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NDP organising committee's call for 'volunteer' buskers to perform for free sparks outcry among community

A file photograph of Mr Muhammad Firdaus Osman, one of the buskers who believes it would have been appropriate to offer remuneration to the buskers invited to play at the National Day Parade 2022.

A file photograph of Mr Muhammad Firdaus Osman, one of the buskers who believes it would have been appropriate to offer remuneration to the buskers invited to play at the National Day Parade 2022.

A call for "volunteer" buskers from the National Day Parade (NDP) organising committee has left some of them upset that they were invited to perform without pay and with only a week's notice before National Day (Aug 9). 

Given the unhappiness, it is not clear if the committee's plan will go ahead. It has not replied to TODAY's queries.

Mr Jonathan Goh, 26, a busker who performs circus acts, said on Wednesday (Aug 3) that even if buskers could not be paid for their performances, the committee should have offered to cover transportation and meal costs. 

Speaking to TODAY in a phone interview, he said: "For me or some of these musicians, we might have to cab down (because of our equipment) and the cab fare can cost up to S$40. If we are going to the heartland areas or there are fireworks, there will also be a surge in the fare. There is a lot of time and labour spent on it." 

Mr Goh, who is also the co-chairperson of the Buskers' Association Singapore, noted that the call for buskers specified that circus acts were not preferred, but added that he was commenting about the costs incurred by buskers performing at events. 

After he received the message from the committee, which was sent into a WhatsApp chat group with 129 buskers on Aug 1, he decided to write about this on Facebook. The post has since garnered more than 20 shares and comments.

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