Please read last week’s blog post, so this week’s post makes more sense 🙂
Just to clarify, I am talking to many different people about helping full-time musicians NOT those lucky enough to have a day job and play music for fun.
Last Friday, Neil and I met with Ms. Regina Ip and also Mr Cheng Chung-Tai. This is all part of our ongoing mission to bring AWARENESS and an URGENT plea to the Government that there are musicians in Hong Kong that need help as they are no longer permitted to work. Over and over again, there is surprise that there are hundreds of local musicians as well as Western musicians who work as musicians full-time AND are permanent residents of Hong Kong. At each meeting we brainstorm on ways to financially support the musicians that is fast to execute and easy to apply for and also on how to get them back to work quickly.
We met with Mr Ma Fung-Kwok who informed us that he will be proposing a scheme for all self-employed people (not just musicians) to get something similar to ESS scheme for salaried employees ( a small payout per month over a period of six months). If THAT is approved by the Government, that would be fantastic.
Mr Ma also asked us to submit a proposal, so we did! We suggested a system for working self-employed musicians operating in a similar manner with which the Hong Kong Government has been using for massage parlour applications(! )
We also proposed for live music venues and bars to REOPEN with quota restrictions, social distancing rules, masks etc. and immediately allow bands to perform INSTRUMENTALLY without waiting for several more weeks, as that would start to put a number of working musicians back at work. (Previously the Government had allowed venues to reopen but it was another six weeks before live performances were permitted)
For those who think I’m being political, I’m not. I’m meeting any and all politicians I can. I have no idea who will be able to help bring awareness about the musicians’ plight and who will be able to help. I’m driven with the pain of knowing that some musicians are now homeless and others are being evicted and that their lives are upside down with no way to earn income.
Now let’s hope & pray that something is prepared for the self-employed musicians in the 3.0 Pandemic Fund, which will be announced in the near future.
I have also been researching the Comprehensive Social Security Assistance Scheme (SSA) here in Hong Kong. This will be of interest to those of you who have spent all your savings and have very little assets.
If you live by yourself and your total assets (including all cash, bank savings, stocks and shares) is less than HK$33,000 (and you don’t own any property!) You are eligible for the scheme. There is a small monthly allowance as well as a rental allowance and possibly some other allowances whilst you cannot work. You do need to be a HK resident for at least seven years and have been continuously in HK for at least one year immediately before date of application (they count up to 56 days absence, as OK btw)
It takes about a month to get the first payment and meanwhile you can have access to the food bank instantly for up to 6 weeks. The food bank will supply you with supermarket, Fairwood and bakery vouchers and you can also get rice and tinned food. Once you start receiving the money, you no longer get access to the food bank.
All the information is on this page
There are different allowances and asset allowances for families and couples, it’s all on the website. The best suggestion would be to call the hotline
and explain your situation, the person should direct you to the nearest social security office and food bank. It’s all walk-in so there is no need to make an appointment.
IF this is all too overwhelming, I’m happy to talk to you and help you with applying. For some, just being able to eat will solve some of your problems.
There are ALREADY some musicians on this assistance scheme, so don’t be afraid to apply if you and/or your family needs help.
My number/whatsapp is +852-94864648 and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org