Archive for the Your Thoughts Category

Survey Results

Posted in Your Thoughts on March 15, 2010 by bztm

Below is a selection of responses from the online survey I conducted regarding Singapore’s soundscape. The purpose of this survey was to gather insight in to what local people think about their sound environment. The results revealed some interesting things!

If you would like to contribute to my ongoing research into Singapore’s soundscape, please leave a comment on the relevant question below, or click the following link:


If you had to conserve certain Singapore sounds for future generations what would they be and why?

Posted in Your Thoughts on March 15, 2010 by bztm

1. the ethnic traditional rituals that are highly sacred and ought to be retained through the passage of time.

2. less concrete, more nature, and allow some old part, old building, of the city remain as it is. Let the human own cultural behavior and activities build it own song for the city.

3. apart from birds,construction sounds, i will conserve the calling out of veg/butcher / hawkers in market and the rag-n-bone man who makes his rounds in hdb flats.

4. coffee shop sounds. sweeping. school bells. sound of people living.

5. see *2

6. Songs of local / dialect languages as well as locally produced music from post independence because songs and music dictate lifestyle and expression of the people of a certain time.

7. the sounds of nature the sounds of old sacred music (not the new-age commercial protestant pop music) – real, authentic traditional music from the old religions, hindusim, buddhism, catholicism, judaism, sikhism, islam etc

8. I guess Singlish, despite my earlier response. it’s a uniquely singaporean identity and without it, we would be like any other country

9. sound rewinding of cassette tapes… many kids hv not seen cassette tapes before..

10. None. Nothing worth conserving… yet.

11. The religious, ‘sacred’ sounds, that emerge from all the various events and festivals. The sort of things that will dissapear in time possibly. Chanting, processions, traditional theatre etc..

12. The wet market sounds, see Q.5

13. Nil

14. sounds of the community, urban streetscape, so that future generations could hear how it is like walking down orchard road, moving around the community, mealtimes, carrying out of daily activities

15. –

16. Icecream bell, karung guni truck honks. Endangered sounds of childhood.

17. old-school ice-cream bells – we don’t get them anymore…and they bring much happiness!

18. sounds of the karung guni man, and of the ice cream bicycles and the chimes. reflective of happier simplier times

If you could add any sounds to Singapore’s soundscape, what would they be and why?

Posted in Your Thoughts on March 15, 2010 by bztm

1. of medieval european museums. it’d be interesting to conceptualize it into the multi racial society of singapore.

2. water and tree,,add some nature sound in the city than just remain in the suburban.

3. i won’t add any other sounds to singapore’s soundscape. it’s what it is – just honest. it reflects what it’s going through at the moment.

4. more spoken announcements. i would like to see how they might be articulated. like i always imagine that buses should announce their location like the london buses do. but then in singapore they’d have to say it in all the languages. which i like. and then i try to imagine if the name relates to the place. well its another marker for the memory. but anyway why not? they do it on the trains… it adds another dimension i feel.

5. more music everywhere, buskers and free performers on the streets.

6. I think I would rather remove than add.There is enough sounds in this world already.

7. sounds of quiet more souinds of nature abit more music

8. more greenery and hence nature sounds (i live near botanic gardens and visit it once in awhile and the sounds of nature can be quite therapeutic)

9. definately the sound of nature

10. sounds of water

11. More nature sounds.

12. Nothing specific, let it evolve naturally.

13. Nil

14. More quietness, more sounds of happy people, more mixture of people speaking in different languages and dialects, accents in public spaces

15. Music!

16. More music
17. more classical music (buskers) along the streets! 🙂

18. buskers who can actually play decent music! it would be fab.

If you could remove any sounds from Singapore’s soundscape, what would they be and why?

Posted in Your Thoughts on March 15, 2010 by bztm

1. Construction.Fast developing of urban architecture buildings that are set to surpass the growth of nature.

2. stop building more malls, that would help to reduce the bad soundscape.

3. Refer to point3. my most unfavourite sounds- coz hey reflect really badly on singapore…really… just pure unpleasantness- we have enough of that in the world already.

