In an ill-advised public relations move, Datuk Seri Shahrizat decides to court bloggers with a dinner to “wow” them! No, I wasn’t there and won’t be there. The reason being that she’s got it wrong. She’s placating bloggers for not naming the missing children emergency alert the “NURIN Alert”, instead of the wishy-washy Nur Alert!! Since when was missing children a branding exercise? Who cares about her Ministry’s brand? What we want is a name that sticks in our minds, prompts us into action and a collective mindset to be on the lookout when a child goes missing. Yes, if her Ministry studied the Amber Alert they would know that this system can only work if the police take charge of it. There needs to be proper guidelines for media, police and the community to make this alert effective. We see none of that. There needs also to be a media blitz so the public knows what to d-. None of this either. What we get are forgettable TV advertisements. She and the police need to go on TV to tell the public about what needs to be done.

But why is she courting bloggers then?  It’s highly suspect to me. She fears the collective force of them. Hmmm….that smacks of election campaigning. More’s the pity! I thought she was better than those who throw up their arms in the air to proclaim “God forbid that I should be like Rosmah!” that smacks of arrogance. Listen, there is nothing noble about being a politician, opposition or otherwise, or about getting arrested for that matter. If politicians and their wives would just throw in some expensive jewelry into the charity coffers, maybe NURIN Alert could be mobilised the way it was supposed to and they’d clean up in the elections. Those who talk about educating the “permata” of our nation just don’t get it do they. Hello people! NURIN Alert is about the children.  Oh, I forgot, children can’t vote!


Remember Nurin?

Nurin Jazlin Jazimin

I tried to forget her, as did millions of Malaysians, because it hurts to think of her. Let her rest in peace they said, there was nothing else we could do for her, she’s dead and buried. What’s the point of keeping her memory alive, they asked. I don’t know why but she touched me, this sweet child.  Nurin Jazlin Jazimin’s life may have been short but it was her cruel, tortured death that held meaning. While her killer(s) remain at large, the world has already forgotten her. Now, even the NURIN Alert (Nationwide Urgent Response Information Network) we advocated passionately has been abbreviated to Nationwide Response Network (NUR Alert). It’s the same thing they said. Really? People ask, who is Nurin? I hope the NUR Alert really does work as effectively as the AMBER Alert. Yet, while the world remembers Amber Hagerman, no one will remember Nurin Jazlin Jazimin. I weep for you again sweet child. They didn’t care then, they still don’t care now. You are in a better place.


I wept when I read the full autopsy report on Michael Jackson. I am only human and he most certainly was a mere mortal. Pushed to such extremes, it now seems inhuman to have lived his life. I read the full report myself because I was sick of the relentless, brainless media coverage stuffed in our faces to make us focus on the insignificant minutae. Who cares if he had tattoos on his middle-aged receding hairline and eyebrows thinned from lupus and lips made pale from vitiligo? Only now the bloodsucking muckrackers are finally admitting he did suffer from vitiligo? And all this time the media was supposed to be focussed on the truth?

Having watched the movie “This is it” in the theatre, despite the hazy images as I viewed him with my one good eye, the Michael Jackson in those last few months of rehearsals seemed energetic, happy and clearly he was just rocking the house down. The man was as magnificent, mesmerising and magical as ever. Now that I bought the DVD of the movie I can rewatch it as often as I want,  But having read the autopsy report, I couldn’t help as the tears flowed at the thought of that person who was so alive during rehearsals would go home at night and have catheters and tubes put into him to pump fluids to battle his dehydration and to drip propofol to get him to sleep while another drained his urine.  Did he have to do this every night just so he could show up for rehearsals the next day? It just baffles the mind why he would resort to this but seeing as to how he always tried to fix all the problems in his life, he may have felt this was the best way to deal with his crippling insomnia in a way that would not affect his singing and dancing. Knowing he needed to be at his best during rehearsals and for his gruelling 50 shows, it may have seemed right for him to have a fully qualified doctor to administer the propofol. It may seem foolhardy to resort to such a powerful drug but he was cautious enough to hire a medic willing to do the deed.   The doctor’s culpability in his death is another matter that will be dealt with in the court of law.

What made me cry was that the problem of Michael Jackson’s insomnia stems way back when, as a very young child from the age of five, he was forced to perform night after night at some sleazy club or another to help feed his family and to fulfill his parents ambition that their children would become stars. When they were eventually discovered by Motown, he and his brothers were churning out hit after hit and were touring all over America and eventually the world. Normal sleeping hours were out of the question and all that travelling between time zones over the years seriously messed up his biological clock. Chronic insomnia for Michael Jackson was a way of life. Only this time, he had a comeback tour to prepare for and the pressure to perform for his beloved children and adoring fans. Propofol was just Michael’s way of fixing another problem in his life and it proved fatal.

