THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Hong Hong’s buskers take a final bow

HONG KONG: The rumbustious street performers who have long claimed one of Hong Kong’s busiest shopping districts as their informal stage took their final bow last Sunday night (July 29) after local authorities caved to noise complaints over their legendary cacophony.

culture
By AFP

Sunday 5 August 2018, 11:30AM


A juggler performs a headstand in front of crowds at the pedestrian zone of Sai Yeung Choi St South in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. Photo: Philip Fong / AFP

A juggler performs a headstand in front of crowds at the pedestrian zone of Sai Yeung Choi St South in Mong Kok, Hong Kong. Photo: Philip Fong / AFP

Under the glow of Mong Kok’s famous neon signs, buskers have been entertaining crowds – and irking neighbours – for nearly two decades in Sai Yeung Choi St South, an area which has been regularly closed to traffic to make way for pedestrians and performers since 2000.

Over the years, a motley line-up including an acrobat in his sixties performing stunts to Michael Jackson and karaoke bands surrounded by fans clapping along on plastic stools gave ear-splitting shows to tinny music blasted from amplifiers.

Drawing cheers and consternation equally, the street performers have received 320 noise complaints in just the first half of the year, according to police, with local media reporting 1,200 complaints last year.

The pedestrian zone will be fully abolished and reopen to traffic starting on August 4.

But while some will be relieved that the plug is being pulled, others fear authorities are killing off the city’s vibrant street culture with over-regulation.

Just next to the freestyle performance area, official attempts in 2016 to remove unlicensed hawkers triggered some of the city’s worst clashes for decades as protesters used the occasion to express their anger towards Hong Kong’s dwindling autonomy.

Ahead of the shutdown of the busking zone, bands in glittery outfits, elderly men and women dancing the cha-cha, and ‘singing aunties’ from mainland China – who have joined the pack over the years to the displeasure of some locals – came out over the weekend.

The pedestrianised strip’s last days have also attracted higher-profile entertainers like actor Bobby Yip, who visited last Saturday (July 28) and was instantly recognisable with his blunt bowl-cut hair.

BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET

“This is like a nightclub for ordinary people... I hope the government will support this street culture,” Yip told local newspaper Apple Daily.

But residents and shopkeepers nearby say the constant cacophony has given them a headache, at times literally.

“It does create trouble in our daily lives, including disturbing my son’s study,” Gabriel Wai, who lives in the area, told the South China Morning Post.

The local district council passed a motion in May to scrap the zone.

Wi-Fi Band, who have performed in the area for the last few years, say the group might relocate to Causeway Bay’s Times Square or Tsim Sha Tsui – also busy commercial districts thronged with tourists and shoppers.

Drummer Miss Cheng from the band told local news site HK01 she was sad about the busker community’s dissolution as performers could get more interactive with the audience in Mong Kok.

“Perhaps we would only bring guitars (over there), because transportation is less convenient, plus you can’t be as loud,” she said of the new locations.

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
Phuket tour bus oil leak fells motorcyclists

Poor driver, because his boss, the bus owner, didn't do proper maintenance checks, he has to tak...(Read More)


18 million meth pills seized in Chiang Rai

All fine PR, but I am waiting to read that drugs factories are destroyed, that the very top thai Hi-...(Read More)


Patong, Karon to be hit by water-supply outage throughout Christmas

Is this a joke? Or kind of negative tourist promotion during the Christmas Days. Something like: Don...(Read More)


Hunt for Phuket oil spill perpetrator underway

Why is it that always a Governor has to 'order' or to call on Department Chiefs to do their ...(Read More)


Doomed ‘Phoenix’ substandard: international experts

Well, the outcome of the international investigation asks for 1 important 'order' from Bangk...(Read More)


Doomed ‘Phoenix’ substandard: international experts

Every singel boats in phuket are built in a back yard, not a single tourist boat is built by any tha...(Read More)


Doomed ‘Phoenix’ substandard: international experts

So how many other substandard boats are out there? If there is one there are certainly plenty or oth...(Read More)


Hunt for Phuket oil spill perpetrator underway

Meh - the oil-ladened water is more sanitary than the stuff that isn't....(Read More)


Property owners to be targetted as fake goods raids hit Patong, Central

So, is the manager of Phuket Central Festival 'falling' under any thai act to arrest/fine hi...(Read More)


Phuket’s bypass roadworks to complete before New Year

The surface was fine and could easily have waited a couple of months until the roads (and everywhere...(Read More)