Archive for February, 2013

Straight From the Horse’s Mouth

February 26, 2013

Serving Ikea’s “reindeer” meatballs used to be part of Lunghu’s Christmas Eve family tradition.  But this past year, after the extended electricity outage that followed Hurricane Sandy, Lunghu’s stockpile of frozen meatballs was thawed, spoiled and inedible.  That particular family “tradition” was retired.  And just in time!  We’d often joked about the content of Ikea’s meatballs, because reindeer herds in Scandinavia probably aren’t large enough to support the booming Ikea market, but nobody wanted to think too deeply about the actual ingredients.

Ikea was caught flatfooted when it was dragged into Europe’s ongoing horsemeat scandal on Monday.
“It came as a surprise to us,” Ikea spokeswoman Anna Pilkrona-Godden said following reports that food inspectors had found traces of horsemeat in frozen meatballs destined for sale in an Ikea store in the Czech Republic. “”We acted quickly to stop meatball sales because we wanted to assuage any customer concerns.  We are treating the matter with the utmost seriousness.”

Neigh-sayer

 

Treating matters with the utmost seriousness is a peculiarly Scandinavian trait that has been selected out of Lunghu’s genetic heritage by more dominant Hibernian chromosomes.  (But don’t despair: he’s still very fond of boats, blondes, gold, pillaging and bloody ax-work.)

So, what does one do after selling off all the marketable cuts of meat (see above) from last week’s broken-down racehorse? Take the remainder to Mali, of course!  Horsehair flywhisks are as popular (and necessary) as ever in Africa, and the people of Bamako have a special use for dried horseheads:

Some of Bamako’s market stands are neatly stacked with piles of dead animals guaranteed to change your life: parakeets to help you find a job, dog skulls to cure headaches, crocodile heads to make you better in bed.  [Traditional healer] Soumaila Kouyate says the most expensive item at his market stall — and the one most in demand at the moment — is a horse’s skull. What does it do?
“You write God’s name on a piece of paper and put it in the horse’s mouth,” he says.  “Then you dip it in water and you get a visa for America or Europe.”

Inshallah.

Bamako_charm market

On A (Somewhat) Serious Note:

Last week Lunghu advised that China’s efforts to avoid Year of the Snake Da Sha in its South-Southeast might result in minefields near some of the islands it claims as sovereign territory.  As a (currently) peaceful nation, the PRC chose a nobler path  –but one that hints of other possibilities:

Japan asked China to explain the purpose of buoys which were placed just outside Japanese waters near uninhabited East China Sea islands called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China.  At a daily press briefing, [PRC] Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, “[To my knowledge], Chinese related departments’ deployment of buoys in the seas under Chinese administration are aimed at maritime meteorological observations.”

Apparently, no one in East Asia is quite ready to admit the importance of geomantic balance and harmony in the affairs of nations.

 

Rue de la Glacière

February 25, 2013

Why wasn’t Lunghu informed beforehand?!!?  After a twenty-year absence, Canadian ice canoe races were once again staged on the Rivière St. Laurent a la ville de Montreal le Samedi dernier (last Saturday).  Three categories of competitors (Men’s Elite, Women’s Elite, Sport) launched their canoes across the ice in Montreal’s Old Port, and rowed a course of indeterminate length on the frigid waters of the St. Lawrence.  Best of all, nobody had to pay the Rizzuto clan for protection from “unfortunate accidents.”Circuit International de Canot a Glace_20130223

Some of these women look familiar ...

Some of these women look familiar …

Seems like they’re using Concept2 hatchet-blade oars (from Vermont) … instead of Mitchell canoe paddles (from New Hampshire).  Ancien voyageurs might not approve.

Who won?  Does it really matter?  What counts is that everyone survived!