4. the sound of mundanity. i have decided radio talk shows are a generic sound in any case, no matter what language it is in, you can tell when its mundane chatter. i guess living here for too long makes one bored of these sounds, but then if you’d been abroad for a long while you might yearn for the mundane simple sounds of home again. actually maybe i wouldn’t remove any sounds; i wouldn’t need to censor any sounds, it should just be as it is.

5. see *3

6. The sound of the radio dj talking. Much talk about nothing?

7. – the sounds of the bigscreen ads in orchard rd cos they are very loud – the music that blares loudly from public speakers along orchard road cos it sucks – certain voices in the office cos they grate

8. the sound of construction – disruptive more often than not. we’re always digging and
building and digging and building!

9. sound if vehicles.. its everywhere… no peace

10. noisy food court.

11. Sounds of traffic. Sounds of pop music in shops.

12. Nah leave them all there, the more varied the better.

13. Item 3 above

14. I will not remove any sounds, but rather reduce sounds of traffic, construction works, industrial sounds.

15. Construction sound. Its annoying.

16. I wouldn’t remove sounds, only dampen the volume. Perhaps the incessant repetition of one piano phrase that my neighbour repeats tirelessly

17. construction noise! Doesn’t add value to quality of life

18. construction noise? but it’s a huge part of what singapore is, so it would be inaccurate.

What would you consider to be Singapore’s sacred sounds? Why are they sacred?

Posted in Your Thoughts on March 15, 2010 by bztm

1. Nature. The value of it has been compromised in today’s social context.

2. Morning, a waking up sound. when the ritual india music started from the temple very early in the morning. the moment when human activity begins. And, that it was very short moment. unless a quiet sunday morning sound with little subtle background sound flying around, and majority of residents still sleeping.

3. birds chirping…..sacred to me just because i am elevated everytime i hear them and also a fear of them being driven away eventually if singapore gets overly urban.

4. i am not sure what i consider to be “sacred”. i am not a religious person (by choice). are religious sounds sacred? church bells? horns from an indian temple? from my understanding, if its sacred i suppose something has to be sacrificed for it to become the sacred. but i dont really know what i consider sacred sounds here

5. sacred is what can be found only in Singapore and I would think the tonality of our speech is sacred because nowhere else can you find English that sounds so flat, and yet accurately used. even when you travel overseas and find a fellow Singaporean, the first thing to take comfort/delight in is hearing that familiar way of Singaporean English…

6. I cannot think of any sacred sounds in Singapore.

7. sounds of nature… and nothing else. cos they are rare and true and eternal sacred music – chants of hindu temple, prayer calls int eh morning, hand held bells and minor key hymns in catholic church

8. singlish – only found in singapore

9. sound of insects… u cant get it in da city..

10. Sound of the National Anthem.. sacred.. sends chills down my spine, almost like a religious piece.

11. I suppose the sacred music would be the religious festivals. Hindu, Taoist or other religions. I love traditional music, it just happens alot of these traditional sounds are intimately tied to old spiritual practice thus making them ‘sacred’. The Chinese ‘gongs’ and drums, some of it features in the Wayang events also.. Are really special to Singapore I suppose.

12. The sounds of the activity at the wet markets, cos those are the sounds of human beings doing what human beings do – making the best of what they have, trying to better their lot, getting on with life.

13. Nil

14. sounds from schools, hawker centres, local supermarket, community spaces in the neighbourhood. they are representative of our society and community and signifies the focal points of our lives where we congregate as a community

15. “Ticking” sound in the temple.

16. Not in particular. Perhaps the very occasional sound of the cock crowing in the morning, because this brings to mind what Singapore isn’t anymore

17. the sound which comes frm (church?) bells every 1st day of the month at 12noon. The bells remind me of church bells which gives a comforting, (holy?) feel

18. not sure really. i wouldn’t say there is a particular sound that is sacred. silence in
singapore can be sacred, only because it’s so rare!

Are there any sounds from Singapore that have special significance to you? If so, why?

