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Michael Rivers
  • Date of birth: Feb 10, 1963
  • Place of birth:
    Blackfoot, Idaho, United States
Michael brought together people from all walks of life and made us all laugh.

Michael Rivers, longtime resident of Idaho, Bangkok, and Hong Kong, many of us are devastated to see you go. For years, your deft editing bolstered the Asian Wall Street Journal, and before that the Herald in Everett, Wash., and the Nation in Bangkok. Friends around the world miss the twinkle in your eye and the sheer joy you brought to our lives.

Memorial Tributes
This tribute was added by Ian Pollard on 22nd February 2014

"I don't know what to say. Michael was always good to me. He was cheeky/fun, but always a gentleman - lovely combination. He embraced the life he had, the one he made for himself. Michael, you deserved for it to be much longer though. Won't forget you mate. Ian"

This tribute was added by Dylon Chua on 14th February 2014

"Sometimes I feel I've got to
Run away I've got to
Get away
From the pain that you drive into the heart of me
The love we share
Seems to go nowhere
And I've lost my light
For I toss and turn I can't sleep at night

Once I ran to you (I ran)
Now I'll run from you
This tainted love you've given
I give you all a boy could give you
Take my tears and that's not nearly all
Tainted love
(whoa-o-o-o) Tainted love

Now I know I've got to
Run away I've got to
Get away
You don't really want any more from me
To make things right
You need someone to hold you tight
And you think love is to pray
But I'm sorry I don't pray that way

Once I ran to you (I ran)
Now I'll run from you
This tainted love you've given
I give you all a boy could give you
Take my tears and that's not nearly all
Tainted love
(whoa-o-o-o) Tainted love

Don't touch me please
I cannot stand the way you tease
I love you though you hurt me so
Now I'm gonna pack my things and go

Tainted love (whoa-o-o-o), tainted love (whoa-o-o-o)
Tainted love (whoa-o-o-o), tainted love (whoa-o-o-o)
Touch me baby, tainted love
Touch me baby, tainted love
Tainted love (whoa-o-o-o)
Tainted love (whoa-o-o-o)
Tainted love
Tainted love

Baby, baby, where did our love go
Oh, don't you leave me,
Don't you leave me no more
I've got this burnin', yearnin', yearnin' feelin' inside me
Ooohh deep inside me
And it hurts so bad

You came into my life so tenderly
With a burning love
That stings like a bee
And now that I'm surrounded so helplessly
You know I believe, you wanna leave me

Oh, baby, baby, where did our love go
Oh, don't you leave me
Don't you leave me no more
Oh, baby, baby, where did our love go
Oh, don't you leave me
Don't you leave me no more

You came into my life so tenderly
With a burning love
That stings like a bee
And now that I'm surrounded so helplessly
You know I believe, that you wanna leave me

Oh, baby, baby, where did our love go
Oh, baby, baby, don't you leave me no more
I've got this burnin', yearnin', yearnin' feelin' inside me
Oooh deep inside me
And it hurts so bad

Baby, baby, baby, where did our love go
Don't you leave me
Don't you leave me no more
And now that I'm surrounded so helplessly
You know I believe, you wanna leave me

Oh, baby, baby where did our love go
Where did our love go
Where where where
Now that I'm surrounded oh so helplessly
You know I believe, that you wanna leave me

Baby where did our love go
Where did our love go
Where where where
Baby, baby, where did our love go
Oh don't leave me, don't you wanna leave me
I've got this burnin', yearnin', yearnin' feelin' inside me
Oooooooohh deep inside me
And it hurts so bad

Baby
Baby"

This tribute was added by Jim Algie on 13th February 2014

"Michael was a colorful character with a manic sense of energy who brightened up many a dull news day at The Nation. Every afternoon he’d breeze into the newsroom with his hill-tribe satchel over his shoulder (the stigmata of the long-term backpacker), shorts and a singlet, looking more like he was going to the beach rather than work, and either go straight to subbing or leap straight into an impromptu diatribe or movie review.

He was by no means your typical hayseed from Iowa, but in his love of action movies and trashy thrillers he had a few Midwest tendencies. Not content just to play Leonard Maltin, he would act out some of the scenes in the movie, ducking bullets, dodging debris, and cackling maniacally all the while.

Michael was energetic enough in his usual state but when he was tinkering with his body chemistry he was a one-man Broadway show.  

Roger B had a good assessment of him, “He’s a rattling pill box but life is not a rehearsal so he gives it his best,” or words to that effect.    

In an interview with Metro from 1995, which I have added to the photos page, Michael said, “You can only get embarrassed if you care what people think about you.” Which are words that he lived by.  

If you made a mistake while copy-editing a story he was subbing you would certainly receive a snippy comment. But he was usually right. And to be fair, Michael was also quick with a compliment when your work warranted it.

He also added a lot to the stories. When Annie and I were debating how to alter the intro paragraph in her halfhearted review of Wet Wet Wet which began with, "Love them or leave them, but one's thing's for sure, Wet Wet Wet are very popular," Michael laughed and changed it to, "Love them or want to hang them out to dry..."        