Ogokbap

February 24, 2013

Daeboreum,” the day of the first full moon of the lunar year, falls on February 24 this year.   Koreans eat nuts, seasoned greens and “ogokbap” consisting of five kinds of grain to wish for health and happiness and to repel evil spirits.  Every five years, they also change Presidential administrations.  So it’s farewell to Lee Myung-bak, and a rather tepid welcome for Park Geun-hye. This is Lunghu’s last chance to comment on President Lee before he becomes Citizen Lee, so it’s time for the Lee Myung-bak retrospective photomontage that we’d hoped to see before the end of 2012.

Sometime ago, Lunghu blogged about the hidden meaning of decorative backdrops in official Korean photo-op portraits.  Faithful readers may recall that Lunghu had observed a striking correlation between the national origin of official visitors and Lee Myung-bak’s use as a backdrop of a Chosun-dynasty screen depicting the ceremonial protocol of barbarian emissaries presenting tribute to the Chosun emperor.  President Lee’s visitors from Africa, South Asia and Latin America shook hands in front of images showing kowtowing barbarians, while visitors from high-value export markets in Europe, East Asia and the United States did not.  Did this cultural pattern change during the Year of the Dragon?  Nope!

Joyce Banda : Malawi

Joyce Banda : Malawi

Fernando Lugo : Paraguay

Fernando Lugo : Paraguay

Ollanta Humala : Peru

Ollanta Humala : Peru

 

Recep Tayyip Erdogan : Turkey

Recep Tayyip Erdogan : Turkey

Islam Karimov : Uzbekistan

Islam Karimov : Uzbekistan

 

Viktor Yanukovych : Ukraine

Viktor Yanukovych : Ukraine

Carl Gustav IV : whore-king of Sweden

Carl Gustav IV : whore-king of Sweden

Herman Van Rompuy/JM Barroso : European Council

Herman Van Rompuy/JM Barroso : European Council

Mariano Rajoy : Espana

Mariano Rajoy : Espana

Mahinda Rajapaksa : Sri Lanka

Mahinda Rajapaksa : Sri Lanka

Nguyen Tan Dung : Viet Nam

Nguyen Tan Dung : Viet Nam

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono : Indonesia

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono : Indonesia

Koro Bessho : Japanese Ambassador to ROK

Koro Bessho : Japanese Ambassador to ROK

Noble Guests

Here are the noble guests whose photo-ops occurred in front of a golden backdrop depicting tortoises (longevity), deer (wealth, long life) and other symbolically propitious imagery:

Aung San Suu Kyi : Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi : Myanmar

Lars Rasmussen : Denmark

Lars Rasmussen : Denmark

Kuupik Vandersee Kleist : Greenland

Kuupik Vandersee Kleist : Greenland

Jim Yong Kim : USA/World Bank

Jim Yong Kim : USA/World Bank

Valentina Matvienko : Russia

Valentina Matvienko : Russia

Meng Jianzhu : China

Meng Jianzhu : China

Julia Marton-Lefevre : International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

Julia Marton-Lefevre : International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)

 

Achim Steiner : UN Environment Program (UNEP)

Achim Steiner : UN Environment Program (UNEP)

Lingering questions …

… that may never be satisfactorily answered:

  • Why such gold-standard esteem for UN functionaries?  Could it be because they work for a Korean (Ban Ki-moon)?
  • Why does President Lee think so highly of Denmark and Greenland?  Is it Denmark’s perennial ranking as the least-corrupt nation in the world?
  • Why does President Lee think so poorly of Spain and the European Union?  Are there trade barriers impeding importation of Hyundais?

 

 

Iran, A Man, An Armani

February 22, 2013

Earlier this week, while the easily-distracted Western world was focused on the travails of Oscar Pistorius, someone in Pakistan and China must have been listening to the feng shui advisor who warned:

Bad star number 2, symbolizing sickness, will arrive in the Southwest in 2013. The traditional method to dissolve this [bad qi] is to hang a string of six metal coins in the affected area in the Southwest.

