Friday, 9 November 2012

Remembering Michael From Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

While the King of Pop may no longer among us, there is no doubt he will have eternal life in the memory of his fans and the fortunate few who had the chance to meet him in person.

One such lucky fan was Badrul Hisham, 46, food and beverage manager of Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur. In 1996, when Michael Jackson performed in Malaysia, Badrul was the butler assigned to the star's suite.

Forever in memory: Badrul was presented an
autographed picture by the star himself before he left.
It reads, 'Badrul, love knowing you'

"He was a quiet but beautiful and polite man," recalled Badrul.

Based upon his observation during the star's week-long stay, Badrul remembered Jackson for wearing a "Do Not Disturb" sign around his neck and generally spoke very little. The demeanour changed when Badrul's boss, Tan Sri Syed Yusof brought 15 children aged between five and seven to his suite.

"He was very happy to see them. He and the children made a mess of the place by spraying silly string all over the place and by popping the hundreds of balloons that we had put in there. You could see that this was a man who loved children," said Badrul.

Badrul also confirmed the star's playful nature.

"Jackson had a toy police car which he'd push around the suite. He would shoot at balloons with a pop gun. I also remember him sending his staff out to get video tapes of Tom and Jerry and Mickey Mouse," he recalled.

The young butler also recalled dealing with an anxious Michael who got a stomach ache after consuming some tandoori chicken.

"But he liked it so much that he ate it again for several days," said Badrul who revealed that the star also liked ice-cream and M&Ms.

When it was time for the star to depart, Jackson personally gave Badrul an autographed picture of himself as a sign of appreciation.

While Jackson may have come across as 'childlike' to many, Syed Yusof, the man responsible for bringing the King of Pop to Malaysia said that Jackson was a true professional and a perfectionist.

Meeting of a lifetime: Syed Yusof Wafa, a freelance journalist
and former artist, had personally presented Jackson with a collection
of celebrity paintings when he met the star in his suite

"He was always very concerned about his fans. On the first day, when we went to Toys 'R' Us to buy presents for the children of Rumah Ozanam, I was concerned by the crowed that had gathered there and suggested tat we cancel that outing. But Michael insisted on going because he didn't want to disappoint his fans," said Yusof.

Yusof, who described the late star as 'energetic', recalled how worried he had been when Jackson called him up one night because he couldn't sleep. But, he waved aside notions of Jackson as a difficult person.

"One example was when one of the children I brought asked him about his nose. He didn't get offended at all," he said.

The demise of pop's living legend came as a shock to Yusof as his brother, Jermaine told him that 'Michael was doing very well' only a month ago.

I love you: This painting, done by local artist and actor,
Imuda, best captures Jackson's on-stage persona.
Notice the words, 'love' and 'cinta' penned by the star himself

It was a sad day for him when a friend SMSed to announce that the star had passed away.

"Michael was a warm and caring person and this showed in the way he used the word 'love' so often in his speech. All those negative rumours about him are all lies," said Yusof.

Syed Yusof Wafa, 38, can attest to this. He had spend 25 minutes in the King of Pop's suite when he presented him with a collection of celebrity drawings.

"He greeted me warmly and told me that he loved art and drawing. He also admired the locket I was wearing at that time," remembers Wafa of his meeting with the star in 1996.

Nadarajan R. Govindan, 41, an MJ impersonator who won the Malaysian Michael Jackson Competition in 1993, remembered camping in front of the hotel for two days to catch a glimpse of his favourite performer.

Though Nadarajan did not get to meet Jackson, he reacted very emotionally on hearing the news.

The father of five, who started impersonating Jackson in 1980, said that the world will mourn the passing of a great legend.


Michael Jackson signing autographs for children of Rumah Ozanam at the
Concorde Hotel during his visit to Kuala Lumpur in October 1996

Michael Jackson History tour in Malaysia in 1996

Friday, 2 November 2012

My visit to the Michael Jackson's Wardrobe in London

Michael Jackson's Wardrobe giant poster

Just been to the collection of Tompkins and Bush: Michael Jackson's Wardrobe in Westfield, Stratford today. It was a much smaller collection than I saw at the O2 in 2010.

