Pieces of You

Undeniably, especially with my involvement with Thrill the World this past year, Michael Jackson has somehow ALWAYS been a part of my life.

My knowledge of MJ is backward than from most people.  I was growing up in an era in Thailand where trends and pop cultures arrived months, if not years, later than in America/UK.

It was my brothers who introduced me to MJ after his famous moonwalk on MTV.  I remembered the MTV video we bought and watched, and watched and watched.  At some point, I remember my brother Onk had learned the theory of the moonwalk from somewhere and was teaching me.  We quickly realized that we couldn’t moonwalk on carpet.  And/or barefooted.

I never quite connected Billy Jean video with MJ back in the days. All I knew was either the song by itself, or that video where the sidewalk lit up.

Then came Thriller video.  My mom bought us the special video with the making off documentary.  After having seen it through the first time, the many times that followed, I would stop the video after the dancing was done.  The zombies attacking the house scared the beejesus out of me.  And I didn’t even know what that Vincent Price–obviously didn’t know who he was either–was saying but his voice scared me.

And of course, just like anyone else, I tried to learn the dance.

Then it was time of Bad. Back then, I absolutely adored MJ’s new face.  He was beautiful to me.  And Smooth Criminal video, and subsequently, Moonwalker became my favorite movie.  I even remembered playing Moonwalker Nintendo game at my friend’s’ house.

I’ve ALWAYS wanted to visit Neverland when I was growing up, and wanted to HAVE my own Neverland when I grow up.

I haven’t followed MJ much after that until my brothers came home one summer with Dangerous CD and all the buzz about Black or White video.  Again, watched bajillion times on video.   I coudln’t stop listening to that CD or stop going over all the tiniest little details on that cover art.  The obsession bled into my choice of performance for a talent show at school.  Me being an environmental nut at the moment,  choreographed and rehearsed over a weekend with another friend to Heal the World. It was a message piece nobody got and obviously written off as boring.  Probably my worse school performance ever.  LOL.

It wasn’t until I got to the U.S., I found out about MJ as a part of the Jackson 5.

After Dangerous, I haven’t gone back to Michael for musical inpiration.  Okay, maybe for a moment there with Scream. He seemed to going off the rail right about then and I stopped paying attention. Until he announced a performance in Bangkok.

I wasn’t home in time that summer to go to the concert with a huge gaggle of my school friends.  But dammit, I WANTED TO GO!  (Consolation prize? My dad took me to see Whitney Houston later on.)  As we all know, that was his last before THE trial.

As much as I wanted to not pay attention, I still gravitated toward MJ somehow.  My first trip to the U.S. and visit to Disneyland, I wanted to keep going back to Captain EO.  As a matter of fact, until it was closed down, two things I never missed were the Captain and Star Tour.

My freshman year in the dorm, I dug around my closet for a Halloween costume and turned up as Michael Jackson circa Black or White video.  I had a white tank top underneath a white button down, black pants, white socks and black loafers. I wrapped one arm with gauze for that one glove/bracer thing he had going.  My suite mates helped  braided my hair the night before to get that lovely MJ curls.  And, the final touch, our Caucasian suite mate loaned me her foundation to make me “white”. My friend Katie probably has a picture of us around somewhere still…

Not until Thrill the World was I reconnected with Michael again as an adult.

He might have been a total wack job and an alleged pedophile.  But there’s no denying his musical genius and dance prowess.  There’s also no denying he has always been a part of my life.

Good night, Michael. You finally have your Neverland.

1 Comment

  1. Amy P.   •  

    I liked reading about your experience as a fan of MJ. I’m about 7 years older than you, and so I was more influenced by Jackson’s 80s hits. I bought the Thriller record album and knew the words to all his songs. We were not fortunate enough to have cable TV, so I didn’t get to see many of his videos on MTV. But I remember being so excited to be at a friend’s house who did have MTV and fawning over this incredibly talented and good looking singer/dancer.

    I fell out of fandom after the Thriller album, though some of his hits were still catchy and while I still liked the songs, I wasn’t moved enough to buy anything… But this is about the time a whole new generation of fans came on board – I think it was about when you embarked and I left.

    Anyway, I enjoyed reading your connection growing up with Michael Jackson.

    Amy P.
    Also from Expat Women in Thailand.com

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