Lunghu is relatively certain that the price involved somewhat more than 6 coins, but both China and Pakistan swiftly took decisive action:

China took control Monday of a strategic Pakistani port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, as part of a drive to secure energy and maritime routes.  The Pakistani cabinet approved the transfer of Gwadar … from Singapore’s PSA International to China Overseas Ports Holding Company Limited.  Although China had paid about 75 percent of the initial $250 million used to build the port, in 2007 PSA International won a 40-year operating lease [from the Pervez Musharraf regime].

old_port_Gwadar

China wants [a pipeline terminal] to secure reliable oil and gas supplies from the Persian Gulf.  Beijing has also agreed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to finish a 900-kilometer road that would link [Gwadar] with Pakistan’s north-south Indus Highway, facilitating overland transport from Gwadar to China via the Karakorum Highway that winds through the [Hindu Kush] into Xinjiang province. Beijing believes that helping develop Pakistan will boost economic activity in Xinjiang and dampen a simmering, low-intensity rebellion there.

Lunghu suspects that energy supplies are only part of China’s interest in developing Gwadar.  Although reflexive Sino-phobes (India, USA, etc.) are grumbling about a potential Chinese naval base adjacent to the Strait of Hormuz, that prospect is only a relatively small part of the larger picture.  The real value of Gwadar lies in its future as a outlet for Chinese manufactured goods destined for Middle East and African markets.  China wants economic development in its western regions (Xinjiang and Tibet) in order to quell rebellious tendencies there, but the existing transportation infrastructure makes eastward shipment of far-west products a hugely cost-prohibitive proposition.  When some of your key export markets are in the west, why not manufacture in the west, and ship directly west?  And when your central government provides “strategic guidance” to the nation’s state-capitalist economy, intent can quickly become capability.

Nothing personal; it’s just business.  So Gwadar’s near neighbors needn’t be concerned for their safety just because the Chinese are moving in next door.  In any case, what can you really do if you don’t like it?

Iran announced on Sunday that its navy plans to establish a new base on the Sea of Oman near the border with Pakistan.  Adm. Habibollah Sayyari said that the base will be built in Pasābandar, about 100 kilometers west of Pakistan’s port of Gwadar.

Pasabandar_IR

One final note:

Now that all this attention is being focused on an obscure Southwest corner of Baluchistan, maybe one of those eagle-eyed PLA scouts or Iranian marines will be able to spot the long-missing Robert Levinson.  Bacause that’s where he was, last time Lunghu checked: Gwadar … or maybe Jīwani.

R_Levinson_201x

Antwerp Perps

February 19, 2013

It wasn’t quite Tuesday, but it WAS Belgium, and somehow there was a mixup with the script —what was supposed to be filmed as  a 1960’s travel farce ended up being staged as a heist flick instead.

Armed robbers have pulled off a spectacular heist at Brussels airport, making off with millions of euros worth of diamonds.  Eight masked gunmen forced their way through the security fence at Brussels’ international airport, drove onto the tarmac and snatched some €50 million worth of diamonds from the hold of a Zurich- bound plane without firing a shot.  The robbers, who wore outfits resembling dark police clothing, got away with 120 parcels, mostly containing diamonds but some also holding precious metals.  VRT public television initially spoke of the haul being worth 350 million euros ($465 million), but later changed their figures to 50 million euros.

Tuesday_Belgium_2013

This crime is likely to go unsolved, for two reasons.  First is the well-deserved reputation of the Belgian police as among the least competent in Northern Europe (see Marc Dutroux, etc.).   Hell, Belgians cain’t even hunt feral hogs!  The second reason has to do with the perpetrators themselves.  Although the usual suspects might seem be some of those Serbian/ Montenegran jewelry bandits who have plagued Europe for the last decade, Lunghu thinks it’s more likely to be a team based further in a Da Sha South-Southeast direction from Brussels:  like Haifa, for instance.  Yep, Lunghu is pointing the finger at Mossad, who have had a bad week in the news [Prisoner X] up until now.   So although €50 million is just a drop of fresh water into the Dead Sea when it comes to Israel’s overall $10 billion budget deficit for 2013, this haul should make a nice cushion for any impending cuts in Mossad’s operating budget.

