"..a bardy view!"

My Way – Kamikazi Karaoke?

Filipinos love their karaoke. It's part and parcel of their daily lives, and has been ingratiated into their culture since the ubiquitous machines were first invented. This spawned a karaoke bar on every corner, and the devices themselves appear miraculously whenever a party or get-together takes off.

Even a simple visit to someone's home will invariable result in a microphone being passed around for a guest to warble out, however tuneless.

It's a very social pastime, but unfortunately there is always one who hogs the mic, in the misguided belief that everyone else is gasping for more of the same!

It's akin to having to suffer other peoples holiday snaps. We've all been there, sooner or later the photos come out and courtesy demands that we be enthralled by Jason or Chardonnay perched over the Grand Canyon, or dwarfed by the pyramids, or soaked at Niagara Falls, or…well you get the idea.

I'm just as guilty. Attempting to pry the microphone away from me when I've downed a few San Miguels is the same as extracting a bone from an over excited doberman, and equally as dangerous. Of course I never volunteer – that would be crass. No! I always wait until I'm asked.

My own personal favourite (and party piece) is "Dahil Sa Iyo". Sung in Tagalog it goes down very well, and having sung it for more than thirty years I obviously know it off by heart. As soon as I commence with the words "Sa Buhay ko'y Labis, Ang hirap at pasakit" the listeners rejoice rapturously. (Not unlike that given to Nat King Cole when he sang it in the Philippines in 1962 – he did well!)  

I regret to say that I have also sung "My Way" much to my chagrin, although singing it in the Philippines has more credence than in a London pub surrounded by a cacophony of baying drunken revellers. At least I thought it was!

And so to the point of this post. Apparently "My Way" is a very bad song to sing in the Philippines. Especially if sung badly. Indeed, it is positively life threatening! Whilst the statistics are vague, there have been at least six fatalities in the past decade because of it. The news media have dubbed them the "My Way Killings". It puts a whole new slant on "murdering a song"! I personally think it should be called the "Sinatra Syndrome", but that's bye the bye.

The lyrics are viewed as machismo and arrogant which engender emotional responses, particularly from those who have to listen to a poorly rendered version.

With over one million illegal guns circulating, which have a tendency to go off in slightly inebriated hands, many Karaoke bars have removed the song from their playlists.

I agree with that (if only to ensure longevity – my own for one). In fact, I think it should be banned globally. It's had its day and should be allowed to rest in peace. I'm sure Frank would approve!


February 15, 2010 - Posted by | The Philippines | , , , , , ,

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