Michael Jackson: A Local Icon Across Asia


Sri Lankan journalist Nalaka Gunawardene notes in his blog how the twin technologies of satellite television and the Internet transformed far-away Michael Jackson into a local icon across Asia. He also mentions about a 2001 documentary named Michael Jackson Comes to Manikganj that probed how far and wide satellite television was influencing and impacting culture, society and even politics of South Asia.

See two earlier posts on the subject… Here…

And here…

While still alive, Michael Jackson was widely considered a weirdo, says Sharon Waxman in HuffPost, and adds, that in death, “Michael Jackson is suddenly some kind of a saint. A humanitarian. A philanthropist. A civil rights leader.

” ‘Like our father Martin,’ said Martin Luther King III before a live television audience of millions around the world at the memorial. ‘He was indeed a shining light.’

“What a difference two weeks and sudden death can make.

“The ceremony at Staples Center was an historic moment in our contemporary social and cultural history. It may have come the closest to a worldwide communal event as we have ever seen.

“An unprecedented cross between a Hollywood production and a somber memorial, it was watched by fans in every language, all over the world, giving it an ineffably global quality.” More here…

Meanwhile Michael Jackson lay in his golden casket at his memorial service without his brain. “The Los Angeles coroner confirmed yesterday that the organ was retained to carry out tests. The death certificate, which was signed by Jackson’s sister La Toya, lists the cause of death as deferred.” More here…

Author: SWARAAJ CHAUHAN, International Columnist

Swaraaj Chauhan describes his two-decade-long stint as a full-time journalist as eventful, purposeful, and full of joy and excitement. In 1993 he could foresee a different work culture appearing on the horizon, and decided to devote full time to teaching journalism (also, partly, with a desire to give back to the community from where he had enriched himself so much.) Alongside, he worked for about a year in 1993 for the US State Department's SPAN magazine, a nearly five-decade-old art and culture monthly magazine promoting US-India relations. It gave him an excellent opportunity to learn about things American, plus the pleasure of playing tennis in the lavish American embassy compound in the heart of New Delhi. In !995 he joined WWF-India as a full-time media and environment education consultant and worked there for five years travelling a great deal, including to Husum in Germany as a part of the international team to formulate WWF's Eco-tourism policy. He taught journalism to honors students in a college affiliated to the University of Delhi, as also at the prestigious Indian Institute of Mass Communication where he lectured on "Development Journalism" to mid-career journalists/Information officers from the SAARC, African, East European and Latin American countries, for eight years. In 2004 the BBC World Service Trust (BBC WST) selected him as a Trainer/Mentor for India under a European Union project. In 2008/09 He completed another European Union-funded project for the BBC WST related to Disaster Management and media coverage in two eastern States in India --- West Bengal and Orissa. Last year, he spent a couple of months in Australia and enjoyed trekking, and also taught for a while at the University of South Australia. Recently, he was appointed as a Member of the Board of Studies at Chitkara University in Chandigarh, a beautiful city in North India designed by the famous Swiss/French architect Le Corbusier. He also teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students there. He loves trekking, especially in the hills, and never misses an opportunity to play a game of tennis. The Western and Indian classical music are always within his reach for instant relaxation. And last, but not least, is his firm belief in the power of the positive thought to heal oneself and others.

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    Michael Jackson was clearly suffering from mental illness. He was rich and talented too. We don’t know why Van Gough cut off his ear. We don’t know why Jackson cut off his nose. All we know is that people who do this stuff to get the attention of other people are suffering mentally.

    I saw a picture of how Jackson looked when younger. His dark beautiful skin, full healthy nose and normal God-given facial structure were stunning. The pressures of daddy and fame convinced him to mutilate himself to look like a pretty white girl. Maybe that’s what daddy always wanted to “love” so Jackson thought he could finally get that love by imitation? I don’t know.

    All I know is that the entire Jackson family seems just friggin addicted to fame and surficial BS to the point of insanity. Michael was the visible extreme of what they all suffer from. IMHO. MIchael Jackson’s death didn’t come as a blow to me since the few times I actually thought about him I thought that he died at about age 8 anyway and all that was left of that child was a cardboard cutout automatron of what his father resurrected from the dead horse he’d beaten. The body passing long after the soul had really truly was just a relief.

    Rest in peace and let him be a lesson to all of us.