Two golden paper primates sent to join Monkey Man

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 July, 2004, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 July, 2004, 12:00am

Kam Ying used to go everywhere 'Monkey Man' Chan Yat-biu went. But the eight-year-old rhesus monkey cannot follow her master into the next world.

In her place will go two paper monkeys, along with a two-storey house and other ritual offerings at the funeral of the Kowloon City medicine hawker who kept Kam Ying as a pet despite government efforts to take her away.

The offerings were on display last night at a vigil ahead of today's funeral for Chan, who died last month aged 94.

His son, Chan Yiu-wing, said he had the pair of gold-coloured monkeys made to order as one of the last things he could do for his father. 'I wanted to make a pair so that the monkeys would not feel alone,' he said. 'With a pair, my father will be very pleased.'

Paper offerings are burned at traditional Cantonese funerals in the hope such objects will accompany the deceased to the next world.

Mr Chan Jnr is still waiting to find out if he can keep Kam Ying, more than two weeks after his father died. The Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said yesterday it had not yet decided whether a special licence to keep a pet monkey, issued to Chan Yat-biu in 2000, can be transferred to his son. The special licence was issued after a court ordered that the monkey, which the department had confiscated, be returned to her master.

Kam Ying, who had lived with the Monkey Man since she was a baby, will not say goodbye to him today. Mr Chan Jnr said he was afraid the monkey, which had been in a minor depression since his father's death, would become distressed and agitated at seeing him in his coffin.

One condition of the licence was that Kam Ying be housed in a two-metre cage which the department loaned to the Monkey Man. But his son said he had not ordered any cages for the paper monkeys.