Shannon Zhuang, 14, a KTV-goer singing with her mask on. Photo Credit: Shanice Zhuang

Karaoking is always a family affair for Rachel Hungee Jing En. The 18-year-old student from Singapore Polytechnic used to go to the KTV with her parents and younger sister once every four months. 

“My family and I loved to spend time together singing songs before the pandemic,” she said. 

That routine stopped when KTVs and many other entertainment outlets were ordered to close to curb the spread of Covid-19 from 26 Mar 2020. Even though selected KTVs could reopen as F&B outlets or co-working spaces in 2021, singing was still banned.

When karaoking was finally allowed last month, Rachel immediately booked a session at Teo Heng KTV Studio in Suntec City for her family, never mind the need to wear a mask.

“The discomfort of wearing a mask while singing does not outweigh my desire to go sing in the karaoke,” she said. 

Another student who rejoiced over the news is Kerrie Chua. “My friends were very excited to finally be able to go and sing karaoke as a group,” the 19-year-old student from Ngee Ann Polytechnic said, adding that she’s fine with the mask-on rule since she’s used to wearing one by now. 

Unlike Rachel and Kerrie, 20-year-old KTV fan Carina Puah, a student from Nanyang Polytechnic, said she’d rather wait for the mask-on rule to be lifted, as singing into a mask is going to be uncomfortable.  

The video above explains what ‘The Singer’s Mask’ is and how it makes singing more comfortable . Video Credit: Broadway Relief Project 

The Broadway Relief Project from New York City developed the ‘The Singer’s Mask’ specifically for singing, claiming to provide more comfort and give more room for singers to sing with ease.  

Made of cotton muslin, the mask helps to “contain droplets while allowing space around the mouth” for singers to sing comfortably. 

If such a mask is sold in KTVs at a reasonable price, Carina might consider booking a session. 

But for now, to make sure KTV-goers comply with the safety measures, KTV operators actively display notices to remind them to keep their mask on while singing. 

A safe management notice pasted in a room at Cash Studio Karaoke.
Photo Credit: Shannon Gan

Samantha Pang, 45, a manager at Cash Studio Karaoke, shared that the notice above is displayed twice in every room. One is a physical printout pasted on the door while the other is digitally uploaded on the default screen of the karaoke machine.

Similar to Cash Studio, Teo Heng KTV studio also has a notice reminding customers to keep their masks on at all times.

Safe management measure notice pasted outside Teo Heng KTV Studio at Suntec City. 
Photo Credit: Shannon Gan.

In hopes that KTV operators will enforce the mask-on rule strictly, Rachel said: “I think that it is the responsibility of karaoke places because it’s their establishment and should they get caught [by] the authorities, they would have to close again.”  

But it’s not only up to KTV operators to make sure the rules are being followed. “It is [also the KTV-goers] responsibility in ensuring their own safety,” said Kerrie.