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Hiring in China: Monkey King wanted, perks include warm cave – and plenty of bananas

By Chris Lau and CNN’s Beijing Bureau, CNN

Hong Kong (CNN) — You don’t need to be an acrobat, have supernatural powers, or even the ability to ride on clouds.

You just need to be a fan of the Chinese legend of the Monkey King – and be able to stomach plenty of free bananas thrown your way.

If that sounds like the ideal job description, then it’s probably worth sending your CV to the Wuzhishan Scenic Area in northern China’s Hebei province.

The sightseeing destination is looking to hire someone to dress up as the mythical Chinese character and is prepared to pay the right candidate $842 a month, according to state-affiliated Shangyou News. In return, they must hang out in a cave at the bottom of a mountain and be fed by tourists.

The Chinese legend of the Monkey King has a popularity in China comparable to that of the Grimms’ Fairy Tales in the West. It has fed the imaginations of countless children and inspired numerous movies and television spin-offs.

The story follows Sun Wukong, a monkey born from a stone who acquires supernatural powers from a Taoist martial artist. He fights like a warrior, wields a golden magical staff and travels around on clouds as he accompanies the sacred monk Tang Sanzang on his “Journey to the West” to obtain Buddhist sutras in India.

The journey starts on Wuzhishan, or “five fingers mountain,” where the Monkey King has been trapped by gods angry at his youthful arrogance. Tang frees him and the pair embark on their adventure.

The lucky job candidate at the Wuzhishan Scenic Area, however, will have to stay put.

The job duties require them to don a monkey mask and costume and hole up in a cave at the bottom of the mountain, according to clips circulating on social media.

A key part of the role is accepting snacks offered by visiting children – apples, instant noodles and, inevitably, lots and lots of bananas.

“What kind of amazing job is that? Endless free food and there’s a salary,” one user joked on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok.

What’s more, only minimal experience is needed.

“There are no academic requirements. The main requirements are having a passion for Sun Wukong, a certain talent for acting, and the ability to be lively, cheerful, approachable to interact with tourists,” a manager at the site told Shangyou News.

The manager added that two staff members had already been hired to play the character and now just one more was needed.

And anyone worried about what effect eating all those bananas might have on their waistline needn’t fret.

The manager said the actors were not required to devour all the food offerings on the spot. Instead, he said, the current actors usually saved some of their bananas to share with colleagues after their shift.

The company has also installed an electric heater inside the cave just in case it gets too chilly.

One clip circulating on social media shows one of the actors saying he has loved pretending to be the character ever since he was little.

“I hope I can pass on my childhood joy and memories and spread the culture of China, while also turning the focus to the mental health of children and teenagers,” he said.

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