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Hanoi Considers Getting Rid of Wartime Loudspeakers

Hanoi residents might have to say goodbye to the city’s wartime loudspeakers, or loa phường.

In a meeting with the Hanoi Department of Information and Communications on January 9, Nguyen Duc Chung, head of the capital’s People’s Committee, ordered department officials to assess the usefulness of the city’s system of loudspeakers, reports Thanh Nien.

He also added that in the face of modern telecommunications developments, the use of loudspeakers might become obsolete. Chung requested local authorities from all city wards – both in metropolitan and suburban areas – to determine whether loa phường are relevant to residents’ daily lives.

While the fate of Hanoi’s wartime loudspeakers remains unclear, many Hanoians are of the opinion that they’re more annoying than helpful and should be abolished altogether.

“I’m very pissed off. After a week toiling at work, I just want to rest but the loudspeakers play at 5am,” a commenter shared on VnExpress. “And the volume is so loud that I can’t sleep.”

VnExpress reader Le Van Thang also echoed the sentiment that loudspeakers are antiquated: “Even remote areas these days have satellite dishes and cable. Don’t waste resources on ineffective and outdated things.”

These remnants of a bygone era have been causing trouble in Hanoi, however the situation is different in other provinces. Vu Cong Luc, director of Quang Ninh province’s Department of Information and Communications, told VnExpress that the local loudspeakers are “doing very well.”

According to Luc, while houses in Hanoi are packed together tightly, in Quang Ninh loudspeakers are needed to reach homesteads that are located in between remote areas.

Having existed since the war days, loa phường were an indispensable feature of local life when they helped warn residents of bombing raids.

However, in 2017 Hanoi they’re used to broadcast “an odd mix of local news, bureaucratic trivia, communist ideology and patriotic songs”, according to the Los Angeles Times.

[Photo via VnExpress]

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