Monday, February 22, 2021

For buskers, moving online means 70% drop in income

While going digital may have saved many businesses during the MCO, performing online doesn't cut it for some.

Other News

UN condemns Myanmar junta after 3 killed in anti-coup unrest

Much of Myanmar has been in uproar since troops detained Suu Kyi on Feb 1, with massive street demonstrations in major cities and isolated villages across the country.

Pfizer jab 95.8% effective against Covid-19, says Israel health ministry

The jab is also said to be 99.2% effective against serious illness and 98.9% effective in preventing death.

Ebola toll hits 4 in DR Congo as people ‘resist’ health measures

The population of the region refuses to believe in the existence of the Ebola disease and rejects measures aimed at checking the virus' spread, such as avoiding touching sick people.

571,802 anggota barisan hadapan daftar untuk imunisasi Covid-19, kata Khairy

Malaysia mencatatkan sejarah apabila kumpulan pertama vaksin Covid-19 Pfizer-BioNTech tiba di KLIA pada jam 10.07 pagi tadi.

Muhyiddin ucap selamat maju jaya kepada calon SPM

Seramai 401,105 pelajar seluruh negara akan menduduki SPM 2020 dalam suasana pembudayaan norma baru.

While many businesses have made the move online in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which has seen all but essential services shuttered several times since the virus was detected on Malaysian shores, for some, things just aren’t the same in the virtual world.

Some businesses depend on face-to-face interaction with others – and music is one of them.

For buskers or street performers, their careers hinge on gigs and the contacts they make with others on the job.

Meor Yusof Aziddin Meor Hassan used to be a full-time busker. For 10 years, he performed his songs live for a variety of audiences.

After the movement control order (MCO) was reinstated in mid-January, though, he lost 70% of his earnings despite making the shift online.

“It’s different from physical performances where passersby are never the same and performances are long,” he told MalaysiaNow.

“I don’t earn as much busking online as I did before.”

Meor, 54, used to perform at KL Sentral with permission from the KTMB management. For a decade, he sang to anyone and everyone who wanted to listen.

With the money he earned, he was able to raise four children, the eldest of whom has completed her tertiary education and is now working herself.

But everything changed when the MCO, known as MCO 2.0, was brought back.

Unable to continue singing at his usual spot, he moved his music online. His Facebook account, Meor Pesta Jiwa, has nearly 5,000 followers.

“I don’t earn as much busking online as I did before.”

Still, this is no guarantee of earning what he used to.

“I usually start performing in the afternoon, and I continue until 7pm,” Meor said.

“But singing online is quite limited as only friends and fans will watch. The audience is always the same.”

Meor is no stranger to the music scene. He has published 10 albums independently, writing most of the songs and lyrics himself.

But there is a big difference between performing face-to-face and performing online.

“The number of views is uncertain – sometimes more, sometimes less. The performance cannot be too long either as the viewers might get bored,” he added.

As for earning a living, he understands that everyone has been affected by the MCO.

“It’s impossible for those who have already contributed to do the same every day. Everyone has their own commitments,” he said.


In addition to being a street performer and a songwriter, Meor used to write for newspapers and online portals on lifestyle topics like music and art.

Now, though, it is difficult to keep writing. His three younger children are still studying and his son needs his laptop to follow the home-based learning system adopted by the government in the wake of the latest wave of Covid-19 infections.

Meor Yusof Aziddin Meor Hassan plays his guitar in the living room while his son uses his laptop to follow a class online.

One of his children is also disabled, and requires extra attention and care.

“My third child in college needs a laptop, as does the youngest who is in Form 4. I prioritise their needs and make sure there’s enough in the kitchen so they always have something to eat.”

Meor’s hope is that the pandemic will end and life will return to normal.

“This would let me go back to performing and ease the financial burden on the family,” he said.

Meor’s Facebook can be accessed here.

Follow us on Telegram for the latest updates:

Subscribe to our newsletter

To be updated with all the latest news and analyses.

Related Articles

Pfizer jab 95.8% effective against Covid-19, says Israel health ministry

The jab is also said to be 99.2% effective against serious illness and 98.9% effective in preventing death.

New cases top 3,000 again

3,297 new cases, 4,456 recoveries.

Vaccination will begin earlier, PM and health DG to get first jabs

More than 300,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived today.

Birds and the bees about more than just biology, say activists

Peer pressure, the influence of the internet and media, and lack of preventive sex education have an impact on minors and their understanding of the matter as well.

Covid-19 looms large over Sarawak river town

Townsfolk worry that what promised to be a boom could turn into a bust thanks to the effects of the pandemic.