I have now truly been initiated into Asian culture by attending a karaoke video night. Too funny -- and lots of fun for someone who loves to sing when she's driving the highways alone.
One of my colleagues invited me to a karaoke night to celebrate her birthday -- no matter that she's 20-something and I'm not. I thought, what the heck, and went along. It turned out to be five twenty-somethings (or maybe one or two were past 30, don't know for sure) and me.
They ushered us into a room with vinyl-covered sofas along three walls, a large square table for food in the middle and a big video screen on the fourth wall. It reminded me of a basement rec room from the '50s or '60s, complete with potato chips to snack on! We even had our own washroom.
Two free soft drinks per person were part of the admission price, but lo and behold, one of the guys had brought a bottle of vodka in his backpack. So, there we were, sipping spiked fruit punch and singing along to music videos! It has been a while since I've spiked anything ... likely not since university! No matter. When in Hong Kong ... .
The drill is this: You select the language you'd like to appear on the screen (surprise -- we chose English over Cantonese or Mandarin), go through an alphabetized list of performers (solo or group) and create a playlist; then you're ready to rock and roll -- or sing the blues or rap or whatever. The video plays, the words light up on the screen and you have handheld microphones to allow you to sing along at top volume. (Yes, the rooms are soundproof!)
It was a blast! None of us was into solo performance -- perhaps not drunk enough -- so we sang as a group. I must say, most popular music is not too complex, because I was easily able to pick up the tunes of the songs I didn't know and chime right in. Yes, that was I, singing Californication and rapping with Eminem! But we also sang the Beatles, Queen, Celine and, as I mentioned on Facebook, Neil Diamond. Who knew twenty-somethings were so versatile?
As night turned to early morning, Kristin's boyfriend surprised her with a birthday cake, and we found a video of a Happy Birthday song in Thai to make the occasion complete.
It was such a kick that I hope there will be an opportunity to do it again. Just in case, I'm going to practice my Gangnam style moves!