The American gift and floral industry thinks that today is Valentine’s Day. Two billion other people on the planet know it as New Year’s Day. In Asia and elsewhere, New Year’s is all about hopes for the future and dreams of things to come. Same here. So, in that spirit, WtD presents a brief(?) breakdown of predictions for the Year of the Tiger –first, those of Sino-cultural prognosticators from the mysterious East, then, those of lunghu hisseff.
Recent wire service reporting by AP and Agence France Presse cited the predictions of five Asian feng-shui masters, mostly from Hong Kong. Each article named three feng-shui sources, with some crucial overlap: both outlets consulted Raymond Lo. Furthermore, Lao Lo’s remarks formed a significant proportion of each article –36% of AP’s 18 paragraphs contained statements attributed to Lo, and an identical proportion of AFP’s 22 paragraphs were also based on his predictions. Interestingly, Lao Lo’s vision of the future wasn’t entirely consistent across the two articles.
Feng-shui ‘intell assessments’ are based on concepts from Chinese cosmology that date back at least two millennia. Beyond the basic duality of yin (pr. ‘yean‘) and yang (pr. ‘yahng‘), we have (sorta/kinda organized in concentric circles like a pebble’s ripple on a placid pond) the Five Elements, the Twelve Earthly Branches, and the Twelve Animals of the Chinese zodiac. Just don’t get me started on the Ten Celestial Stems! Since a picture is worth 10,000 words, see the illustrations below:
Each of the Five Elements is associated with (linked to, in intell-speak) two or more of the Twelve Earthly Branches. The ‘water’ element is linked to four Earthly Branches . . . which is only fair, given the importance of water to vegetative growth.
Each of the Twelve Zodiac Animals has a one-to-one relationship with a specific Earthly Branch. Through the Zodiac-to-Branch relationship, the zodiac animals are fundamentally associated with a particular element.
Each and every Chinese year is associated with one of the Twelve Animals, in a 12-year cycle that begins/ends with the Rat. This year the cycle has turned to reach the Tiger, whose basic element is Fire.
Just to make things a bit more mysterious, each 12-animal/year cycle occurs within a repeating 5-phase cycle of the Five Elements. We are currently operating within the Metal cycle, so this year is under the influence of Metal, Fire and Tiger qualities. Feng-shui masters cite these influences when making predictions for the coming year.
(Caveat emptor: the seers cited below have a mixed track record, to put it mildly. Don’t make any investments based on their advice unless you can’t resist a good gamble or a bad bet.)
Raymond Lo: Fire element will stimulate economic activity, but will also increase efforts to help the weak by fighting the strong. Because of the Metal influence, international conflicts will increase (cites Iran, North Korea and terrorism). Lo told AFP that this would be “unlikely to result in violence,” but AP quoted him as saying that YoT would be more violent. YoT will be good for Barack Obama (born in an Earth Ox year) because the Tiger helps the Ox and Metal comes from Earth. YoT will be bad for Ban Ki-moon and Mahamoud Ahmadinejad (born in Monkey years) because the Tiger is in direct conflict with the Monkey. The Metal influence will also be bad for Tiger Woods, who was born in a Rabbit year (hooda thunk it?) during a Metal month. Metal-on-metal isn’t good.
Peter So: Obama will not do well during YoT, since his basic Earth element needs Water but gets Fire instead. US-Sino relations will deteriorate further in the second half of YoT. [And things aren't starting off too well, either]
Yap Boh Chu: Fire element associated with the Tiger could mean increased earthquake and volcanic activity. Metal influence could manifest as an increase in robberies, industrial accidents and car crashes. The Tiger/Fire combination will mean jittery markets and reactive investors, leading to stock price volatility. Lao Yap adds the influence of the I Ching thunder trigram to the soothsaying mix, saying that this (with Fire) portends “the arrival of the king” –a ferocious battle for leadership. Yap says things will be difficult for Obama: a crucial turning point in his presidency.
Chow Hon-ming: The Metal element portends more terrorist attacks. Financial markets will oscillate wildly.
Alion Yeo: Financial markets will fluctuate (particularly around August), but will trend upward. Industries connected to metal will benefit: machinery, banking, mining, tech, and automotive sectors will improve.
The Real Deal:
Here are lunghu’s own predictions, based on factors other than the 5 Elements, 10 Stems, 12 Branches, or 12 Animals. Some are couched in vague terminology that would do justice to either the Delphic Oracle or Nostradamus, but others are presented in straightforward, accessible language:
- The marionette will tire of being played, and will attempt to snap his puppetmasters’ (yes, more than one) strings. More than one will be pulled down from his catwalk perch behind the stage curtain.
- In the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, the summer months will be unusually hot and dry from June through August. Near-drought conditions will raise the possibility of water rationing, and electrical outages will occur with increased frequency. But spring will be mild and pleasant!
- A devastating earthquake is looming in the Andean region. . . possibly in central Chile.
- Vladimir Putin’s new Russian-style democracy ‘Reconquista’ will move from the Ukraine toward the Baltic states. Estonia next?
- For lunghu personally, a very good year. On many levels.
Xin nian kuai le!