Nope, that’s not the new animated film from Dreamworks.
I’m referring to the (allegedly) famous Tibetan Macaques of Mt Emei.
Mt Emei is one of the few places where humans can come up close and personal with these little critters. On the snowy slopes of Mt Emei, you can observe the macaques engage in natural macaque activities such as eating cheetos from a bag and drinking bottled water. Behaviours they’ve grown into since every passing tourist is inadvertently lulled into feeding the macaques with whatever they have in their backpacks just because they “look so cute holding the plastic bottle between their little paws”.
At this point in time, the macaques are probably more comfortable eating a pack of Pringles than they are plucking fruits from a tree. In fact they are so accustomed to eating human food that they will resort to any means necessary to get them.
On the “cute” end of this spectrum, they will sneak up a la Solid Snake and pickpocket anything you might have in your pocket. We’ve heard of a traveller who had to exchange her pack of potato chips for a camera that had been pilfered from her backpack.
On the darker side of things, the macaques have been known to show aggression, forcibly “robbing” travellers of their plastic bags (apparently the macaques have learnt to associate plastic bags with food). They will claw away at said plastic bags with their shit/mud covered hands until they get the loot. Macaque-attack related injuries are so common here that you’d be able to find first aid stations scattered 100m apart near the macaque territories.
Now, every wuxia fan worth his salt will know that Emei is one of the legendary sects in the ancient pugilist world.
According to legend, the first Emei fight style was derived from watching the movements of these macaques. Looking at the way they move, it’s not hard to see why.
These macaques are the stars of Emei and they know it! They walk around like they own the place. They take whatever they want to eat, shit wherever they like and at any point in time, look like they would whip out their… handphones to call their agents.
And they do have agents.
Feisty, loud women armed with bamboo sticks and sling shots.
They alternate between feeding the macaques and hitting them when they get too close to tourists. At the same time, they will claim every monkey that approaches the travellers is a “Monkey King” and the only way to prevent mortal injury from these fearsome monsters is to buy them a pack of special monkey feed priced at 5RMB. And hey, it just so happens that these women are carrying a few packs on them, which they could sell you at the risk of their own life and limbs. As a special incentive, they’ll even provide bamboo protection for you while you take photos of the cute little macaques as they throw their packs of monkey feed into the ravines.
Like a Boss indeed.
Also, I have to say “Kungfu Monkeys” would make an awesome tumblr name.