Live music at selected MRT stations and bus interchanges to spread festive cheer

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Buskers Ang Cheng Wei and Er Young Yee, perform at the Bugis MRT station on Dec 19, 2017. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

SINGAPORE - There will be live music and other performances at selected MRT stations and bus interchanges from now to Christmas Eve.

Rail operator SMRT has scheduled performances at major bus interchanges and stations across the East-West, North-South and Circle Lines to spread the festive cheer.

The performances started on Monday (Dec 18) at Orchard and Jurong East MRT stations.

On Tuesday (Dec 19), buskers entertained a lunchtime crowd outside Bugis MRT station's East-West Line exit, performing festive songs such as Silver Bells, Let It Snow, Jingle Bell Rock as well as some Mandopop and Malay tunes.

It is the first time that SMRT has scheduled performances at MRT stations and bus interchanges in the lead-up to Christmas.

"It's much more lively with the music and performances. It's usually more quiet on most days," said Miss Fateha Yunos, 27, an assistant station manager at Bugis MRT station.

When asked, she said she hopes the performances will alleviate some of the public's unhappiness over train delays in recent months.

Besides the performances, Christmas-themed stickers will be given out by 4,500 frontline SMRT staff and more than 200 staff volunteers.

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Ms Nelly Liw, 35, a senior human resource manager at SMRT, is one of those who has volunteered to hand out stickers.

"I'm proud of this company, so I like to take part in whatever volunteer opportunities there are. I think this is one of the nice ways to give back to the community during the Christmas holidays," she said.

To add to the festive mood, passenger service centres across SMRT train stations and bus interchanges have been decorated with special Christmas decals as well.

Ms Dawn Low, project chair of the SMRT festive cheer committee and managing director (commercial), said SMRT would like to thank commuters for their support.

She said: "This is a wonderful opportunity for all our staff to celebrate and interact with our commuters with giveaways and lively musical performances. This festive cheer initiative is a joint effort across all our staff from Trains, Buses, Taxis to come out and greet commuters at various MRT stations and bus interchanges."

At Bugis MRT station on Tuesday, many passers-by stopped to groove to the music, or take videos of the buskers.

"It's a good initiative, it really brightens up the station. They should do this more," said Ms Cheri Wu, 37, a banker.

She stopped to watch the live performance by busking duo Ang Cheng Wei and Er Young Yee, who call themselves The Unemployed.

The duo, who have been friends since junior college, performed English, Mandarin and Malay pop tunes, including Getaran Jiwa by P. Ramlee.

Mr Ang sang, while Mr Er played an acoustic guitar.

"We don't even have snow or Christmas trees growing in Singapore, so it's nice that we get to sing these festive tunes and hopefully touch people's hearts," said Mr Ang, 25, who works in a bank.

Mr Er, also 25, a management associate, said it was better to perform outside the station than inside, as the music might make it hard for people to catch important announcements.

Other acts include the OnWheels Dance Group, made up of wheelchair users who will perform at Harbourfront and Bishan MRT stations.

There is also Muhammad Firdaus Osman, 23, who usually serenades crowds with jazzy tunes in Arab Street, or seasoned busker Robert Tan from Very Special Arts, which conducts art programmes, workshops and competitions for those with disabilities.

"The buskers have nice voices and their songs really liven up the station," said Ms Gianne Sukendra, 28, a teacher from Indonesia who caught the performances at Bugis MRT station. "It really makes the mood much more merry," she added.

Commuters will be able to watch performances between noon and 2pm, and 6 and 7pm from now until Christmas Eve at selected MRT stations and bus interchanges.

On Wednesday, there will be shows at City Hall and Ang Mo Kio MRT stations; on Thursday, performances will be held at Harbourfront MRT (Circle Line) station as well as Yishun, Bukit Panjang, Sembawang, Choa Chu Kang and Woodlands bus interchanges.

On Friday, performances will be staged at Paya Lebar and Woodlands MRT stations, as well as the same five bus interchanges mentioned earlier.

On Saturday, shows will be held at Tampines and Choa Chu Kang MRT stations and at Bishan MRT station on Christmas Eve on Sunday.

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