This is not a music festival, rather the streets of Melaka on Saturday nights. How can it sound like this? Because Melaka has become one of the most visited place in Malaysia, making it crowded with tourists. I recorded this on a Saturday night, 16th of March 2019, on the day I first arrived at Melaka after a nine hour trip from Penang Island.
In Melaka, one of the phenomenons I witness is music being played from pedicabs going back and forth on the small road of Melaka. These pedicabs take tourists around the town to site see. To make their pedicab more attractive, the drivers decorate it with fake flowers and dolls. Other than these visual decorations, they also add loudspeakers to play music, making it like a mobile concert machine. The problem is that these loudspeakers are so big, around 8 inches and produce loud noises. If the music is only ment for the tourist and driver, then it does not really need a loud volume. In consequence, the street of Melaka has become a platform to compete of who produce the loudest music. There is a variety of music, such as Malaysian pop, Indonesian pop, and techno. If heard from the recording, the sound of people chatting gets drowned by the sound of the music.
I was reminded with a memory of my experience at Alun-Alun Kidul, Yogyakarta. Pedicabs decorated with lights and speakers that produce loud music, or at the Sekaten commemoration day at alun-alun lor, when the place is filled with more loudspeakers. It seems like the creation of technology has made a new culture in sound in some of our public space. I only hope that people use it moderately, especially when high intensity sound can cause harm to our health.
There were times when I want to enjoy Melaka, this historic town in more quiet situation. Even though in the past, sounds of cannons might also be part of this town during colonial wars (many old cannon artefacts could be found in this city). However, this made me wonder whether humankind enjoy creating ruckus, and are actually afraid of silence.