Struggling to get by after the music stops

24 Sep 2020 / 11:46 H.

THE partying is over. But for a sizeable number of workers in the entertainment industry, the “hangover” has yet to go away.

The government’s insistence that entertainment outlets, comprising bars, pubs and nightclubs should stay closed, has not only deprived many of their sources of income but also put many out of business.

In June, when Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced that such outlets will remain shut indefinitely, he cited difficulty in practising social distancing as the main reason.

The screws were tightened further following a number of drink-driving incidents that resulted in fatalities.

But, as deejay Jay Subramaniam pointed out, it is not the fault of the pubs or bars that people drive while intoxicated.

“It’s not our job to get people drunk,” Jay, better known as Jazzie Jay, told theSun yesterday.

“We are here to entertain, and entertainment is an important aspect of people’s lives, regardless of their emotions. So to dismiss our services as non-essential is hurtful,” he said.

For the record, many restaurants that also serve alcoholic drinks, have become the favourite meeting place for “happy hours” for drinkers.

They have been given the green light to reopen for business because they are licensed as outlets that serve food.

The personal toll is heavy for people like Jay. The 53-year-old has been on the decks since 1986 and spinning music is what he knows best.

He had been a vendor supplying deejaying services for events at Genting Highlands for four years until February when business ceased in what he thought was a temporary move.

“We were hoping that we could get back in action by August when my client got in touch with me, but nothing concrete has come through just yet,” he said.

As expected, the last few months have been difficult for Jay.

“I have been getting by on my savings. When you are living off a certain (amount of) cash, you kind of have to make a lot of adjustments.”

One of the sacrifices he had to make was to cancel his insurance policy.

With two young children, aged five and 15, to feed, Jay is doing all he can to make ends meet for now.

“Fortunately, I can write and I’m good with computers, so I do a bit of marketing work now. But I need to get back to what I’m skilled at, which is deejaying,” he added.

Like others, Jay wants to resume work and he believes it can be made possible with the government’s help.

“Give us something under the government’s banner, some avenue to enable us to earn a living. There are so many creative people left in the lurch. Our skills can be of good use,” he said.

“I hope they (the government) will make things better. So many deejays and musicians are suffering now.”

Nonetheless, he has not been idle. Last month, he initiated a 228-hour “live” streaming marathon involving 126 deejays, a feat that they hope will get them an entry into the “Malaysia Book of Records”.

email blast