Taiwan – KTV
So, there is a phenomenon in East and South East Asia called KTV. It has been bringing people together, under awkward situations, for decades know. Better known as karaoke, KTV is a must-experience if you spend any extended time in this area of the world. If you make friends here, they will more-than-likely bring you to a KTV. If you work here, you are more-than-likely going to attend an event in which a KTV is involved. 是免不了的 (It’s unavoidable).
At each KTV event, you have your different classifications of attendee:
The rockstar – This is one of the two types that is constantly behind the microphone. However, this person sings so well that you don’t mind the non-stop serenade. (Guy on the left).
The wanna-be rockstar – This is the latter of the two types that is constantly behind the microphone. This person’s voice is akin to the sound one hears inside a busy public restroom; it’s not pleasant.
The foreigner who doesn’t speak the language – Most of the songs in a KTV are either in English or the local language (for Taiwan, this is Mandarin). Without fail, there is ALWAYS a foreigner in attendance that does not speak enough of either language to participate. These individuals are left to their fate to struggle to make conversation, until they give up and, awkwardly, leave early.
The person who doesn’t really want to be there – This is the person that enjoys spending time with his/her friends, but was outvoted when it came time to decide what was to be the activity for the night. More often than not, this person drinks a bit, eats a bit (or a lot), and leaves early – completely unsatisfied. This person is me.
The drunk – This person, without fail will be drunk, embarrass him/herself, and not remember a single minute of the night. ‘Nuff said.
The most interesting aspect of KTV, for me, is in it’s form. In Colorado (and much of the United States), pub-related bonding activities, usually, involve some sort of physical competition: foosball, pool, darts, etc. Even dancing, to some degree is a form of physical competition (i.e. gauging potential mates). KTV is as far removed from any kind of competition, physical or otherwise, as one can get. It is an, absolutely, innocuous group activity. Yet, it is the most prolific “go-to” night entertainment in this area of the world.
In many parts of Asia, the pressure to excel and succeed is, almost, overwhelming. In the United States, the pressure exists, but it is incomparable. So, when it comes time to relax, the last thing people want is more of the same. Perhaps, as an American, this is my issue with KTV: too much congeniality, not enough raw aggression.