Street music is a welcome sound

PUBLISHED : Monday, 25 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 25 October, 2010, 12:00am

Street performers are a common sight in Hong Kong. Many seek handouts from passersby, but some do not. Either way, I think they should be welcome on city streets.

First, street musicians provide free entertainment to the public. They can cheer people up, especially during dull mornings.

Second, many street performers are very talented. Being able to show off their skills gives them a sense of satisfaction. I have seen some fantastic trumpet players, who belong in proper music halls. Yet they do seem to enjoy playing on the streets.

Third, street performing helps keep cultural traditions alive. In Hong Kong, many performers play traditional Chinese songs and so help popularise them.

True, some people find street performers a nuisance. To solve the problem, the government could set aside special areas where we could enjoy great street music in a relaxed way without disturbing others.

Samuel Liu Kwan-ho, Carmel Secondary School

From the Editor

Thank you for your letter, Samuel. Street performing, or busking as it is known, has been going on for centuries. Often they were the only form of popular entertainment in a town. For the most part, though, performers did hope to earn some money with their performances.

A lot of people don't like buskers. They don't like it if they play music too loudly, or if lots of people stop to watch them and so others cannot pass by. But, in modern times, towns that have been well-planned have wider streets and pavements which allow buskers to perform, and people are happier. European towns also have many squares which are for pedestrians only, and these make ideal places for buskers.

In other places, officials might even use them to move crowds. For example, if people follow a performing clown, the crowd can be moved to a less busy area.

Most importantly, though, buskers cheer a lot of people up so I do agree that we should encourage them.

Susan, Editor