Last night I finally did something that I should have done a long time ago. I have lived in China since July 1, 2002, and it wasn't until last night that I sang my first ever Karoke song in this country. To tell you the truth, I don't know how I managed to avoid it up to this point, as it is one of the pillars of the social world in this region. I guess I have been hanging out with more of a 'go out to a huge banquet for fun' type of crowd.
I selected one of my favorite singing-in-the-shower songs, Ben by Micheal Jackson. You might remember that Ben is a touching ballad about Micheal's pet rat that lived in the walls of his childhood home in Gary, Indiana. Luckily I already have the lyrics memorized, because some of them were in definate Chinglish on the screen. Another interesting aspect was that the movie clips that were going on along with the song were totally random, such as a woman on a stairmaster and a youth hockey game of 4-year-olds. I think next week I will sing Eternal Flame by the Bangles.
The Karoke is a diversion that they have every Saturday night so that we teachers can amuse ourselves in quarantine. They set it up in the canteen. Some Chinese teachers kept wanting me to sing traditional Chinese songs with them, but 1)I don't know the songs 2)I can't read Chinese characters, so why do you keep handing me the mic?
I just swayed to the music with them so they would be appeased. They are an affectionate people when it comes to friendships. It is not considered weird for men who are friends to walk down the street holding hands. Women are even MORE affectionate with each other, they like to hang on one another's shoulders and lean together and everything. So when the swaying to the music was taking place I had some ladies holding my hands and it was a very heal-the-world type of moment.
There is this woman who works somewhere in the primary school who looks like a Dr.Seuss drawing, as she always wears a pony tail on the top of her head. I have taken to calling her "The Lorax" for identification purposes, as she is quite Seussical in appearance. Anyway it turns out that she is roomates with one of my teacher friends and I saw her in their room last night with her hair down, but she had on one of those hands-free headsets and was talking on the phone with that, so she still looked Seussical. Plus she was wearing really loud p.j. pants. I wonder what her job is.
This has gone on long enough.