Film Review: Singapore Minstrel

Singapore Minstrel | Ng Xi Jie | 87‘ | Singapore | 2015

Singapore Minstrel | Ng Xi Jie | 87‘ | Singapore | 2015

Ng Xi Jie as director of the film is trying to show us how a Singapore bureaucracy system, especially about busking. Specially, Roy Payaman, as the main actor, telling us about how can he entered the street art world that demand him to pour all his art ability in the street and his perspective about busking in Singapore.

Roy is tried to open his audiences eyes on story of buskers in Singapore showed through how he start his mornings with several trunks contained by stuffs for his show in Tampines MRT Station, expressing musicality in abstract movements blanked with silver colored paint all over his body, sometimes he also expressing it with being a statue. He wants to convey that art is can be done everywhere and in every form. People’s not have to understand about art, as long as they can enjoy the performance, it means a busker has succeeded. There is also Castello, a busker fellow of Roy. In this film, he wants to say that a busker’s soul is in their performance, whatever the weather is and in any circumstances, the show must go on.

Busking in Singapore was getting a rejection, but eventually allowed again. With the selection held by NAC (National Arts Council). The busker that have passed then will be given a license which can be an entry to get them permition of freedom of expression in Singapore. This condition is quiet complicated, considering they’ve been so long in living from presented the art in the street. Roy himself argued that NAC’s step is not quiet right, especially all this time, those buskers had been living independently without NAC’s concern or supervision before. Like Castello, who’ve been through on his 3rd selection and keep on failing. This is enough to depict about how hard the bureaucracy and busker’s life in Singapore to legally busking in allowed places.

There are several of interesting segments in this film that would invite audience’s anger and entertainment when the musicians meet with NAC as the audition’s jury. The anger that emerges is because the idea about passing on the audition looks like a humiliation to the art and the buskers that depend on finding profit from it. The enteratainment side is presented when Annie Pek, a independence producer and jury of the busker audition is trying to educate the new buskers about Ps and Qs from busking.

This film is informing the audiences about polemics that occurred in Singapore, especially about busking. The audience is expected to more sensitive to somethings considered ‘nothing’ in their life order. Singapore Minstrel is also inviting the audiences to see more closely on Singaporean life kaleidoscope through short videos that recorded in Roy Payamal’s cellphone. [Justicia Handykaputri / Ellyta Rahmayandi]

Ng Xi Jie | 87‘ | Singapore | 2015

9 Desember 2016 | IFI-LIP YOGYAKARTA | 13:00

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