Let’s welcome the Monkey Year

Cheming Yang

The Monkey is the ninth of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. The monkey is a clever animal. It is usually compared to a smart person. The most well-known monkey in Chinese literature definitely appeared in The Journey to the West, in which Sun Wukong travels to the West with his master in search of Buddhist scriptures.

The Journey to the West is a classic Chinese mythological novel. It was written during the Ming Dynasty based on traditional folktales. Consisting of 100 chapters, this fantasy relates the adventures of a Tang Dynasty (618-907 A.D.) priest Sanzang and his three disciples, Monkey King, Pig and Friar Sand, as they travel west in search of Buddhist Sutra. The first seven chapters recount the birth of Sun Wukong, the Monkey King, and his rebellion against the Heaven. The rest of the story describes how they vanquish demons and monsters, tramp over the Fiery Mountain, cross the Milky Way, and after overcoming many dangers, finally arrive at their destination – the Thunder Monastery in the Western Heaven – and find the Sutra.

In the Chinese eyes, the monkey is therefore agile, smart, mischievous, sometimes rebellious, and capable of numerous magics, at least 72 according to the novel, in countering dangers and attacks.

As I indicated in our reflections on 2015, 2016 does not look upbeat. But no need to despair, we are in a year armed with at least 72 magics to overpower the black swans. Sun Wukong knows he cannot fight the Heaven. The metaphor I am deriving by analogy is that the Heaven has told us that GDP is not going to grow in rapidly aging societies. Don’t squander away valuable resources in merely creating the increase of numbers in GDP, which has no practical uses in the real world. So long as we reconcile with the reality as Sun Wukong does, I am confident we will find our ways to the economic heaven in the secular world.

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