It made me cry to read reports of his vitiligo, remembering that triumphant, handsome, young black man who held the eight Grammys he won for his album Thriller. On that night, he was hiding from the world the excruxiating pain he was suffering from treatments to restore his burnt scalp and the discovery that early stages of vitiligo was turning his skin blotchy. For someone so self-conscious about his acne and his nose, the thought of turning into a mottled creature before the entire world must have been horrifying. Is it any wonder that as the vitiligo spread, he chose to turn freakishly white with makeup and creams just so he would not look even more terrifying. Rather than give up performing and the only life he had ever known, it now makes sense why he opted for those iconic looks and blindingly-blinged-out costumes so that people’s attention would be more focussed on his fashion sense rather than on him.  Because he always looked so good in whatever he wore, the media doubted his vitiligo claims.  Now that the autopsy confirmed it, would the media publish a retraction for all their scathing sarcasm and blatant lies? The almighty media does not apologise apparently.

Since his death, opportunistic vultures have published tell-all books that cash-in on morbid curiosity of the masses. True fans would never buy those garbage disguised as “well-researched” books, especially the one where the author claims to have predicted Michael’s death six months earlier, the same hack who entertains unfulfilled fantasies that Michael Jackson was gay. What would he have to say now that the full autopsy report shows that Michael Jackson was a perfectly normal middle-aged man who suffered from benign prostatic hyperplasia that resulted in urinary retention? No wonder Michael didn’t have a woman in his life (and his bedroom), let alone a man. The blue mat on his bed may have been for the morning incontinence associated with this romance-stifling condition. If he had taken medication to treat it (not indicated in the autopsy), he may have experienced sexual dysfunction. Having suffered my own female related middle-aged problems, I can empathise with Michael’s discomfort. I wish he had had a loving wife to help him through his last days but with his history of betrayals from those closest and dearest to him, who could he trust?

For all the talk of him being a dope addict perpetuated by the media, he died from propofol and not all those other drugs self-important media moralists were so eager for him to overdose on for dramatic effect, purportedly in a desperate act of suicide to get out of performing for his concerts. Having watched him in “This is it”, I doubt this scenario very much and wish media dimwits would shut the f**k up! Enough already with the sensationlisations, speculations, misleading interpretations and outright lies. Stick to the facts, tell the truth and be balanced in reporting like real journalists are supposed to! 

Amidst all this, three young children will be growing up without their daddy. Watching many of the Youtube documentaries on Michael as a father, it is obvious that what he wanted most for his children was for them to enjoy their childhood, an experience he was denied. In one interview he said: ” I always want for my children to know that I love them. I look in their eyes and I tell them this everyday.” In other interviewss he said: “I will never force my children to do what they don’t want to.” ; “I would never hit my children”;  “I want them to know that if I buy them anything, it is because I love them.” Friends have praised his daddy-skills saying that he would make a point of reading bedtime stories for his children every night, he was firm about bedtime schedules, playtime and study time. There are so many heartwrenching stories on his love for his children and the extent he went through to shield them from the world that was so cruel to him. Tears welled up in many viewers eyes that night when Prince and Paris spoke of their daddy when they received the Grammy lifetime achievement award on his behalf. No matter what was and will be said qbout him, I cannot believe a man with such profound love for children could have done anything to harm any child. May God watch over his beloved children and keep them safe.

Watching Michael in “This is it” and his brief public appearances after being exonerated in the humiliating trial in 2005, I sensed that he has had to grow up tremendously. No longer was there that painful shyness and obsession to relive a lost childhood. Instead he now spoke in a deeper voice, walked with a confident swagger and seemed fully in charge. His travels and exposure to world cultures had also given him a regal demeanour and gentlemanly bearing with mannerisms so dignified and graceful. Watching the special feature “Memories of Michael” on the DVD, Kenny Ortega says that despite all the torture he was subjected to in life, Michael Jackson was never vindictive. I believe it and you can see that for yourself in the movie, how Michael interacts with the people around him, especially the young dancers and singers who idolised him. But what gets me all choked up is when Michael Bearden tells the discussion he had with MJ about talent being a gift from God. Michael reminded Bearden to be humble about such gifts or God will take them away. When Bearden tried to say his own gifts was a lot lesser than Michael’s, MJ said “We need to bring my gift and your gift together so we can help other people find out what their gifts are!”  That goes to show how deeply he cared about others. 

