Happy Tuesday to all,
This week I’m going to have a look at a piece of popular culture which I’ve been looking forward to for a while. I say that, because I have been to KTV a few times, even mentioned it here, without actually writing about it in any detail.
I’d like to make a sweeping statement about those of you who are wondering what KTV is- you haven’t been to Asia. Was I right? No. Ok, I’ll never do it again. KTV is an Asia-wide karaoke chain which is as popular here to some people as the local pub or a curry night. Whilst the thought of karaoke to many western people sits as well with them as having a lemon lunch, the Chinese go wild for it.
A notable difference between karaoke night in the UK in a dingy pub and the KTVs is best summed up in a photo…..
Groups of friends go to a KTV to rent a private room for a period of time, usually hour slots, to sing a wide range of pop and golden oldies. As you can see, it is a very comfy environment which has staff attending each room serving a range of drinks and snacks- including a fruit boat, as seen in The Hangover Part IV. With different microphones for everyone, there is unfortunately very little getting away from the fact that you will be singing at some point.
In fact, I’ve found that many Chinese people take the opportunity to impress the westerner with their English skills, instead of the thousands of Chinese songs available. It’s certainly true that the selection of songs differ from place to place, meaning that choosing a place with sufficient English songs is sometimes difficult.
Surprisingly, for me at least, the awkwardness of singing in front of a group of people disappears completely and there is not even any need for some dutch courage. Some are even completely obsessed about it, with some school children sneaking in for an hour or so before school! Being open for 24 hours, it is naturally popular with University students, as their dorms tend to have a curfew; the cost during the early hours drops dramatically, so they prefer to take the financial hit of having to pay a few more hours in the KTV than having their evening cut short.
There is a bit of cynicism surrounding the KTVs as well, as it is ‘well-known’ that there are certain other services available from the service staff, should you desire that. I say ‘well known’ as I have never seen nor heard anything about that, nevertheless I am assured that it happens.
When next possible, I will try and take a video of a KTV session and perhaps see if it can make its way onto the blog when possible!!
As for me, I’m off to Beijing this week to clamber on some wall they have there. Apparently it’s quite good.
I’ll be the judge of that.
Have a great week everyone!