On a weekend trip to the seaside with Q’s department I have finally celebrated my initiation into Karaoke, or K-TV, as the Chinese call it. There had been a lot of serious drinking going on before in an outdoor seafood restaurant in Nándàihé (南戴河) – the heavy stuff, Bái Jiǔ (白酒), not the watery Chinese beer that barely affects minds and senses. I had refused, cheated, even secretly spilled some of the dangerous liquid to the ground in my desperate attempt not to be toasted and cheered to delirium, but the boys of the Sohu newsroom had been persistent enough to work some significant amount of alcohol into my blood. Fortunately a sudden heavy rain shower interrupted the procedure.
When we arrived at the Hotel some of the more heroic Fighters of the Bottle had to be escorted to their rooms by caring female colleagues. With the rest I migrated toward a side building where you could either play Mah Jong (in a slightly electronically enhanced version) or take the dimly lit, fully equipped backroom for Asia’s favorite weekend pastime.
It feels a bit ridiculous to give a detailed report on something that is such a common and trivial experience throughout many areas of the globe. Suffice it to say that I wouldn’t have needed the help of Bai Jiu and my already slightly elated mood to enjoy the adventure. As soon as the first non-chinese titles came up I accepted the microphone and merrily droned along: “Are you going to Scarborough Fair, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme…”
And I was more than a bit enchanted by the much more talented boys and girls in the group who put their heart and soul into very personal interpretations of all the cheesy chinese megahits of the past years. May they be discovered as China’s next Supergirls and -boys!