HONG KONG - Sunday marks the start
of the Chinese New Year and it's a lucky one for those starting out in life. But
the rest of us are in for a rough ride. Expect epidemics, disasters and violence
in much of the world.
A man poses in front of pig decorations at a park in Beijing,
Friday Feb. 16, 2007. [AP]
of the Pig will not be very peaceful," said Hong Kong feng shui master Raymond
Feng shui is the ancient Chinese practice of trying to achieve health,
harmony and prosperity by using specific dates, numbers, building design and the
placement of objects.
The pig is one of 12 animals (or mythical animals in the case of the dragon)
on the 12-year cycle of the Chinese zodiac, which follows the lunar calendar.
According to Chinese astrology, people born in pig years are polite, honest,
hardworking and loyal. They are also lucky, which is why many Chinese like to
have babies in a pig year.
"Any children born in The Year of Pig will receive help from others
throughout their lives," Lo said.
Ronald Reagan was a pig. So are Arnold Schwarzenegger, Woody Allen and Elton
John. Not to mention Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But a word of caution to the presidential candidate.
The pig finished last in the race that determined the zodiac's order, behind
Other animals in the zodiac are the rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake,
horse, sheep, monkey and rooster. The zodiac runs on a 12-year cycle, and each
year is associated with the five elements that Chinese mystics make up the
universe: metal, water, wood, fire and earth.
Therein lies the trouble.
Pig years can be turbulent because they are dominated by fire and water,
conflicting elements that tend to cause havoc, Lo said.
"Fire sitting on water is a symbol of conflict and skirmish," he said. "We'll
also see more fire disasters and bombings."
He noted that the Russian AK-47 rifle, a weapon of choice among insurgents
around the world, was invented during a pig year.
"So it will not be surprising to see more gunbattles, murder with guns and
bombing attacks in 2007," he said.
Malaysian feng shui master Lillian Too agreed.
"I wish I could say that there won't be natural disasters, but I am afraid it
could be as bad as last year," she said.
"There could be epidemics," she said. "I am very worried about bird flu. Eat
healthy foods and take care of your health."
Few Chinese seemed to be worried about the warnings, though, as they prepared
for their biggest bash of the year - Saturday's Lunar New Year's Eve -
celebrated by one-fifth of the world's population.
It's an occasion to have family feasts, buy new clothes and exchange red
envelopes stuffed with gift money.
Not everything about the future looks bleak.
Most soothsayers said the world economy will continue to boom, though they
advise people to be cautious about their investments.
"Because of the water element in the Year of the Pig, the economy will
continue to grow, which also paves the way for another round of interest rate
hikes," said Peter So, a celebrity fortuneteller in Hong Kong.
Hong Kong soothsayer Alion Yeo is predicting North Korea will undergo a power
struggle that will bring leadership changes around May. Last year, the Year of
the Dog, Yeo warned that the North Korean nuclear crisis would worsen.
The North conducted a nuclear test in October.
Singapore fortuneteller John Lok predicted the situation in Iraq will not
settle and US President Bush will have a bad year.
He also said the next president of France may be a woman - no surprise there
since one of the main candidates is a woman, Segolene Royal of the Socialist