Mr Louis Ng Kok Kwang: To ask the Minister for Culture, Community and Youth whether buskers can start busking again; (b) if so when; and (c) if not, why not.
Mr Edwin Tong, Minister for Culture, Community and Youth & Second Minister for Law:
- I thank the Member for raising this topic. Our buskers enliven Singapore’s streets and neighbourhoods, and busking has become a platform for them to creatively express themselves and share their talents. Thus, my Ministry is also keen to allow busking to resume under safe public health conditions, which remain a paramount consideration.
- MCCY and MOH are exploring busking pilots to test out the safe management measures required for busking. These pilots would be held at selected venues, where we are confident that venue managers will be able to comply with the necessary measures and maintain the safe distances required for audiences and the performers.
- We are adopting a cautious approach with busking because there are specific challenges that we have to address. Firstly, most busking activities involve singing, wind or brass instruments – all which carry a higher risk of virus transmission as they require the expulsion of air. Secondly, there is also the challenge of crowd management and maintaining the safe distance of audiences in ungated spaces, which is a key characteristic of busking. Nevertheless, we will continue to identify measures and ways to resume busking activities safely.
- In the meantime, we urge buskers, like other artists, to reach out to audiences through digital means and take this opportunity to continue upskilling. Since April 2020, NAC, *SCAPE and the Singapore Buskers’ Association have worked with different online partners such as Twitch.tv, and Circles.Life to enable buskers to bring their content to audiences. For instance, we note that Nee Soon East Community Club has introduced e-busking initiatives and welcome more of such opportunities. In October, NAC also organised a virtual talk for buskers about leveraging digital platforms. Another session will be organised in December 2020 and buskers are encouraged to join.
- We also urge members of the public to continue supporting Singapore’s arts and culture community – by attending digital performances and donating to your preferred artists and groups to enable them to continue practising their craft during this difficult period.