Noisy underground trains? Not!

Tuesday 26 April 2011, 2.02am HKT

HERE’S A PIECE OF LOCAL NEWS that’s characteristically brain-damaged enough to make it to the late-night news:

“Have you ever [been unable] to talk on your mobile phone on the MTR because you can’t hear the other person?”

Yeah, right. That already gave us a massive clue as to how brain-damaged the kind of news that’s going to hit us.

The MTR (short for Mass Transit Railway) is our version of the Underground/Tube, Subway, U-bahn, Московский метрополитен (Moskovsky metropoliten, or Moscow Metro). Which is about the only good thing about Hong Kong in modern times.

Here’s what the rest of the news item had to say (summarised, to protect your tolerance or sanity, or both):

You can’t have a conversation on the mobile phone in the MTR train because it’s so noisy you can’t hear the person on the other end.

A “concern group” is “urging” (i.e. calling on) the government to look into the noise levels on MTR trains so as to protect the health of the passengers.

Tecchies carried out tests on trains this morning and found noise levels “fluctuated between” (i.e. ranged from) 60 to 80 decibels.

When interviewed by TV journalists, passengers reported (i.e. said) they sometimes couldn’t hear the phone because of the noise inside the carriages when the train is moving.

That’s it, folks. Cut to another news item.

And that is news?

via Safe Work Australia

One interesting point. Video shows couple of hoary-haired tecchies taking noise measurements inside the carriages. Cut to closeup shot of meter reading, showing 65 decibels. Shot pans out a bit. Bloody meter was practically touching the internal chassis (fuselage?) of the carriage.

My point: Did no one teach you folks NOT to place meter onto a vibrating surface when taking measurements???

Reality Check

No, the trains are not that noisy. True, there is a rumble going on whilst the train is in motion. No more and no less than your average Tube/Subway/Metró/метро train ride.

Sixty-five decibels is the noise level of a normal conversation, at least according to the chart above. That’s AUSTRALIAN conversation, which is…

… ever so slightly louder than British conversation,

… a lot less than American conversation,

… heck of a lot quieter than Hong Kong Cantonese conversation,

… quiet as a church mouse compared with People’s Republic of China conversation.

For sure 65 decibels is no noisier than…

the idiot sitting on your right yelling away at his/her spanking brand-new iPhoney,

the moron on your left screaming at her kids to sit down, shut the f@#k up and stop annoying the other passengers (whilst said moron gets to annoy us all herself),

the imbecile in front of you who blocks your escape — exit, I mean — while being totally oblivious to your squawking and squealling that it’s your stop,

the fatuous as well as fat hag behind you bellowing at the side of your ears, “Give me your seat if you’re leaving”,

the clingy-clangy handlebars atop of you that smash into your face as get up from your seat and you holler in pain as the handles smack bang at your eyesockets,

the schoolbag down by your feet that some pouting chick left there just so that you can scream the mother of all screams as you lacerate your toes with it as you disembark in a mad rush because of all of the above.

Even with techno and breakbeat tunes on my iPod G2 (a castoff from a friend) and earphones on full blast, I can still hear other people in conversation with perfect clarity.

Whilst the train is a-chugging along.

Whilst the righthand idiot’s yelling away on the iPhooey.

Whilst the lefthand moron’s screaming high heaven at her brats.

Whilst I’m packed like sardines with the other passengers who smell of stale vegetables and yap on their mobiles.

Whilst the breakbeat tunes a-flooding into me eardrums and all.

I couldn’t hear the train’s rumble with all that going on.

It’s not 65 decibels, Mr Acoustic Scientist. It’s your IQ score.

© The Naked Listener’s Weblog, 2011.

Decibel chart via Safe Work Australia
Mobile phone message via FailAds

2 Responses to “Noisy underground trains? Not!”

  1. Woman said

    “quiet as a church mouse compared with People’s Republic of China conversation.” I spit my coffee reading this bit!!!! Cause it is so true! When out in public here in China… good luck hearing anyone on the phone. And Chinese people scream into the telephone.


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