Timing of gov’t poll on ‘gas music’ draws dismay

A man carries sells cooking gas cylinders off of his truck in Amman in this recent photo. (Photo: Jordan News)
A man carries sells cooking gas cylinders off of his truck in Amman in this recent photo. (Photo: Jordan News)
AMMAN — A governmental survey published by the Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission is asking citizens their opinion on cooking gas trucks using classical musicاضافة اعلان

Für Elise — one of the most popular music pieces by Ludwig van Beethoven — has been associated for years with gas trucks, which blast the song as they drive through neighborhoods to draw customers.  

However, citizens told Jordan News that this survey is an inappropriate use of government time, while other pressing issues, such as the pandemic and unemployment, face the country.

Aya Al-Kurdi told Jordan News that this issue is not important to her by any means, arguing that the government should concentrate on more important issues. 

“I am not willing to participate in the survey,” she said. “This is not the right time for conducting such surveys, I think we all should concentrate on more important issues especially with the coronavirus pandemic that destroyed our lives.”

The majority of the people interviewed for this story said that they are against the abolition of the use of the composition, while a minority said that they would support this choice. 

Abdallah Mohammad told Jordan News that Für Elise has been used for years with no complaints, and that even the commission itself did not consider changing it. “I wonder why the commission chose this time to conduct such a survey,” he said.

Lamees Sulaiman said that the song is “soft” and that it does not cause her any disturbances. “We all know how beautiful Beethoven’s music pieces are, I even enjoy listening to them. In addition, kids, for example, would get the chance to know who Beethoven is while listening to it.”

On the other hand, Mohammad Kasem disagreed with gas trucks’ use of Beethoven. “Do you think it is acceptable to use such a respected piece for gas trucks? People will always remember gas trucks when listening to it,” he said. 

The issue sparked a storm of controversy on social media platforms, where users criticized the timing of the survey.  

One Twitter user under the name Odai expressed his displeasure on the platform. “The government leaves people hungry and distracted by how it can improve the sound of gas trucks,” he wrote.

Likewise, a user under the name Ayman wrote: “I write this comment while I am feeling ashamed of the Jordanian government. ... You solved all the problems of the country, and there is not any problem, except for gas? Indeed, a great and a very big achievement to a country in which citizens suffer from hunger and poverty.”

The Energy and Minerals Regulatory Commission told Jordan News that they have received some comments about the music, which led them to initiate the poll. 

The commission explained that years ago, gas trucks used a loud beeping sound to alert customers of their presence, but the distracting beeps triggered complaints. Consequently, the commission switched gas trucks to “soft music.” 

“According to the responses we get from people, we will decide whether we are going to change the music or not,” a representative of the commission said. “We even provided new options for them, such as replacing the traditional ways of buying gas and ordering it from a mobile application or via a phone call.”

The commission added that all citizens should participate in the survey. “At the end, this is for them and for their own comfort.”

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