There are more and more different kinds of street performance in Hong Kong. While these performances add spices to street culture, some people and even the buskers themselves call for more regulations on street performance. Write a letter to the editor stating why people have such a demand and discuss the arguments of both for and against having more regulations on busking. At the end of the letter, state your standpoint.
I am writing to voice my opinions over the heated debate about regulating the street performances in Hong Kong. Nowadays, it is not uncommon to see street performances, or buskers singing songs or playing tricks on streets in the most prosperous districts, like Mongkok and Tsim Sha Tsui. For sure, these various performances actually provide free-of-charge entertainment to pedestrians, enriching the street culture. Yet, it has also triggered some concerns and some even call for more regulations.
To commence with, let me analyze the reasons of a rising demand for more regulations. Although the performances have brought a lot of amusement, they also cause disturbances. The unbearable noise is a case in point. To arouse more attention, the buskers use amplifiers and microphones to magnify the music and their voice. However, performing at the city center, they are actually bringing noises to the residents nearby and the passers-by. Worse still, the buskers usually crowd on the same street causing even louder sound waves. With the shows ended at the midnight, the residents have no choice but to tolerate the nice yet troublesome music for a long time. In addition, the shopkeepers also suffer as they are exposed to such a noisy environment for a whole night, not to mention how annoyed the passers-by are. As a result, the public call for more regulations.
What should be also considered is the city’s image and reputation, which is a major argument for more regulations. We all welcome and enjoy some high-quality performances. Yet, with loose regulations, everyone can grab a guitar or some poker cards and become a busker. Without any censorship, the quality of the shows cannot be guaranteed. In some cases, some street performers are not that skillful and professional, or even causing nuisance, for example, speaking foul languages, yelling whatever they want or even begging for money. Worse still, there are sometimes quarrels and conflicts between buskers due to some tiny and tedious affairs, like location of performance, the volume issue and so on. No wonder even some buskers themselves demand more regulations on busking. What’s more, all these leave a negative impression for tourists. To maintain the reputation of Hong Kong, some call for more regulations on busking.
Actually, the request for regulating street performances has become a hot issue. Different parties hold different views towards the controversial street art.
Some support the imposition of rules to regulate busking in order to maintain the street order. With proper control, such as licenses, police inspections and so on, the order of the street can be maintained. Under regulations, the number of buskers can be under control to ensure that the decibels will not be too high. The rule can also regulate the time of performance, and the public will not be affected endlessly. Under the license system, some high-quality buskers are chosen to perform in order to provide some worth-watching shows to the pedestrians, and to truly enrich the street culture in this way.
While some agree to have more regulations, some others sing a different tune. They are concerned about the regulations actually infringing the freedom of the buskers. Performing on the streets should be one of the rights of citizens. The control and license are undoubtedly discriminating the non-talented performers and exploiting the rights of them. People also oppose the regulations because they are worried that the rules will hinder the development of street arts. While only the “assigned” buskers can perform in front of the public, other potential performers are suppressed even though they are so passionate in performing. In the long term, the street performance will become standardized and monotonous, losing its uniqueness and variety.
In my opinion, more regulations are not essential at this stage. Disruptions caused by busking are rarely seen. On the other hand, with more citizens being keen on showing their talents and sharing their happiness, regulations had better not be imposed so as not to cool down their passions and stop the street art form from flourishing. It is hoped that the problems can be solved with other measures under the concerted efforts of various parties.
Hui Fai Ho