Sunday, September 19, 2010

Silence Despite the Noise

If you don't like it, then just bear with it the best you can.  This seems to be the sentiment or the attitude of most of us Filipinos.  It wasn't mine when I first came here to the Philippines after being influenced by the more agressive, expressive and action-oriented American culture.  But there is a way that one's attitude changes with the culture you live with.  And living here in the Philippines now for over 8 years, I have now acclimatized my ways, so to speak.

This topic comes on the brink of the noisy night and restless sleep we had courtesy of our neighbors.  I hear them, I may even know some of them (by face more than by name), but I do not care for the way they keep us and our neighbors awake from the "party" they have outside their homes.  Our windows are not noise-proof and even with the windows closed shut, we can hear their boisterous talk and laughter.  With the warm weather, many houses most probably had their windows wide open.  When I went downstairs to get something, the noise from the open windows was much louder and I could imagine the frustrations of our other neighbors.

So why does no one do anything about this?  Are we waiting for the others to make the first move?  What are we scared of?  These people, these neighbors should not, in the first place, be drinking on the streets.  There's a law against this right?  And to think that the barangay is just one street away from us.  Is it because it's only around 10:30pm and they think that people are still awake at this time?  But I could still hear them after 12 midnight.  There was no singing this time, thank goodness!  Drunk men with microphones... they sing as if they're the best singers in the world!  But it was just the loud voices and the singing or chanting, mostly of "HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ....!", over and over and over again, as if chanting this would persuade the celebrant to give them another round.  Even if it's not someone's birthday, there's still an occasion to celebrate and to drink.  But who needs an excuse to drink?

I did not call the officials this time.  I was more willing to give in, to bear the noise, to be as someone had said, na magpakisama.  The tiredness I felt during the day helped bring me to slumberland.  I fell asleep and didn't care as much about the noise these disrespectful neighbors were making.  Let someone else call if they felt the need.

"Maingay." (Noisy.), my neighbor told me, in a sort of whisper, this morning, after I asked her "Napuyat po kayo kagabi?" (Didn't get a lot of sleep last night?).  They are willing to bear this.  They are elderly, the noisemakers young.  To keep the peace?  "Love Thy Neighbors" is a commandment that is especially hard during times like these.  I wish they would learn to love their neighbors, by firstly being respectful of others, being sensitive and responsible for their actions.

What will this silent culture bring us?  How long can we keep the silence?  How much longer do we have to bear this burden?


Anonymous said...

Good thing all you can hear are their singing and laughter. What if there's a videoke? Believe it or not, government officials in the Philippines support these kind of activities. One best example is Muntinlupa City, from mayor down to village councilors, they lend free chairs, tables and tents plastered with their names. It also becomes the party master's ticket to do their loud noisy videoke and liquor drinking session in the middle of the street at any time they want. Yes, you can have a street or walkway closed in Muntinlupa if you have these chairs, tables and tents plastered with government official's name.

Eileen said...

Thanks Anonymous for your comment. Oh yes I know what you mean about the politicians and their support of this kind of behavior. Did I not mention the videoke? Oh yeah there was videoke, with the speakers on high to have all the surrounding streets, including the barangay hall, hear. I posted this about 2 years ago, things have toned down a little in the past years. But with local elections less than a year away I expect more sleepless nights.

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