The Bajaj Unplugged
(There seems to be a problem with the comment box. 2 comments did not appear although we could see them in our mailbox and we have published them. Strange. We should mention them here: thank you, Boywashington and Toyboy.)
We have summarized the suggestions as follows:
Agus Set seems to offer the most immediate and practical solution:
To avoid a permanent hearing ability risk, I think there is an easy solution for them: why don't used an "earplug" to reduce the intensity of the noise when they do their job?
Now why didn't we think of that. Agus Set, you're a genius. That's right folks. Earplugs. Those little things we use when our spouse snores...
Will it work? Yes! This is what NIDCD said :
Can NIHL be prevented? NIHL is preventable. All individuals should understand the hazards of noise and how to practice good health in everyday life.
1. Know which noises can cause damage (those above 90 decibels).
2. Wear earplugs or other hearing protective devices when involved in a loud activity.
There you go.
How do we make bajaj drivers to use earplugs? Maya said:
...Maybe that could be a start...a conscious choice at least from the start for the bajaj drivers and being a responsible employer for bajaj recruiter to mention risks involved in the job s/he is offering...
Yes. Mention the risk and distribute earplugs. So the employer would tell the bajaj driver something like this:
"Here's the key to the bajaj, and here, some earplugs. Wear 'em if you still want to hear your little baby saying her first word and calling you Daddy..."
Boywashington is offering a similar yet more creative solution :
...just tell driver to put a headphone, better have musics on it. Spare some headphones for passenger as well...
Yes, we believe there is a risk to the passengers (although not as severe). Especially people like our colleague's maid who takes bajaj regularly.
Earplugs for the passengers? Or maybe just a sticker of warning and BYOE (Bring Your Own Earplugs)...
Any suggestions on how we can promote awareness among bajaj owners and drivers on the importance of earplugs? Is there some kind of organization out there that can help with this kind of thing? An NGO, or a charitable organization, or something?
Don't look at us, we are lucky enough to be able to blog once a week...
But if there is such organization that is willing to take on the challenge, we for sure will give some support. We (hopefully that includes you our beloved readers) can contribute either money, or earplugs.
In the meantime, we can work on Nad's and Jakartass' medium to long term solution, aiming at a less-noisy bajaj engine.
Nad said: we need to hold regular fun-competitions by which owners of bajaj with the least noise will be rewarded; or those who can come up with most effective yet affordable designs of mufflers for that matter.
While Jakartass suggested:
A bank of rechargeable batteries are the power source, so we have a vehicle that is quiet, doesn't pump out noxious fumes, is sturdy, quick (capable of c.80 kph) and comfortable for its drivers.
An electric-powered bajaj. That's just excellent. We have a name for it already: e-bajaj.
One final note, we should also mention a comment from Toyboy:
pantas supir bajaj enggak ada yang beli ipod...
Roughly translated: No wonder bajaj drivers don't buy ipod...
At first glance we thought it's one of those (not so) funny jokes. But then we saw this article on the inside page of the International Herald Tribune  (printed edition, sorry, no link) :
U.S lawsuit claims iPod use can cause hearing loss.
It is written that:
... The devices can produce sounds of more than 115 decibels, a volume that can damage the hearing of a person exposed to the sound for more than 28 seconds a day, according to the complaints. ...
If you remember, bajaj noise on average is 91 decibels .
Well Toyboy, at least now we know why bajaj drivers don't buy iPod...
 National Institute of Deafness and Other Communication Disorders - Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
 International Herald Tribune, Friday, February 3, 2006, Page 11
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