One of our teaching assistants was leaving her job so we took her out for a farewell bash. We asked the girls what they would like to do more than anything in the world. They all replied in ecstatic unison, “KTV!” For the uninitiated, this is karaoke. Now I love kareoke but only after a few conditions are met: It takes place in a scruffy bar or student union. The songs are epic. And I’m very, very drunk. The Chinese do not fullfill any of these requirements. They sing god-awful chinese ballads in a private room whilst consuming orange juice and peanuts. For hours.
I discovered that the place we went to could be rented out until 7 in the morning. People literally nap on the sofa and let others sing before awaking and taking their shift on the microphone. It’s like night watch in the trenches, although I’d probably rather listen to heavy artillery, even if it was aimed at me. The girls loved every minute of it, which is amazing as there were 180 of them (minutes not girls unfortunately), thanks to the unmissable deal of ‘buy two hours get one free.’ Things got stranger when buoyed by some successful warbling the girls began chanting, “dance boys dance!” Not before long the three of us were jigging terribly to terrible music overlaid with terrible singing.
Now to get us into the karaoke booth we’d brokered a compromise with the girls, which stipulated we play some ten pin bowling before we go anywhere near a microphone. The girls had never played before so we had a good laugh at their feeble attempts to avoid the shameful gutter balls. I lead the mocking with unrelenting glee. In her second ever game of bowling one of the girls, Amanda, beat me 99 to 97. The laughter had found a new target.