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Why Chinese people are so fond of karaoke?

 2014-04-09    Sum    Other    Shenzhen    1346  

Some of my non-Chinese friends, especially westerners, are baffled by the fact that karaoke is so popular among Chinese people. To them, karaoke is fine. It is one of the many things that they might do during leisure time. But to Chinese people, karaoke is more than fine. They think it is awesome and they love it. You will very likely to see glittering light from Chinese people’s eyes when they are talking about going karaoke.

In China, karaoke can easily be the most frequently taken leisure activity for groups. No matter it is close-friend hangout, old-classmate reunion, or any get-to-know-each-other occasion, a classic routine is dinner then karaoke, or karaoke then dinner. I am confident that this routine will resonate with millions of Chinese people who are in their 20s and 30s.

But why karaoke is so popular among Chinese people? In my opinion, karaoke to Chinese is the same as party to everybody. Think of Chinese people going karaoke as westerners dancing in a club and singing along the song played by the DJ or sung by a live band, you will understand it better. However, you will be wrong if you think that Chinese people going karaoke is mere an activity of singing to the flat screen with a mic. People play drinking games, dance, and do other stuff in karaoke room as people would do in a house/apartment party. Speaking of which, it is karaoke room but not karaoke bar, instead of a bar with one set of karaoke equipment and many strangers, it is enclosed private rooms with people who already know each other (at least for most of people in the room).

In general, Chinese people are conservative comparing with westerners. A private space like the karaoke room is more comfortable for Chinese people and easier for them to have fun. My experience with club dancing and outdoor partying is only partially good. I consider myself an outgoing not-that-shy and not-too-typical Chinese who like to party. However, to be honest I cannot enjoy myself like my foreign companions in the party did, unless I am freaking drunk or stoned. It is not easy for me to dance or have fun while so many strangers nearby doing the same thing. Normally after one hour at the dance floor, I would feel tired and my dance move would start looking awkward. I would talk to myself, “what the heck am I doing here” and I would miss the crouch in the karaoke room and the surrounding of only the people I know. At the same time, my Dutch friends would still be lively and dancing.


So why not throw your party at home? I think we do have house party and people-over. But many young Chinese people live with their parents till a mature stage in their adulthood, some even for their whole life. Having a house party is not that appealing if your friend’s parents are there. Alternatively, going karaoke seems like a better option. It also spares your time of cleaning up the mess from last night. 

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