Orange Park Backstretch

We’re just about halfway through the Year of the Rabbit, so now would be a good time to take a look back at New Year’s predictions for YoR and evaluate the accuracy of various feng shui soothsayers.  These guys make a very comfortable living by reinforcing a soothing belief-structure that helps assuage the anxieties of countless millions, so their track records are —or ought to be— a matter of general public interest.  Lunghu will not exempt himself from this rigorous review: he made a few wildly improbable predictions of his own back in February.

Here we go: the clear quality champion thus far in YoR has been Malaysia’s own Rev Yong.   He has two obvious “wins” in his column already  —

  • A serious earthquake will strike Japan.
  • There will be severe flooding in many parts of the world. 

(In case you haven’t been keeping track, thus far this year severe flooding has afflicted:  Colombia; Venezuela; Thailand; Germany; Denmark; China; Singapore; Korea; Japan; eastern Montana; Vermont, and various portions of  the Mississippi River basin.)

Lao Yong should also get some credit for a partial success: his prediction that  “there will be outbreaks of ‘worrisome new diseases’” could be construed to apply to Korea’s epidemic of hoof-and-mouth disease earlier this year, which created havoc in the livestock industry north and south of the 38th parallel.  Yong’s fourth prediction —that there will be “world conflicts” in YoR— shouldn’t really even count as a prediction: there are “world conflicts” every year.

Peter So of Hong Kong was a bit more specific than Rev Yong when he predicted that “North Korea will experience a serious outbreak of epidemic disease.”  Lao So also said that Hu Jin-tao will succeed in most endeavors, Barack Obama only in a few.  We’ll see …

Most of the other feng shui prognosticators whose predictions Lunghu listed at the beginning of the year aren’t faring quite so well.  Taiwan’s Chan Wei-chung claimed that “Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt will experience relationship problems,” but (at least in public, in Sarajevo) things look fine between them (just for the moment?).  Hong Kong’s Anthony Cheng predicted “violent earthquakes in Russia & Inner Mongolia.” Perhaps not …

Raymond Lo played it safe by forecasting that “There will be many sex scandals and extramarital affairs” and “Youth will demand change & reforms.”  Sure, he gets partial credit for Arnold Schwarzenegger, but Lao Lo might as well have said that the sun will rise tomorrow, tomorrow.

Let’s see … who else?  Tsai Shang-chi predicted that “the West will be prone to more terrorist attacks;” should he get credit for Oslo?

Alion Yeo Tin-ming claimed that natural disasters will afflict Taiwan, US and Canada, and (more specifically)that earthquakes will strike the US.  He also predicted a technical breakdown in the internet (does LulzSec/Anonymous count?).   Even more ambiguously, Alion Yeo forecast that “a money tsunami” would strike Korea and Japan, bringing an influx of hot money that would distort their economies.  As far as Lunghu is concerned, Yeo didn’t have a literal oceanic tsunami in mind when he made this prediction.  He himself might claim otherwise.

And what about Lunghu?  He made a string of extravagantly calamitous predictions for the Year of the Rabbit, and nary a one has occurred.  That’s a tremendous relief, because Lunghu deliberately chose to predict extremely unlikely events precisely because he did not want them to happen.  It’s quite unsettling to frivolously predict an earthquake and have it occur a fortnight later, as happened to Lunghu in the Year of the Tiger.  Much better to be happy and wrong than to be an accurate soothsayer saddened by the endless pain of the human condition.

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