The torture he was subjected to: as a child deprived of sleep and a normal childhood, and as an adult one-man-money- making machine who was the target for opportunistic vultures and bloodsuckers, Michael Jackson defied all odds and charmed the world like no other. Heck he made vitiligo, lupus and wigs look good! There is no doubt that even in death he will be dragged through the mud by the maggot-infested media that tormented him mercilessly when he was alive. The only consolation is he will no longer suffer and the strength of his love will shield his children from harm. May Allah have mercy on his soul.         

It’s been almost three months since Michael Jackson died yet the world, myself included, can’t seem to stop mourning his loss. After the initial shock, the ensuing rush of emotions from numb disbelief, to mounting anger at apparent American and British media disrespect of his memory  to a deep unfathomable sorrow that easily brings on tears. Since then, each day I seem to discover new things about him that only stoke the burning rage within at the injustices heaped upon him by the cruel and heartless media. Even in death and oblivious to the grief of his children, family and millions who mourn him, there are still sensationalist media that continue to embellish their obituaries with slanted coverage while weaving inuendoes and speculations that tarnish his memory.  From dragging up his child molestation trial (for which he was completely exonerated) to questioning the paternity of his children, scrutinising his sex life, and even blaming him for his own death, the media has indeed stooped so low that as a result Michael Jackson stands fully vindicated.

As a former journalist myself, I followed Michael Jackson’s after-death coverage, both in online media news reports and TV broadcasts posted on YouTube. Having read the tabloid trash about his supposedly emaciated, needle-riddled and drug-induced nightmarish last days, I was pleasantly surprised to see a healthy, albeit a bit too thin, Michael  doing what only he can do best as he prepared for his London concerts. The recent unveiling of the “This Is It” trailer debunks so many media lies about MJs state of mental and physical health that it just goes to show how many false reports have been trumped up by the unscrupulous media to sell their worthless rags. “This Is It” begs the question, how come a man who looked perfectly healthy and happy only days before suddently end up dead, purportedly of a drug overdose? 

His sudden death just does not make sense!!! Media speculators had so smugly declared, especially the demonishly smirking Diane Dimond, that the drug addicted star had accidentaly overmedicated himself and had even begged to be put out of his misery in a supposedly assisted suicide. But stories of his drug addiction from so-called friends and insiders-in-the-know  just did not jive with MJ’s character and certainly not when he has three young children to whom he was clearly devoted. It was not until the coroner ruled his death a homicide, by propofol intoxication administered by another, did the shameless assisted suicide speculation end. My God, MJ died when all he wanted to do was get some sleep? If he was trying to kill himself why would he hire a nutritionist to help with his insomnia, a personal chef to feed him well and even a personal doctor to help take care of him? The stupidity and bull-headedness of the gutter media knows no bounds of decency.  Results of the homicide probe is pending and is bound to be explosive.

As the world recoils in horror at the realisation that MJ could have been murdered, the tributes are pouring in from all corners of the globe. Madonna in her moving speech at the MTV tribute to Michael Jackson only touched the surface of how bad his life must have been like:

…Then the witch hunt began, and it seemed like one negative story after another was coming out about Michael. I felt his pain, I know what it’s like to walk down the street and feel like the whole world is turned against you. I know what it’s like to feel helpless and unable to defend yourself because the roar of the lynch mob is so loud you feel like your voice can never be heard.

But I had a childhood, and I was allowed to make mistakes and find my own way in the world without the glare of the spotlight.

When I first heard that Michael had died, I was in London, days away from the start of my tour. Michael was going to perform in the same venue as me a week later. All I could think about in this moment was, “I had abandoned him.” That we had abandoned him. That we had allowed this magnificent creature who had once set the world on fire to somehow slip through the cracks. While he was trying to build a family and rebuild his career, we were all passing judgement. Most of us had turned our backs on him.

