The Cable

Watch: Duterte’s Karaoke Performance Is Most Definitely the Wind Beneath Our Wings

But he should probably stick to his day job.


Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte isn’t really known for his good PR skills. From telling U.S. President Barack Obama to “go to hell” to giving the EU his middle finger, to calling Pope Francis a “son of a whore,” Duterte’s time in the international news hasn’t exactly been flattering.

But this week he decided to take a different tack to international diplomacy: karaoke. During a Thursday night state dinner in Kuala Lumpur, he joined Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for a, um, lovely rendition of everyone’s favorite 1970’s hit, “Sha-La-La-La-La.”

Duterte also gave a touching solo performance of “Wind Beneath My Wings” by Bette Midler. Not to be outdone, Najib sang “The Young Ones” by Cliff Richard to the entertained audience.

We don’t fault either for trying to sing, but both leaders should probably stick with their day jobs. At least it wasn’t as bad as that time in 2015 NATO foreign ministers all sang “We are the World” together on stage, which is, frankly, painful to watch.

Photo credit: NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images

Robbie Gramer is a diplomacy and national security reporter at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @RobbieGramer

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