Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Professor Deborah Post – Karaoke Night in Xiamen
We were acting out our own version of Lost in Translation when we all piled in taxis and headed off to the brand spanking new KTV, right down the block from the two-story KFC. Once inside we piled goodies into our tiny shopping cart – containers of buttered popcorn that turned out to have sugar on them, lychee flavored potato chips, juice for the Chinese students, wine for me and beer for the American students. We began our evening at about 8 pm and left at midnight. When we left, the lobby was full of people dressed up and ready to sing until the wee hours of the morning.
In our very full private room with our computerized selection of songs, we found a much larger number of songs in English than I had imagined, although sometimes the translations were a little questionable. Even I can sing along with Beyonce’s Irreplaceable or at least the refrain “to the left, to the left, all your stuff in the box to the left” (my own questionable rendering of the lyrics. ) The Chinese students loved a group called S.H.E. from Taiwan. They have a catchy little number “wo bu xiang zhang da.” In English that is “I don’t want to grow up.” Both the Chinese women and the American women seem to like Avril Lavigne but 50 Cent did not go over very well with the Chinese. I insisted that we sing at least one Karen Carpenter song - We've Only Just Begun. I thought that the Carpenters were still a cultural icon here in China, but maybe now that is all changing. So many things have changed in the ten years we have been here in China.
Samantha and Charles, coordinators of our student volunteers, insisted that one of the students accompany me home even though the party would go on for a bit longer. In the cab we discussed the evening, and Mike confided that he didn’t know many of the American artists but, he added “I like Karen Carpenter.”
By Professor Deborah Post, Touro Law Summer Abroad Program in China