The second featured recording comes from the Alor Setar bus station in the Kedah region of North-West Malaysia. But this is not just any old bus station ambiance – oh no!
Transport hubs generally offer very rich soundscapes, due to their busy nature. In a typical bus station we can expect to hear general crowd walla, vehicle noises, public announcements etc. But the Alor Setar bus station offers quite a unique soundscape to anyone passing through. And it certainly left it’s mark in my memory.
There are many different private bus companies operating in Malaysia, each offering slightly different routes, destinations, comfort and price. As you can imagine, competition between these companies is high and the right sales technique can be what makes the difference in ensuring the bus parts with no empty seats.
In Alor Setar bus station, in order to attract customers, ticket sellers from each of the bus companies announce the destinations at the top of their voices. But the result is far from a cacophony. Instead, they try to sing and rhyme the names of cities. And each seller has their own particular style which they use to try to cut through the other noise. I found it a fascinating selling technique, and stealthily recorded a few minutes of the ambiance before I had to catch my bus.