I have just returned from five blissfully quiet days in Phuket last week. This was a last minute decision in the interest of preserving my sanity, thanks to the overwhelming level of noise pollution in Singapore at the moment.

Singapore is probably the noisiest city I have ever been to. There seems to be significant construction working going on in almost every block throughout the city. At home, I have a massive building site right next door complete with a pile driver and all manner of diggers and shovers – they work six days a week. At work, there are grinders and jackhammers on three sides of the office, and they work till late everyday.

To add insult to injury, the city is currently (still) infested with gaudy Christmas decorations that flash, spin, or otherwise gyrate; decorations that blast and endless loop of the same three mutilated carols (sung off-key by children of course) at the shopping hoards. This is visual and noise pollution done extremely well.

In this usually well-managed city/country, I am surprised that the government had not anticipated or managed this experience of Singapore better. It is not good for the people to live with so much constant noise, nor will it be particularly attractive to tourists. The total experience is quite frankly - unpleasant and nasty.

Either the government had not anticipated the amount of concurrent construction work (ie the left hand that approves construction work was unaware of the right hand that looks after tourists and the environment), or this is a case of “lets suck it in and get it over and done with ASAP”.

At least, many of the buildings that are going up look interesting architecturally.