According to folklore, there were once ten suns in the sky casting an unbearable heat over the land. The waves of heat would rise off the land like flames above a roof; the earth and waters had also dried up, and the land was barren, insufferable for men to live. Hou Yi, was a highly skilled and valiant archer. To reduce the hardships people were suffering from, he shot down the nine suns, and left one sun in the sky to provide some warmth and light for men. The act of courage and service he performed gained him widespread admiration and honour. He was rewarded an elixir of immortality, which he planned to share with his beloved wife Chang’e, to gain immortality together.
One day, whilst Hou Yi was out hunting, his evil apprentice Fengmeng broke into his house and threatened to kill Chang’e in order to force her to give him the elixir. She refused; In that moment of scurry in addition to her adamant refusal to back down, she drank it instead. As the elixir trickled down her throat, she could feel her legs getting lighter and her body feeling weightless. She began flying toward the heavens and eventually landed on the moon. When Hou Yi found out about what had transpired, he was devastated, hence every Mid Autumn day from then on, he would display the cakes that Chang’e had liked, hoping that she would come home.
Credits Vision Times
Legend has it that Chang’e, the moon goddess, is still residing on the moon today.
So I thought to myself: If Chang’e were a 21st century millennial woman today, how would she be like? How would their story have played out?
Instead of the ten suns that would definitely eradicate humankind in seconds, 2019 Chang’e now lives in a temperature volatile climate where the impending doom of global warming clouds upon her, guess it’s not much of a difference huh?
Hou Yi is not an archer, but he is however, an avid social media warrior where he advocates for climate change and the type of person that would rally an army to call for a boycott of brands with extensive carbon fuel emission. He has gained quite a following of almost 500K followers, and was recently verified by Instagram. He’s also often showered with praises and gifts for the work he is doing to raise awareness for the planet.
If Chang’e lived in 2019, she would be ankle-deep into her early thirties, working a full-time job, with a side hustle of operating her own Etsy store selling handmade pet accessories with inspiration from her pet rabbit. And the immortal elixir? Non-existent. Instead it’s a shot of Kombucha in one hand and an IPhone in the other.
Chang’e and Hou Yi from 2019 are married and live together. They have regular date nights where they like to attend workshops together multiple times a year. Chang’e is usually in charge of planning where they go, so her Google search history becomes filled with searches like “couple workshop Singapore” and “what to do in Singapore for couples” as she scurries to search for ideas the afternoon before date night. 5 minutes. That’s all she needs. On her phone, waiting for green lights as she scours the internet for hands-on and engaging workshops.
The only time 2019’s Chang’e felt threatened was by an unlikely subject, her 7-year-old son. He had the audacity to say to her “MY FRIEND’S MUMMY bought him an IPhone, I also want.” To which she responded with, “then you ask your friend’s mummy to be your mummy lah”. Her son backed down and smiled sheepishly.
And the only time 2019’s Chang’e felt weightless was “before I married you” as she would say to Hou Yi as a joke, due to her weight gain after marriage from all the cake Hou Yi constantly feeds her. This phenomenon inspires her in-laws to always say “嫦娥发福了 (Translates: Chang’e has grown fat; a Chinese idiom that associates weight gain with prosperity)”.
The reimagined Chang’e of 2019 might not be the legendary mid-autumn festival moon goddess that we know of today, but she’s pretty much the epitome of a modern day millennial woman – a hustler, a go-getter, a girl boss, a wife and a mother.
But one thing both Folktale Chang’e and 2019 Chang’e have in common?
The persistence to never succumb to threats and the wit to escape from such situations. That is, after all, what got her to the moon in the first place right?
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