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Saigon Vows to Tackle Rampant Noise Pollution Caused by Karaoke

Is there an end to Saigon’s scourge of non-consensual public karaoke sessions?

While Tet is not the only occasion when some Saigoneers break out their home microphones, its combination of long vacation days and idleness creates a prime breeding ground for impromptu karaoke. Other city residents, on the other hand, have had enough of the resulting noise pollution. Many wrote to Tuoi Trein a recent series to bemoan the torturous levels of noise coming from their neighbor’s karaoke sessions.

According to the news source, authorities of Ward 6 of Go Vap District, for example, got over 15 complaints by denizens over the rampant karaoke. Trần Mạnh Hùng, a resident on Duong Quang Ham Street, said that after complaints were filed, ward officials and local police did check out the source, but merely verbally warned the offending household. The culprits agreed to lower their volume, but only while law enforcement was within earshot; the blast returned soon after.

“People who sing karaoke are usually tipsy and love loud music. Neighborly advice and police censure could only go so far before everything becomes noisy again,” Hùng explained in Vietnamese. “I don’t want to make a scene because it could escalate to violence, harming the community bond.”

On February 26, Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Nguyễn Thành Phong held a dialogue session with other ward chairpeople in the city. The issue of karaoke-induced noise pollution was brought up at the meeting.

Chairman Phong acknowledged that he was aware of the complaints raised in the Tuoi Tre series and therefore issued a new order to relevant government agencies to amp up preventative measures to reduce noise pollution.

A number of ward officials shared their difficulties in tackling these karaoke sessions within their ward. “We really hope that this issue [noise pollution] is eliminated. When we requested the local police to deal with the noise, they replied that they can only do something if the singing continues past 10pm,” Phan Đình An, a ward official from Go Vap District, claimed.

According to An, there are penalties for those who disturb public order, but authorities can’t determine how much noise the karaoke is making. He recommends municipal inspectors install third-party apps to measure noise levels, which can provide concrete proof that the neighborhood singers are violating the law.

[Photo/CC BY]

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