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Tourism

Mong Kok street performers can be an asset to Hong Kong, with some help

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2018, 3:30pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 16 May, 2018, 3:30pm

I refer to the letter from Alice Li (“Why Mong Kok pedestrian area should be closed to noisy performers”, May 3).

I agree with Ms Li that street performance generates noise pollution, as such street acts generally involve singing and musical instruments, and amplifiers are commonly used. 

As the performers are very close to commercial and residential buildings along narrow streets, this can cause a great disturbance, for local residents and shop workers alike.

Noise pollution also causes loss of business, as it can drive customers away, and salespeople find it difficult to introduce and promote their products amid the commotion. There are even complaints that some performers are off-key and a nuisance. 

In 2015, police had to use pepper spray to break up locals and performers clashing over whether square dancing by “aunties” was a mainland or Hong Kong tradition.

However, on the flip side, street performances can and do promote local culture. Traditional performances like acrobatics and contemporary songs can be enjoyed in Mong Kok, as street performances include acts that display traditional skills as well as contemporary culture. 

As a showcase for the local culture, it can promote tourism, and boost business for local retailers. Street performances showcase the vibrancy, dynamism and unique culture of Hong Kong, which can definitely give visitors a priceless travel experience, as experiencing indigenous culture is a bonus for tourists, apart from visiting notable attractions. 

Ms Li has called for closing the Mong Kong walking streets to performers altogether to cope with the problem of noise pollution. I believe that would be an extreme step.

I suggest that the government issue licences to regulate the street performances, in order to maintain the quality of life for nearby residents and businesses. 

Matthew Lin, Tai Po