Posted in Your Thoughts on March 15, 2010 by bztm

1. The bell that rings at 12pm sharp every 1st day of the month. Symbolizes renewal of fate.

2. When living in Little india, i was merging in the rythm without knowing it until i left. It was added in my memory and it became so significance.

3. mixture of birds and construction and mrt sounds… that’s just seems to sum up singapore now….

4. civil defence air raid siren that is at 12 noon every single year on my birthday (15 sep). even when i lived abroad i asked a friend back in sg to record it and send it to me… i like to think of it as a birthday song i look forward to each year.

5. my friends and family

6. The national anthem. I keep hearing it in its original format even if its been remade. Also- the shout of ‘Merdeka!’ the recorded voice of LKY. The voices of the people.

7. rediffusion – reminds me of my grandma old chinese songs – reminds me of my parents and childhood sound of waves – reminds me of childhood early morning prayer calls from a mosque – reminds me of my schooling years when i stayed opposite a mosque. the calls were soft and beautiful

8. singlish – uniquely singaporean, i am after all singaporean. the distinctive sound of pedestrian crossing lights

9. wind charm… feel relaxed

10. the sound of the MRT door closing… “tu tu tu tu tu…” It’s very representational of Singapore.

11. The sound of certain insects, and birds have a particular significance. It being such a tropical place if you are in the right place they can be amazing. Also I guess, the construction sounds. Drilling! It can be so so loud in some parts, barely concealed behind a wall seperated from a public walkway. I’ve always been interested in drilling, the way the sound changes at it goes through different material in the ground.

12. See Q.2

13. No

14. sounds of a school’s morning assembly brings back memories of our school days and the nationalised education system. sounds of people chatting freely or uninhibited in public places reinforces to me the notion of an open society and of public spaces where we can air our views freely without worry of repercussions or need to conform to certain decorum

15. Sound of a woodpecker. It’s very special.

16. Nothing immediately springs to mind.

17. the karang guni’s toot – as this is uniquely Singaporean, the voice of the MRT lady – reminds me of home (Singapore)

18. clogs, on the wet market floor. sounds like it’s from another time, reminds me of my childhood.

What sounds from Singapore’s soundscape do you dislike and why?

Posted in Your Thoughts on March 15, 2010 by bztm

1. construction. scaffolding and etc. contributes to the diminishing of nature

2. i hate the noises from the re-construction of the city. drilling, hacking, loud heavy hammering, machine that pile the foundation, and so on. It deafing my hearing and sensitivity to other subtle soundscape in Singapore.

3. Singaporeans speaking singlish and singnese [singapore style chinese] in a very crude manner, usually telling people off or just being rude and insensitive.

4. car alarms and horns. the whooping bird that lives in a tree outside my window is disliked only when it sings during the wee hours and its otherwise moderately adorable OOK-WOOP warblings disturb my sleep.

5. vehicles’ horns, my mother’s nagging, crying children, giggling teenagers, shopping centre’s closing announcement

6. The sound of the dj’s on local radio. Meaningless and useless chatter.

7. traffic noises at busier areas – grating and relentless some people’s voices and way of talking – just loud and imperious and obnoxious and naturally ugly fake (and sometimes real) american accents the music on the radios esp 98.7 and 95 – all shit

8. singlish – although uniquely singaporean, it serves as a constant reminder that there are many out there who can’t speak proper english (grammatically correct). cars honking – indicating low tolerance and/or poor driving skills on others’ part

9. Humans voices

10. noisy food court.

11. Sounds of traffic. Pretty boring and regular to my ears. That and the pop music pouring out of shops in entertainment areas.

12. None really, most of its other sounds are fairly typical of any city.

13. Mechanical Road sweepers and air blowers for clearing fallen leaves and grass
cutters; extremely noisy

14. Construction sounds, road work sounds, excessive noise from the traffic. They are intrusive, disruptive to the ambience of the enivronment and ubiquitous.

15. Sound of construction. It drives me crazy

16. Loud strident voices

17. People talking loudly on the phone – interferes with my public space. Construction and vehicle noise pollution – makes me feel claustrophobic.

18. construction noise – no one likes construction noise!