I managed to get a few photos:

Outside the gallery

Jackson 5 poster

Giant poster of Michael during Bad era

MJ's signed napkin

MJ's signed pillow case

The exhibition has extended to 17 November, so there are still time for UK fans to pay a visit to see some of Michael's iconic fashion and items.

my ticket today 
For more pictures from the exhibition visit:

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Michael Jackson and People/Children of the World

The song "People of the World" and its story (see details below) was the inspiration for the video of "Michael Jackson and The Children of the World". Not just to convey his global message of love, peace and unity for all races, it's also about his under reported humanitarian efforts to help the world, especially the disadvantaged children.

Michael Jackson and The Children of the World (with "People of the World" Instrumental)

People of The World - J-FRIENDS (Michael Jackson)

In 1999, Michael Jackson wrote, composed and produced the song "People of the World" for the Japanese Pop group  J-FRIENDS in support of the Kobe relief effort.

Michael wrote this song for the children in Kobe, where a devastating earthquake killed more than 5000 people in 1995.

He offered to work with J-FRIENDS, who were then planning a charity project for the Kobe children, and co-produced this song with Japanese producer Yasushi Akimoto.

The single 'People of the World' was released on January 13, 1999.

J-Friends recorded their version based on MJ's demo, here is an English translation of the Japanese lyrics (source)

People of the World (Lyrics translation)
Written by Michael Jackson
Arranged by Michael Jackson, Yasushi Akimoto

(1st verse)
You came to me and shown me
That love is the answer
I will save you, protect you from everything
We should live in togetherness with one another

People all over the world
When you start to lend a helping hand
You can make it a better place
This song is for you
To bring love and harmony to this world

(2nd verse)
I can hear people crying
my heart weeps when I see your tears
I will give my shoulder whenever you need
So let us sing together

People all over the world
Your smile makes me smile
You can make our future brighter
Let the world shine with happy smiles

Repeat chorus 1 and 2

Voice by a child: "Together we sing to make a better world....."

Check out below Michael Jackson's original demo which came out in 2014.

J-FRIENDS: People of The World (Michael Jackson)

Michael Jackson's demo for People of the World (2014)

Friday, 19 October 2012

Michael Jackson Visits a Home for Disadvantaged Children in Taiwan

Michael Jackson visits a home for the children with learning difficulty
in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in October 19, 1996

Being the biggest pop icon in the world, Michael never forgot those less fortunate, especially children. During his world tours he would often take time to visit children in hospitals or orphanages around the world.

16 years ago on the day while on History tour in Kaohsiung, Taiwan on 19, October 1996, Michael visited a home (Home Without Barriers) for disadvantaged children who have learning difficulties or were handicapped. He removed his dark glasses and mask and greeted the children face to face with a warm smile.

Michael appeared very happy and relaxed among the children, he was not a super star, but a big kid with friendly smile, even though the children didn't really know who he was!

During the visit, Michael was more than happy to become one of the spectators and watch the children perform. He cheered and gave big praises by raising his thumb while watching two 'little Michaels' performing 'Jam' and other performances by other children, includes a violin performance played by a blind boy.

Before leaving Michael personally handed out 150 gifts to all the children, he also left his signature and hand prints onto a wall canvas among other children's, as if he was part of their big family. Those rare happy moments filled everyone's face with a big smile, just like a big happy family.

Michael's rarely known loving and caring side indeed made a lasting impression to everyone.

Translated from news article

©2012 PeiLing

Michael Jackson Visits a Children's Home in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, 1996


Monday, 25 June 2012

CoCo Lee Remembers Michael

CoCo Lee and Michael in Seoul on 25 June 1999

A Chinese American, CoCo Lee has an international singing career after becoming successful in Taiwan. She is best known for her song "A love before time: for the Chinese Kung Fu epic"Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". The song was nominated for Academy Award for best song which she performed at an Oscar ceremony in 2001.

Like many others, Lee grew up with Michael's music. His music influenced her hugely as a singer, she's also one of a lucky few who knew Michael personally. When she first heard about Michael's death, she simply could not believe it. Saddened by the news, she recounted her time with the King of Pop to a Hong Kong newspaper in 2009. Describing him as a really nice and kind person who had lots of empathy for others, with a pure and childlike innocence.

Lee recalled her first meeting with her idol Michael Jackson, which was arranged by her manager Jim Morey(Michael's former manager), when she was a guest performer at the "Michael Jackson and Friends" benefit concert in Seoul, South Korea in 1999. "Michael really like my name and kept calling CoCo! CoCo! He was very sweet and friendly!" said Lee.

