SINGAPORE: Not everyone appears to be feeling the holiday spirit quite yet, as evidenced by a hawker who was unhappy with how loud some buskers were singing at Ang Mo Kio Central Market & Food Centre recently. The hawker called the police, and two officers came over in response.

This happened on Friday (Dec 8) at around noon time. When the police arrived at the food centre at Block 724 Ang Mo Kio Ave 6, they spoke to the group of buskers—a man and two women, one of whom is reportedly visually impaired—all wearing Santa Claus hats, Shin Min Daily News reported. The buskers had placed a donation box nearby as well.

The loudness of the music the buskers were playing caused the hawkers to call the police. This made it difficult for some hawkers to hear their customers’ orders. Some hawkers were also reportedly concerned that if the customers did not like the music being played, they might not stay to eat at the food centre.

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A person working at a shop in the hawker centre added that there was a stage nearby where the buskers could have chosen to sing instead of at the food centre itself. Mothership reported the food centre’s hawkers’ association chairman saying that buskers are forbidden from playing their music there.

Others at the food centre tended to be more tolerant of the buskers and said that their slow songs did not bother the diners. They said they could not understand why the police needed to be called.

One man told Shin Min Daily News that it was the first time the licensed buskers performed inside the food centre and that they usually played their songs nearby.

Busking is generally allowed and encouraged in Singapore, with around 300 endorsed buskers performing nationwide. The National Arts Council notes that one in two buskers is under 35.

Singapore’s Busking Scheme “provides opportunities for individuals to share their creative expressions and interact with audiences in the public space,” NAC adds.

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And while busking was halted during the COVID-19 pandemic, by the end of March of last year, busking was allowed back at Ang Mo Kio.

“Do you miss listening to busking in Ang Mo Kio?” asked the Ang Mo Kio Constituency Merchants Association at the time. Read also: Prominent Singapore busker questions NAC’s busking permit process /TISG