More than 100 musicians protest in concert at MTR station

October 05, 2015 12:08
Musicians break into impromptu performances at Tai Wai Station. Photo: Ming Tam/USP

More than a hundred musicians with Chinese and western instruments conducted a concerted protest at MTR Tai Wai Station on Saturday evening.

While some passengers may have been entertained, the musicians' message was directed at the train service operator, protesting against selective enforcement of its rules on oversize luggage.

The performers, on instruments ranging from guitars, accordions and trombones to bagpipes, were there in response to a Facebook campaign hoping to convince MTR Corp. management it is wrong to evict passengers carrying large musical instruments from stations while allowing parallel traders to take equally large containers of goods on board.

The situation at the station was a little bit chaotic at the start because the musicians lacked a leader and played by themselves individually or in groups, Apple Daily reported Sunday.

At about 8 p.m., they finally converged and jointly played “Under a Vast Sky” before leaving in succession.

The song by Beyond, a local rock band, was one of the theme songs for the Occupy protesters last year.

On Sept. 23, MTR staff prevented a Hong Kong Baptist University music student carrying his cello from taking a train, on the grounds that the instrument was 4 centimeters over the size limit for items allowed on board.

The student, who got on a train at Tai Wai Station, was given a warning letter and told he could face a fine of HK$2,000 for a similar violation.

He was ejected at Kowloon Tong Station, where he was supposed to change trains.

Just a week before that incident, a schoolgirl in uniform was thrown out of Tai Wai Station because she was carrying a guzheng, a Chinese zither, on her back.

Mavis Lung Man-wai, a music teacher who started the Facebook campaign, said she hopes the MTR, which has tightened up its enforcement of the rules on musical instruments, can exert its discretion, as it used to.

Meanwhile, MTR corporate affairs director Linda So Ka-pik said at a news conference at Tai Wai Station on Saturday night that the company was sorry to see some musicians cause trouble to passengers and make groundless accusations against MTR staff, who she said did not enforce rules selectively.

It would be unfair to a make exceptions for large instruments and allow them to be carried onto trains, she said.

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