After she moved to Beverly Hills in 2003, her good friend and a director neighbour who knew Michael well, invited her to go along to visit Michael for a two day vacation at Neverland Ranch. At breakfast, Michael said to Lee: "My home is your home!" Being the biggest star on the planet, there wasn't any super star attitude in him. He even confided in her about his skin problems and sought her advice. They spent most of the time in his game arcade, playing basketballs, and game machines. If any rude words were spoken by his director friend, he would cover his ears like a child and say: "I'm not listening!" That evening, Michael invited Lee to listen to his brand new version of Thriller Remix. Lee described the excitement on his face as just as sweet as a child.

Lee later received more invitations from Michael, one was a group vacation to Miami, another was to watch a MJ's special on TV together with his family and friends at the Beverly Hills Hotel in La. His two elder children loved playing with her, she still kept her old mobile phone which contains a photo of Michael taken by his children.

Michael's private party with family and friends

"There will never be anther talent like him again, he was a super star, and I'm just so fortunate to have known him!" Lee added. Those were her precious memories of the King of Pop, includes this rare photo of her and Michael backstage at the "Michael Jackson and Friends" benefit concert in Seoul, dated 25 June 1999. Who would have thought that just a decade later on this date, the world would lose a greatest entertainer of our era.

Lee later payed tribute to Michael by performing some of his classic songs at the Walt Disney Hall in La. She also attended the grand opening ceremony of the MJ Gallery at Ponte 16 Macau in Asia in 2010.

R.I.P Michael Jackson.

©2012 PeiLing


Thursday, 31 May 2012

"Michael Waved Back At Me!"

Michael waved to his fans on the roof of the car outside the Madame Tussauds
in Marylebone, London. 1985

J.G is a friend of mine who lives in West London, he once told me about when Michael Jackson came to West London in the mid 1980's. It turned out that he also has a couple of interesting real life tales about Michael.

J.G saw Michael on March 28, 1985, at the height of his career just after Thriller. Michael was invited to unveil his wax model at Madame Tussauds in Marylebone, London. It was his first solo public visit to England since the Jackson Five tour in the late 1970's. London was brought to a standstill as thousand of fans gathered in the street near the museum hoping to get a glimpse of him.

Michael and his wax figure
It was purely coincidental that the car Michael was traveling in got held up by traffic and stopped right in front of my friend as he was leaning against the barrier among fans in the street.

It was a very brief and surreal moment as he didn't expect Michael to be so close, only two feet away from him. Michael was wearing his dark sunglasses, in black and gold glittery military jacket siting at the back of the car. J.G automatically waved excitedly at Michael, other fans started to go crazy. A rather shy Michael waved back to him and everyone else in his famous sequined white glove before moving off. As it happened so fast it was only afterwards that he realised that he had just seen Michael Jackson! He watched the news later that day featuring the footage of Michael leaping onto the roof of his car to wave to his adoring fans before leaving. He was then the super star Michael Jackson instead of a shy Michael he saw earlier that day.

He indeed saw a piece of history, he also told of a friend of his (Simon) who had actually met Michael more than a decade later in an antique shop "Alfies" in Marylebone where he once worked.

Michael was in his surgical mask and arrived unannounced with two bodyguards. Although Simon was used to seeing celebrities, he was totally taken by surprise. Unlike other major Hollywood stars that came to the shop, Michael appeared to be very nice and polite. Simon recalled hearing Michael speak in a deep voice, looking around the shop and enquired about items that he was interested in. Michael bought an elaborate Walt Disney's autograph valued around £600 along with some movie memorabilia which were paid for by his bodyguard. During the visit, Michael was discovered by a few local kids who excitedly tapped on the window. Michael responded to them by taking off his surgical mask and went outside to greet them. He spoke with them in a soft higher voice, happily posed for photos and gave his autographs before returning to the shop.

These are now distant memories of King of Pop, Michael Jackson who will be sadly missed.

Thanks to my friend J.G for sharing the stories.

©2012 PeiLing

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Meeting Jocy and her twins Prety & Morly

Me, Jocy and twins Prety and Morly (25/09/11)

I finally met in person with Jocy Ma and her lovely twin daughters Prety and Morly last September in London. They are the Ma family that had a long term friendship with Michael. Surreal as it may seem, one day, because of my blog I was to meet the Ma family that knew Michael so well.

