Skip to main content

Giving in to dance

Guest blogger Jehan Mohd writes about what she thinks about the promotional stunts for the late King of Pop's DVD release of the concert that never was.

 

GETTING a bunch of convicts serving time at a maximum security facility to promote the launch of your latest DVD may not seem to be the brightest of ideas…unless you’re a recently deceased-cum-former-King-of-Pop and the prisoners are those at Cebu Provincial Detention and Rehabilitation Center, a maximum security prison in the Philippines.

The inmates who made waves globally in 2007 when a video of them dancing to Michael Jackson’s Thriller hit YouTube aren’t exactly unknown (collectively, anyway) – videos of them dancing to other songs have received tens of millions of hits in total.

Nevertheless being visited by longtime MJ choreographer Travis Payne and dancers Daniel Celebre and Dres Reid who taught the inmates the moves to a sequence from MJ’s This Is It, and performed a dance to promote the launch of the DVD must still be pretty exciting.
 
It’s hard not to admire and get excited by the efforts of these 1,500-odd men.

You might even forget that these are hardened criminals and not a bunch of kids getting together for a flash mob type event (yes, I am spoiling the video for you) – at the end of the video, they form a giant peace sign.

The choice of They Don’t Care about Us as the song they dance to is kind of ironic (or fitting, depending on how you see it) as one of the original music videos (two were made for this song) saw Michael Jackson singing and dancing with inmates in a prison facility.

Who, aside from their families and loved ones, would look upon prisoners kindly or with admiration? These are people who committed not just any petty crime but serious offences – including murder, rape and drug trafficking – that landed them in the maximum security facility.

Prison warden and security consultant Byron Garcia sees dancing as a form of rehabilitation.

In his site, he says that rehabilitation has to be “anchored on bringing out the best in men instead of the worst…” and that it should be done with compassion so that a sinner can be separated from the sin.

I can imagine that the people who fell victim to their acts not being fans of these criminals.

Still, for the four to five-minute duration of the songs they dance to, normal viewers and total strangers to them would still be amazed at how “hard-core” criminals can let their guards down enough to give in to dance.

Comments

Popular Posts

Why Shamsul Amri dislikes Facebook

Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin People who do not use Facebook fall into three broad categories. The first group is completely indifferent to it, the second finds it mildly irritating and the third dislikes it intensely. Malaysia's prominent sociologist Professor Shamsul Amri Baharuddin is of the last type. I made the mistake of asking Shamsul, who is director of the Institute of Ethnic Studies at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, if he was on Facebook, the social network which was hatched up in the dormitories of Harvard six years ago. "I have a face and I keep thousands of books. Why do I need Facebook?" How do you react to that reply? I didn't. I meekly invited him to elaborate on his reasons. "Facebook will take away my soul and I won't allow that to happen because I am a believer," says Shamsul fiercely, who launched into a tirade of accusations against Facebook. Ninety per cent of the things you read on Facebook are either p

Buah Tarap: A chance encounter

You learn something new everyday. My friend Alina is very fond of repeating this. And I agree with her. Today I tasted the Buah Tarap (Tarap Fruit) which is said to be unique to Sabah/Borneo. My colleagues and I arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah this afternoon; we are here for the RHB New Straits Times Spell-It-Right Challenge which will take place at the Suria Mall over the weekend. After checking into the Beverly Hotel we walked to a nearby eatery for a spot of tea. It was then that I chanced upon the Buah Tarap and began snapping away. My colleague, who had eaten the fruit in Bandung, Indonesia, was excited to see it. He bought one for us to try. The stall vendor split the fruit into two and we bit into its flesh. Everyone liked it but describing its flavour remains a challenge. The fruit, which looks like nangka (jackfruit) or chempedak,  has an unusual combination of tastes: it is sweet but not as sweet as the jackfruit nor as chunky. Words fail me. It feels so light t

Who am I?

Malaysian artist Jeganathan Ramachandram will be exhibiting his paintings in Singapore if a deal with a company to display Human Watching: A Visual Poetry on the Science of Human Watching in the island republic is successful. The intuitive artist told Survey that the move is still under negotiation. Human watching made its debut at Galeri Petronas in March, 2009 and was well received by both art critics and art lovers. Fourteen portraits representing females and males born on each of the seven days in a week were put on view. The depictions (acrylic on canvas) were based on his observations of human behaviour for the past 14 years. Images of seven females and seven males inform viewers through symbols of their strengths and weaknesses and their relationships with other people. Those who have seen Human Watching identified with their profiles almost immediately. Admit it: you are curious about yourself! Males, who were born on Sunday ( bottom picture ), were pleasantly surprised t