No. of Recommendations: 2
I was turned on to the Monkey King story by my Indonesian girlfriend. My Indonesian GF seems to be aware of the story because many Indonesians have a prejudice toward Chinese people and the Monkey King story is meant to be derogatory towards Chinese people as the Monyet (Indonesian for monkey) is about the biggest insult a Indonesian can call another person:

If you want to get into a fight with a Indonesian then call him either a Monyet (Monkey), Anjing (dog) or Babi (Indonesian for Pig). Since most Indonesians seem to be Muslim and many Chinese people like to eat pork.....well, the average Indonesian looks down upon the Chinese for eating Babi.

The reason why my girlfriend liked talking about the Monkey King was because it was her attempt to be derisive toward Chinese people. The way Indonesians view it seems to be that one of Chinese most famous kings is a Monkey and that Chinese descend from this Monkey King.......bear in mind that in Indonesia to be called a Monkey seems to be the most derisive insult a Indonesian can throw at you. A Monyet seems even more derisive than being called a Babi.

I really do not understand all this prejudice but it appears that somewhere in history that people with Malay blood developed some type of grievance with Chinese people. I find it interesting that countries with Malay blood (Indonesia and Malaysia) have had high incidence of conflict with Chinese people. The only country with Malay blood that has the least prejudice with Chinese people to me seems to be the Philippines (I and many others call it the PI) but even there many Malay Filipinos carry the same attitudes as people in Malaysia and Indonesia which appears to be this common complaint across all of the archipelagos:

" WHAT WE FILIPINOS SHOULD KNOW: Growing up in the 1950s and 60s, we learned about the Chinese being smuggled into our homeland, with payments to certain congressmen. In retrospect, this Chinese diaspora is understandable given the human hardships that arose from the early failures of Chinese communism, i.e. Great Leap Forward, and the proximity, the attractiveness of our freedom and the natural richness of our homeland.

Now, the Chinese can be easily naturalized as the native Malay Filipinos, thanks to the Marcos Dictatorship and subsequent regimes who all found economic and political profit in doing so. Quietly the Chinese, not wanting assimilation with the natives (though sometimes assimilating with the established, aristocratic mestizo elite) have thus gained humongous economic dominance and consequently political influence, directly and indirectly, thanks to our many native, corrupt officials.

We hear and read ad nauseam about the regression of our homeland versus our Asian neighbors; and for the most part, it is our fault; we Malay Filipinos, who comprise the majority, for allowing this disaster to happen. Our fault because we are not a united majority, not a nation, because of our lack/absence of nationalism. "

...but enough of the racial conflicts in Asia......

.....I continue to learn a lot about various aspects of Asian culture and the Monkey King seems most interesting.

The Monkey King happens to be among the most famous stories in "Chinese" mythologies but it seems to also be a true story intermixed with superstition:

"Monkey King, or known to the Chinese old and young as Xi You Ji (Journey to the West), is one of the renowned classical Chinese novels dated back some four hundred years ago, the other three being Shui Hu (The Water Margins), Hong Lou Meng (Dream of the Red Mansion), and San Guo (Romance of Three Kingdoms).

Monkey King is based on a true story of a famous monk, Xuan Zang of the Chinese Tang Dynasty (602-664). After a decade of trials and tribulations, he arrived on foot to what is today India, the birthplace of Buddhism. He was there for the true Buddhist holy books. When he returned, Xuan Zang translated the Sutras into Chinese, thus making a great contribution to the development of Buddhism in China.

Monkey King is an allegorical rendition of the journey, mingled with Chinese fables, fairy tales, legends, superstitions, popular beliefs, monster stories, and whatever the author could find in the Taoist, Buddhist, and Chinese popular religions. While average readers are fascinated with the prowess and wisdom of the Monkey King, many reviewers agree that the protagonist embodies what the author tried to convey to his readers: a rebellious spirit against the then untouchable feudal rulers.

The monkey is indeed rebellious. He was, according to the story, born out of a rock, fertilized by the grace of Heaven and Earth. Being extremely intelligent, he has learned all the magic tricks and gongfu from an immortal Taoist master. Now he can transform himself into seventy-two different images such as a tree, a bird, a beast of prey, or an insect that can sneak into an enemy's body to fight him or her inside out. Using clouds as a vehicle, he can travel 108,000 miles at a single somersault.

He claims to be The King in defiance of the only authority over the heaven, the seas, the earth and the subterranean world -- Yù Huáng Dà Dì, or "The Great Emperor of Jade." That act of high treason, coupled with complaints from the masters of the four seas and the Hell, incurs the relentless scourge of the heavenly army. In fact, the monkey has fought into the ocean and seized the Dragon King's crown treasure: a huge gold-banded iron rod used as a ballast of the waters. Able to expand or shrink at his command, the iron rod becomes the monkey's favorite weapon in his later feats. The first test of its power came when the monkey stormed into hell and threatened the Hadean king into sparing his and his followers mortal life so that they all could enjoy eternity."


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