KK Buskers Happy To Be Able To Make A Living Again

KOTA KINABALU: His voice may not be as good as the legendary singer Elvis Presley, but because of his name, Elvis Pilep,  this former music teacher is often asked to sing the songs by the famous Hollywood singer.

Sabah-born Elvis, 31, along with fellow street musicians (buskers) are now able to breathe a sigh of relief after getting the ‘green light’ from the government to perform, hence enabling them to earn their living again which was disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The former music teacher of a private school said since COVID-19 hit the country, they were not able to perform at places that have been set by the buskers association in the state, Sabah Buskers Community (SBC).

“My income is better now (since busking is allowed again). I perform  by singing modern and commercial songs,” he told Bernama.

A graduate of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (UNIMAS), Elvis said  said among his favourite songs by Elvis Presley are ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’, ‘Crazy Little Thing Called Love’ and ‘My Way’.

Elvis, who also performs under SBC, said the street musicians under SBC take turns to perform, with the schedule and location arranged by SBC.

He said he performed solo at several places, including the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) and shopping malls around Inanam.

“I normally sing 60 to 90 songs for every performance, including songs requested by the audience,” he said, adding that to maintain his stamina, he would exercise and do warm-up activities before performing.

Meanwhile, Hendry Jublin, 52, who turned to busking for income after losing his job as a project manager at a company during the MCO, said it was a relief that busking is now allowed.

“I was among employees in the company that were laid-off, and I’m now using my talent to earn a living by playing the bamboo flute, which I made myself.

“During the MCO, l made  performance on Facebook, but the income was not good, sometimes, I only get RM20,” said Hendry, who also plays the piano and keyboard.

The father of five said four of his  children are also good at playing musical instrument and they have formed a family group of musicians known as “Canang Buskers”.

We often perform at Jalan Gaya and KKIA, he added.

Last Feb 25, Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced that the government would allow street musicians or full-time buskers nationwide to perform in restaurants and food stalls, but in compliance with standard operating procedures (SOP).