The truth is Michael Jackson’ died a slow and agonising death, dispirited, disillusioned and broken, ever since  the airing of Martin Bashir’s documentary “Living with Michael Jackson” in 2003. The subsequent court trial for child molestation and the horrific cruelty of the ensuing media barrage of  what can only be described as a modern day public lynching flogged this innocent man mercilessly until it killed him. Read the books : “Michael Jackson Conspiracy” by Aphrodite Jones and “Redemption: The Truth Behind the Michael Jackson Child Molestation Allegations” by Geraldine Hughes before you make up your mind about MJHis only guilt was that he was a black man who dared to be more famous, more rich and more successful that any white man. For someone who suffered from vitiligo, discoid lupus and endless pain, MJ remained childlike, perfectly gracious under pressure and beautiful to the last. His movie “This Is It” will be testament to the enormous legacy he leaves behind and will forever silence his doubters. I believe that this time the media cannot hide their bloodstained hands and they will never be able to wash the stink off all the crap they have ever written about Michael Jackson.          

Initially,  I had wanted to know if Michael Jackson would be accorded a Muslim burial. However details of his conversion to Islam are sketchy and aside from dubious news reports, he has never confirmed this openly. Also, he never altered his will to stipulate how he wanted to be buried and there was no legal standing that would allow for such and thus, he was buried a Christian (presumably a Jehovah Witness though he left it in the 1980s), more than 70 days after his death. Considering how massive he was a superstar, I doubted that neither his family nor the American public or the non-Muslim world would have been willing to relinquish him to Islam. We will never know in the world in which he lived, how the impact such a conversion would have had on his career, his lifetyle and his personal safety. Conspiracy theories abound already. Somehow, I believe Michael Jackson was a person who embraced universal values of goodness in all religions and was spiritual in a way that did not pin him down to any specific faith. In trying to be all things to all peoples, he wanted to avoid conflict and to spread his message of love everywhere. After reading his book “Dancing the Dream” written in 1992, I realised that Michael was indeed a deeply spiritual person who was sensitive to the pain of others. As it stands, only Allah knows the truth. 


I can’t help it but I just can’t seem to shake off MJ from my mind. Maybe it’s this avalanche of news coverage on him that is fueling this obsession or this growing sense of outrage that his death is a possible homicide or, having lost my own beloved father at an early age, identifying with his bewildered orphaned children. Something gnaws inside me as I seek solace in watching more Youtube videoclips, documentaries that traced that cute little boy who charmed everyone when the Jackson 5 made their debut on the Ed Sullivan show to the freakish, sad, tormented soul he became later in life. News like his faked death, missing nose, ghostly sightings, conspiracy theories and secret lovechild rubbish being spewed out by the gutter media and later rebutted and retracted, just adds to the mounting hysteria as family and fans try to come to grips with his death.

What strikes me as so very sad is the central role the media and public relations spindoctoring played in the creation of Michael Jackson, the child, the man and the icon, that pushed him towards self-destruction. Documentaries shared on Youtube really got me thinking about how terrible it is to be a public figure, especially one as universally loved and equally reviled as Michael Jackson. Just watch the VH1 Exclusive: Michael Jackson’s Secret Childhood, to understand the confusion he faced when told to lie about his age, for public relations purposes, and the conflicting messages from the teachings of his religion, the Jehovah Witness.  This documentary clearly showed Michael’s confusion throughout adolescence and adulthood that made me feel that he was just a money making machine, a slave to his family, the record companies and everyone else who stood to gain from his enormous talent. Everyone of them contributed to depriving him of his childhood while, like a performing seal, he was fed bits of favours so he would keep on pleasing the crowd. A child prodigy who realised his own worth early on, Michael learnt to get whatever he wanted – just keep Michael happy and he will perform – that planted the seeds of his self-destruction.

Another documentary “E! True Hollywood Story: Michael Jackson”  is an older documentary that examined the circumstances surrounding his unprecedented career success, his personal life and the child molestation cases. Much of this information has now been retold and reanalysed in countless documentaries including the infamous Martin Bashir’s “Living with Michael Jackson”. These documentaries were both somewhat biased and bent on showing Michael Jackson, who was still alive at the time of it’s making, in a less than complimentary light.  What struck me as odd and rather discomfitting is the role taken by the journalists, as judge, jury and executioner, colouring their reports with commentaries and suppositions that were clearly one sided. I suppose once you let someone into your house, you have no control over what they will tell others, no matter how exaggerated or unfairly skewed the retelling, despite your gracious hospitality. If I found Martin Bashir’s interview tactics horrifying and troubling, nothing prepared me for the almost gleeful comment made by journalist Diane Dimond in the E! documentary when she said that MJ “is in freefall right now and everyone is watching for when he goes “SPLAT!” as she clasped her hands to crush what I would assume was MJ, like he was a bug. Well, needless to say both these journalists have gone on to bigger careers for  their hard hitting coverage. And now that Michael Jackson has indeed self-destructed, they and everyone else in the “mess” media, are milking their “I told you so’s” for what it’s worth. When did journalists become God I wonder?

