Enay didit mhaaaaayyy weeeyyh: Sedate that Videoke Monster

LET ME BEGIN by saying that I love my neighbors and I love singing.

I love my neighbors not only because the bible mandates it but because I really have fantastic kapitbahayan. At age five, I, with little help from my childhood buddy Dondon, burned our house by playing with fire (literally, I assure you). Our neighbors were quick to help, and our house still stands to this day.

I love singing. Being Filipino—kin to great singers like Lea Salonga, Charisse Pempengco, and, uh-oh, Manny Pacquiao—this needs no explanation. My favorites are Tayong Dalawa and Pangako by Rey Valera, songs by APO, and, when I am sober no more, Lead Me Lord.

No celebration is complete without a videoke machine. In a party where there are friends, food, and alcohol, the revelry is sparked by the magic of a microphone. Well, it’s a bonus that there’s a bit of sexiness, too. (You know, those bikini-clad videoke models who give you a sinful stare.)

A blogger-friend blurts out, however, “Whoever invented the videoke machine must be crucified”, complaining of losing sleep because of the unbearably annoying noise the monster creates. “It has made the world a less peaceful place,” he adds, and I can’t help but agree.

Of course we already know that more than sound sleep, human lives have been sacrificed at the Altar of Bidyoke. Not a few murders have occurred because the poor singer was either hopelessly off-key or was just singing with more gusto than one could bear. Last year, it was even reported that local videoke bars had stricken Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” off their song catalogues because this often led to rumbles, if not outright manslaughter attempts.

But what is it in videoke machines that draw people to it, anyway? More than the bonding that it facilitates among family and friends, videoke singing affirms the self. When you take the microphone, your otherwise-ignored voice is amplified. Instantly, you become a star. With big help from the powerful speakers, you affirm to the world, or to the extent sound vibrations reach, that you exist. When doing videoke, it does not matter if you are a tambay, a kubrador, a professor, or a doctor. For so long as your voice is loud, your scores are high. A videoke machine, like death, is a great leveler.

We may be experiencing a global economic crunch, and people are decisively working on ways to tighten their belts, but the videoke will not be missed. Filipinos hunger for food, but they hunger for attention even more. In this time of crisis, singing is a most effective, although not necessarily the safest, way to look past difficulty and survive. (At first I was afraid, I was petrified…)

Make no mistake, I am not against this ingenious Filipino invention. In fact, during my birthday, I rented our barangay’s videoke machine. (Yes, our barangay owns a unit which it rents out to constituents, at just 250 pesos—half the standard price.) But we made sure to unplug it at around 10 pm. I did not want to open a new chapter in my life by inflicting auditory torture on my fellowmen.

You see, it is both awkward and scary to ask drunken people to show some kind amount of consideration. Awkward I said because it’s not exactly flattering to be a “killjoy” to folks who just want to have fun. It is scary because heaven knows what harm may come your way in messing up with San Miguel’s disciples. And so, while sober we still were, unplug the monster we did, and did right.

But, of course, not all people share my position. Some fellows believe that by being drunk, they have earned a license to do things thoughtless. They expect everyone to understand them, unconditionally. All of a sudden they assert that the world is theirs, and that everybody should give way to their hedonistic quest. That is why they love the videoke machine, which knows no limits of merriment. In every song during the interlude, it asks with no fail: “Are you having fun?”.

This accounts for some people’s temerity to belt out songs until sunrise and in full volume. Of course, you already know that a human being’s singing prowess is inversely proportional to his/her blood’s alcohol content.

Oh, have I told you that the singing goes on even after the sun is up and bright? Machine rentals are usually on a twenty-four hour basis, and families always make sure they enjoy every centavo’s worth. When father is too intoxicated to sing and takes a nap, it’s mother’s turn, or sister’s, or brother’s, or neighbor’s. The singing does not stop until the delivery van hauls the monster away… until the next party… until the next madness.

This Christmas, I pray that those who insist on singing loudly at any time of day and night would be blessed with enough money to construct sound-proof rooms in their homes.

As I write this, videoke rent shops are now preparing for the holiday rush. Machines are now being refurbished and their song files are being updated. Boy, I’m so scared.

As a teacher and writer, I work at home as much as I toil outside of it. I cannot afford to lose whatever is left of my sleep on weekdays. And please, nobody rob me of my well-deserved peace on weekends. Listening to a badly-executed “Laklak”, “Bawal na Gamot”, or even “Arak” several times over in a day is certainly not my idea of rest.

Public officials, please help! What about some friendly regulations on the use of these monstrosities, eh?

Yes, even happiness must be regulated.

This way, ebribadi hapi.

