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Apr 01st
Home Columns A Cup O' Kapeng Barako On Michael Jackson, the Man in the Mirror, My Take …
On Michael Jackson, the Man in the Mirror, My Take … PDF Print E-mail
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Columns - A Cup O' Kapeng Barako
Friday, 10 July 2009 13:12

On Tuesday, this week, the world stood still to celebrate the life of Michael Jackson … and to bury him. A memorial that unfolded live on several TV channels, movie screens, computers and mobile phones, here in America and abroad.


Nakalimutan ang guerra sa Irag at Afghanistan.  Nakalimutan ang Iran at North Korea.  Nakalimutan ang deficit at health care dito sa Amerika.  At natabi sa isang tabi si Barack H. Obama. (People forgot the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They forgot Iran and North Korea. They forgot about the deficit and healthcare problems of America. And President Obama was on the sidelines.)   


Yes, I, too, have a few words to say about Michael Jackson.  But first, I’d like to say: May he now rest in peace.  Or, shall I say, the media should now allow him to rest in peace.  For two weeks, his unexpected death has been turned into a spectacle … like a Barnum and Bailey circus, with clowns and all.


Thank God, Tuesday this week, was the finale of that circus galore.  On that Tuesday, it seems that the world stopped turning.  All eyes were cast on the man who they called the “man in the mirror.”  Really, I don’t even know why he was called the “man in the mirror.”  From what I understand, he had a CD/DVD and they dubbed that: “The man in the mirror.”


Oh, yes, he was a dancer, all right.  Like a kiti-kiti.  And, oh, yes, he can moon-walked all right.  But hey, I can do that, too.  And I can also moon-talked.  Just kidding, of course.


S eriously now, Michael Jackson was truly a brilliant performer.  Way, way back when I was still in the Navy, I remember dancing the “sweet” with some cute Southern girls to some of Michael’s Motown songs, like that sweet song, “I’ll Be There” at the YMCA in Norfolk, Virginia.


And I remember so well that song, “We are the World,” when it was sang by Bong-Bong Marcos and his sister, Imee, and their exclusive group of friends during one of Bong-Bong’s birthday bash at the Malacanang Palace.  It was televised and I saw it and I thought it was … well, a fitting and profound song for them at that time, because they were indeed “the world” at that time.  For the Marcoses, though they ruled and “owned” the Philippines, were in another world of their own, at that time.    


I also remember, “Billy Jean.”  Disco dancing was at the height of its popularity when that song became a top tune.  And I used to dance to that music, too, at “Where Else,” in Makati, my favorite hang-out during those days of wine and roses and real good disco dancing.


Yung mga taga “promdi” (from the province), I don’t think they’ve heard of “Where Else.”  During those times, too, we didn’t dance the cha-cha or the tango or the kukuratsa, or any kind of ballroom dancing for that matter.  Sa mga probinsiya lang isinasayaw ang mga indak na ganon.


Now, where was I?  I am supposed to be talking about Michael Jackson.  As I said, he was brilliant …  He composed his own songs.  You have to be a poet at heart to be able to compose songs, I think.  So, Michael, aside from being a complete entertainer, was also a prolific poet.


He was multi-talented.  He sang and danced, like no other.  And, as an entertainer, he broke the color barrier.


As the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a rousing sermon during Jackson’s funeral, Michael Jackson had created a “comfort level” that opened the way for the achievement of others, including “a person of color to be president of the United States.”


I agree.  Although Michael’s ever-lightening skin over the years had gotten much attention, his crossover appeal into the mainstream was hailed “as an achievement in civil rights.”  Yes, indeed.


But for many people, there were many Michaels.  To many, he was also a pedophile.  A child molester, as we all know.  Was he, really? 


He was accused twice and charged in the court of law for molesting children.  In the first accusation, he settled out of court and paid mucho bucks – several millions, in fact – to the “victims” daw.


Years later, he was again accused of molestation, this time for molesting a 13-year-old boy, who was stricken with cancer, and who was staying at his Neverland ranch.  The boy was staying at the Neverland on Michael’s invitation.  Y’all know the story right?