Just a hint to Europol and anyone else who’s interested: look for Australian, Kiwi, Canadian and French passports on your airline manifests.

Herpetology

February 17, 2013

There are plenty of astrophysicists who were willing to assure the population of Earth that February 15th’s asteroid visitor WOULD NOT collide with our planet, but there don’t appear to have been any feng shui masters who predicted a Chelyabinsk meteor strike on the same day as the asteroid fly-by  –or on any other day during the Year of the Snake.  That’s disappointing, because the Russian Federation also experienced a strong magnitude 6.6 earthquake in Eastern Siberia (134km WSW of Druzhina) within 24 hours of the Chelyabinsk airburst.  What are the odds?  At least astronomical … perhaps astrological.  And what about those similar –but smaller– meteor sightings in Cuba and California?

looks like a snake ...

looks like a snake …

Where did the world’s feng shui soothsayers  go wrong?  It appears that their customary analysis may have relied too heavily on an examination of the expected interactions between each year’s Stem and Branch (water and fire), while somewhat neglecting lesser (but still significant) aspects influenced by interactions between the 5 Elements and the twelve compass directions.  Here are some examples of what feng shui masters chose to emphasize for 2013:

  • The Snake contains strong fire, the birthplace of yang metal.  The fire energy is rising up and will almost reach its peak in the Snake month (May).
  • The Snake’s powerful fire energy will combine with the Tiger and the Monkey to create a strong fire configuration of “Fire Penalty.” This will trigger fire disasters, explosions and energy problems. The more dangerous months are the months of Tiger (February) and Monkey (August).
  • Famous people encountering the Snake/Tiger/Monkey Fire Penalty in their personal lives include: John Travolta, Madonna, Queen Elizabeth II, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes, Li Ka Shing,  John Nash, C.Y. Leung and Alan Leong.
  • The Snake (fire) is in conflict with the Pig (water).  Famous people born in the year of the Pig are in clash against the Snake in 2013: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carlos Santana, Hillary Clinton, Kevin Spacey, Winona Ryder, Ricky Martin, Ken Watanabe.
  • People born in year of the Snake are said to be “offending the Grand Duke”:  Bob Dylan, Vivienne Westwood, Ben Stiller, Ben Bernanke, Dimitry Medvedev, Sarah Jessica Parker.
  • Metal is one of the hidden elements inside the Snake. Metal hidden in the Fire Snake signifies nuclear explosion, nuclear disasters or nuclear testing.  This is most likely to occur in the Rooster (September) and Dog (October) months.  {It’s not clear why}
  • Be very careful with stock market investments in May (Snake), August (Monkey) and November (Pig). {Again, no explanation why}
  • The Grand Duke controls big Sha (bad energy). In the year of the Snake the Grand Duke is located in the South-Southeast.  To reduce the impact of big Sha, place round metal objects near the South-Southeast.
  • San Sha (three-killings) arrives at the East.  [From the Chinese perspective], East is Shanghai; further east are Korea and Japan.  It will not be very stable in these areas. There will be water-related incidents or earthquakes, tsunamis, nuclear explosions, fire, or gas explosions. There will be disputes or even military confrontations in this region during the Year of the Snake.

These latter two feng shui warnings may very explain why the People’s Republic is currently making such a particular fuss about the maritime boundaries of its sovereign territory.  From the Chinese perspective, South-Southeast is where the Spratly Islands (10°N 114° E) are located.  Directly to the East, the Senkaku/ Diaoyu/ Pinnacle Islands lie north of Taiwan and WSW of Japan.

