If you are truly Pinoy or reared in a Pinoy-household, then you know karaoke.
Karaoke, the brilliant but utterly annoying Japanese invention, that was embraced and well-loved by Filipinos, that it made any Pinoy celebration or gathering as delightful as a trip to your neighborhood dentist.
I live in a street where any kind of celebration or any kind party automatically warrants a karaoke rental. Yes, there are actually enterprising Pinoys building a karaoke empire by buying units in Raon and renting them for P1,800 for overnight use. And since karaoke units are very easy to acquire, you can be assured that there will be caterwauling from 12NN until midnight or until the frustrated singers ran out of voice, whichever comes first. People here bond by belting out Justin Bieber’s “Baby”, the fact that tattooed, grown men were the ones doing the belting is irrelevant. It is understood that in the sake of neighborly peace and goodwill, people will tolerate a bad rendition of “Bed of Roses” and “To Love You More” never-freaking-mind that it’s giving people migraines. Or that a truly really bad rendition of a difficult song can lead a neighbor to murderous thought. The neighbor being me.
Apologies are in order. I am not the most social people in this street. Actually, the people here have a name for me and the Queen–the “untouchable snobs”–because we are not the type of people who say “hi” to neighborhood gossips, hang out for drinking sessions at 4PM with the other 20 and 30 somethings, and mostly because we tend to be choosy with the company we keep. My parents bewail the fact that they sired girls who can’t be trusted to remain polite in an excruciating conversation. So, it’s only inevitable that we can’t also be trusted to keep our traps shut especially when it’s already 10PM on a Sunday night, and the next door neighbor is still singing his lungs out for his own version of “You Give Love a Bad Name”. Bon Jovi, he definitely is not.
Is the addiction to karaoke a cultural thing? Cos if it is, I want to know which country doesn’t tolerate caterwauling and I will beg for immediate citizenship. It’s fiesta season here in our street and so far, there has been karaoke every freaking day since last Tuesday night. As I type this, someone out there is doing a really, really bad impression of Tom Jones and I am tempted to hurl one of my frozen ice pops on his head (but then I remembered I am selling those for 4 bucks a pop, sayang naman)
Yes, I am not a singer…and it will probably take a half-naked Brandon Boyd to persuade me to touch a damn frigging mic. Use of the karaoke machine should be given its own municipal ordinance. The government won’t know how many people have lost their mind listening to mangled versions of “Total Eclipse of the Heart”.