Freelance workers make up an essential part of Singapore’s arts ecosystem. Particularly in the performing arts industry, many freelance artists, dancers and behind-the-scenes staff are an essential resource for the community. In bid to control the coronavirus, the arts scene has been temporarily put to a halt in the first half of 2020. Although some might think that it is not a big deal, performances are a source of livelihood for freelance artists and many have been hit hard. There are also freelancers holding teaching positions, but since the Ministry of Education suspended CCA activities and enrichment courses, individuals such as independent musician Neil Chua (蔡为仲) and choreographer Goh Shou-Yi (吴守益) are unable to conduct classes. Goh is still able to continue classes at T.H.E Dance Company and other arts schools.
However, many artists have expressed understanding for the measures taken. Thespian Andy Yew (游惟杰) says, “no matter how much I love art, no matter how hard rehearsals have been, the well-being of audiences should come first, and they should not be infected for the sake of coming to support us”. Fortunately, some freelancers who have been working on projects before the measures were in place are not left without income. The local arts industry encourages companies to adhere to the terms of contract regulations, whereby freelancers are compensated based on the degree of completion. Stage manager Lin Xinzhang (李欣芷) noted that his work with groups such as Frontier Danceland, T.H.E Dance Company and Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts were still compensated for, despite productions not coming to fruition. Lin said that this reflected the spirit of Singapore’s art community, where groups he worked with were willing to help its workers.
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Source: Lianhe Zaobao © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.