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Economic difficulties amid the COVID-19 pandemic have led young people to take up busking in the streets of Denpasar, as experts and lawmakers begin urging the government to address the issue.

Over the weekend, the Public Order Agency (Satpol PP) in Denpasar caught a couple of young men dressed in traditional Balinese clothing on an intersection in Denpasar. They carried a speaker with them and sang songs in Balinese, in one of the more recent examples of street performances in the provincial capital.

According to Gede Kamajaya, a sociologist from Udayana University, the buskers are popping up because of economic hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Their Balinese identity is their cultural capital to gain more sympathy and even add to their income,” Kamajaya said, while urging the government to establish schemes to support and empower the public. 

Authorities have been sending these buskers to detention or back to their homes, which Kamajaya said is ineffective as it isn’t a solution to their problems. 

“They are actually facing economic difficulties,” I Gusti Putu Budhiarta, a member of the Bali Regional Legislative Council (DPRD), also said.

“The people should be guided so they can be economically independent. From small businesses to entrepreneurial training, it could be very good if that can be done,” Budhiarta said, explaining that aid in the form of groceries that the government has been handing out are not sufficient. 

Also Read — Bali economy shrank by 9.31 percent in 2020

This article, Buskers clad in traditional clothing pop up in Bali amid economic difficulties due to COVID-19, originally appeared on Coconuts, Asia’s leading alternative media company.

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