Dress Down Friday

And now, the end is near…

Warning: If you ever find yourself on stage at a karaoke bar in the Philippines, do not— repeat, do not— perform Frank Sinatra’s “My Way.”

The authorities do not know exactly how many people have been killed warbling “My Way” in karaoke bars over the years in the Philippines, or how many fatal fights it has fueled. But the news media have recorded at least half a dozen victims in the past decade and includes them in a subcategory of crime dubbed the “My Way Killings.”

The killings have produced urban legends about the song and left Filipinos groping for answers. Are the killings the natural byproduct of the country’s culture of violence, drinking and machismo? Or is there something inherently sinister in the song?

Whatever the reason, many karaoke bars have removed the song from their playbooks. And the country’s many Sinatra lovers… are practicing self-censorship out of perceived self-preservation.

Admittedly “My Way” is an annoyingly smug song, which perhaps only the annoyingly smug Ol’ Blue Eyes himself was entitled to sing. He did manage to bring it off, though.

As much as I like so many of Elvis Presley’s songs, his version of “My Way” makes me cringe.

Have you even sung karaoke in a Filipino bar (or anywhere else)? If so, which songs did you perform? At any rate, I hope your performance did not stir anyone to violence.