Singaporean busker arrested for disorderly conduct

Roy Payamal, also known as Singapore's 'Silver Man' was arrested on Saturday night. — Picture by Facebook / Eric Fong, Roy Payamal
Roy Payamal, also known as Singapore's 'Silver Man' was arrested on Saturday night. — Picture by Facebook / Eric Fong, Roy Payamal

SINGAPORE, March 13 — Singapore’s “Silver Man” and pioneering busker Roy Payamal was arrested Saturday night in front of Takashimaya but was released on bail yesterday morning.

A bystander, Eric Fong, witnessed the arrest and posted about the incident on Facebook after it took place at around 9.50pm Saturday night, along with photographs showing police officers appearing to handcuff Payamal. 

Fong’s post has so far received 913 shares, 398 reactions and 318 comments.

According to the post, the street performer, who has a license to perform at Orchard Road, was arrested by two police officers in front of a large crowd of people at Takashimaya.

At about 7am Sunday, Payamal commented on Fong’s post saying that he is back home to “rest and go busking tonight at Taka”.

Payamal is known for his busking work of over 30 years, and starred in Ng Xi Jie’s 2015 debut feature film titled Singapore Minstrel, which premiered at the Singapore International Film Festival (SGIFF) that year.

Fong, 48, a sales manager, told TODAY he was walking by Takashimaya with his wife when he saw the policeman checking on the busker.

Fong claimed that “the policeman told him he was being a public nuisance”. 

“Then all of a sudden, the police guy took out his handcuffs ,” said Fong.

Speaking to TODAY, Payamal said that police had approached him, and that perhaps “it was the volume of my voice” that led to his arrest.

Appearing to be in good spirits, he added: “But my voice is naturally loud because I am a rocker.”

In a separate Facebook post on the incident, performance artist and filmmaker Ng —  who is Payamal’s girlfriend — said he was “treated nicely” and released on bail. 

He “had his supper, and is going busking tonight (Sunday night) outside Taka with his license”, Ng wrote on her Facebook page, which she runs under the name of Salty Thunder.

Police confirmed that a 54-year-old man was arrested on Saturday for disorderly behaviour and investigations are ongoing. — TODAY

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