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10
Feb 10
Wed

When karaoke turns homicidal

The NY Times has an article about how several people singing Sinatra’s “My Way” have been killed in the karaoke bars of the Philippines. Not while singing any other song. Just while singing “My Way”.

The killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country’s culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?

Whatever the reason, many karaoke bars have removed the song from their playbooks. And the country’s many Sinatra lovers, like Mr. Gregorio here in this city in the southernmost Philippines, are practicing self-censorship out of perceived self-preservation.

The article also describes one creative method Filipinos have used to diffuse potentially lethal tensions in certain karaoke bars:

A subset of karaoke bars with G.R.O.’s — short for guest relations officers, a euphemism for female prostitutes — often employ gay men, who are seen as neutral, to defuse the undercurrent of tension among the male patrons. Since the gay men are not considered rivals for the women’s attention — or rivals in singing, which karaoke machines score and rank — they can use humor to forestall macho face-offs among the patrons.

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