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.
The evening began jovially enough when Mr Yun, the owner of a noodle shop in the central Chinese city of Xi'an, invited his family to celebrate Qixi, China's Valentine's Day, with a singing session at a local karaoke parlour.
But by 11pm, there was discord in the room. Mr Yun's four-year-old son was hogging the microphone and his parents were indulging him.
Two of the boy's uncles began chastising Mr Yun and his wife for having raised a spoilt child; a "Little Emperor", as the Chinese say.
According to the Xi'an police, the argument became heated to the point where the two uncles began pushing, and then punching, Mr Yun.
Finally, Mr Yun's nephew, who also worked in the noodle shop, ran back to the restaurant and fetched a meat cleaver.
The man, named as Mr Hui, hacked the two uncles to death, inflicting at least ten wounds on each uncle. He has since been arrested.
There is no shortage of criticism inside China for the bad behaviour of the Little Emperors, the children raised under the one-child policy and doted on by their parents.
Karaoke, meanwhile, is taken very seriously not just in China, but throughout Asia, where singing rivals alcohol as a social lubricant.
Other karaoke massacres have taken place in the Philippines, where the Frank Sinatra song "My Way" has had to be removed from many songbooks after sub-standard renditions provoked a string of killings.
In Thailand, meanwhile, a man shot eight of his neighbours, including his brother-in-law, after tiring of their tuneless reprisals of John Denver's "Country Roads".
In the United States, a woman punched a man for continuing to sing Coldplay's "Yellow" after she had told him he was not up to the task.
By Malcolm Moore Telegraph.co.uk