EPL Prediction Competition 2018-2019 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.

Thailand Property Awards

“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
PM Prayut, Cabinet to visit Phuket

Oversee developments? On Phuket? What developments? Street sweaping along the route the general min...(Read More)


Hope floats to raise the Phoenix

I love to watch the workers sitting on the barge without helmet and life-vest under the supervision ...(Read More)


Phuket Opinion: Never look back, never learn

I think 30 days is too soon for an exhaustive investigation of this magnitude. More like 6 months is...(Read More)


One injured as fire destroys Phuket tour boat, amid tour

What if Phuket was China's answer to overpopulation? People resented that one kid thing. #Phuke...(Read More)


Thailand should recognise tourists’ driver’s licences, says poll

I'd also like to say the education vid I had to watch recently was extremely sexist, the adult ...(Read More)


Thailand should recognise tourists’ driver’s licences, says poll

Thailand should recognize the title Ms. ("Not in computer,") and stop the archaic, sexist ...(Read More)


The collapse of Phuket’s lifeguards

Another Chinese dead in NaiHarn yesterday, and one missing in Karon. Thanks you Phuket officials. I ...(Read More)


Phuket beach surf safety urged amid ‘monsoon surge’

"Wiwat Chitchertwong, who has been appointed Acting Chief of the Phuket Marine Office since the...(Read More)


Mother’s Day weekend raids nets more than 14k meth pills

Good to get this poison off the streets, but unfortunately it is hardly a dent. It also looks like ...(Read More)


Phuket beach surf safety urged amid ‘monsoon surge’

You can't be a world class holiday destination when your tourism customers drown on the beaches,...(Read More)