Busking in Singapore

Who needs an office job

I earn my keep outdoors

Let the music play on

Lady Gaga’s bad romance


I’ve seen this guy a couple of times. He dances to modern popular music streaming out of the tape recorder behind him, and he is so energetic he can put some younger people I know to shame. He looks happy and satisfied doing his own thing. And he’s getting his exercise too!

We know exercise delays dementia and improves brain function. Get all the exercise you can and at the very least, avoid sitting still for hours at a time.

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5 Facts about Busking in Singapore:

1. It was illegal for 3 years until 1997. And then busking was permitted, but under strict conditions.

2. You need a “Letter of Endorsement” in order to busk. (You can see the busker above has laminated his).

3. You have to be a citizen, permanent resident or work permit holder.

4. You have to pass an audition. Auditions are held every 3 months.

5. How to apply for a Letter of Endorsement: http://www.nac.gov.sg/grants-initiatives/schemes/special-schemes/busking-scheme

Although it has been 15 years since the busking scheme was set up, there is no liberalisation of the rules because some buskers feared doing away with applications would “lower the quality of performances” – 19 Feb 2012: news article. Some even suggested bringing in “overseas professional buskers to enliven the busking scene and lift standards”.

I say liberalise! Variety is the spice of life!

How to Give out Flyers

Or rather… How to make people TAKE the flyers you are shoving in their faces

My daughter had a job gave out flyers recently. Flyers meaning advertisement brochures. She stood in a busy town area for a couple of hours and handed out flyers to as many passersby as she could. The trick was to make them want to take it, and once you’ve handed out all your flyers, your job is done.

She shared a number of interesting observations, and I have her permission to share them here.

– generally the men will walk slower, they’re nicer, and will stop if you talk to them, and take a flyer

– most women walk off without meeting your eye so be prepared to be rejected

– to increase your chances with the men, say “Mother’s Day! Something for Mother’s Day!”

– to increase your chances with the women, turn the flyer to the part with the pearl necklace, push that forward and say “Discount!”

– dating couples are interesting, the guy is easily distracted by you and wants to look at what you have; but she doesn’t

– older folk… always take a flyer. Put it carefully in their bags. To read later, and maybe like grandma, they’re collecting

There was this older gentleman who became pensive and said wistfully, “My mother long gone…”. My daughter suggested, what about your wife? He gave a start and said, “Oh ya..”. He took a flyer.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in Singapore this year on 11-13 May. I’ve been told it is celebrated on different days around the world. Wherever you are, and if you are mother, mama, mummy, mom, Mum, ibu, mak, dad, husband, son, daughter, here’s wishing you…

Happy Mother’s Day!


Ronald or Maggie?

Questions: Supposing you had dementia, will you tell? Why?

Who will you tell?

Will you even know you have dementia?

Answers: umm, Yes, No, Maybe, It depends.

I have always wondered about the above questions, and struck by the different approach taken by 2 previous world leaders:-

In 1994, Ronald Reagan gave a speech announcing his Alzheimer’s disease. He ends his speech by saying –

“I now begin the journey that will lead me into the sunset of my life. I know that for America there will always be a bright dawn ahead.”

By all accounts, he led a life cosseted by close family and friends until he passed away 10 years later.

On the other hand, Baroness Margaret Thatcher is not known to have admitted to having Alzheimer’s. Her daughter Carol was vilified for revealing her mother’s illness in her memoirs. She said (this taken from article in BBC News) –

“I almost fell off my chair. Watching her struggle with her words and her memory, I couldn’t believe it,” she says.

“She was in her 75th year but I had always thought of her as ageless, timeless and 100% cast-iron damage-proof. The contrast was all the more striking because she had always had a memory “like a website”.

In recent years, more and more public figures are standing up to admit they have dementia – Glen Campbell, Pat Summitt… Like Reagan, they are aware of their condition, facing up to it, accepting help, trying to live their lives the best way they can. Unlike Reagan, they are not hiding away.

There is still a significant stigma against mental illness in Singapore. There is no public face to dementia. Dementia is generally attributed to old age, as seen in the recent article below, which also highlights how family members go along with this erroneous belief.

Denial sure looks sweet and pleasant. But the truth is a great deal more painful and ugly. Painting only a rosy picture about mild dementia puts an unreasonable burden on caregivers who struggle daily.

But I’m guilty of going along with mom, and not talking about her dementia. That’s why the visits to the Memory Clinic are a strain. Undergoing the memory test makes her irritable, because the questions are so simple and she probably realises she ought to know the answers. Not knowing irks her.

And the Neurologist saying to her “You have dementia!” gives me a fright. I sense she is not willing to understand, not willing to acknowledge there is a problem with her mind. Because our sense of self is in our heads. That’s where we “are”.  Being told we are not right in there must be earth shattering.

I am full of admiration for a fellow blogger, Kate Swaffer, who blogs regularly and advocates for dementia sufferers like herself. Please lend her your support!

Back to my original questions. Would I tell? Probably. If I knew. Will need all the help I can get!

Wouldn’t you tell?