Free Press Journal

Woman claims to be descended from the monkey god


A woman in China claims to be the great-great-great-etc granddaughter of the Monkey King. She even has a lock of the divine ape’s hair as proof. Scientists are running tests on it.

I read this article on an official Mainland China news website with great interest. Who knew it was even possible to be a descendant of a fictional character?

The next time I fill in a form in China, I shall say that Snow White was my mother and the Hulk was my dad. Or perhaps I claim to be a direct descendant of the cool talking rock from the 1792 Chinese classic Dream of the Red Chamber.

By coincidence this columnist has just finished writing a book about the Monkey King. The legend came about by accident. A Chinese monk came back from India in 645 AD with a report about Hindu monkey god Hanuman.  Mishearing him, his friends thought he had toured India with a magic talking monkey, and that version was immortalized in the 1592 AD fairy tale Journey to the West.

I was impressed that scientists from Fudan University in Shanghai agreed to take the woman’s lock of monkey hair to analyze. They will no doubt compare its DNA with the DNA of all the other magic talking monkey gods they have on file.

Anyway, the internet community in China believes her story; so it must be true. And let’s not forget that China is the place where people recently campaigned to have Sun Yat-sen elected to power, despite the fact that had he been alive, he would have been well into his second century.

It’s funny how many people believe in fictional characters. My wife used to live around the corner from 221B Baker Street in London and told me the people there (a bank) get loads of letters for him.  They probably write back saying: “Sherlock can’t take your case right now because he is frolicking with his friends Cinderella and Superman in Cloud Cuckoo Land which is probably where you should be too.”

When I asked a psychologist for a comment, she pointed me to a chat-room for shy people called In one post, a Singaporean woman named Nee says she has noticed that fictional people are sexier-looking than real people.

Shou Nagatsuki of Nagano agreed, posting: “I find 2D anime boys hot. This may be true, Nagatsuki, but it strikes me that if you marry a 2D boy, you may find he has shortcomings in the adequacy department when it comes to conjugal relations. Just saying.

US female Tahuti, 37, then joined in the conversation to explain that these days she only flirts with fictional people. “They’re safe,” she writes. “And they don’t let you down.” Hmm, I wonder how many cats this woman has? a) Two? b) 20? c) Over 100?

In the past, Chinese border officials used to demand every visitor fill in a health form, which an official would take without cross-checking against your passport. I often gave the names of fictional characters or celebrities. I’ve been the Pope, Donald Duck, all the four Beatles and Mickey Mouse. “Welcome to China, Mr Mouse.” “I am delighted to visit your wonderful country, Mr Servile Peon.” Smiles all round. Those were the days.