It was a magical day, a rare opportunity to meet them all and a real treat to hear about Michael in their own words. With Jocy's blessing I thought I should share it with you. I never thought I would featured in my own blog!

Remembering their friend Michael
Michael with 4 year old twins Prety and Morly

Last Summer Jocy contacted me after she came across my blog covering their story with Michael. She was appreciative that I had translated their story, she also expressed her wish to use my blog content on her FB sites, and wanted to meet up in London where I live, as they were soon to visit the city.

Later I learnt that the twins were pursuing their education in this country. Just a couple of days before Jocy was due to fly back from London, she called me. They had been sightseeing around London and happened to be staying not far from me. Despite the short notice, I invited them round my house, and I later joined them to see "Thriller Live" show in the West End!

Me and Jocy at the Thriller Live theatre in London

Jocy's warm and lively personality made a big impression and the twins Prety and Morley were quiet and friendly. It was hard to know where to start when it came to their famous friend Michael Jackson, the world biggest music icon of recent time. It was their first time in London the city that they were planning to come and pay him a surprise visit in July 09... 

She recalled a happier time when Michael was last on tour (History World Tour), they were very fortunate to be invited to follow him for at least 30 concerts around the world, and were very privileged to see him perform as VIP guests. She remembered a funny moment of how her 4 year old twins asked the King of Pop: "Can you dancing?" A very surprised Michael responded that it was the first time in his life that anyone asked him that question... (below video at 2.05) This sweet and innocent quote later even became the twins' security password! Michael can be heard asking the twins the same question on stage during Heal the World song live in Durban, South Africa, the final stop his last tour. Michael even took a moment to have a picture taken with the twins on stage. The twins had many great memories, they recalled the shooting of the Esonic DiscBaby commercial in 1997, and spending Christmas at the Neverland ranch in 1999. The lucky twins certainly had Michael Jackson as part of their childhood magical memories!

A rare photo of Michael and Jocy during the History tour

Jocy revealed that they were also invited to attend the 30th anniversary concert in New York in 2001, and Michael was planning to take them up to visit the Twin Towers. But in the end they had to cancel the trip to the U.S due to some private matter back home. They later watched in horror of the terrible 9/11 event unfolding on TV! Similarly, according to Michael's brother Jermaine that Michael was supposed to be at the World Trade Centre for a meeting that morning, luckily he slept in. After, the family visits to the U.S became less and less frequent because the twins had started to attend school. They still remained in contact with occasional visit to the Neverland.

In return for Michael's kindness the Ma family sent him rare hand crafted artefacts and art as gifts (she said it was sad to see those gifts appeared in Julian's auction after Michael's passing). Michael would even take Jocy's advice of general Feng Shui principles for his Neverland home. (For example he had his favourite antique weaponry moved out of his bedroom, as it isn't considered auspicious in Chinese Feng Shui)

Michael was a very good father to his three children who Jocy had met. Michael was a kind, amiable person who was also very spiritual and often spoke about God. (She is also a devoted Christian) Despite the occasional language barrier they were able to connect, Michael once said that Jocy reminded him of his mother Katherine who he adored. After Michael passed away, she still often has dreams about him, sometimes even feels his presence.... she firmly believes that he's in a better place.

Jocy remembered one of her last conversations with Michael was how much he would love to visit the Great Wall of China with his kids in the future, and he wanted Jocy to join them as tour guide. This sadly become another of Michael's unfulfilled wishes.

When it came to the end of our time together, I suggested that she visit the Michael Jackson's wax figure in Madam Tussauds while in London. "Why would I want to see his wax figure when I've seen the real Michael Jackson!" replied Jocy, then it occurred to me that Michael was real to them and a friend who had left them lots of amazing memories to cherish forever.

Thanks again Jocy for sharing your memories of Michael, and your kind gift of the MJ money bank, which is currently resumed production with a new model in gold, to continue his love and legacy by encouraging people to save money to help the disadvantaged children.

©2011 PeiLing

The new version of MJ money bank with a 3 D photo of Michael and the twins

Below video is the highlight version, featuring Michael Jackson with twins during History tour in Taiwan and South Africa.