Contactless transactions

Please, let buskers lay out their hats for cash

Mr Alan Ang Moncayo performing during a live pilot busking session at *Scape last Saturday. The writer says the act of dropping cash into hats is very much a feature of busking and asks that the practice be kept. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY
Mr Alan Ang Moncayo performing during a live pilot busking session at *Scape last Saturday. The writer says the act of dropping cash into hats is very much a feature of busking and asks that the practice be kept. ST PHOTO: GIN TAY

The busking community must be elated that concrete steps have finally been taken to allow its members back on the streets to perform safely for a live crowd (Busking pilot scheme kicks off with 80 applications for 12 slots, Dec 6).

I was at *Scape last Saturday and was, however, disappointed to see that the traditional way of dropping cash as gratuities for the performers has been replaced by QR code-scanning.

While this contactless way of transaction may ensure minimal risk of spreading infection, there are double standards at play as cash payment is carried out freely everywhere else.

Besides, and more notably, dropping tokens into hats is very much a feature of busking. Eradicating this element is equivalent to discarding a big chunk of busking culture.

Until and unless Singapore goes completely cashless, this traditional practice should be kept.

I have also observed over the years that young children generally make up the bulk of audiences, especially for circus-act shows. They do not carry phones, but are always the most excited to drop money into hats.

I often saw a lot of them nudging and pleading with their parents to spare some cash to show their appreciation to buskers.

To take away the act of dropping cash in hats is to deprive these children from taking part in busking in their own little ways. It takes away the fun for children, to say the least.

So please, let the buskers lay out their hats.

Wee Toon Hee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 09, 2020, with the headline 'Please, let buskers lay out their hats for cash'. Subscribe