On the Road to Tianzhu
Source:Artintern Author: Joey Ho Date: 2008-09-11 Size:
Every day at twelve noon sharp, everybody sat around the radio waiting for the upcoming program – a story-telling program featuring just one man. It was a one-man show, in which classical Chinese novels were related. One followed after the other.

 

"Want to know what is going to happen next? Please listen to the next chapter." These sentences were heard everyday during my childhood.

Every day at twelve noon sharp, everybody sat around the radio waiting for the upcoming program – a story-telling program featuring just one man. It was a one-man show, in which classical Chinese novels were related. One followed after the other.

In those days, this was a very popular program for both children and adults as we lived in an era with few resources and a lack of varied entertainment. This was our greatest amusement before our afternoon siesta. Under the burning sunshine, the voice of the story teller would flutter onto the street, accompanied, meanwhile, by one or two ringing bells from passing bicycles. Among all of the ancient novels, “Journey to the West” impressed me the most, as it was the one I could really understand.

At that time, the story teller was the big star for us, although no-one saw him personally. He was just a voice. Of course, it was not a simple task for him as he had to play many roles but somehow he could pretend to be Tang monk (Tripitaka), then Sun Wu-k'ung (The monkey king), Chu Pa-chieh (Pigsy) and Sha Wu-ching (Friar Sandy), and later, he would become the Buddha, afterwards the Bodhisattva Guānyīn, of course, and the images of numerous sprites, elves and goblins were also provided by his lone voice. Paying attention for a whole hour to so many different voices, the audience could not count the times he must have gone through schizophrenia. All of a sudden, at the finish of every program, people were awoken by his real voice, which always asked us: "Want to know what’s going to happen next?" And then it told us "Please listen to the next chapter."

We grew up unconsciously with this extraordinary voice: suddenly high, suddenly low, sometimes as a man but later as a lady. On our own road now, things no longer happen like other people’s stories which we simply listened to as children. During this present journey, we have to experience and appreciate the differences in the life by ourselves, regardless of the consequences.

Now I have met "Journey to the West" again in written form. It is delightful to encounter these favorable characters again in the ancient novels. We recognize each other as old friends and it has disclosed its best kept secrets as well as its more obvious characteristics.

Want to know what is going to happen next? Please read "On the road to Tianzhu".

[Editor] Mark Lee

    Artintern