Author: Herdy La. Yumul

A hesitant academic pimp, writer

47 thoughts on “Enay didit mhaaaaayyy weeeyyh: Sedate that Videoke Monster”

  1. You are right, there should be rules and regulations. Kairita talaga kapag madaling-araw na at ang lakas pa ng kantahan. Here, it’s up to 12 midnight. Kahit fiesta, tigil talaga ang loud speakers kapag 12 mn na. Cinderella-style.

  2. I couldn’t agree more. Although I must confess that sometimes, I forget to stop and think of my (perhaps tormented) neighbors. 😐

  3. Videoke can be really annoying. Even if the videoke is two blocks away from your house, you can still hear the voices of trying hard people.

    But I somehow understand the feeling of holding the microphone and singing loudly like it’s the end of the world. It’s like having the freedom to express yourself. It is one of the Filipino traits that I have been confused with lately. It’s right to show happiness through singing but it’s really unacceptable for a student to hear this noises while she studies for her exams.
    The bottom line is everyone has the right to be happy but should at least know their limitations.

  4. Hello, glad you remembered me. I am fine, thank you. Sika ngay? Making waves up North? With that of the bishops and everthing…lol Naimbag nga paskuam, kabsat. Sapay ta ag-meet tanto met someday.

  5. Wen a, kabsat… Apay koma met di ka malagip? Making waves? Nah… I don’t enjoy it.

    Ag-meettanto a, promise?

    Ingat kanayon.

  6. apo ading, medyo mabayag pay. Adda ak idta idi last year. Hubby was pushing me to come home this december ngem hindi kaya ng powers ko to leave him behind. Isunga tonno next year laenggen. Basta i-email ka nukwa.

  7. I cannot find any reason of the importance of existence of videoke machines. An instrument of boisterousness. i think it is true that the one who invented this contraption must be punished. It is not about freedom in expressing yourselves but it’s just working out your mouth in uttering melodies, rythm and the lyrics. One thing is that these automatons was created for the fun of those in the middle class. Can you imagine a socialite singing in a videoke machine? Of course most of the beneficiaries of this apparatus are dipsomaniacs which usually belong to the middle class. We cannot predict what might these boozers would do if a videoke machine was presented in front of them. One thing for sure is that the effect of this “thing” is sleepless neighbors. Well we could imagine that they might shout up to their lungs singing until the sun shows up it’s face. I admit that this is a good thing for business but it is still a cause for arguments, quarrel, riots and anything gore. For example the most contoversial song “I did it my way” which is the cause of some deaths on some videoke bars. Better stay away from danger so If I’m going to establish a business I won’t choose videoke bars and the like.

    After all, people just like to have fun but they should always consider moderation in everything that we do.

  8. Hi Herdy,

    I lost your email account so I thought I’d communicate with you through your blog.

    I enjoy reading your latest post. I’ve never been in a karaoke for a long time… but growing in the same barangay as you, I can empathize your call a more “silent night” festivities.

    Anyway, hope all is well with you.

    I just wanted to share a these songs that can be downloaded for free (for the next 48 hours) from Oprah’s website:


    I have downloaded them and currently listening to these songs. What a great Christmas selections!

    Have a wonderful Holiday Season.


    Here’s the list:
    Holiday Hits 2008

    Faith Hill, “Joy to the World” from the album Joy to the World
    Tony Bennett, “I’ll be Home for Christmas” from the album A Swingin’ Christmas
    Il Divo, “O Holy Night” from the album The Christmas Collection
    Josh Groban, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” from the album Noel
    Brian McKnight, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” from the album I’ll Be Home for Christmas
    Amy Grant, “O Come All Ye Faithful” from the album The Christms Collection
    Harry Connick Jr., “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas” from the album What a Night! A Christmas Album
    Aretha Franklin, “Silent Night” from the album This Christmas

    Hope you read this before the offer expires… 🙂

  9. Videoke machines are really disturbing. People living near our house often rent a videoke machine and it is really bad because I can’t sleep.
    But of course we could not argue to them because the truth is that Filipinos really enjoy singing even if they do not have the talent on it.
    For the people who are fond of using the videoke machines, they should learn to consider the people who are affected near them.

  10. videoke machine is really a monster and it does not bring any importance in the society. some says that you can practice singing in it but for me there are more peaceful way on how to sing. you can do it in your bathroom for you to hear your voice fully and loudly,.,

    this videoke just bring noise in the environment this 24th day of December and it invites people to go on a Noche Buena and drink over night and when 25 comes everybody are sleeping already and they cannot celebrate that birthday of our Savior with joy and liveliness in the exact date of His Birthday.
    this monster will really eat all the most peaceful place in the whole Philippines!

  11. Tin, thanks… Have downloaded the songs… We are from the same barangay? The Tin I know is not from Barangay 5, Laoag City..

