Our sole purpose is doing good and being kind
"Have you watched the 'Yao-Chinese Folktales?'" quipped a friend of mine the other day. "It reminds me of my childhood, when we kept diaries."
The latest Chinese animated series, "Yao-Chinese Folktales" that is being serialized online, has captured the public's imagination not just for its production value but also for its ability to relate the fables to the modern-day challenges.
The first episode is titled "Nobody." The main character, a piggy demon, is an unnamed Wave Mountain underclass patrolman.
The story explains how demons work on setting up traps to catch Tang Monk, a Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907) Buddhist monk who travels from China to India to seek enlightenment, using the well-known story from "Journey to the West" as the backdrop. The piggy demon is bold enough to test himself and step out of his comfort zone despite being a "nobody" who doesn't even know of the plot.
The piggy demon discovers that conventional arrows cannot aim at the target while working on the trap's arrows. So he adds feathers at the bottom. It enrages his leader, a bear demon, who destroys all his work in front of others.
It is the kind of embarrassment many of us have experienced firsthand as an intern or "green hand" at our first job. Remember the time when clients kept rejecting our proposal presentations? Or when the leaders scrapped the KPI mission abruptly after we had spent long hours and effort on it?
We can draw many parallels with the piggy demon. However, just as it goes on with his life, we never lose trust in chasing our objective despite the pressure.
Changing his idea
The piggy demon is always told by his leaders that kidnapping the Tang Monk could make all the demons on Wave Mountain immortal. He now realizes that Tang Monk and his men's mission is to draw them out of their "tormented living."
The piggy wants to learn more about the diverse voices on this planet. It is the same for us as we struggle to break free of our entrenched ideas and expand our knowledge of the world.
While he finally meets the Tang Monk and informs him of the traps, in exchange Monkey King offers him three pieces of hair that would help him achieve his goal. Tang Monk is moved by his kindness and purity.
Like the piggy demon, our gang of "nobodies" from all walks of life sways back and forth between reality and fiction as we navigate feelings of animosity and confusion.
The original missions of "doing well by doing good" and "always having a kind heart" remain intact.
It serves as a guiding light, reminding us to always be on the lookout for opportunities to improve, to be calm in the face of adversity, and to maintain a firm grasp on our sense of duty.
We are brave enough to stand up to the evil force and uphold justice.
The ancient tales have always served a purpose while also being entertaining. They reinforce cultural values and celebrate traditions. May the "three pieces of hair of the Monkey King" make you a hero in real life.
The eight-episode animation has been streaming on the online platform Bilibili since January 1. A new episode is released every Sunday at 10am.