Most Singaporean buskers make some money on a good day and while some can make more than others, they are not a pitiful lot. They have homes to go back to, families to look after them and usually a comfortable sheltered spot to sing their song or do their acrobatic tricks.
I would sometimes, with my wife and elder grandson walk the streets of Orchard Road, the corners of wet markets, the underpasses at shopping malls and the corridors of some apartments and look out for them. In later years the underground stations at MRT areas would even be allowed. And they would be around, morning, noon and night, to entertain.
And with some great luck I even met a few familiar faces from the 1960's and 1970's music scene along the way, especially on the great corridors of Orchard Road where busking is the premiered place, well-respected and regarded.
So what's it about our Singapore buskers? Here are some comments from regular readers of this blog.
Gathering information from blog readers:
February 1, 2010 12:40 am
But I like music buskers when they sing and play 60's music as it takes me back to the good ole carefree days. One chap at the Lido Cinema and Wheelock Place underpass sings Cliff Richard and Elvis too, accompanied by his guitar.
February 2, 2010 2:14 am
February 2, 2010.
The buskers have spread out and with blessings from the National Environment Agency (NEA) Singapore hawker centres (food centres) have their share of buskers since it became official in August 2005.
They are also allowed to keep what they earn. Apparently buskers make the places more vibrant and provide a platform for people to play music. There are about 112 hawker centres in Singapore and buskers can be seen at quite a number of them.
One lady busker who plays 60's music is Ms Low Geok Lan, 52 a former taxi-driver. She has been busking for 6 years now and is versatile enough to play the mouth-organ (harmonica) and an eletronic organ (keyboard).
When I spoke to her at the Whampoa Hawkers' Centre one evening, she said that she was taking piano lessons at a reputable music school to improve her skill. She dug into her bag and showed me her music sheets and paraphernalia.
So as we go one full circle with this posting, Victor's question is relevant when he asks if it is harder for people to make a living in Singapore?
An Original Article by Andy Lim.