This summer, we celebrate for the birth of our RC Monkeys: Zhi Ming (the male monkey) and Chun Jiao (the female monkey)! The two names, though can be common names of people, are not selected by random. For many Taiwanese people who smile at these names, they symbolize the growth of Taiwanese pop culture in the past two decades.
「Zhi Ming」 and 「Chun Jiao」 first appeared in a television comedian program 「Happyness 100%」 in Zhung Shi, one of the three largest channels at the time. New innovative TV programs were just starting to develop beside the governmental educational programs thanks to public speech freedom. For instance, entertainment programs featuring combination of talk show and celebrity drama started to appear then, and 「Happiness 100%」 was one of the first of its kind. In this very popular program, the part with the best rating is a little drama named 「Zhi Ming and Chun Jiao」, in which the show host Zhang Fei played the role of Zhi Ming, and a female celebrity play as Chun Jiao. The fun part is that the female celebrity was not necessarily the same person for each episode, and the story surrounding Zhi Ming and Chun Jiao differs every time. Zhi Ming and Chun Jiao are by default lovers or a couple; while they may share a romantic relationship, they suffer from dilemmas of separation, affairs, and so on.
However, it would be wrong to assume the little drama was all about solemn love tales. Instead, much of the show focuses on making fun and jokes, and sometimes a few other celebrities or singers would join and play as sidekicks or sing a song, so it is more accurate to consider the show as a skit with music. They never rehearsed for the skit: what you would see is the celebrities』 acting skills and witty conversation. If you pay attention to what Zhi Ming and Chun Jiao are talking about, you would most likely find senseless talks, but you would laugh at how they can change a subject to a totally unrelated topic, and how they can pull back and forth from drama and reality.
Unfortunately, 「Happyness 100%」 finished its last episode in August, 1996, but it opened a door for self recognition of new Taiwanese pop culture, and its influence remained in both the entertainment sector and people』s hearts. In 1992, two singers composed a song called 「Chun Jiao and Zhi Ming」, but a much more famous song 「Zhi Ming and Chun Jiao」 was produced by a band called Mayday in 1999. Other from the songs, these two names appear in so many places that they are used to refer to many paired things, especially stereotypical Taiwanese lovers.
If you mention one of the names to a Taiwanese, he/she would most likely connect it to the other name. To say 「Zhi Ming」 and 「Chun Jiao」 are the most representative symbols for Taiwanese pop culture is not at all exaggerated, and this is the main reason we chose these names for the RC Monkeys!