Friday, August 19, 2011

Noise pollution in Singapore getting out of hand

I'm having a real tough time trying to get the HDB & Town Council to work together to reduce noise pollution in my estate. Wrote a reply to the HDB's Senior Ex. and copied it to the MND Minister & also the Prime Minister.  Read on...

I am really disturbed that I don't seem to be getting through to you & the rest of your colleagues in the HDB & Town Council. What a sad state of affairs!

I am copying this to the Prime Minister & your MND Minister (the former Health who himself should understand more about the dreaded schizophrenia) so that once and for all, this noise pollution will come to an end. Residents must have peace and mind to live in their homes. After all, the PM says that he wants to make Singapore the best home to live in. My wife and I cannot be like nomads or gypsies running from place to place just because there is little or no consideration for the elderly sick and those with special needs.

The bottom line is that there is clearly a lack of understanding of mental illness or for those with special needs.

So instead of cutting to the chase, let me explain myself all over again. I hope after reading this, the message will “sink in”.

First of all, I am fully aware that contractors can carry out renovation works in HDB flats during prescribed hours. I also understand that there will be, on occasions, people moving in and out, selling their flats and others coming in to buy their flats - of which there will be some unbearable noise. I accept that. What I cannot accept is the breakdown in communication.

What I am asking for you to do is a simple task - COMMUNICATE- effectively. This is what irks Singaporeans when they are dealing with Govt. agencies. All that is needed is to keep the residents posted when hacking of floors and walls are carried out. Communicate that effectively to all of us.
This will well position me to seek out alternative accommodation for my wife and get her away from the excessive noise as this is one of the trigger factors that will cause her to suffer a relapse of her schizophrenia. It has taken me decades to manage her mental illness. I do not want to see her land in hospital year in and year out simply because Govt. agencies do not have empathy or compassion and welfare for these marginalised citizens. And the mentally ill are the most neglected in our society.

You claim that the contractor only told the residents on the 3rd floor about the hacking as my flat was on the 5th floor and as such the noise is further away. Why don't you come over and heard the unbearable noise that going on at my flat and beyond my flat and hear it for yourself? Is there any attempt by the HDB to check when renovation works are carried out so that it does not disrupt the environment and that noise is minimized?
On top of her mental condition, my wife is also at the advanced stage of arthritis- leaving her mobility severely impaired. Meaning she can hardly walk. She is on heavy medication- 44 tablets a day. I have been her caregiver for 37 solid years. Where is the support from the Govt?

Throughout the months, there is noise pollution coming from:

(a) These Clans associations – every month this is going on-chanting of prayers in the wee hours of the night, lion dancing, flags hung all around the blocks? What is the meaning of this? What happens if the Muslims, Hindus and Christians do it?

(b) Contractors using the leaf blowers to blow away the cut grass and the noise is most irritating. It can heard 400 metres way. Can't they just sweep the cut grass way, instead of spoiling the only time we can get some rest- on weekends?

(c ) Never ending renovation works

( d) Occasional wakes carried right under the void deck.
With this noise pollution all the year around, how does anyone get any rest? You tell me?

Instead of placing the emergency telephone numbers for lift breakdowns INSIDE the lifts, it is placed OUTSIDE the lifts. If you are trapped inside the lifts, how do you call the emergency number when it is not within sight?

I would therefore urge you to look into these issues and learn to provide a better service for the residents, bearing in mind those with special needs and keep us posted of any future renovation works. I am also appalled that the Town Councils and HDB cannot work as a team. "This is not my area, this is the HDB's job, this is not the Town Council's job, this the HDB 's job?" This I have heard up teem times. Can you all just work as a team in the interests of all Singaporeans/residents.?

I await your reply- hopefully it will be a more positive one, this time around.

In closing, may I take you back in time and draw your attention to another letter that I wrote to the press on noise polution. I would have thought that something would have been done, but nothing came out of it. Then what is the use of giving feedback to the Govt?

Thank you,


Raymond Anthony Fernando


E said...

Dear Mr. Fernando,

I am an expat living with my brother currently in a HDB unit (until I can find my own place). I found your post because I googled noise pollution in Singapore. Yes, I am typing this whilst a Chinese is playing loudly outside and a cr alarm has been going off for the last 10 minutes.

Ever since I have been here (a full month), I have noticed a high degree of noise pollution in Singapore. Constant noise all over place. Car alarms are quite the norm, as are cars honking. Constructions (yes thank you my upstairs neighbor) are abound as well (ahh, the car alarm finally went off). It is a wonder the car window does not get smashed.

I symphatize with you, but I think it is the citizens in general that also needs education is turning down their volume. People in general (since I am a foreigner and it's much easier for me to notice) are numb to the existing noise. They keep talking louder (if they need to) to rise about the noise floor. In the end, the entire noise level is raised as everyone attempts to raise their voice about the others in order to be heard.

It is indeed a sad case of affairs because it is difficult for the government to control/regulate when a majority of it need to come from a concerted effort of us as human beings and good neighbors to help keep the noise down. The noise level has indeed started to bother my peace of mine (I am a person who loves the quiet). Even at the park (Fort Canning) where it is supposed to be peaceful, there were excavation going on. I have to try hard to go somewhere to get away from people (who are mainly responsible for the generation of the noise). The park or the library are about the last places available for salvation.

Good luck to you,

cruise said...

Hi Ray, not sure if your issue on noise been resolved. Is it possible to have your article posted in our Facebook page? Do u hv an email I can communicate with u personally? Thanks