A Different Noise


LA is a still city, a city full of the silent woofing of tires and cracking paint; whereas NYC is an orchestra led by a blindman.

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In the last two months, I have traveled to New York city, Paris and now back to New York. My lungs have become accustomed to the shrill sharp air of the plane, my legs wrap unnaturally for hours without complaint.

Each city has a signature sound; Los Angeles is the most silent of them all. What there is, is drowned out by the blasting of your iPod in the car, you drive through the city muffled both in sound and body.

I Was in Paris

If history had a sound, it would be found in Paris. Everywhere you walk you can hear the sound of revolution, religious wars, wood against stone, the crunch of a baguette; history is never silent, it swirls around you and wraps a veil of sadness over your eyes. I love Paris because of the rich emotional treasure buried under each step; I believe that by my acknowledging the existence of the past keeps the flame burning.

I am here in New York.

As I walk down 3rd avenue, I past pubs filled with loud voices, so many layered on top of one another that I can't separate the words. A woman walks by and says to her friend "I have to behave tonight". I wonder what she did before that she felt she had to pay penance tonight.

The taxi honks at the police car, the cabbie is angry that he has to wait while the policeman writes a ticket. No one here has fear. It is a city of rushing hope and head down barreling forward - no matter if there is a cliff up ahead or a pot of gold, the spirit moves forward because giving ground means weakness and extinction.


A city is not just height and breadth, sight and smell, it is also sound. We experience each place with all our senses, we let it bury deep into ourselves and when we hear a tone or pitch we are brought back to that moment in time where we were some place else.

Image: Ophelia Chong.
A city of sound softened by the haze of rain.

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