  12. Videoke machines are so distracting specially when you want to sleep but the voice/noice of the one who is singing is not that good in the ears.

    You cannot stop them from singing ‘coz they will get angry to you.Mahirap magkaroon ng kaaway at ang dahilan lamang ay ang videoke.
    People who will rent videoke machines this christmas should think twice ‘coz it’s more MERRY if they celebrate christmas in a peaceful way.


  13. videoke machine is really disturbing to us most especially during sleeping time. mostly, they rent videoke when X-mas, B-day, graduation and new year. i always irritated when my cousins, aunts and my sisters singing in the videoke.nakakabingi kasi eh.
    sabi nila, you will learn to sing by the aid of videoke but for me its not. honestly speaking, i’d never tried to sing in a videoke. ewan ko ba kung bakit. pag nagrent na mga anti ko ng vidoeke, nagkukulong na ako sa kwarto ko dahil sa ingay nito.

  14. Every litlle things in this world has its own advantages and disadvantages like a videoke machine.
    Yes!It disturb neighbors and creates trouble because of misunderstanding sometimes.
    But videoke is also significant because it serves as an entertainment among barkadas, families and friends. Also, you can enhance your singing talent through singing on the videoke.
    Again, videoke is not that bad but only needs a considerable amount of discipline.,,.

  15. .thanks for the videoke machine because it helped me took away boredom during the eve of dec 24, until dawn. well, if not because of this machine i might had just felt asleep after eating the noche bunea in our house and in my friends’. if not because of this machine i might had celebrated the x mas eve with the TV or the computer or with my cellphone(eh walang pang unli nun.)
    .i guess it isn’t that bad to stay till dawn singing in the videoke machine, for as long as:
    1. you have good voice, i mean pleasant and soothing to the ears.
    2. you’re not to sing rock songs(especially those hard-core rock)
    3. you’re having fun with your friends
    4. you set the volume at its minimum(for at least at 1-6 am you’re not disturbing your sleeping neighbors.
    5. WALANG INUMAN para walang away
    ..ganyan ung ginawa namin kaya di kami napagalitan.nagstay kami until 6:30 am (dec 25)hahaha

  16. I strongly disagree that no celebration is complete without a videoke  machine. “I remember wayback in high school during our christmas celebration, we exert so much effort in contributing money just for us to rent a videoke machine because we thought that it would make the party more fun and exciting. But in the end, instead of having fun only few of us enjoyed the pleasure of singing and the rest (including me)were end up bored. It only destroy the essence of the ocassion.”I dont see the importance of this machine in this world. It only creates trouble and disturbances among people. Its a money-eater machine that didnt serve any purpose and were just wasting our money in renting it!

  17. I will definitely agree for a proposal in making some friendly regulations regarding the use of videoke machine.The disturbance this monster creates really annoys me.One time in our dormitory,our neighborhood rented a videoke and then they played songs from 7 in the evening until 3 the following morning. I was disrupted and could not concentrate reviewing.So problem like this deserves immediate action from the public officials.It is not being killjoy but we should also know our limitations in using this machine.

  18. the machine serves as a recreation instrument,helping us to somehow unwind. Aside from being a way to practice our voice lessons,it also entertain and gives us fun..Of course,during birthday parties,get- togethers,picnics,and other occasions it is very rare case that the machine is not there but we must never forget when to stop.,we always find joy in singing using the videoke machine no doubt,but do the people around us also enjoy the disturbing or the very loud sound coming from it?maybe we can use it one-to-sawa if we modulate the volume of it in tolerable volume..

  19. I agree there should be rules on vedioke and with neighbors who got a magic sing mic. We have this neighbors now which started singing at 8am in the morning till 10am.. and 1pm to4pm and sometimes sings at 7 to9pm at nite…Its too intimidating, When in the morning ur still wanted to sleep more and just be up because of this loud voice. and the voice which sounds like a monster shouting and growling. I think we should have laws on this..Its a big Public distrubance. I just hope and pray we will have this law for vedioke monster singers

  20. icannot sleep even with my ac highest volume over there.over here when your neighbors get rowdy and loud after9 p.m. you call the cops and they will take care of it.

    1. Right. We really have to regulate the monster box. So, you did not go out and kick ass? Am surprised.

  21. i just stayed in my bedroom reading and then stared at my 4 walls and look at picture ,albums if i should have known you then i would have woken you up and talked your ears off..he he.

  22. no we were so sheltered growing up..my dad being a cop in batac no man can come near our house.not even to serenade us (agtapat) it was only when we were in the city in college that we were exposed to kanto terms etc..i am surprised we did not have culture shock from provincial to city life!!

  23. no.even my husband..when i met him in 1971 .he was a smoker and a drinker.and he havent drank or smoke since then..

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