As Scott mentioned, his parties were epically Roman debauches. At one such saturnalia he and his medicine chest of party supplies had convinced Scott and I that we were 16-year-old skateboarders again and should head out to the parking lot to see who could do the greatest number of 360s. The fact that neither of us had a board – or had ridden one in 15 years – did not seem to pose an immediate obstacle.  

After he left The Nation around 1996, Michael continued contributing movie and book reviews under the hilariously mercenary pen name of “Yak Ngoen” (Want Money). Yes, he was a cash-conscious dude – definitely – and the only person I knew that routinely collected overtime at The Nation.  

The last time I saw him was at Steve and Annie’s wedding on Koh Samui in 2002.  When returning from the buffet table I passed by a man who looked vaguely familiar but, because he had washed out the blond peroxide and become a born-again brunette, I could not place him. Then it dawned on me that this was Michael. So I tracked him down at the party. We had a long and friendly catch-up session. When in the right mood he was a very warm-hearted person who loved to share a laugh.    

By then he was working in Hong Kong with the Asian Wall Street Journal, and me, Cameron and Bobby had just started Farang Magazine. So there was much to discuss on the life and professional issues fronts.  

I’m glad we parted on amicable terms, as Michael’s occasional outbursts and inability to lie about his opinions or feelings caused some abrasions in his dealings with others.      

So long Michael Rivers. The world is a less colorful and amusing place without you."

This tribute was added by Mary Yan Yan Chan on 11th February 2014

"happy birthday Michael from HK...

Jasmin & Gerry R, Namfond, Stuart M, David H, Dean M, Joe S, and Christine B and I had a dinner memorial last night at Thai Simple , a great CWB restaurant that Dylon & Michael had introduced us to many yrs ago.

We shared tears & smiles with each other and we had made it very special together with candles and a funny cat with a fabulous sequin bow and his Las Vegas dice which he brought me yrs ago...

As I mentioned, my friend and yoga teacher Chan had shared this with me to which I had passed on to all last night... from Thicth Nhat Hanh, zen master of Plum Village who is 70 + in age...


"No coming, no going; no after, no before
I hold you close to me; I release you to be so free
Because I am in you, and you are in me
Because I am in you, and you are in me"
- Plum Village

The you-tube plays a lovely version.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlqoDZEuJTM

Thank you for all who were there mentally and physically.  

I think we did Michael proud...

there is a small photo
but I may have to send to Geoff to upload... ?

xoxoxo to  "michael rivers family""

This tribute was added by Dylon Chua on 11th February 2014

"Happy Birthday Michael, I will always love you. We had amazing 8 years despite all the hiccups, Thanks for making me a stronger person so I know how to deal with shitty, superficial and fake people. Fuck them all."

This tribute was added by Mark Souder on 10th February 2014

"Jasmin/Gerry -- wish I could join you. I've been in  HKG four times this last year, the first two with Michael. Alas -- I'm headed to the woods of Oregon (some of Michael's old ground) while you are holding him in your hearts. I am with you in spirit.

UncleMarkie"

This tribute was added by Mary Yan Yan Chan on 5th February 2014

"Jasmin, wife of Gerry Redmond (dearest friend of Michael)
and I are planning a get-together dinner in HK on Mon 10th Feb to
remember Michael as this is his birth date.  

We shall share stories of smiles & tears, food and drink, thai style of course.

Pls see the evite link enclosed and let us know if you can make it.  

http://www.evite.com/event/00E3Y5PE2RUCO4MOSEPDRZHPQNI7HI

myyc@cheerful.com is my email.   Thank you all.  xoxo"

This tribute was added by Scott Davis on 25th January 2014

"My friend looking at your pictures especially picture one which was taken at El Torito's with my other friend Cynthia waiting on you sure brought back memories.  You introduced me to Savio and we were together until his death in 94.  I had so much fun with you in Palm Springs when we hung out together.  The last time I saw you we went to Sister Act.  I will always remember the laughter and the champagne."

This tribute was added by niki thongborisute on 25th January 2014

"Michael was too smart and witty, with a truly evil sense of humor.
He had no problems rebuking people and cursing out total and complete strangers when ever they were annoying, irritating or otherwise being morons (he felt!)
I have "fond" memories of being there when he did this several times!!!
Once, at a gay bar in Bangkok, down the end of Silom Soi 4, (Sphinx was the name of the place), we were having a bite to eat and Michael was being very loud, telling a very uproarious and rude story about some escapade or other, and we were all laughing and being loud, as we normally were....
At the table just nearby, a middle aged couple (Brits I think) were staring disapprovingly at us. At one point the husband got up and started telling us to be quiet, we were too loud, rude and bad-mouthed....
Michael got really pissed off at being told off by this punter. He stared this man down with his steely blue eyes and said very very loudly so that everyone could hear:
"Well, what are you doing in a gay bar, that's what I would like to know. What does that say about YOU???!!!!!!"
While the man's wife shrank farther into her chair....
The man was very red-faced and aggressively got up and left.....mousey wife followed....
We all laughed hilariously."


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