Streetalk: Busker K Rego

Describe what you do.
I busk to earn money. Rain or shine, I’m still busking on the street. I start from 6pm to 11pm and stand and play. If there aren’t many people I put a chair and sit down and find some new melody.
How did you get started?
I used to work in an oil rig, but when the job was completed and the ship left, I had no job. Since I’m 50, they’re not going to employ me because they employ so many foreigners, and they pay me very little. So I better do my hobby but I’m still looking for a day job.
Is this your usual spot?
Yes. I like it here because some of the passers-by stay in the condo here and they love me. If I don’t turn up one day, they will go to another busker and say, “Eh, where’s the other guy? He’s better than you.”
How do you choose what to play?
So many cultures pass by and when I see them, I know what they want. When I see Americans, I play American music. Chinese people, I play Chinese music. I can play Malay and Japanese songs too. They appreciate it and they’re happy.
How does the audience respond?
Someone once told me that I’m the best busker. Some dance and request for more songs, giving good tips. Some say they’re sorry they don’t have cash. I said to them not to mind, just give me their credit card. In America, the buskers use a battery-operated credit card machine. Sometimes at night when you see drunkards, they will say, “Ah this guy no good, he cannot play my song.” In busking, you have to take all the s***, good or bad, as long as they don’t touch me.
Any memorable strangers?
There was a girl from China who wanted to learn how to play the guitar. I told her to buy a classical guitar and she did and came back to the bridge. I gave an hour’s lesson and she came back the next week. It’s better under the bridge because of acoustics, the sound goes and bounces back so the student learns faster. When you go to the riverside or out in the open, the sound doesn’t go in.
Any strange requests?
A lot of people ask if I come from India and request Indian songs. Once, a drunk Bangladeshi worker dared me to play him a Hindi song. He wanted to test me! So I said, okay, I’ll play, if you put two dollars in the bag. He said okay. So I played him a song, then the fella only gave one dollar! I told myself next time a Bangladeshi worker comes with a request I won’t play for them, ha!
Find K Rego daily from 6-11pm under Elgin Bridge, Boat Quay. Or book his services for private functions on 9197-3946.