No Way

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Over in the Philippines, karaoke is a popular pastime. According to the New York Times, after a hard day’s work, there’s nothing a weary person likes more than to find a bar, glug a beer and belt out a classic or two. 

This is not a matter of audience indifference. You’ve got to be good or you get stabbed:

In the past two years alone, a Malaysian man was fatally stabbed for hogging the microphone at a bar and a Thai man killed eight of his neighbors in a rage after they sang John Denver’s Take Me Home, Country Roads. 

One song is strictly off limits everywhere. Simply too dangerous. My Way. 

The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling My Way in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the “My Way Killings.” 


Butch Albarracin, the owner of Center for Pop, a Manila-based singing school that has propelled the careers of many famous singers, was partial to what he called the “existential explanation.” 

“‘I did it my way’ — it’s so arrogant,” Mr. Albarracin said. “The lyrics evoke feelings of pride and arrogance in the singer, as if you’re somebody when you’re really nobody. It covers up your failures. That’s why it leads to fights.” 

The song never leads to carnage at polite British funeral. But does it possibly leave a subliminal bad taste in the mouth? 

For what is a man, what has he got? 
If not himself, then he has naught

Read the entire New York Times piece here.


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