GENERAL

CITY CLOWNS, GIANT CATS: KL STREET PERFORMERS EKE OUT A LIVING BY ENTERTAINING PASSERS-BY

10/04/2024 07:44 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, April 10 (Bernama) -- Street performers like Nazri Aziz and Fauzin Saihani have long been a mainstay in bustling Kuala Lumpur, and are part of the live informal entertainment scene ubiquitous to many major cities throughout the world.

Nazri, 46, puts on his heavy make up nearly every day to transform into Conda the Clown, and spends the entire day eking out a living entertaining people on the sidewalks of Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman during the weekends and at Merdeka Square during weekdays.

His friend part time street performer Fauzin, 34, makes the 148-kilometre trek from Melaka to KL to join him during the weekends, which he spends almost entirely inside his giant cat mascot suit, all in the name of entertaining people.

“We are street performers, our job is to entertain people. Many parents come, children dance with us, and we all have great fun,” Fauzin shared with a laugh, adding that he has never grown tired of wearing his thick cat mascot outfit from day till night, even in hot weather.

Nazri’s days as a clown stretch back to 2016, when he turned to street performing as a part time gig to supplement his income as an airlines caterer.

"What I earned really wasn’t great at all, so I did it as a part time thing, I helped people to sell gas balloons at night markets, and on average, I would earn about RM50 from 5 pm to 10 pm a night.

"At that time, I only knew how to make  balloon swords, so I went to google up other clowns to expand my knowledge and as luck would have it, I met a clown from Banting, Selangor, who was kind enough to become my mentor,” he related to Bernama as he sat along the pavement by Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman recently, adding fondly that his mentor never did charge him a single sen for all the guidance, advice and lessons.

Then in 2019, he took the plunge to become a clown full time, quitting his 23-year career in airline catering after the airlines offered voluntary separation schemes (VSS) to its staff that year.

“I really considered the offer as the economy then wasn’t that good. So I took the VSS and this has been my career ever since,” he said, adding that he ended up being one of those affected by the uncertain economic conditions after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the country in early 2020.

It is interesting to note that even though Nazri was offered his old job back by the airlines later on, he chose to continue to be a clown entertainer as he had a deep interest and felt that it was what he wanted to do as a job.

Now, after almost a decade of clowning around, Nazri has garnered quite a lot of interesting experiences, stating that the most striking challenge a clown like him faces is the attitude of parents, who often lack patience in obtaining balloons for their children.

"The attitude of these parents are really hard to handle and I need to be smart in controlling my emotions to tackle their feelings. I can’t get angry at them and have to handle it positively.

“I don’t charge a specific payment to my customers, I let them pay according to their conscience. Some take a lot but pay a little, some don’t bother paying at all,” he said smilingly.

Although a clown like Nazri does not earn a lot from street performing, he does share what he earns with the people with disabilities (PwD) that he meets during work.

“This fasting month, I wrap work up at around 1 am to 2 am and it takes me an hour to get back home to Sepang, so when I arrive at 3 am I prepare the Sahur meal for my four children and then head off to sleep finally,” he said as he shared his routine for the month of Ramadan.

The man behind the face of Conda the Clown did share another interesting tidbit of information - the most expensive accessory for a clown would be his outsized shoes, which can cost up to RM1,000 a pair due to their unique shape and are usually quite hard to procure.

This fun clown, his mascot cat friend and a bunch of other street entertainer friends of theirs that make up an informal street performing troupe can usually be found making people smile and laugh along Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman on weekends and spreading joy and fun at Merdeka Square on weekdays.

-- BERNAMA

 

 

 


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