Main Piece:

Everybody goes up watching monkey king…with bad effect almost like Star Trek, super old but on reruns all the time – on CC TV China’s main channel for everybody.


Basically it’s humor – you just watch it for fun – but it’s based on a very old story.

These three people guard this one monk who has to go to India and they encounter lots of mystical events and lessons.


In the heavens there’s a garden full of monkeys – and there’s a king of the monkeys – he did something offensive to the Jade Emperor and he was punished by being trapped under a rock/mountain…freed by a monk, but the monk put a golden circle on his head which the monk can use to inflict pain on him whenever he is acting out of control.


He can pull out five hairs and turn them into five clones of himself


Has magic staff that can grow as long as he wants

Has magical cloud called Kinto – can go anywhere


Basically Chinese equivalent of Superman, but a monkey

Mischiveous but controlled by the monk

Stories with him and the monk emphasize how different he is from the monk.


Background Information:

Why do they know this piece?

From the show


Where/Who did they learn it from?

From the show


What does it mean for them?

Chinese Superman – culturally in his mind – his idea of a superhero.


Context of Performance:

Sitting inside friend’s room just talking.



Similar to my friend, I had learned of the Monkey King from a video game – but I was born and raised in Indonesia and although I was in a Chinese-Indonesian household, we didn’t really have much talk of staple Chinese legends such as this. It is interesting to note that although we are both Chinese, we may not be open and have access to the same kinds of cultural material due to the demographic and location of where we live.


Also, here is another version or annotation of the Monkey King: