More platforms for buskers to perform

One of the acts under the National Arts Council's busking scheme is The Unemployed, comprising Mr Ang Cheng Wei, who sings, and Mr Er Young Yee, who plays the guitar.
One of the acts under the National Arts Council's busking scheme is The Unemployed, comprising Mr Ang Cheng Wei, who sings, and Mr Er Young Yee, who plays the guitar.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

LTA extends scheme to 15 stations, up from 5, following 'positive commuter feedback'

From pop songs to melodies played on traditional musical instruments like the Chinese guzheng, commuters can enjoy a tune or two while they wait for their train.

After a pilot project, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has extended an initiative allowing buskers to perform on train platforms to 15 stations, up from the initial five.

The new stations include those in the heartland, such as Ang Mo Kio, Boon Lay and Tampines, as well as those in the city, like Bugis and Orchard.

The initiative resumed last Thursday after the trial conducted from July last year to February yielded "positive commuter feedback", the LTA said.

The initial five stations were Bukit Batok, City Hall, Eunos, Jurong East and Raffles Place.

GROWING BUSKING SCENE

It's an interesting initiative. In places like New York, we can see people busking in the subways. It's good to see that Singapore is slowly getting there.

MR ANG CHENG WEI, on the extension of the initiative to allow more buskers to perform at more MRT stations

By allowing busking performances at more stations, LTA said it hopes to "create a more pleasant public transport experience", while providing a platform for local performers to showcase their talents.

Four performing acts endorsed under the National Arts Council's (NAC) busking scheme have already been invited to busk at the stations, and the NAC and LTA are working together to rope in more.

One of the acts is The Unemployed, which comprises university undergraduates Ang Cheng Wei and Er Young Yee, both 23. Mr Ang sings while Mr Er plays the guitar.

Mr Ang said: "It's an interesting initiative. In places like New York, we can see people busking in the subways. It's good to see that Singapore is slowly getting there."

Mr Ang said it will be a challenge to get the attention of commuters who may be on the go, so he and Mr Er will be putting on their show-stoppers, "songs that we are very good at", he added, such as Say Something and The Lazy Song.

Commuters can catch The Unemployed and other busking acts from 7.30am to 11.30am and 5.30pm to 9.30pm on weekdays, as well as from 10am to 9pm on weekends and public holidays. Performances, however, are subject to the availability of the artistes.

Product services analyst Desiree Tan, 27, said: "Commuters may be rushing to get to places, so if there is some mellow music, it'll be soothing."

She added: "Besides platforms, perhaps other spaces can be opened up to buskers, such as the spacious walkways in Serangoon and Dhoby Ghaut stations, which commuters use to transfer from one MRT line to another."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2015, with the headline 'More platforms for buskers to perform'. Print Edition | Subscribe