Our rice-resurrecting Japanese writer Meg isn’t just one of our favorite writers, she’s also one of our globe-trotting writers! And while we’re always happy to hear from her, this report she filed from China has a particularly special place in our hearts because it’s from the Shaolin Temple in Hénán Province!

In addition to sightseeing, it seems that Meg also took the opportunity to chat with some of the Shaolin monks. So, what did Meg want to discuss with the ascetics she met? Did she ask them to accept her as a disciple or get them to teach her a special technique to defeat all her enemies? Or maybe asking them to tell her the secret to eternal life? Not quite…


Earlier this summer, Meg took a trip to China and ended up at the Shaolin Temple in Hénán Province. Among the throng of excited tourists on the temple grounds, our writer spotted a number of monks playing with smartphones. Her guide informed her that while it was no problem to speak with the technology-loving monks, photos were off-limits.

▼ But no one said anything about illustrations!


So, seizing the opportunity, Meg strolled up to one of the monks and struck up a conversation. In case you’re curious, it seems that all the monks at the temple are in one of three groups — Zen, weapons, and medicine — and this particular fellow was in the Zen group. He was also quite the gentleman and politely answered all the questions Meg had. Once they were done chatting, though, she noticed that he had soon whipped his phone out. Looking closely, she spied an Angry Birds wallpaper on his Android phone. Ah-ha! A win for Google!

Or was it? When she again struck up a conversation with a monk, the conversation turned to smartphones, and she found he was using a Samsung Galaxy. But when asked what phone he wanted, the monk said, “Definitely an iPhone.”


So, why the Apple device? The monk was apparently quite keen on the new version, and it seems like his colleagues all shared his interest. So why were these guys so interested in the iPhone?

“Because it will put my parents’ mind at ease.”


No, it’s not that their parents are concerned about security flaws on other platforms or even big fans of Apple Care. This was the first time Meg had heard this reason given — and it’s a first for us as well. But after thinking about it for a while, Meg decided that it actually makes sense. The device is expensive in China, as it is in the rest of the world, but it’s even more expensive in China, apparently. Therefore, she reasoned, if their parents see that they have iPhones, their mothers and fathers would know that they’re doing okay and eating properly.


Meg had a final question for the monk, asking what he was doing with his phone. It turns out he was using the free Chinese messaging app WeChat to talk with a fellow monk who was travelling with one of their superiors in Beijing. She wasn’t sure if they were talking about work or just as friends, but it’s fascinating to see how technology has seeped into so many different parts of the world. After all, who would have imagined that Shaolin monks would be so infatuated with iPhones!

▼ Here are a few more photos of Meg’s trip to the temple.




It makes you wonder what kind of new styles of Shaolin Kung Fu will develop in the coming decades, influenced by technology. Maybe there will be a Cyborg Fist attack or even some sort of Shaolin cyber martial art. Remember that, folks! Cyborg Shaolin Kung Fu — you heard it here first!

All images © RocketNews24

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