KTV: China’s Nightlife

If you are going to travel to China you need to know about the Chinese entertainment that is available to you. Although the larger cities have bars and dance clubs like most cities in the United States, the smaller cities lack this type of nightlife. However, one type of nightlife is a must in every city and town in China and on almost every corner it is KTV, better known to us as Karaoke TV.

I always say that Chinese people must have a song in their heart that they all need to get out because they frequently break out into song. Unfortunately, it is not always the best sounding song and it’s sometimes difficult to hear. At first, I was not so thrilled about going to KTV to listen to Chinese people sing sad Chinese songs all night long — but I decided to be a good sport and join them. I am always up for a challenge.

Image: Public Domain Pictures/CCO

To my surprise, my first look at the KTV building kind of shocked me. They had a billboard-sized neon-flashing sign on the front of the building that could make one feel like s/he is going to the hottest club in China. The way the building looked, it made me think I was in Las Vegas; I thought to myself that this might not be so bad after all!

When I entered the building I saw a vividly-designed decor which was mostly 1980’s vintage.  There were small hallways of rooms all over the place and loud Euro-Tech music playing in the lobby.  We were escorted into our own personal room where there was a large screen on the wall, a sectional sofa with pillows, small tables and a small bar. There was a small control center that was all in Chinese but had photos so we could pick the music we wanted to sing.

Image: StreetDirectory.com

I was surprised to see several songs in English. I watched a couple of people grab the microphones and start singing some sad, slow Chinese songs. I thought, “Oh boy, here it comes” after about an hour of listening to that noise. I was persuaded to sing a song in English; I picked a Whitney song to pay tribute to my girl and then it happened. I was hooked. I begin to program all the songs I know in to the playlist. I grabbed the microphone and would not let go. I was a DIVA, in my mind. I began to add dance moves and found some people to be my back up singers. People would clap wildly after every song I sang, while they drank beer and ate strange Chinese snacks. I was a star.

Unfortunately, I don’t think the locals appreciated the fact that I was hogging the microphone and they slowly started to leave one by one. Finally, at around one a.m., I noticed that the only people left in the room were my husband, a couple of co-workers who had fallen asleep and me. My husband had to take the mic from my hands and turn off the power to get me out of there.

The moral of the story is Chinese KTV can be an awesome experience, filled with fun and excitement as long as nobody hogs the mic.  It is definitely something you must experience if you are ever in the Far East; you’re not having a true Chinese experience unless you do. All I have to say is whatever song was in my heart came out that night…and then some.

Jo Gan

Jo Gan, is a Black American woman married to a local Chinese man living in China. She spends her time as a Director of Foreign Teachers, freelance writer and blogger and just trying to figure out the Chinese wife thing. You can follow her personal blog at www.lifebehindthewall.wordpress.com