It was a few years ago. I was on a weekend trip to get away from all the city life noise. I was dosing off on a bullet train when I suddenly heard a little girl broke into laughter. I was a little annoyed that my quiet trip was abruptly disrupted by the high-pitched, sharp outbursts of a little girl’s laughter, but I kept my eyes closed thinking that it would end soon.
Contrary to my expectation, the laughter got louder, now with her mother and grand-mother joining in. Now, it was really bothering me. I opened my eyes, thinking of giving them a glare for ruining my tranquility. I saw a few other passengers with frowns on their faces, so I figured no one would disapprove of my giving a mean look at the little girl. But soon, we were all joining in on the laughter.
Apparently, the little girl accidentally poked herself in her nose and her mother laughed, making her misinterpret the behaviour as being acceptable. It made her happy she was able to please her mother, so she kept poking herself in the nose, now intentionally and with a lot of joy and laughter. Her mother tried to stop her, but because it was so funny, she could not help laughing while trying to stop her. Seeing the behaviour escalate, her grand-mother began to laugh, though with a lot of confusion and worry for what will become of this little (not so) lady.
It was sheer comedy! I knew it was wrong for me, and the other passengers, to join in on the laughter, but it was so contagious. And seeing all of us with big smiles on our faces, the little girl laughed even louder, with a lot of pride that she was making us all happy. But none of us thought of discouraging her from laughing any more because it was now music to our ears.
Ever since experiencing this little incidence, I no longer think of those high-pitched, sharp laughter, or any sound for that matter, of the little ones as noise.
Maybe it is because I know there is always a reason for the sounds they make.
Maybe it is because I understand they have feelings just like us.
Maybe it is because I want to know why they are making the sounds and understand what they are feeling.
Maybe I have turned what was once only noises into music by taking interest in them.
My homeland is a relatively small country, with limited land on which for all of us to live. Most of the time there is no escape from noise, even in our homes where we seek quiet moments. So I can understand to a certain degree why some people would not want nurseries and preschools be built in their neighbourhood – laughter and other loud sounds, often contagious, that the little ones make can be noises ruining what little tranquility we may have.
But, like I said, our land is very limited and the neighbourhood we chose to have our homes in may well be the best land on which to build nurseries and preschools. Then, would it not be more fruitful to find ways to turn little ones’ sounds into music and live together, than to have everyone become noises by fighting over who deserves more to use the land alone?
Maybe if we can all take interest in the matter, noises by themselves can be brought together to make harmony.