Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Michael Jackson's Dangerous Taipei 93'

Michael Jackson's Taipei Dangerous tour 93' at the Taipei Municipal Stadium

In the previous article "Michael Jackson Embarked on The Asia Dangerous Tour with China Airlines", Bill Bray was referred to as Michael's agent, as many of you already know he was in fact Michael's head of security and had been since the early 1970's before retiring in the mid 1990's. Bill was almost like a father figure to Michael and can often be seen everywhere with him. The photo of him accompanying Michael and his nephews (3T) shown in the previous article was taken as they were leaving Taiwan for Fukuoka, Japan in September 1993. The caption has been corrected as it was not part of the same story.

As I had written in an earlier blog the unprecedented press attention Michael received in Taipei was largely due to Michael's super star status and the fact that he was holding concerts on the island for the first time. Unfortunately it was a difficult time for Michael because the news of the first child abuse allegations had just come out, which had been causing lots of emotional distress to Michael, good friend Elizabeth Taylor and some family members flew out to be with him. Despite the allegations, it seemed to do little to affect his popularity in Taiwan. Michael was soon back to his feet and delivered two very successful concerts in Taipei. However, he didn't make many public appearances during his visit apart from two hours shopping at a local Toys R Us store with his nephews which caused quite a bit of stir in the capital.

There is footage of a news report (1st vid below) featuring Michael leaving Taiwan for Japan the day after his final show. Press from all networks were deployed, with TV crews pursuing him all the way to the airport. They had a brief encounter with the King of Pop at the China Airlines VIP suit before boarding his private jet to Japan. There was an interesting disagreement between Michael and Bill Bray in the VIP suit, when Michael surprisingly agree to the request of the press for some live TV appearances. Maybe being protective of Michael, Bill kept interrupting the filming process by blocking the camera trying to stop the filming. Michael seemed both annoyed and amused, but insisted on finishing the filming."I love you Taipei and I miss you very much, see you next time! Love the children!" he spoke.

The public were pleasantly surprised seeing the friendly and gracious side of the King of Pop. Just before boarding the plane, Michael made a real effort to greet people around him and generally show his appreciation to all the fans that came to see him off, with smiles and flying kisses.

©2011 PeiLing

Michael arrived at Taipei for his first concert tour in the country. 03 September 93'

Bill Bray led Michael through the cheering crowd to check in
to the Grand Regent Formosa Hotel

Michael waved to the fans from his hotel room

Michael shopping at the local Toy R Us store with his nephews
Michael leaving Taipei at the airport heading for Japan, 07 September 93'

Michael Jackson's farewell to Taipei

TV preview of Michael's first Taipei concert opening with stunning live
performance 'Jam'. (With rather frenzy background commentary!)

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Michael Jackson Embarked On The Asia Dangerous Tour With China Airlines

China Airlines Oct. 1993 "Dynasty" magazine featured Michael Jackson 

Many thanks to "MJinmyheart" for sharing this great magazine article about Michael Jackson on the Taiwan MJ fan site last year. The article was published in Chinese in 1993 and gives some rare glimpses of the King of Pop days before the news of the 1st child abuse allegation broke. This was soon to overshadow the rest of his Dangerous tour. I've summarised the article in English below:

The background:

As people know Michael Jackson came to Taiwan in 93' for the Dangerous Tour. What many people may not be aware of was that before he began the Asian leg of the Dangerous tour, he briefly flew into Taiwan before departing to Bangkok for his first concert. He flew China Airlines, a Taiwanese based company.

The China Airlines "Dynasty Magazine" featured Michael in their October issue, it was not only about his Taipei concert, but also revealed details of him as the the airline's secret VIP passenger.

Possibly to confuse the press, instead of flying his own private jet to Bangkok, Michael set off for Bangkok a day earlier than planned, via San Francisco to Taipei for the connection flight to Bangkok. To avoid the unnecessary press attention, the schedule was kept confidential, it was only leaked to the Taiwanese press the next day by passengers who recognised Michael, and later confirmed by the Airlines.

Extracts from the article reveal the cabin crews on meeting Michael Jackson...

Without anyone noticing, Michael Jackson was the last passenger at the last minute to board the China Airlines CI-003 from San Francisco wearing his hat and surgical mask. He sat at the front by the window in the first class cabin with his agent (Michael's security Bill Bray). He arrived at the Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport around 19.30pm on 21st August. Michael was greeted on board by the company head of the public relations Mr. Luo and other senior members before they briefly took a walk "sightseeing" the transfer area.