And, as y’all know, too, a Filipino couple -- the man worked as a butler, and his wife, as a maid, in the Neverland -- were the primary witnesses to this accusation.  Nakita daw nila.…  Baka nakita, pera.  During the investigation, it was found out that these couple were both TNTs.  Kaya, mga nadeport in the process.  Pero, mga nakakuha din ng konting pera for their “paid” revelations of Michael’s so-called depravation, perhaps paid for by Michael’s envious, green-eyed enemies.


But the couple’s statements were considered “incredulous,” thus it was thrown out by the court overseeing the case … and Michael was acquitted.


Michael said that “true, he slept with children,” but there’s nothing “sexual” about it. He said, “it is sweet” to be sleeping with children.  The problem, he said, were the people out there “who thinks that a bed is merely a place for sex.”


I really dunno if Michael was a child molester or not.  I know he was kind of weird.  His clothes.  His demeanor.  His girlish voice.  His increasingly whitening skin.  His Pinocchio-like aura.  His self-mutilation (facial-cosmetic surgeries) that transformed him from a handsome black man into an ugly “white” man.  His whole self per se … was weird and out of this world.   But all artists are weird and out of this world!  Is there anyone out there who is not?


So on Tuesday … those who adored Michael Jackson, those who danced to his music and even those who thought he was a freak, came together to say good bye to the man who they called “the man in the mirror” … the man who mirrored their souls through his songs.


On that day … Maya Angelou, an American poet and writer, in a poem read by Hollywood Actress Queen Latifah, captured the day in this way: “Today in Tokyo, beneath the Eiffel Tower, in Ghana’s Black Star Square.  In Johannesburg and Pittsburg, in Birmingham Alabama and Birmingham, England.  We are missing Michael.


H ow true.  So … goodbye, Michael.  Thanks for all the wonderful memories.  Most especially for “Billy Jean.”  For that was my favorite tune in dancing the “maskipaps with….  That’s all.  JJ




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Last Updated on Friday, 10 July 2009 13:50
Comments (4)
1 Friday, 10 July 2009 13:34
As published in this website's Shout Box:

Pls. don’t fail to read Jesse Jose’s take on Michael Jackson. It is the best piece I have read about Michael, the man and his music and more-- Editor
2 Saturday, 11 July 2009 17:14
Pareng Jesse,

Maybe what people saw in the mirror wasn't Michael Jackson as we all knew him from the glory days of "I'll Be There". That Michael Jackson was real. The one who died had sprung from celluloid - superficial, child-like, ostentatious.

Your description of his death and funeral -- "like a Barnum and Bailey circus, with clowns and all" -- was vivid. Indeed, it reflected the life and times of the man.

I wasn't much of his fan, regardless of him being prolific, specially when it became known that he was suspected of being a child molester.

Pare, I think you succeeded in portraying the man as he was publicly and privately. Good writing. I am surprised, however, that you were a fan of his!

By the way, how come we never bump on each other at Intercon Makati's Where Else? I used to hang out there with media friends.

Thanks and best regards,

Romy Marquez
3 Saturday, 11 July 2009 17:17
Pareng Romy,

Thanks for the comment.

It's a small world. The reason perhaps we didn't bump into other in that place was probably because we had a different purpose. I went there to hunt for chicks and perhaps you went there to hunt for news and to hang out with Doroy Valencia at the Calesa Bar/Coffee Shop. I've seen him there a couple of times holding court to news hounds. Probably you were one of them that I've seen he was holding court to. If I am not mistaken, Doroy was THE main man then at that time in news column writing.

During those times I was a photojournalist with the U.S. Seventh Fleet Public Affairs Office in Subic Bay and I only knew Doroy by sight. He was pointed out to me by one of the girls I used to go out with.

Okay, take care now, and once again thanks for your kind comments.

4 Sunday, 12 July 2009 13:35
Maybe I'm one of a dozen few who thought the endless, saccharine tribute to Michael Jackson of every TV channel for several days was a "wee bit overdone".

Thanks for your article which was, I think, even handed.


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