China appears to be taking measures to mitigate its Da Sha and San Sha risks.  If feng shui masters recommend “placing round metal objects near the South-Southeast,” does this mean that we should expect minefields in the South China Sea?  Technically, those would be spherical metal objects rather than round metal objects, but it’s not clear whether feng shui masters are thinking and speaking in three dimensions or only in two.  The People’s Liberation Army is definitely thinking in at least four dimensions.

Crater-lake

Regardless of what happens in China, seekers of sooth would do well to remember that feng shui is always relative to the particular location and environment of the affected individual or nation.  Thus the Da Sha and San Sha risks for the United States in 2013 would be located in Florida (SSE : Da Sha) and the New Jersey / Delmarva region (East : San-Sha ).  And in Russia –as seen from Moscow– Chelyabinsk (SSE) and Druzhina (E) fall within the parameters of  Da Sha / San Sha predictions for YoS.   ‘Metal within fire’ very nicely describes the fiery contrail of a meteoric descent, and ‘fire under water’ is a fair description of the volcanic geology found in Yakutia’s boggy, mountainous permafrost terrain.

Now, let’s see how things work out for Dimitry Medvedev in 2013.  In addition to staying on Comrade Bear‘s good side, he has to worry about “offending the Grand Duke.”

G-20_20130216

The Belles! … The Belles!

February 12, 2013

How could they have missed it?!!?  All those feng shui masters out there prognosticating for the Year of The Snake, and nary a one —to Lunghu’s knowledge— predicted that Benoit Seize would throw in the towel rather than take the full count of ten.  That’s pretty poor predictive analysis, even by the rather permissive standards of feng shui prophecy, where the goal is usually timing, timing, timing rather than location^3.

It’s certainly true that in the Year of the Dragon, at least one feng shui soothsayer asserted “In 2012 the annual star number 6 is in the central place. Number 6 [represents] the law, government, power, the father figure, especially in the realm of religion. The power of such people will be challenged.”  And it’s certainly true that 2012 saw serious challenges to the authority of Benoit Seize, in the form of “VatiLeaks” and the subsequent trial of papal valet Paolo Gabriele.  But nobody called out Pope Benedict by name or anything quite so specific as actually citing his star chart for signs of trouble ahead.

Still, the omens were there for anyone to see.  After all, is there any greater challenge to the pretensions of patriarchal authority than stark female nudity?  Femen activists don’t think so.

gratuitous partial nudity (part 1)

gratuitous partial nudity (part 1)

That’s why Femen staged one of its trademark “top-down” demonstrations at Piazza San Pietro just one month ago.  In Lunghu’s view —to the extent that it matters— this protest was a strategic masterstroke (pun? maybe) despite its obvious tactical deficiencies.  Femen’s most glaring error was to accuse B16 and the Catholic Church of homophobia.  While the nature of the claim virtually guarantees media coverage of Femen, the charge itself is almost completely non-credible.  Why?  Because legions of scandalous episodes in recent decades  —from Ireland, to Massachusetts, to Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Mexico and beyond— make it amply clear that the Catholic Church has long been homophilic rather than homophobic.  However, this dark truth is the last thing that the Vatican can afford to admit, since its claims to legitimacy and spiritual authority rest squarely on the myth of clerical celibacy and asexuality.

The Catholic Church asserts the right to regulate human sexual behavior (in the guise of “morality”) based on a particular interpretation of dubious ancient texts collectively known as “the Bible.”   Like the referee in a soccer match, legitimacy in this regulatory role is largely derived from a perception of impartiality.  As celibates, Catholic clergy could plausibly claim to “have no skin in the game” – no personal subjective interest in the intimate intercourse of frail and fallible humans.  However, once priests can no longer be distinguished from ordinary mortals on the basis of sexual abstinence, their impartiality becomes suspect and legitimacy becomes forfeit.  All the more so when their sexual partiality is repeatedly revealed to be directly contrary to the publicly-espoused doctrine of the religion, which glorifies (regulated, appropriately sanctified) heterosexual procreation.

