Asian fans mourn King of Pop
Jackson memorial kept viewer up into the small hoursLONDON -- Fans in Asia stayed awake into the wee hours, bars across Europe held Michael Jackson theme nights and television stations from Sydney to Paris cleared their schedules Tuesday to broadcast the King of Pop's star-studded memorial service from Los Angeles.
Several hundred Jackson fans gathered at a Hong Kong mall late Tuesday to remember their idol and watch the memorial on a big screen, surrounded by shuttered store fronts. Holding white candles, Hong Kong singer William Chan and Taiwanese pop star Judy Chou led the audience in observing a 30-second silence. Many fans clutched red roses and wore black; some donned Jackson's trademark fedora hats.
In Japan, home to some of Jackson's most passionate fans, about 100 people gathered at a Tower Records store in downtown Tokyo to watch his videos on a big screen hours before the Los Angeles memorial. The store, which Jackson visited twice, displayed his hand print in a cement block and large posters celebrating his performances. Several shelves dedicated to the pop star were stacked with his CDs and DVDs.
"I love him," said Namiko Hayakawa, a 31-year-old housewife, one of the first to grab a seat. "He is one of the greatest and most original solo performers. He also has a message about peace. He is such a big star, but he has a message for every little person."
In the Philippines, noontime television variety show "Eat Bulaga" said it would hold a Jackson dance contest Wednesday in honor of the pop icon.
Fans mourned the singer and celebrated his life along with the thousands attending the U.S. event, where entertainers including Stevie Wonder, Mariah Carey, Usher, Lionel Richie paid tribute to Jackson, who died June 25. The 12-year-old Welsh schoolboy Shaheen Jafargholi, who wowed TV audiences earlier this year with the Jackson 5 song "Who's Loving You" on "Britain's Got Talent" got a standing ovation after he sang the same song to the stadium.
In London, dozens of fans sheltered under umbrellas against the rain as they watched the event on a big screen outside the 02 Arena, where Jackson was to have performed 50 comeback shows starting next week. Many more stayed dry at home after the BBC announced it would cancel scheduled programming and show the ceremony live.
"His whole life was a global broadcast in a way, so I suppose it's fitting that his death also is," said barista Robert Anderson, 26, in London.
Crowds gathered outside Harlem's Apollo Theater in New York — where the Jackson 5 won "Amateur Night" in 1967 — and in Detroit, where his career was launched with Motown Records.
"I think he was somebody who really did change the style of music," said Jonathan Contreras, a 23-year-old college student from Westland, Michigan. "They call him the King of Pop. I call him the King of Music."
Fans gathered at Berlin's O2 World arena and at a bar just off Paris' Champs-Elysees, where about 20 people, many dressed in black, Jackson-style hats or white gloves, watched the ceremony.
"I didn't want to experience this moment alone," said Marie-Anne Le Saux, 25, an insurance company employee who helped organize the ceremony.
In Santiago, Chile, national police band played "We Are the World" during the traditional guard change at the presidential palace La Moneda, as hundreds watched.
About 50 fans lit candles and laid flowers in the main square in Stockholm, as "Billie Jean" and "Earth Song" poured out of a small stereo.
Hannah Ralme, 14, from Stockholm, said she had been heartbroken by Jackson's death. "It's like a piece of me died," she said. "The music, the way he danced, the way he expressed it showed me how to live my life — to be childlike and think about other people."
At a Pan-African culture festival in Algiers, Algeria, hundreds of singers and dancers from across the continent performed The Jackson 5's "Blame it on the Boogie" as a tribute.
For some, the relentless media coverage of Jackson since his death was too much.
"In Ireland we like a good funeral, so we'll be tuning in. There's no good sports match on tonight anyway," said barman Peadar O Docherty, 24, in the Stag's Head pub in central Dublin.
But, he added, "a lot of the adulation is completely over the top."