Tag Archive for 'Michael Jackson'

Reactions to Michael Jackson’s death in Asia

The death of Michael Jackson has unleashed a lot of craziness here in Los Angeles, as it has been the location of his death and memorial service, as well as “home base” for the Jackson Family (via their Encino compound).

But all over the world, the outpouring of emotion over Michael Jackson’s passing has been a its own kinds of crazy. Fans all over the world have been following the ongoing saga, but how have Asian fans been reacting? See this CNN video which includes an interesting comment by a Japanese woman: “I am surprised by his death but I understand why he had a short life: he didn’t seem like a happy person.”

What about in other parts of Asia? For those of us in North America, MJ’s death broke during the middle of the day, but in Asia, early risers were the first to hear the news. OneIndia reported the following:

Indian fans resorted to the internet, news websites, blogs and foreign channels. Social Networking sites like Facebook, Orkut and Twitter soon became the destination for sharing and grieving.

According to media reports, the SMS networks in India registered a significant rise in traffic after 4:30 am on Friday, Jun 26.

Many Chinese were affected deeply as MJ’s passing signified the demise of the icon that exposed the China to the outside world. Many people in the U.S. don’t realize that the release of “Thriller” in the 1980s was one of the first times Western (American) pop music to make it into China. Maybe that’s why there are already investors in Shanghai who are already talking about building a small scale version of Neverland in China.

Elsewhere, the Filipino prisoners, who became famous via their version of Thriller on YouTube, completed a tribute to Michael Jackson complete with a giant banner of Michael Jackson on June 27, 2009… that is “10 hours after receiving word that the King of Pop passed away.”

Speaking of quick turnarounds, “two Chinese writers locked themselves up with coffee and cigarettes, no cellphones and no sleep for 48 hours — and emerged with a finished Michael Jackson biography. “Moonwalk in Paradise” hit shelves this weekend, fewer than 10 days after the pop star’s death.”

The newspaper China Daily reported:

The 130,000-word book, titled “Moonwalk in Paradise — the Michael Jackson biography,” written by Jiang Xiaoyu and Xing Han, and published by Chinese publishing house Xiandai was available for pre-order sales online on Friday and on bookshelves Saturday. …

A report in China Youth Daily said the writers never met or interviewed Jackson and simply wrote the story from their “accumulated knowledge about the king of pop.”…

[co-author Jiang Xiaoyu said] “I am not only a music critic but also a fan of the King of Pop, so I understand what fans really need…. fans cannot wait for months.”

I, for one, have no idea how long it would take me to come up with 130,000 words, so props to these guys for cranking it all out. Of course, there’s no saying how accurate or well-written this book is, but in today’s world of “instant information,” authors do have to move fast. “Instant Michael Jackson books” have already been released in the U.S., too.

As for my personal memories of Michael Jackson music from my childhood? My parents were pretty strict about what kind of music we listened to (mostly classical music), but “Thriller” was so pervasive, even I managed to persuade an uncle into getting me a copy of the album. I think I can safely say this now, but my copy of “Thriller” was on cassette tape, obviously some sort of bootleg tape from Taiwan with the lyrics of the album poorly “translated” into Engrish inserted. I’m not certain, but I think this may partly explain why I never know the words to any songs. Shamone!

Judith Hill: The woman who sang “We Are The World” and “Heal the World” at the Michael Jackson Memorial

judithhillThough many of my friends were lucky enough to receive tickets for Michael Jackson’s Memorial at Staples Center, I was just grateful to have a job where I could work from home and avoid getting on any roads until it was all over. I brought my laptop into my TV room and worked with the Memorial playing in the background.

While there were many heartfelt speeches and performances, my attention was piqued three distinct times:

1) Al Sharpton mentions Asians!
Al said, “It was Michael Jackson who brought Blacks & Whites & Asians & Latinos together. It was Michael Jackson that made us sing We are the World.” Whoo! It’s not just about being black or white… there are other colors, too!

2) Asian-looking woman singing “We Are The World” and “Heal the World.”
Because the performers for “We Are the World” and “Heal the World” were not identified in the handouts at the Staples Center, a lot of people were wondering who this mystery singer was. Rolling Stone later revealed her identity as Judith Hill, a Pasadena, California-based vocalist who was to be one of the backup singers for Jackson’s This Is It! concerts at London’s O2 Arena. And, yes, it turns out this woman is indeed partly-Asian, her bio says: “Judith was born in Los Angeles and raised in a family of musicians. Her mother is an immigrant from Japan who met her father in a funk band in the 1970s.” (Check her myspace!) I thought she did an amazing job, especially considering that she and many of the other performers on stage were actually rehearsing with Michael just two weeks ago for the shows in London. This must have been a very emotional time for them, as well.

3) Paris Jackson’s heartfelt words of love for her Dad
Ok, so this one had no Asian connection, but having lost my father three years ago, I know how painful it is to lose someone you love like that. There is nothing quite like being Daddy’s Little Girl. And little Paris, who had the eyes of the world on her, was so very brave to speak from the heart in front of all those people like that.

Photo of Judith Hill from her website: http://judithhillmusic.com

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