In karaoke bars around the world, few songs are belted out with more relish and enthusiasm than the Frank Sinatra standard "My Way". Except, that is, in the Philippines.
After a series of killings connected with renditions of the song, most karaoke fans will not now allow themselves to croon "And now, the end is near, And so I face, the final curtain" – for fear the lines might come true. Such has been the publicity surrounding the murders – local media have recorded at least six in the past decade – that they are now dealt with in their own sub-category of crime, the "My Way killings".
"I used to like 'My Way', but after all the trouble, I stopped singing it," Rodolfo Gregorio, a keen karaoke fan, told The New York Times. "You can get killed."
Filipinos have different theories about what has led to the killings, in a country where karaoke bars are commonplace. Mr Gregorio proffered: "The trouble with 'My Way' is that everyone knows it and everyone has an opinion." But others point out that there are other, similarly well-known songs that have not attracted a violent backlash.
In the absence of anything else, some find themselves poring over the lyrics, written for Sinatra by Paul Anka, in a search for clues.
Butch Albarracin, owner of a singing school in Manila called Centre of Pop, said: "I did it my way – it's so arrogant. The lyrics evoke feelings of pride and arrogance in the singer, as if you're somebody when you're really nobody. It covers up your failures. That's why it leads to fights."Reuse content