Last Wednesday was International Noise Awareness Day, although if you live in Bangkok you could be forgiven for being blissfully unaware of this momentous occasion. It's hardly a revelation, but it's desperately difficult to escape noise in Thailand. You can't go to a department store or supermarket these days without being assaulted by an incessant babble of sales pitches from ladies with microphones, promoting anything from skin whitening creams to absurd looking lingerie.
At one mall in Bangkok last week a number of people were trying to listen to senior monks giving a sermon on the true meaning of the Songkran festival. Unfortunately the men in robes were drowned out by a woman with a microphone only 20 metres away, promoting some sort of moisturising cream. It seems the message of Songkran is that whoever makes the most noise prevails.
Out on the streets you can't do much about the racket, apart from strangling those fellows who insist on blowing whistles for no apparent reason. The reality is that Bangkok is a noisy metropolis and admittedly, a silent Big Mango would seem quite creepy.