Traveling around the metropolis, I feel that Filipinos don’t only fear white spaces, but they also shun silence as well. Jeeps constantly have their radios turned out, the music blaring. Malls have similar acoustics, even when a concert isn’t being held inside. The overpass near work has huge speakers, and it’s constantly playing a certain pop station, the sound level more than adequately competing with the noise from the traffic below.
Of course the advent of fashionable, portable mp3 players doesn’t help things. I see more and more people crossing the street, boarding public transportation, or simply lounging in the mall with earphones covering their ears as they listen to their personal jukeboxes. What bothers me is how anti-social it can become. You’re in your own isolated environment, the music drowning out everyone else. How can people talk to you? Gone is that chance moment when two strangers are sitting in the same bench, and they strike a conversation either out of boredom or curiosity. Instead, they get out their earphones, and enter a world of their own.
Then there’s the wi-fi earphones, usually associated with mobile phones. One minute they’re talking to you, the next minute they’re talking to someone else without giving you a visual gesture. True, it’s more convenient and safer (such as when you’re driving a car), but it has all the social graces of a parish priest delivering a homily with his back turned on you (at least he’s not speaking in Latin). It wasn’t so long ago when people who claimed to be hearing voices only they could hear were called insane.
Am I the only person who finds it strange that public places are noisy, and it’s not due to the voices of people conversing with each other? It’s ironic that in order to find a place quiet enough for decent conversation, you have to go to a private area. I mean how can people effectively communicate when there’s too much noise interfering with your dialogue? In order to have a nice, public conversation, you need to go to a private sanctum.
In this loud world of others, how can we meet people? How does one go about approaching someone who has earplugs in his ears? What happened to the part when you say “hello”. At this rate, all you can do is wave.