Saudi fans pay tribute to Michael Jackson

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(AN photo by Huda Bashata)
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AbuThalib, left, performs at a concert in Jeddah. (AN photo by Huda Bashata)
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(AN photo by Huda Bashata)
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Updated 02 July 2018

Saudi fans pay tribute to Michael Jackson

JEDDAH: It has been nine years since the undisputed king of pop music Michael Jackson left his fans aggrieved but his legacy lives on in the form of his songs.

Millions of Michael Jackson fans continue to swoon over his songs. The hit songs produced by the deceased pop icon do not seem to lose their freshness. 

Like elsewhere, MJ’s fans in Saudi Arabia also paid tribute to him by organizing a concert in Jeddah on June 30. A local band called “Who’s Bad?” performed at the event, which was held in the Majestic Laylati ballroom. Hundreds of MJ fans attended the concert to remember their beloved artist. 

The concert started with the electrifying performance by AbuThalib’s who was dressed as the pop icon and for a moment made people believe that MJ had returned. He performed one of MJ’s greatest hits “Jam” and set the tone of the event.

AbuThalib, a true MJ fan, captivated the audience by performing almost all hits by the legend. To many in the audience, it was a great trip down memory lane. Many MJ fans became nostalgic. 

The talented singer and dancer, AbuThalib, has Arabic roots as he is from Sudan. He told the crowd how thrilled he and his band were to be performing in Saudi Arabia. “We had such an exciting time here in Saudi Arabia, I am glad we could make it to the Kingdom and perform in front of a wonderful audience.”

He also expressed how much he enjoyed visiting Saudi Arabia. The artist said he would love to perform again in the Kingdom. The response from the audience was overwhelming and filled the hall with cheers.

The supposed wrap-up song was “Beat it” but after the performers stormed back on the stage for a surprise performance of “Black or white.” 

It was a great way to pay one’s tribute to a legend. The participants were thrilled to have attended such an event. Ahmad, an MJ fan, told Arab News: “I am a huge fan of Michael Jackson and it was an amazing experience. I am at a loss for words to express my feelings.” 

Another MJ fan, Seham, said: “It felt so real, the performers were extremely talented.”

Alaa Tammar, a social media influencer, also attended the concert. She said: “I loved the concert and everything about it, I never thought I would experience the Micheal Jackson phenomenon after his passing but here we are.”

At the end of the concert, fans lined up to take selfies with AbuThalib. Other band members mingled with the audience and answered their questions. 

“This was my first time performing in front of a Muslim audience and as a Muslim myself it was very heartwarming to be receive such an amazing reaction,” said AbuThalib.

“Saudi Arabia is a beautiful country, and I am glad I could come here. The audience’s love was genuine.”

AbuThalib also said: “I like paying tribute to Michael Jackson, as he was my inspiration.” 


Bad week for Mexico tourism capped by mis-translations

Updated 08 August 2020

Bad week for Mexico tourism capped by mis-translations

  • The snafu has prompted former president Felipe Calderón to write in his Twitter account: “Stop making Mexico look ridiculous!”
  • Local media reports say the errors may have been introduced by a web services supplier angry about not being paid

MEXICO CITY: It has been a bad week for Mexican tourism promotion, and it got worse Friday when the English language version of the country’s tourism website appeared with hilarious mis-translations.
Entire states like Hidalgo and Guerrero apparently got machine translated as “Noble” and “Warrior.”
Worse for the VisitMexico.com site, there was systematic and inexplicable re-invention of the names of some fairly well-known tourist towns. The Caribbean resort of Tulum somehow became “Jumpsuit.” The nearby lagoon of Bacalar, on the Caribbean coast, was switched to the Gulf coast state of Tabasco.
The snafu came one day after the US State Department cited the high number of COVID-19 cases in Mexico for issuing a “do not travel” advisory for the country, its highest level of warning. Hours earlier, the resort of Acapulco was forced to pull “anything goes” tourism ads that showed people partying without masks and the words “there are no rules.”
But the problems at VisitMexico.com drew howls of hilarity — and anger. The Pacific coast resort of Puerto Escondido became “Hidden Port,” a literal translation, and the northern city of Torreon became “Turret,” which is kind of close.
Some name changes were just inexplicable and appeared to have as much to do with invention as simple translation. The central Mexican town of Aculco somehow became “I Blame,” and the northern Gulf coast city of Ciudad Madero became “Log.”
“Stop making Mexico look ridiculous!” former President Felipe Calderón wrote in his Twitter account.
Mexico’s Tourism Department issued a statement apologizing for the apparently out-sourced errors, but then made it sound like something sinister had been involved.
“The Tourism Department expresses its most sincere apologies to the public and users for the effects that have occurred on the website VisitMexico,” the statement said. “Moreover, we make it known that these acts aim to damage the image of the website and the department, and so therefore a criminal complaint has been filed and appropriate legal actions will be taken against those responsible.”
The department did not explain that claim, but local media reported the dispute might involve a web services supplier angry about not being paid.
On Thursday, officials took down a pair of Acapulco video ads touting the faded resort’s reputation as a nightclubbing spot — despite the fact nightclubs are currently closed to enforce social distancing. They said the ads weren’t appropriate during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have stopped being a postcard from the past, today we have changed the rules,” says a narration in one of the videos. “In fact, there are no rules,” says another voice, as people can be seen eating bizarre meals and going out to night clubs. “Eat whatever you want, have fun day and night and into the early morning hours ... find new friends and new loves.”