Tuesday was a frustrating day on so many levels that I am not even going to begin to explain. But even on those seemingly endless, fruitless and rip-your-hair-out days, I can often find one thing about the day that makes me smile — or has me rolling on the ground laughing.
After work Tuesday I met up with a coworker, who was hanging out with some friends at a nearby cafe. They’re planning a trip this weekend and I’m invited! Yes! I need to get out of this city, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. Anyway, the discussion somehow turned to karaoke, and my hosts told me that I should learn just one song so I don’t offend people if they ask me to sing. (The fact that I can’t sing, or that I’m terrified of audiences, doesn’t seem to matter to anyone here. But that’s another story.)
Then my hosts started to suggest different songs I could learn. “But whatever you do, don’t sing ‘My Way,'” said Mike, the owner of the cafe. Huh?
“You will get shot if you sing ‘My Way.'”
After more confused looks, my hosts all started to explain: ‘My Way’ has been banned from most karaoke bars in Manila because multiple people have been shot (and killed) while singing ‘My Way.’ It isn’t that people don’t like the song — it’s that they like it too much.
Imagine this: A bar filled with drunks. One drunk man gets up and starts singing ‘My Way.’ When he’s done, another drunk man, hanging out with a different group of friends, gets up and says he can sing the song better. He then sings ‘My Way,’ and first drunk man disagrees that second drunk man is better. An argument, escalating into a full on fight, begins. Guns are drawn, and, well, need I say more?
I really thought they were joking and was laughing hysterically. But my coworker, who produces the channel’s flagship newscast, said it happens all the time. Even this Reuters story mentions the phenomenon in a story about gun proliferation in the Philippines.
After several shootings sparked by My Way, the Frank Sinatra favorite has become
a song to avoid at karaoke bars.
I guess that’s just too bad for all those people who learned ‘My Way’ as their courtesy karaoke song. And if I hear someone singing ‘My Way,’ I think I’ll just run for the door.