Growing up, I did not know very many Chinese folktales or legends. My parents were modern and educated, without a lot of patience for all that old stuff. The summer I was in fifth grade, however, I went to visit my grandparents in Niagra Falls. Sitting in the den of my grandparents’ house, my grandfather told me the story of Sun Wu Kong, The Monkey King, the valiant and mischievous and invincible monkey born out of a stone who is sent to protect the Buddhist monk Tripitaka on an epic journey to India to bring Buddhist scriptures back to China. This was the one Chinese story I knew growing up, and although I have since learned many more, it has become a story my children love as well, whether in book form, cartoon, play, movie, manga, action figures, or Chinese opera.
One Halloween, Little Brother, then 3 years old, dressed up as the Monkey King and came face to face with a 3-year-old Superman at Chinese School. The two superheroes eyed each other suspiciously. I wondered, who is the greater superhero? Superman or The Monkey King? Super speed and super strength and tights? Or 72 transformations and cloud-soaring and a tiger pelt? (click on link for more)
Monkey King Films, Chinese opera face painting, and Chinese papercutting at AADL Sunday - AnnArbor.com