Ubon Ratchathani Man vs Wild

Nature’s Nuisance Silences Sound Nuisance

My neighborhood in Ubon Ratchathani is normally fairly  quiet. I can hear the birds singing and the frogs croaking without any interference from human created noises.

There are the occasional community activities that intrude on the peace and quiet but they are few and far between. There are a few highly annoying broadcasts that I could definitely live without.

During the political campaign season three or four times an hour a pick up truck with loudspeakers mounted on the back cruise through the neighborhood. About all that is said is the candidate’s ballot number again and again. Ber Song, ber song, ber song. I find myself into the night hearing that same thing in my mind. Hmmm, brainwashing perhaps?

That event only happens every couple of years or so. It does pass. By far the biggest invasion and annoyance is the announcements that come by way of a public address speaker mounted on a concrete cable pole at the corner of my yard. The first time I experience this phenomenon I was in my house watching “Seinfeld” when suddenly loud Thai music was  drowning out the audio.

I thought one of my neighbors had just started a party but soon discovered it was the community pager announcing that he was about to read a short useless message. Three minutes of insanely loud music followed by a read announcement, another three minutes of music, another minute of reading and finally three minutes of music to “sign off”. I am sure it is only being read because the page always repeats “jungwat Ubon Ratchathani” as though it would be for another place and the complete dates, “Wednesday, August 5, 2009”.

With all the technology and forms of media today this is truly archaic, especially within the city limits. There is radio, television, newspapers, webboards, forums and even mass text messaging. I doubt a survey has been done to discover if residents actualy hear what is said and listen to it. Nor a poll been taken to find out if this service is truly needed or desired.

It is not so much that it happens but the timing and volume .The noise usually invades just as my wife and I are sitting down to enjoy dinner. During the broadcast there is no need to even try to have a conversation. Another favorite time is around 7AM. I am usually awake but my wife has been awaken countless times by the senseless noise.

Ubon Ratchathani Man vs Wild

Ubon Ratchathani Man vs Wild

I have the largest green area in the neighborhood. There has been a trend here to landscape with cement and tiles. Definitely cuts down on maintenance and gardening. But there is a negative impact as well. The rain water has fewer places to seep into the earth and the habitat of “wildlife” is shrinking considerably.

As a result my yard has an increasing amount of standing water after heavy  rains as well as an increasing population of “wildlife”. It seems I a keeper of domains for birds, snakes, ants, lizards, geckos and frogs. I don’t mind so much as I am a country boy at heart and feel at home in the wild.

Last year one species build their own condo. A breed of Thai wasps. I don’t know the name but they have thick bodies like bumble bees and are black at head and tail with a burnt orange or rust colored ring around their center. I would sit out back and watch as their home grew and grew. They didn’t bother me much but made others nervous. I could see that they had designated flight paths and as long as I gave them their space we could live and let live. Their activities reminded me of launch and recovery operations on board an aircraft carrier.

You might be asking about now, what do these two topics have to do with each other? I am getting to that now.

About two months ago my wife noticed these same wasps had begun building a nest on the concrete pole holding the loud speaker. She even placed a call to city officials informing someone of this situation. To this day no action has been taken. The nest continues to expand.

A few days ago I was heading out and as I got further away from the house and closer to a speaker two blocks away I heard that familiar voice from the heavens making announcements. I realized that back at my house there was still silence. Amazing! How can this be? Upon returning home and doing a bit of investigative work I came to the conclusion that the wasps nest building activities had somehow silenced the nuisance.

I am thrilled. Maybe the reason this happened is karma. I am being paid back for allowing nature to live in my yard in a natural setting without being disturbed or driven off with cement and tiles.

Whatever the reason I am happy and grateful. The wasps are always welcome here. I have no idea though if the reason the loudspeaker was silenced will have any future affects on the other cables connected in close proximity.

Such is life and living in Ubon Ratchathani, Thailand.


  1. Darwin, good stuff, wasps to the rescue.

    This is why people in my life keep me well fed, they say that the only time I shut up is when I have my mouth stuffed with food.

    Your wasps reminded me of this fact…not sure how I feel about that…well actually I do…excuse me while I go buy some chips!

    Take care,

  2. Haha, that is indeed great news Darwin, one of the few joys of moving from the village to down town Ubon has been the lack of a loudspeaker within hearing distance – bliss!!

    I blogged about my one in the village a while ago here. http://memock.wordpress.com/2008/12/18/thai-gossip/

  3. My speaker went missing, mysterously. It wasn’t that close to my house at least 100 metres away. It was replaced but that too went missing.

    I don’t know who silenced them 🙂 but I thank them a lot. I have had peace and quiet for 3 years and counting.

  4. That is great news. If ours went mission I think there would be only one suspect. I know the page don’t hear what the residents hear. He only hears himself speaking into a mic. If the speaker don’t disappear one of my fantasies is to hire one of those trucks with speakers systems to sit near the perpetrators home and crank up some Led Zepplin or AC/DC. Maybe then he would get the message. Thanks for the comment Brunty.

  5. Memock,

    Yes, silence is golden. I fully understand about city noise and the sound of living. But this needless invasive way of getting the word out is just plain unacceptable. I have actually heard neighbors complaining and speaking gratitude when it stops but it won’t end until the community stands up and says enough. But alas Kreng Jai won’t allow that to happen.

  6. Guy,
    If food would shut this guy up I would schedule weekly deliveries to his front door.

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