I do not wish to brag, but I’m kind of a karaoke star in Bangkok.
I have a long history of singing karaoke.
Here’s me doing karaoke in Japan in 2005:
Here’s me doing karaoke again in Japan in 2006:
I hear what you’re saying out there, though. You’re all like, Sure, Megan, it’s easy to do karaoke in Japan because that’s what everybody does. Doubters! Here is me doing karaoke in New York City, people, in 2008:
And now I’m back in Asia, but apparently the Thais don’t like to do karaoke Japanese-style, which is where you have your own little room to sing your songs in private. There are tons of teensy little restaurants around our neighborhood with karaoke machines, but all the songs are in Thai. Except! Brock found a Japanese-style karaoke place, and we went on Saturday night:
But that’s nothing. All of those are sterile, private-booth environments. I didn’t even know that this was a challenge, but it was: Doing Karaoke in a Creepy Mall.
Bangkok seems to have no shortage of creepy malls. Brock and I have been walking around a lot, because we are both on permanent vacation, and we have discovered that Thailand has all the things ever made in the history of the world. Yesterday alone we found, I don’t know, three malls that had approximately 40,000 stores, just full of clothing. Within a 3-block radius of each other. No kidding.
These stores aren’t big chains like the Gap or American Eagle. These are more like little booths owned by people who seem to mostly sit around and chat and occasionally take naps. Have you ever been to an antiques mall in the U.S.? It’s set up like that. There’s the sock booth, the big-ladies’ booth, the jeans booth, the black pants booth, the t-shirt booth, the swimming trunks booth, the kids’ swimming trunks booth, the swimming suit booth, the underwear booth, the creepy-but-supposed-to-be-sexy underwear booth, the long plastic leather-like coat booth, the white shirt booth, the Chinese-looking clothes booth, the random costumes booth, the dress booth, the cheerleader-costumes-with-a-bow-tie booth, and, inexplicably, the gloves and ear muffs booth. Because that’s what you need in Bangkok. Anyway, there’s not just one of any of these booths in a mall. If there’s one creepy-but-supposed-to-be-sexy underwear booth, there are five. Repeat ad infinitum.
We found one particularly creepy mall yesterday, City Central (maybe?). It was like a labyrinth, and not the kind with David Bowie, guys. There were no dancing goblins, although we did hear Lady Gaga and danced a little on our own. This mall kept going up and up and up, and the further up we got, the fewer people there were. When we got to the 4th floor, there were a lot of empty booths, which Brock astutely pointed out would be a perfect place to get raped. Fun!
The 5th floor is where Doing Karaoke in a Creepy Mall became a challenge. The 5th floor was a huge food court with maybe three restaurants, a handful of patrons, many empty restaurants, AND A KARAOKE STAGE. I immediately turned to Brock and said, We are doing karaoke. And Brock said, You can do karaoke. I’m sober. I’m not getting up on that stage. So I was like, Fine. I’ll do karaoke on my own. Traitor.
The catalogue had a surprising number of English songs, but unfortunately not my go-to song, “Stay” by Lisa Loeb. I can rock that out like nobody’s business. As a second choice, I picked Dido’s “White Flag”. Consolation prize, but not a bad choice.
I knew it was going to be great when I stepped up on the stage and people clapped. Just because I stepped on the stage. That was my first little taste of stardom. Then I sang the song and when the song finished everybody–all 10 people out there–went crazy. Well, I mean, they clapped a lot, and one lady yelled, “ONE MORE!”
They loved me! They really loved me! I was a Bangkok creepy mall karaoke star. Really, I’ve been here less than a month, and this is more than I could have expected!
But I wanted to leave them wanting more, so I declined a repeat performance. The one song cost me 10 baht, which is about 30 cents.
Here’s Dido singing “White Flag” live. She’s had a lot more practice than me, but you can rest assured that I sound pretty much exactly like her.
Doing Karaoke in a Creepy Mall: 0 Megan: 1
Yeah, that’s right, Karaoke. Don’t think I won’t be back–because I WILL BE.