Tribute to 'hardworking' Orchard Road 'Busking Uncle' who dies at 80

·Senior Reporter
·2-min read
An obituary of Oh Ow Kee was printed in The Straits Times on 7 June, 2022. (SCREENCAPS: Melissa Chang/YouTube, Jonathan Goh/Facebook)(SCREENCAPS: Melissa Chang/YouTube, Jonathan Goh/Facebook)
An obituary of Oh Ow Kee was printed in The Straits Times on 7 June, 2022. (SCREENCAPS: Melissa Chang/YouTube, Jonathan Goh/Facebook)

SINGAPORE — A popular busker, fondly known as the "Orchard Road Busking Uncle" or "Woola Hula Uncle", died on Sunday (5 June) at the age of 80.

An obituary of Oh Ow Kee was printed in The Straits Times on Tuesday and also posted by the founder of the Buskers' Association Singapore Jonathan Goh on Facebook.

The long-time busker is pictured in the obituary with one of his many chains of giant wooden beads draped around his neck, a fixture of his decades-long roadside performances near the Takashimaya mall.

In his Facebook tribute, Goh wrote, "One of the most hardworking uncles and always having fun just spinning his beads around his body in the streets. I will miss his smile and wave every time I pass by him to head to Wisma Atria to busk."

"You've been a familiar face at Orchard Road since I was a kid. A true Singapore legend and icon. Thank you for the years of joy and entertainment you've brought to our lives. Rest in peace," wrote netizen C Wang on online obituary space Obits.sg.

Oh is survived by his wife, three children, and eight grandchildren. His wake is held at the multi-purpose hall at Block 78B Toa Payoh Central. The cortege is set to leave for Mandai Crematorium at 6.30pm on Wednesday.

Chinese newspaper Lianhe Wanbao spoke early last year to the former karang guni man, who said that he was healthy and well, in response to rumours of his death.

In a YouTube video uploaded by Bukay R Channel on 23 May the same year, Oh could be seen wearing a mask to protect himself from COVID-19 and performing with a chain of beads at his usual spot.

"I never saw him for quite some time in Orchard even before the pandemic. So I'm so happy today he's here," the description in the video read.

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