JavaScript is off. Please enable to view full site.

Ballet to bicycle: Singapore conductor rides out pandemic with delivery job

Thursday, March 11, 2021, 09:35 GMT+7
Ballet to bicycle: Singapore conductor rides out pandemic with delivery job
Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver, Chiya Amos, makes a food delivery, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

SINGAPORE -- A year ago, Singaporean Chiya Amos was living his dream of leading orchestras around Russia as an aspiring classical conductor working with ballets and operas.

Since January, he has been working 12-hour days pedalling around Singapore on a bicycle, braving its heat and humidity to deliver meals, drinks and snacks.

The coronavirus pandemic put the brakes on Amos’ career, with his regular gigs halted as infections soared in Russia.

After 10 months without work, he returned to Singapore to ride out the pandemic in a comparative safe haven.

But there was no music work for him here either.

Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver, Chiya Amos, makes a food delivery, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver, Chiya Amos, makes a food delivery, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

“Many of us musicians are still out of a job, we are sort of displaced,” said Chiya, as he prefers to be known.

“I’ve applied for more than 40 jobs since last January, but I haven’t heard from most of them.”

Although restrictions are gradually easing in Russia, there is less work for foreign conductors, the 30-year-old said.

Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver, Chiya Amos, checks his phone before making a food delivery, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver, Chiya Amos, checks his phone before making a food delivery, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

In the meantime, he listens to symphonic orchestra pieces on his headset while cycling between destinations, making an average 30 deliveries a day.

Although Chiya earns a similar income as before, he works for much longer, with a greater physical toll.

Between shifts, he studies music, such as Verdi operas and speaks daily by video call to his Russian wife, who was unable to stay with him in Singapore.

Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver, Chiya Amos, video-calls his wife after finishing a late shift, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver, Chiya Amos, video-calls his wife after finishing a late shift, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

“I miss being on stage. Of course, I miss collaborating with people, I miss waving my hands and making magic music,” he said.

He says the jobs have some similarities.

“We bring food to people, we bring sustenance to people. And as a conductor, we work with orchestras to bring sustenance to the soul and the mind.”

Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver Chiya Amos video-calls his wife after finishing a late shift, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Classical orchestra conductor-turned food delivery driver Chiya Amos video-calls his wife after finishing a late shift, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore March 9, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Chiya hopes more venues will reopen as more people are given coronavirus vaccinations globally. He has one booking already for Tokyo’s Spring Festival in April.

He feels his experience has helped him mature.

“I conduct a lot of Verdi,” he said.

“There’s a lot of tragedy in it, and I think this experience sort of hardens me and I’m able to express my emotions better. I feel like I’ve matured a few years, even though it’s only been a year.”

Reuters

More

Read more

;

Photos

VIDEOS

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta celebrates spring with ‘hat boi’ performances

The art form is so popular that it attracts people from all ages in the Mekong Delta

Vietnamese youngster travels back in time with clay miniatures

Each work is a scene caught by Dung and kept in his memories through his journeys across Vietnam

Experience summer sand-boarding in Mui Ne

Sand-boarding, a popular activity amongst local children in the coastal tourism town of Mui Ne in south-central Vietnam, is attracting hundreds of tourists to the Red Sand Dunes

Young maple trees given better protection as Hanoi enters rainy season

The trees are currently growing well, with green leaves and healthy branches.

Hunting skinks for food in southern Vietnam

Skink meat is known to be soft, tasty, and highly nutritious.

Latest news