Earlier in September, I went on RTHK’s Backchat to talk about the working musicians’ difficult predicament (as I’m saying yes to everything and anything that will bring awareness to their plight!) This was definitely worth it, as Graham; who works at West Kowloon, heard me talking about the out-of-work musicians and how some are being evicted (I talked about the survey) and he was moved by their plight so he searched and found me and to cut a long story short, since 27th September; we’ve been working with West Kowloon to give musicians performance opportunities. (in fact, if you’re reading this, and are an out-of-work Hong Kong musician, OR know one, please do contact me asap.)
Meanwhile we’ve continued to talk to politicians, as well as representatives of HK Arts Development Council and the Deputy Director (Culture) of LCSD (Leisure and Cultural Services Department). It was good to be able to explain that we have over five music organisations/societies/unions/alliances that would not be willing to unite. I think people understand it more when we say it’s like asking the Golf Society members to join up with the Rugby Union and the Junior Table Tennis Association!!
In a meeting with the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Casper Tsui, he did say that this time round, the Hong Kong Government would NOT wait for weeks of zero virus cases before permitting live music. The Government DOES understand that freelancers (not only musicians!) just want to get back to work!
BIG SHOUT OUT TO: Neil, Kylie and Stephen who have been attending many of these Government meetings and working on proposals for the Government, we have lost count of how many meetings but it feels like it’s making a difference!
Overall I’m beginning to think musicians don’t need yet another union or association, what Hong Kong musicians need is a charity; for and on behalf of working musicians. Just like MusiCares (USA) or Music Helps (New Zealand). There’s plenty of music-related charities in Hong Kong but not a single one is dedicated to musicians themselves. I’m just throwing this out there, to see if anything happens!
I keep thinking and thinking how to continue to help working musicians, because, even after live music is permitted everywhere in Hong Kong, many musicians will still owe months of rent, as well as other bills as well as having to repay loans…
IDEAS TO HELP WORKING MUSICIANS:
- If you have a venue/event coming up (and since live music is permissible soon), it would be fantastic if you hired an entertainer or band to perform, even acoustic acts can add ambiance to your venue/event/party.
- OR if you have a super duper big apartment, how about having a house party this weekend, with a small acoustic duo or trio, playing for tips?
- Are you launching a new business/product/idea? How about hiring some musicians to compose and record a new jingle or song for it or for your social media ad?
- Are you planning a birthday party for someone special? How about hiring a musician to write and record a song for your loved one?
- Some musicians do/can teach, how about booking ZOOM lessons (or physical lessons) for that instrument that’s been on your bucket list?
If any of these ideas appeal to you, and you don’t personally know any musicians, feel free to get in touch and I’ll pass you contacts.
Lastly, I know almost all of you reading this blog have huge empathy for the musicians, here in Hong Kong and around the world, so keep doing what you’re doing. Just reaching out to the musicians you know, checking in on them, letting them know you are thinking of them. This gives people hope and lets them know they matter. Because everyone matters.