Fri, Dec 19, 2014 - Page 3 News List

Ukulele strikes a chord for ex-engineer

By Huang Mei-chu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Being a street musician might seem a strange choice of activities for a man who has a post-graduate degree in civil engineering and once had ambitions to be a doctor, but 38-year-old Andy Hou (侯志暘) is just that, securing licenses to play in several counties and cities.

Although he received a bachelor’s degree in resource engineering from National Cheng Kung University and a master’s degree in civil engineering from National Chung Hsing University, Hou has always been interested in music, although he also briefly entertained thoughts of being a doctor.

Hou said he particpated in a junior-high school choir and had always dreamed of being able to sing to his own guitar-playing, adding that he had also led a harmonica club while in college.

Chancing upon an ukulele-learning event about two years ago, Hou worked to learn how to play the guitar-like instrument well.

“It was the beginning of something that would fulfill my very first childhood ambition,” Hou said.

His experiences traveling abroad due to his line of work showed him cultures where street musicians were not considered second-rate performers and often earned significant amounts of money, particularly in Europe and the US.

Hou said he longed to live such a life and last year began applying for licenses to perform — along with his band — on the nation’s streets.

Hou said he has licenses to perform on the streets of Greater Taichung, Greater Tainan, Hsinchu County and city, as well as Changhua and Nantou counties.

Last month, Hou also received a license to perform in Miaoli County, which boosted the areas where he can play to seven counties and cities.

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