is playing with the horn. Good job in being a lousy, dumbass parent.
Sometimes, I have to work 7am shifts. This means I have to wake up early at 5am+ to prepare for work. This also means that if I want to be fully rested for the next day, I have to get to bed at around 8pm to 10pm. When does Driver Dumbass usually cause his noise pollution? 8pm to 9pm.
Oh, but it gets worse. Especially on weekends.
There’s usually a group of elderly men who like to sit at the hawker centre at night, ordering beer and getting their dumbass old selves drunk. I know because I’ve walked past that hawker centre in the evenings, and their tables are always filled with bottles of beer. And what happens when elderly, old men get drunk? They make lots of bloody noise. I can hear them very clearly from the 12th floor. When do Drunk Dumbass Old Men usually drink? 8pm to 10pm on weekend nights.
Starting to see a pattern here? Oh, but it gets much worse.
The multi-storey car park, when not polluted by Driver Dumbass, occasionally produces noise pollution from a different source: Tyre screeching. Now, again, as someone who was once an army driver and who went through a basic car maintenance course, I can tell you exactly why this happens: Poor vehicle maintenance. Anything from worn-out tyres, damaged brake pads, or insufficient power steering can all cause this. When does Tyre Screeching Pollution happen? Any time in the night, sometimes even at 1am to 4am.
Oh, but it gets worse.
Some of my neighbours are night owls. They like to hang out at the void deck or lift corridors on the upper floors in the dead hours of the night. How do I know? When I return from my night shifts at around 3am to 4am, I sometimes see them loitering around and chit chatting. Most of them look like teenagers. Thankfully none of them were drinking alcohol, or they would be in serious trouble for breaking the law (we had a law passed in Singapore recently that prohibits alcohol from being consumed in public places after 10pm).
Just two weeks ago, I was taking the lift up to the 12th floor when all of a sudden, one Night Owl Teenager yelled “Hellllllllooooooooooo!” as I was exiting the lift. It gave me a bit of a shock and I hesitated to exit the lift for a split second. After making sure that it wasn’t a ghostly apparition, I stepped out, gave the teenager and all his friends a displeased stare, and went to unlock the door to my flat.
The next morning, my father asked if someone had greeted me with a “Hellllooooooooooo!” outside our flat. Even my dad could hear you, you fucking morons.
Look, all I want to do is to fucking sleep. I want to be alert for work, and I also want some good shut-eye after working a night shift. The last thing I expect at 4am is a big “Helllllllloooooooooo!” If you do anything to disrupt my ability to sleep, you are going to piss me off.
Last weekend, Driver Dumbass, Drunk Dumbass Old Men, Night Owl Teenagers, Tyre Screeching, and Asian Koel all combined together on the SAME night for one continuous chorus. It started at 9pm when I was trying to sleep early, only to be kept awake by drunkards. Once it approached 10pm, they finally dispersed and quieted down (as required by the law)… only for Driver Dumbass to suddenly honk his horn. One minute is very short, but it was enough to rouse me again.
I cannot recall the exact timings, but I was woken up at around 2 to 3am by Tyre Screeching and Night Owls. At that moment, I was forced to use the only thing I could think of: My army earplugs. Those earplugs were issued during Basic Military Training, and are designed to be used in the firing range to protect your ears from the sound of your rifle’s GUNSHOTS. Also, they’re used in the grenade range for live-grenade throwing. You know, to protect you from the sound of EXPLOSIVES.
Why the fuck must I use my army earplugs at 3am on some teenagers and poorly-maintained automobiles?
I did manage to get about an extra 1.5 hours of sleep, and promptly woke up at 5am+ to prepare for work. But after having my REM sleep interrupted (go Google it and learn something about how your brain works when sleeping), it was as good as not having much sleep at all.
I finished my breakfast and prepared to leave the house. Asian Koel, right on cue, started chirping. I was already awake, and of course it decided to add one final insult to injury.
As I walked past the bus stop at 6am+ towards the MRT station, I muttered under my breath to myself while pointing a middle finger at a random tree: “My neighbours are all fucking idiots. I hope you all die of liver cancer and heart disease.”
And there will be no damage to our Southeast Asian ecosystem if the Asian Koel goes extinct. Fuck off and die off like the dodo.
Never ever yell “Helllllllllooooooooooo!” at the lift at 4am for whatever reason. Seriously.