But watching the most recent documentary “My Friend Michael Jackson, Uri’s Story” restored my faith in humanity somewhat as Uri Gellar shared happy and sad memories of his friend that painted a different picture of the man the journalists loved to vilify. I was touched by Uri’s story especially one instance when Michael was visiting the Exeter Football Club when a little disabled boy baffled security to scramble upto Michael just to give him a real tight hug! What a beautiful sight it was. I wondered how a man who could inspire so much love be so deeply unhappy himself. With information from that documentary, I searched for the speech he gave to the Oxford Union in March 2001 that touched on his own childhood and his hopes as a father. Listening to the audio recording of it on Youtube, I was amazed at how articulate he was as a speaker, even with that soft breathy voice, he put his points across clearly and succintly. This speech was not as well publicised as his other exploits but this article here somehow brings MJ’s life full circle. 

Breaking into tears as he spoke of his hard-driving father and former Jackson Five manager, Joseph, Michael said that despite his fame he had envied ordinary children for their suburban homes, shag carpeting and games of Monopoly.

“The cheery 5-year-old who belted out Rockin’ Robin and Ben to adoring crowds was not indicative of the boy behind the smile,” the entertainer said.

Jackson said, “What I really wanted was a dad. I wanted a father who showed me love, and my father never did that … He seemed intent … on making us a commercial success. But what I really wanted was a dad.”

He recalled his father’s “great difficulty” in communicating with him.

“If I did a great show, he would tell me it was a good show,” Jackson recalled. He added, with tears in his eyes and pausing to ask for tissue, “If I did an okay show, he would say nothing.”

The soft-spoken performer described his father as “a managerial genius” who “was scared of human emotion.”

“My father was a tough man, and he pushed my brothers and me hard, from the earliest age, to be the best performers we could be.

“I wanted more than anything else to be a typical little boy. I wanted to build tree houses, have water balloon fights and play hide-and-seek with my friends. But fate had it otherwise …”

Jackson said that he wants to “forgive my father and to stop judging him.”

The singer said of being a father himself, “I hope that my children will not judge me unkindly and will forgive my shortcomings.”

As I listened to Michael Jackson giving that speech, somehow I understood so much more about the mental and emotional damage that was done to him as a child. Taught at a tender age that lying was okay for public relations, creating a public persona and telling people what they wanted to hear was good for business, Michael Jackson the adult, never knew anything else. He grew up before our eyes and was loved by gazillions of fans around the world but in his own personal hell he remained as conflicted and confused as that little boy who could get anything he wanted except his father’s love.

I will not discuss his guilt or innocence on the allegations against him for he is now standing before the ultimate Judge and God’s justice will prevail. But I can’t help but wonder, now that he has fulfilled everyone’s and his own predictions of an early death, will his children be able to forgive him for not wanting to live longer so they could have a father who truly loved them? I shudder to think that should those children read some of the awful trash written about their beloved father, be it the truth or some journalistic version of truth, will more damage be inflicted upon their innocent minds? I suppose  the journalists will be waiting gleefully to see them go “splat” too? May Allah forgive us all!!      

Michael_Jackson_1984(2)It’s been months since I last blogged, mostly because I got so depressed with events happening in the world and in my own tiny sphere of existence, bogged down with my mother’s illness and my own mortality. I felt a compelling need to withdraw fron the world, to hide in my safe cocoon so I could recuperate, heal and regain some strength from a series of mishaps and personal challenges that left me drained of life’s energy. I am recuperating from major surgery in my right eye, giving me time to reflect on my relevance as I stumble about with blurred vision. Thankfully, my mother now realises she cannot have me at her beck and call as much as before and seems better able to do things for herself again.

But today, for some strange reason I needed to crawl out of my hiding place to scrunch up my one good eye to painstakingly slowly write my farewell to Michael Jackson. Since my daughter broke the news of his death to me just before my eye surgery, I’ve been reflecting a lot about this man who was born the same year I was, 1958. I am ashamed to admit that I wasn’t a fan of his in those early Jackson 5 days even though I loved all his songs like “Ben” and “I’ll be there”. My idol then was David Cassidy of the TV sitcom, The Patridge Family, in fact the first record I ever owned was an EP of him singing “I think I love you” that my dad bought for me at age 12 years for doing well in school. There were also the Osmonds and the Jacksons on TV in those days but the reality was that Donny Osmond’s whiteboy good looks was more familiar and less intimidating than the psychedelic clad Jacksons with the cool moves and strange lingo. Black artistes were a rarity in Asia back then and my teen idols tended to be handsome white boys.

