Regulating Busking

Busking for CHANGE
Busking for CHANGE (Photo credit: Ian Muttoo)

Today, it’s walking through the streets of KL in support of a cause. Tomorrow, it’s singing on the streets of KL about a cause.

According to a news report, our KL buskers are being asked by DBKL to get permits to perform.

I get the sense that DBKL is running out of things to do, what with protest rallies being allowed at Stadium Merdeka and the police protecting the sacred grass at Dataran Merdeka. Therefore, they need to do this to justify their existence.

While there is probably nothing illegal about what they are doing, but there is a very dangerous thing about their request to license street busking.

Personally, I am all for a smaller government, not big brother. Therefore, I do not like the idea of the government getting involved in determining whether someone is allowed to sing on the streets for money or otherwise.

It is one thing to consider them as petty traders, but it is quite another to say that:

We do not want just about anybody to perform and foreign nationals are not allowed to do so. And, the buskers must be above 18 years old,

I guess that DBKL wants to assert some form of quality control. What with Visit Malaysia Year 2014 coming up, we would surely want to put our best foot forward and ensure that only the best buskers are allowed to sing on the streets of KL.

In the same vein, DBKL must not want foreigners to sing because we want to showcase local talent only during VMY2014. We must not sully our dearest Manglish with foreign influences. Namewee would be proud.

And we must never waste young talent but must keep them in school to prevent them from engaging in any sort of creative pursuit, lest their young impressionable minds get filled with thoughts of rebellion.

Woe.

I can understand it if the buskers were singing on private property but if they are singing on public roads, I would put it as freedom of speech (singing in this case). DBKL should not curtail things by regulating busking. Our democratic space for expression is limited as it is.

Oh, I think that I know what this is about. DBKL must have noticed the amount of singing going on during protest rallies and thought that it would be a great idea to regulate it. The next time we have a rally at Stadium Merdeka, we would probably be barred from singing on the streets of KL.

Frak it. Just bring back local government elections and we’ll see how the rakyat feel about busking.

Published by

Shawn Tan

Chip Doctor, Chartered Engineer, Entrepreneur, Law Graduate.

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