Most of my foreign friends, especially those from Europe, respond with weary shakes of their heads when asked about the noise in Vietnam's major cities.
Some have actually suggested listing Vietnam among the countries with a "serious" urban noise problem.
We cannot ban people from making noise. However, if we have to accept that people have a right to make noise, don't others have a right to peace and quiet? Is there any personal right that an individual can enjoy that takes away benefits others are entitled to?
If the law implies that people have to suffer the nuance and inconvenience caused by their neighbors exercising their freedoms, the law should also punish those who abuse these rights and make unbearable noise.
It can work this way. Once there is sufficient evidence to prove that noise made by an individual or company has caused material and spiritual damage to others they should have to pay compensation.
In case the noise affects daily activities of a group of community or public order, administrative penalties with big cash fines can be imposed. In fact the guilty can even be charged under the Penal Code and imprisoned, if the action is deemed dangerous to society.
All these things are recognized in Vietnam's legal documents but they have not been implemented. Courts hesitate to handle such cases while administrative agencies scratch their heads when receiving noise complaints.
In other countries, the authorities would intervene early to stop, or at least limit noise because it has an adverse impact on the quality of life and sustainable development of society.
As the job of authorities is to organize and manage society, they should create a framework for public behavior standards in order to guarantee security and convenience for everyone.
A community cannot be considered civilized when each person enjoys his or her life in a manner that is directly detrimental to the physical and mental well being of others.