Recipes for survival of musicians


  • Metro News
  • Saturday, 25 Jul 2020

Malik (third from right) with some of the local musicians who are part of the Malaysian Musicians Food Bazaar at Hartamas Shopping Centre until July 30.

SOME local musicians who resorted to home cooking throughout the movement control order (MCO) period to make ends meet will see the fruits of their labour at their maiden food bazaar.

The week-long Malaysian Musicians Food Bazaar, currently going on at Hartamas Shopping Centre in Sri Hartamas until July 30, features Malaysian food and music at the LinkBridge, which links Plaza Damas 3 and the shopping centre.

Visitors will enjoy a wide variety of Malaysian food prepared by the local musicians. There will also be busking for their entertainment.

Vocalist and percussionist Glen Salay of the Pandavas Fusion Band, as well as fellow musician known as Arab, will sell their signature Roti John, cheese steak and other foodstuff such as salted egg rempeyek at the bazaar.

Glen, who runs his Gulai Kita food stall in Subang Mutiara, said his food business had existed even before the Covid-19 outbreak and MCO.

As someone who is passionate about food and cooking, he said it was a good thing he had the business to fall back on as musicians were among those hit hard due to the MCO.

“We are not sure of our future (as musicians).

“Even if we are allowed to perform again, there is no guarantee that pub owners will hire us as they need to recover their business too, ” he said.

Glen said when the MCO started in March and propelled the closure of bars and entertainment venues, he struggled to pay his housing rent and had to move into a new place with his wife and children.

“It’s still tough, but I am grateful that my cousins helped us out, ” he added.

During the MCO, local musicians desperately sold homemade food, masks and sanitisers, old sound equipment, and even second-hand pianos to make some money.

The tauhu begedil is one of the dishes that will be sold by local musicians at the food bazaar.The tauhu begedil is one of the dishes that will be sold by local musicians at the food bazaar.

But many of them chose to prepare and sell food inspired by family recipes and YouTube videos.

Recognising this, social enterprise Creative Pathfinders Sdn Bhd (Pathfinders) based in Kuala Lumpur embarked on a plan to translate the efforts by these musicians into a feasible new career, hence the food bazaar.

Pathfinders will be driving its BRADA Community Programme to kick-start its operations.

The aim of the programme is to assist the adversely affected communities by providing entrepreneur development, trading opportunities, skills and technology enablement through guidance sessions, workshops and events of similar capacities.

Its chief executive officer Malik Abdullah said as the MCO took effect, it was easier to target the BRADA programme at the musicians, who were struggling to pay their rents and mortgages.

“The pub musicians rely on day-to-day wages, and they have been severely affected. Some were falling back on their mothers’ recipes and selling food online to ensure they had cash to live on.

“After the fourth month of the MCO, most of them realised they have good food to sell, ” said Malik, adding that the food bazaar would be from 10am to 10pm.

Musician Radhi OAG and songwriter Ashrafil Jalil, also known as Apil, are selling beef dendeng and salted egg hotdogs at the bazaar.

Keyboardist Amri Rushdy Imran, 28, and singer Musrinie Wanty, 35, of the band Sky High, are selling tauhu begedil, a recipe inspired by Musrinie’s sister.

Both of them used to perform at a pub in Petaling Jaya but when the MCO started, Musrinie helped her sister sell beef and chicken cutlets door-to-door and online.

“These few months were very challenging for us, but the MCO taught us not to be complacent, ” said Amri.

Event manager Jon Michael said there were 18 booths in total at the bazaar selling food and other items such as beauty products and gadgets.

“We had to cut down the number of booths because of the strict standard operation procedure (SOP), ” he added.

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