In this context, what Femen should be protesting is a) the blatant hypocrisy of Catholic doctrine;  b) persistent misogyny and subjugation of women within the Church;  c) the role of organized religion in propping up the tottering edifice of patriarchal society,  or d) all of the above.  Unfortunately, none of  those issues attract media attention.  Not even in Notre Dame Cathedral.

gratuitous partial nudity (part 2)

gratuitous partial nudity (part 2)

So when the usual Femen suspects stripped off in the nave of Notre Dame to celebrate(?) Pope Benedict’s resignation, you really have to ask for whom those belles actually toll.  The way Lunghu reads the tea leaves, B16’s resignation is an attempt to influence the choice of his own successor with subtle, unseemly, and ultimately despicable politicking behind the scenes. (Obviously, that would have been impossible if he’d made the traditional feet-first exit.)  Whether or not this stratagem will succeed remains to be seen.   Lunghu thinks not.  He has had a prior vision (perhaps divinely inspired, perhaps not) in which the next pontiff will be … the Archbishop of Buenos Aires, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio.  What odds do the Singapore bookies offer on that action?

totally gratuitous partial nudity (part 3)

totally gratuitous partial nudity (part 3)

Hisss-teron Proteron

February 9, 2013

If you’ve recently allowed niggling, nagging fears to suppress your usual joy and optimism, don’t be too alarmed: it’s just the onset of The Year of The Snake.  Sunday is New Year’s Day.  One clear sign of the season is the brief spate of feng shui stories now appearing in online mainstream media.  It’s just about the only time of year that feng shui gets any mention at all in the musings of the Euro- American Fourth Estate.

SnaKe_2013

Lunghu, as usual, has assembled a culturally-biased sample of English-language articles on the topic –-he has heard that this practice is often grandly described by the over-used term ‘curation.’  In addition to the latest sooth from old reliable(?) sayers cited in prior years, Lunghu has trawled the vast uncharted sea of turgid cybertext to haul aboard a scant few pearls of prediction from voices hitherto unheard.  Most of these prognosticators list a homeport in one of the major entrepots sprinkled on or about the shores of the South China Sea: Hong Kong, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, etc.

If the content of this year’s predictions is any guide, the core feng shui clientele is perceived to be intensely concerned with investment and commerce … or celebrated high-value individuals.  Most of the publicly-reported forecasts are focused on economic matters, or on a few big name personalities known worldwide.  In part, that’s because feng shui practitioners always take pains to emphasize that ‘accurate’ predictions of individual ‘fate’ for the coming year are highly dependent on the specific minutiae of the month, day and hour of a person’s birth.

In years past, Lunghu has made a half-assed effort to assemble and present a full compendium of available feng shui prophecies so that avid readers will have an extensive record of who said what sooth, and when they said it.   Accountability, and all that.  This year, possibly under the ever-moving influence of Long Flow Water, Lunghu finds himself too busy to devote the time to such an exhaustive compilation in one massive blog post.  Instead, let’s just try to hit the high points and maybe provide some analysis to value-add a bit of context.  After all, during the process of compiling this year’s predictions, Lunghu has noticed a thing or two about the form and content of feng shui prognostications.  His observations may be insightful or merely trite, but perhaps they’ll be useful to somebody, somewhere.

So here goes, starting with a slew of economic predictions about the influence of Water and Fire on various industries that your nation’s sovereign wealth fund might be considering as an investment.

Investment winners for 2013

2013_winners_450

Investment neutrals for 2013

2013_neutrals

Investment losers for 2013

2013_losers_450

Lunghu’s Observations

Feng shui prophecy is a rather idiosyncratic field with ample scope for a variety of opinions within a general framework of tacit agreement.  F’rinstance: four out of five feng shui advisors agree that Metal element industries will flourish in the Year of the Snake … but they’re not necessarily unanimous about which types of business fit this category.  Besides banking and finance, what else belongs?  Some feng shui masters mention computers, automotive, technology, and foreign exchange trading as Metal-element Snake-year winners.  Others don’t.  Where’s the consensus and consistency that American feng shui consumers expect?  Perhaps Chinese are more comfortable with ambiguity.  Two seers classify mining as a high-performing Metal industry, while others (more properly?) view it as associated with the Earth element.  Is this an ‘either / ore’ proposition?