Luo recalled that Michael kept praising the display of the hallway, walking back and forth a few times, excited like a big kid, he seemed to be very happy to be on the island of Taiwan for the first time. Mr. Luo spent nearly an hour talking with Michael, he later spoke of his amazement at how child like, well mannered and easy going that he was. Michael's long thick eyelashes and charming big brown eyes were most memorable.

At 20.30 before all other passengers, Michael boarded the next plane CI-065 heading to Bangkok, unknown to the cabin crew. As usual they were busy preparing for taking off, when they unexpectedly saw Michael, the whole crew were in complete disbelief! Michael who apparently owned 4 private jets, recognised the plane that he was traveling in as the brand new MD-11!

However, the first crew members on the CI-003 included chief cabin Mr. Zhang, air attendance Ms. Zhu and Ms. Liu who had flown in with the pop icon via San Francisco, they felt exceptionally honoured to meet Michael. All complimented on his charm and good manners after spending time with him on the long haul flight.

Zhang recalled that after Michael boarded the plane, he expressed his wish to catch up on some sleep, as he had not slept the previous night due to various things to do with his tour. After the plane took off, he soon fell asleep for 5-6 hours. Zhang was surprised that a super star such as Michael Jackson, appeared to be so kind, pure and innocent, which was beyond his expectation. After Michael woke up, he went into the kitchen to check things out and chatted to everyone, he even got himself some children's toys and stickers. There was no doubt that he really adored children, when he was asked to sign a photo of an air attendant's two year old daughter, Michael took as long as 5 seconds looking at the photo before putting the pen down.

Zhu said that the crew were excited to meet Michael, but only herself alongside with colleague Liu were privileged to look after him. Michael chatted to them a lot, and often showed his appreciation for their work. Michael was not a big eater, he preferred vegetarian food, so he didn't eat much on the flight. He mainly accepted almonds and peanut type snacks. Zhu said Michael wasn't fussy about wine glasses, he had white wine in a coffee cup, and only had an apple and yogurt for breakfast. The crew also noted his caring side, when he woke up in the dark just before breakfast, trying not to disturb other passengers while looking out of the window, he thoughtfully covered up his head and the window with a blanket to stop the light coming in.

Liu also recalled some memorable moments with Michael. She gave Michael orange juice after he asked for her recommendation, she also let Michael borrow her "Polo" fragrance to spray himself, and even gave Michael her China Airlines Eagle badge, pinning it on Michael's shirt after he had shown his admiration for it. But for Liu, the most memorable moment with the King of Pop was when she was putting a blanket on him ready for sleep, and wished him a good dream, Michael was moved by the gesture, sincerely like a boy, and said to her "I love you", which really warmed her heart....

Apart from a few hours sleep, the rest of the time Michael was actively chatting to the crew, looking through the window, playing poker with his agent and reading the airline magazine. He even bought a toy plane watch.

The plane journey went very smoothly, Michael didn't forget to pay compliments to the chief pilot Mr. Cao. He cheered as soon as the plane landed, his child like spirit was contagious, all the other passengers were soon cheering along with him!

Before getting off the plane, lots of passengers and the crew couldn't resist asking Michael for his autograph which he was happy to give. Senior air attendants later commented about their years of experience in dealing with international stars, Michael was the most sincere and approachable, something they would never forget!

It was a very rare occasion for Michael to be on board a commercial flight. He was especially grateful for the excellent service he received from the flight attendants, and expressed that he would fly China Airlines again if the opportunity arose. In fact, his agent did just that the next day, by cancelling his original booking with other airlines and again flying with China Airlines back to the US!

©2011 PeiLing
Above: Michael with chief pilot Mr. Cao
Below: Michael leaving Taiwan at the airport after the Taipei Dangerous tour
in September 1993
Michael with Chief cabin Mr. Zhang and air attendant Ms. Zhu 
Michael leaving Taiwan at the airport for the next Dangerous tour city Fukuoka, Japan
on September 07, 1993.
The magazine coverage of the Taipei Dangerous tour concerts in Taiwan
that took place on 04, 06 September 1993.


