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Friday, June 26, 2009

In Memoriam: Michael Joseph Jackson (1958 - 2009)

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Walski won’t lie to you – he’s never been a big fan of Michael Jackson. Or much of any size fan. Or, a fan of most pop, for that matter. Not in Walski’s adult life, at least – his cuppa tea’s always been music with more edge.

Some people prefer stuff that’s “popular”, since everybody else likes it. Easier to fit in, he reckons, when you roam in bigger numbers – but Walski’s always preferred to rock to the beat of a different drum machine. That’s just the way he rolls…

That said, Walski will admit this: the world of pop culture lost a major icon today. And rightfully, the entire world today mourns Michael Jackson’s passing. He died early today, succumbing to a cardiac arrest. He was 50 (just a couple of months short of turning 51).

The boy had talent, and he certainly could dance – like no other person had danced before, or likely would again.

As an artist, Michael Jackson went through various stages of metamorphosis – from the young but talented baby brother in the Jackson 5, to the enigmatically bizarre pop icon. But in between, thru the many stages of change, he gave to the world what he will be best remembered for – hit and hip pop tunes and superhuman dance moves. In spades.

The King of Pop may be dead, but his legacy will live on for generations to come. 
(a Black and White tribute, and more, in the full post)

He has contributed much to the world of popular music and popular culture during his lifetime. About that, there is no doubt.

Walski could probably write a lot about Michael Jackson – the good, the bad, and the outrageously bizarre – despite not being a fan. But that would probably be a rehash of the millions of tribute pieces that would have been written by now.

Instead, Walski would like to highlight a side of Michael Jackson that many didn’t pay much attention to – his philanthropy. In year 2000, the Guinness Book of Records listed him as supporting 39 different charities. He also founded the Heal The World Foundation in 1992, aimed at providing assistance to the underprivileged. Jackson also spoke up for HIV/AIDS in the early 90’s, at a time when such action was still considered controversial.

Finally, Michael Jackson did leave one legacy behind that is entirely Malaysian. It’s probably something even the late King of Pop didn’t know about.

A toast to the late King of Pop, image hosting by Photobucket

It’s called the Black & White – a mixture of soy bean milk and grass jelly. Generally known as Soya Cincau locally in Malaysia, it earned the nickname Black & White partly in honor of the King of Pop. Another nickname for this drink is, in fact, Michael Jackson – supposedly given by some coffee shop owner somewhere. A tongue in cheek tribute, but a tribute nonetheless.

In any case, Walski had this at lunch, while offering a silent toast to the departed pop icon… for all that Michael Jackson had given to the world of popular culture.

Here’s to you, Michael… thank you, on behalf of your many fans. May you finally find your eternal Neverland, and may your soul rest in peace. Until, of course, it’s time to put those dancing shoes on again, for that great gig in the sky…

Black Or White also happens to be one Michael Jackson song Walski actually kind of likes. For a couple of reasons – like the fact it came with an absolutely fantasticool video, particularly the morphing bits towards the end. But more importantly, because the song is about breaking down barriers of race and color – something that a color-blind person like Walski strongly believes in, too.

And it’s something that Walski thought most appropriate to close this post with.

The King is Dead… Long Live The King… forever in our memories.

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