A similar ambivalence prevails with respect to Water element industries:  four of five soothsayers (not the same four) opine that these businesses will do well during the YoS.  Must be the Long Flow Water.  However, for the second year in a row (consistency?), Edgar Lok Tin Yung cautions against investment in “transport- ation, aviation, shipping, logistics and so on.”  (Curiously, he doesn’t specifically identify them as Water element industries, but everyone else does.)  Once again, there’s a bit of disagreement about what belongs in this category:  Malaysia’s Joe Choo includes finance [Metal?] and insurance [Earth?] in the Water group.

Opinion is also somewhat split when it comes to the (generally negative) prospects for industries associated with the Fire and Earth elements.  Hong Kong’s Raymond Lo is alone in predicting good prospects for the Earth element sector, but that may be because he includes mining and insurance in this group along with hotels and real estate.  Other specialists consider the former two industries to fall under the Metal and Water elements, respectively.  Lo’s cross-town neighbor Emily Lam doesn’t think much of 2013’s prospects for real estate, construction, building materials, agriculture and mining.  Neither does Joe Choo.  When it comes to the Fire element (remember, it’s suppressed by Water this year), only Manila’s Anthony Fugoso has kind words to say about such businesses.  Although he doesn’t explicitly identify element-industry relationships in his predictions, Fugoso claims that mobile telecom and info tech will prosper this year.  In contrast, Lo, Lam and Choo play down expectations for other industries in the Fire group: energy, telecom, utilities, technology, restaurants, entertainment.

Wrapup:

Overall, here’s the big picture: Metal and Water will be powerful in YoS;  Metal because it’s the Snake’s hidden element, Water because it governs the year’s Celestial Stem.  The Wood element is in a neutral linking relationship this year, so Wood element industries will remain relatively stable or mildly oscillate in a narrow band.  Fire and Earth elements face a less favorable medium-term future.

Lunghu should never attempt to predict what will be in his next blog post, but if the stars and planets align he will summarize a few YoS feng shui forecasts concerning global geopolitics and climatic conditions.  Think of it as a preview of the operating environment.

Snakebit

February 1, 2013

Just one month ago, Lunghu made his first unofficial prediction for the Year of the Snake:

 “Lunghu predicts that during 2013 the Zhengzhou/ Kaifeng area of the Yellow River basin will be in the news for something other than the world’s longest bullet train railway line.”

Some feng shui soothsayers have already gone on record as predicting that the Water Snake year could portend railway disasters (because a string of train cars bears some resemblance to a serpent).  However, they may have been subconsciously trapped in a mid-20th century mode of thinking:  in this century, the present day transportation avatar of the snake is the superhighway/autobahn/autostrada/motorway/dual carriageway –just imagine all those colorful lane markings as garter snake stripes and you’ll understand immediately.  Then, when your annual Stem and Branch align as Water over Fire, a sharper picture of potential disaster comes into focus.

A truckload of fireworks intended for Lunar New Year celebrations went off Friday in a massive, deadly explosion that destroyed part of an elevated highway in central China.  An 80-meter stretch of a major east-west highway collapsed in Sanmenxia, Mianchi County about 90 kilometers west of Luoyang in Henan province.  Photos posted online by Xinhua News Agency showed firefighters below [the highway] spraying water on scorched hunks of concrete, wrecked trucks and flattened shipping containers.

Sanmenxia_20120201

Water over Fire.  How close is Mianchi County to Zhengzhou & Kaifeng?  Just down the road.  All in northern Henan Province, in the vast floodplain of the Yellow River.  Close enough for government work, as the saying goes.