(Update) A precious photo for the Airlines and its members to remember Michael

Saturday, 28 May 2011

The Taiwanese Connection

Cindera Che with Michael Jackson in "Smooth Criminal" music video

We all know that Michael Jackson was the first black artist to break down racial barriers with his iconic "Billie Jean" on MTV's playlist. It was a huge break through in the early 80's, his influence in music videos changed the way people listen to music, it also helped popularise the newly established and relatively unknown MTV channel that ironically had perviously ignored the work of black artists.

After his unforeseen success for his "Thriller" album, Michael became an international super star, despite his often misunderstood image troubled by vitiligo, he very much took pride in his background. In his own words "I'm a black American, I am proud of my race, I am proud of who I am, I have a lot of pride and dignity." And his love for all people, "I love the people of all races from my heart, with true affection." He once said during an interview with Oprah in 1992. In fact, he had long ago conveyed his belief in racial diversity and equality in many of his music videos involving people from different ethnic background.

Also not to forget one good example is his 1991 music video "Black or White", which he displays and celebrated cultural and racial diversity. Another that stands out for me is his 1987 piece "Smooth Criminal", with his famous iconic anti gravity lean, as part of the short film "Moonwalker". Michael indicated it as one of his favourite, and the most talked about piece than any others that he's done ( in MJ's Private Home Movie). It featured an Oriental female dancer, in an underground 1930's nightclub sep up.


This mysterious Oriental dancer is Cindera Che, original from Taipei, Taiwan. She is a professional dancer and choreographer, "Smooth Criminal" was her best know appearance as a lead dancer. To me this shows Michael's vision of bringing people from different background to the main stream, especially after his own struggle to break into the music business.


Cindera was born in Taiwan and started dancing at the age of 6, she moved to the US when she was 14 to carry on her dream of dancing. Working with Michael Jackson was undoubtedly a dream came true for her. In a recent interview, she commented about working with Michael: "Michael was a perfectionist, one thing that I always remember about Michael was he was always on, and how hard he worked, and rehearsed, if he missed something, he never get frustrated and never complain, he just does it again and again...". She probably never thought at the time that the music video she took part in would go down in history as one of Michael's most memorable and iconic pieces, certainly Michael's hard work had paid off. Apart form working with Michael, she also worked with other legends in the music world, including Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and all the Jackson brothers.

After Michael passed away in June 2009, the Rev.Al Sharpton payed his tribute: "Michael Jackson made culture accept a person of colour way before Tiger Wood, way before Oprah Winfrey, way before Barack Obama. Michael did with music what they later did in sports, in politics and in television. And no controversy will erase the historic impact."

Michael Jackson was truly an innovator, apart form his great musical talent, he indeed inpacted a new era of pop culture which influenced a new generation of artists from Justin Timberlake ot Usher and Chris Brown (see article). All these came from just one person in a 50 years of life span. Certainly without his legacy and influences, the world could be very different today.

Friday, 18 March 2011

A Rare TV Commercial By Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson was the spokesman for the "Esonic DiscBaby" 

Michael did quite a few TV commercials, What many people may not know was that he also did a TV commercial for a Taiwanese high tech company, promoting a portable disc player called "Esonic DiscBaby" in 1997.

According to the CTI News source the disc player was first developed by a company called "Esonic"( 億碩 ), and it was a first of its kind at the time. Michael was given the new player to try out during his History tour in Taiwan in 1996, he loved it! Unsurprisingly the company wasted no time in asking the King of Pop to be the spokesman for its product. Michael agreed and the pay deal was a record breaker at the time, said to be the highest for a TV commercial in the country, rumoured to be over 10 million NT dollars, around 350,000 US dollars for less than a minute long commercial.

The twins Prety and Morly also appeared in the TV commercial 

In fact, according to another source, Michael's Taiwanese friends Mrs. Ma and her husband were said to have pulled a few strings to make the deal happen. They and their twins were following Michael at the time, during the 2nd leg of the History tour. Michael signed a three-year contract with an Esonic representative in June 1997, while on tour in Bremen, Germany.

The commercial was filmed in the US in October, 1997, mainly for the Asian Market. It also featured the young Omer Bhatti, and Ma's twin daughters Prety and Morly (Video below at 0.49)

Time has moved on, the product is long outdated and Michael Jackson the Pop icon is no longer with us....

©2011 PeiLing

Source: Taiwan CTI News,  Michael Jackson, A visual documentary 1958-2009 (Book)
             1997 Esonic 億碩 影音播放機 代言

Michael Jackson's TV Commercial for Esonic DiscBaby

Taiwan CTI News report (Mandarin audio, includes unseen clips of Michael Jackson)