It was when I was studying in the United States did Michael Jackson make any impact on me, having caught all those thrilling times watching him on MTV, and he was just about everywhere, with every college kid having a red zippered jacket just like his, including the Malaysian students. Those were exciting times but as I drifted along with the chaos and turbulence of adulthood, work, marriage and children, I sorta forgot about Michael. I remembered reading the tabloid junk in the National Enquirer and shrugging it off while wondering what the heck was he up to but assuming that with his fame and fortune, success entitled him to eccentric behaviour. Then came all those other stuff that I didn’t really want to deal with or to believe in and so he was relegated to the back of my consciousness. Being perpetually financially strapped myself, I assumed with all his money he could buy happiness if he needed it. And now he has died, reportedly deep in debt, leaving three children with an uncertain future and even worse, with strange tales of his unhappiness in the last painful years of his life.

What happened to you man, my mind screamed!!! You were the symbol of my generation, the guy who made me less afraid of black people, who even made me forget whether he was black or white as a matter of fact! He was the one person I listened to when he urged me to heal the world so we can make it a better place. What he did through singing and dancing, I wanted to do through my writing, heck I even dreamed of winning the Pulitzer Prize one day. until I realised that it was only for Americans and Malaysians don’t really like to read books, especially not in English. Sigh! Maybe someday I will get down to achieving my dreams, especially now that my visual challenges makes my writing seem even more precious.

But you know, Michael Jackson did it all already, achieving all his dreams in his lifetime and I admired him greatly for that. Only why was he so unhappy? This was the question that kept going round and round in my head. The day I was discharged from hospital was the day of his memorial and I logged onto my Facebook account (which I had been avoiding as much as this blog) to watch the CNN live telecast. Needless to say the tears flowed despite my eye surgery. Since then I have been immersing myself in all things Michael on YouTube and Google and rediscovering his unbelievable otherworldly talents. The world will never see another Michael Jackson again ever, certainly not in my lifetime.

Much has been and will be said about him since his untimely death that will surely be full of crap and people will no longer be separating fact from fiction. To me Michael Jackson was just trying to live his life as best he could in the full glare of the relentless, unforgiving and judgmental media. Did the public need to know all that crap written about him and will continue to be written forever more, much of which was based on mere speculation? The haters who just make it a point to pollute cyberspace with their vicious vitriol are in feeding frenzy, picking on his remains until he has not even a shred of dignity left, not even in death. With the internet giving people the channel for their thoughts in blogs, facebooks, twitter, myspace and other social networking sites, there will be many holier-than-thou’s whose worthless comments are mere reflections of their own impotence as they choose to remember him as a freak, someone far less worthy of all that mega success than their own holy selves. 

I prefer to remember Michael Jackson as just a man who tried to make some sense of this world by retreating into his own cocoon of fantasy. But in truth he had nowhere to hide except maybe in drugs and I still can’t make sense of his senseless death but then, I am not and never will be a Michael Jackson. I mourn his passing as the end of my own youth and, as mortality stares me in my one good eye, I wonder if those who sit in judgment of him realise that in fact the only person that Michael Jackson has ever harmed so carelessly was himself.  He was just larger than life and when you fly as high into the stratosphere as he did, you can never come down. Rest assured that in cyberspace, Michael Jackson will live on forever, immortalised for generations to come, gaining legions of new fans. The lesson he leaves behind for future generations is not how to moonwalk but a reminder that if you want to go into orbit, you have to remember it gets mighty lonely out there and you run out of oxygen real fast. Maybe we all ought to stay closer to planet earth and try to find the kind of happiness that doesn’t cost a thing. Farewell Michael Jackson and may Allah have mercy on your soul. 

Text of Obama’s speech for his inauguration as 44th president
I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forbearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land — a nagging fear that America’s decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted — for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things — some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions — that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act — not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. All this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions — who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them— that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works — whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s dollars will be held to account — to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day — because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control — and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience’s sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort — even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society’s ills on the West — know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment — a moment that will define a generation — it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter’s courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent’s willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends — honesty and hard work, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism — these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility — a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence— the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed — why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America’s birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

“Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive … that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it].”

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children’s children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God’s grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.

Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America.