Friday, June 26, 2009


Michael Jackson is dead at 50.

What could be worse news to see on your morning papers or in Yahoo news at the start of an early Friday than seeing an eye popping headline that the king of pop music is dead. A thought that's almost inconceivable almost mistaken as a hoax akin to regular text messages con game. Until reality sets in that Michael Jackson is gone- not ill or seriously ill or recuperating from illness but gone.

It's indeed a day of mourning in the City of L.A. And this time I sincerely wished that I was there at this moment to grieve with his millions of fans awaiting for his body to be released from L.A. Hospital side by side with the venue of paparazzi vultures taking snapshots.

Growing up in the early 70s, Michael and the Jackson Five had been my personal favorite choice as far upbeat pop music is concern. The Jackson Five made a loud resounding statement with regard to their musical standing in the US music chart from 1976. Hits like "Ben", " Rocking Robin", "Got to be There and The Brand New Thing" among others made MJ stand out from his bros during the early 80's. Titillated young and old ladies shrilled at the top of their lungs as they watched an eight year old boy's magnetic charisma worked his way on stage with his impressive snappy dance moves (that he can only do in perfect 10.... remember moonwalking?.) I knew this because I was one of those voices that gave out an ear splitting screams as a young girl whenever I saw him on American TV shows during the early 80's.

I practically grew up hearing his songs on the radio, watching him on MTV basically witnessing his successes and downfalls. I didn't bother much to know what was in with Michael since he was like a permanent fixture in the US Music Industry.

His songs were heard all over everytime -one hit after another. We all knew that Michael was just there somewhere around the corner of LA rehearsing perfecting his craft conceptualizing next MTV or finishing an album to surprise everyone at any moment. To date, I still delight in listening to his hit songs that made waves in unsurpassed decades of reigning on top of the game shoving away tons of Michael Jackson copycats and wannabees.

But sad to say, the prize of fame is indeed very costly. The guy had been a lot of tremendous pressures for maintaining his status as the King of Pop Music-straightening out his court cases, rising above from financial quagmire and most importantly dealing with his sanity in the midst of bad publicity. The viewing public all over the world had been harsh, relentless and brazen in skinning him alive when it comes to criticizing his grotesque looks, his questionable fondness for kids and Neverland, his gender, his rumored bankruptcy among others.

Inspite of the sensationalized and magnified issues to the inane cheap celebrity gossips hurled at him, based on what I've read, people who knew him have only one common thing to say about Michael- that he was a person with a good heart. This ofcourse I can't verify as I did not know MJ personally (wish I could say we grew up together and name drop him to everyone.) However, whenever I check out where you can find paparazzi's videos of Hollywood celebrities, you can see other celebrities turning violent losing tempers when pestered by journalists. However, it was always a different case with Michael, he graciously declined ambush interviews and spoke short casual pleasantries then ended up the casual chat with calm "peace brother".

This part of him was not known probably by the viewing public. But as human nature dictates highlight the negative first then downplay the positive, right?

Michael's demise will always be a bitter reminder to us to look beyond what our eyes can physically see. I think there was more to Michael than the pop legendary icon sensation, the image of a cosmetic surgery gone awry or a feigned philanthropist sharing The Neverland to young children.

There was once a lonely person hurting and concealed behind the almost deformed face battered by multiple plastic surgeries. Michael Jackson the King of Pop unselfishly shared his incomparable talents and outstanding music fit to perfection for the whole world to see.
May you rest in peace, Michael!

Monday, June 22, 2009


Tomorrow, June 23rd, I'll be turning 47. Ok not bad if you consider that life begins at 40.
In retrospect, my 46th year wasn't a bad year at all. As a matter of fact, heaps of blessings came in my way which I initially didn't perceive it as such. Work wise, it was a great year with a few challenges along the way. Health wise, I can consider myself in pink health except for a few asthma attacks, allergy rhinitis and bouts of severe dysmenorrheic cramps sans any signs of recurring pneumonia, thankfully.

This year, opened a wide door for me to pursue my personal passion for writing. My non-fiction book has finally reached the end of its 2nd draft. Indeed, time flies like an arrow.
I remembered how I grappled with all the ideas I could come up with to form my outline in the midst of my sunbathing session during my summer break. Burning with enthusiasm, I inched writing chapters or more like few pages every night after a hard day's work, sleepless nights or sometimes missing my regular shopping dates to be with my newly found best friends-my monitor and keyboard.

At a certain point in February, I felt that I needed a break from writing ideas related to my teaching profession for my book. Then I discovered a romance short story writing contest which I exuberantly joined. The competition is based on the number of votes of readers instead of the merits of your writing. Though it looked kind of foxy to me but what the heck, I thought, I joined just the same. Fortunately, my entry won the grand prize. And I got an unexpected $250 prize for that. Not bad for a first time short story writer, huh?

My story? It's entitled " Winter Dream." Honestly, I didn't plan out the plot. Believe it or not, the ideas just flashed in my mind while I was browsing through a news about a winter storm that got passengers stranded at the Madrid International Airport. Not only because of my winning experience but the feedbacks of my friends who enjoyed reading the story plot brought a lot of confidence and assurance that I could pull off a non-fiction chick lit style novel one day ( this year I plan.)

More than all of these salient colorful events of my year, the one that I loved and enjoyed tremendously is my glaring passion for cherry picking. Thankfully, the school where I work has beautiful cherry trees with sturdy branches bearing abundant cherry fruits that I devoured like being stranded in an island without food except cherries.

It was fun picking cherries-poking the fruits with a broomstick, using a ladder and pulling the sagging branches to reach for the maroon over ripe ones became my short obsession. Just like cherry picking, my 46th year was no different from that. With the challenges that I struggled during the year, I did everything to make things happen to rise above the hurdles just like everyone. In the end, a special bonus awaited for me-a bowl full or light, dark red and maroon over ripe soft sweet cherries that I delightfully nibbled under the tree.