It’s time for a new installment in our recurring series on the seamy underside of the karaoke world. You know, karaoke is often thought of as an activity that brings families together. In that way, it’s a wholesome pursuit, not unlike fishing or visiting a national park. But in late August in the Chinese city of Xi’an, karaoke literally ripped a family asunder by subtracting two members from that family. I cannot possibly improve on the introductory sentence from this article that ran in Thursday’s edition of the British newspaper, The Independent: “A Chinese toddler’s refusal to give up the microphone during a family karaoke evening started a quarrel that left two men hacked to death with a meat cleaver.”
Friends, this story is a cautionary tale of why it’s so important to restrict entry in karaoke joints to folks who are of drinking age. Had a toddler (who, according to the article, was all of four years old) not been crooning his heart out in a Xi’anese karaoke bar, his two relatives who were hacked to death with a meat cleaver would still be alive today!
But let’s take a step back and figure out exactly what happened here. The Independent informs us that the carnage went down on Qixi, a holiday that we’re told is the Chinese equivalent of Valentine’s Day (which would make last month’s events China’s answer to the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre). The Independent does seem to have oversimplified in its description of Qixi. Translated as “Night of the Sevens,” Qixi is also sometimes known as the “Magpie Festival”; on the other hand, the sobriquet of the “Chinese Valentine’s Day” reflects an inaccurate understanding of the festival’s folktale origins. So apparently, Qixi is more about Heckle and Jeckle than heart-shaped candies. 🙂
To celebrate this year’s festival, a noodle shop owner, Mr. Yun, invited some kinfolk to a night at a karaoke parlour. Continue reading