'Support our trip around the world': Buskers performing for travel funds at Tampines MRT station

Four buskers who were asking for funds to travel the world stirred up debate online.
Four buskers who were asking for funds to travel the world stirred up debate online.PHOTOS: TWITTER/SARAH COLDHEART

SINGAPORE - Four buskers performing at Tampines MRT station to raise funds for their travels has stirred debate online.

Two of them performed for donations, while two were selling postcards in photos seen on Twitter. The Caucasians are believed to be tourists.

Ms Maisarah A.S, 31, told The Straits Times that she saw them at Tampines Interchange on two occasions.

She posted photos of them on her Twitter account @sarahcoldheart.

On Tuesday (April 4), two of them were singing songs in front of a closed shop booth across McDonald's, while two of them sat on a mat with some postcards in front of them, she said.

They displayed a sign which read "support our trip around the world".

"Mostly I was confused. This area is full of buskers usually, it's Tampines interchange," she said. "It's just very weird they're there doing it without a licence when everyone else has one."

The associate producer made an online police report that day. Buskers in Singapore need to audition with the National Arts Council and get a busking card to perform in public.

Only foreigners on employment passes staying in Singapore are eligible for the busking scheme. They also need to get permission from the Ministry of Manpower.

Ms Maisarah's photos were picked up by a few websites and netizens have chimed in on whether the tourists should be busking to fund their adventures.

A few noted that the pair selling postcards did not appear destitute as they had a DSLR camera, and suggested that they sell that for money.

"Ok. I'll buy the camera off you for $50," wrote Twitter user Jen.

Some felt that asking others to contribute to their travel funds was not in good taste as there were people who busk or set up roadside stalls for a living.

A number commented that they should get a busking licence, as local buskers have to do so.

 

But some thought Singaporeans were being unnecessarily harsh, and it was just a clash of cultures.

"Well at least they are being resourceful and not just begging or lying for cash," said Mag Kan.

This way of funding a trip was quite common in Europe, and they were open about what they will use the money for, a few commented.

The Star reported last month that foreign tourists have been "hitting the streets of Kuala Lumpur to make a quick buck".

They sold drawings, or busked, and one was seen begging, the report said.

The police confirmed with The Straits Times that a report was lodged on April 4.