A flaming disaster?

Will the Year of the Dragon breathe fire or profits?

A flaming disaster?

Watch out dogs and rabbits...

The Year of the Dragon, which begins on Monday, is traditionally regarded as a propitious year to have a baby. That’s because many Chinese believe that a child born under the sign of the fire-breathing creature will grow up to be a brave, powerful leader. Correspondingly (and as reported in WiC131) a boom in babyware sales is expected in the year ahead.

Paradoxically, according to feng shui principles the Year of the Dragon is far from auspicious. “Chinese feng shui doesn’t like a Dragon Year,” He Fan, a respected economist at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the New York Times. “Something happens in every Dragon Year, even if it’s just a turning point,” He warned.

Indeed, the Dragon year of 1928 marked the final year of prosperity between the two world wars and immediately before the great stock market crash on Wall Street. In 2000, there was the dotcom bubble and a year later the 9/11 tragedy.

Worse, Dragon years have also been linked to earthquakes – in 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988 and 2000.

This particular Year of the Dragon is also associated with water, one of five traditional Chinese elements. Some of the feng shui masters say this could be a problem because dragons are meant to command the heavens. A dragon in water is trapped and practically helpless, feng shui practitioner Kerby Kuek told Hong Kong’s The Standard.

The last ‘water Dragon’ year was 1952 – the Dow found that a tough 12 months, though it gained 8%. Indeed some think this Dragon year will still be tough but better than the Year of the Rabbit, which is now ending. “The Dragon is one of the most powerful signs among the 12 horoscope signs so the economic situation should change for the better, as the dark clouds are chased away and the Dragon is allowed to display its majestic presence,” says Rayden Sim, a Singapore-based geomancer.

Sim also anticipates that the first half of the new year will see many investors struggle to recover from the aftermath of last year’s economic crises, but reckons the investment climate will improve after that.

So what might the Year of the Dragon hold for all of us individually? For those born in the Year of the Dragon, Dog (1958, 1970 or any year 12 year gap before or after) and Rabbit (1963, 1975), watch out for a tumultuous year ahead. According to Lianhe Wanbao, each group will be “offending the Heavenly God” in 2012. For those born under the same sign as the cycle year, events could be especially inauspicious, so the newspaper warns Dragons to stay calm and control their emotions. Dragon businessmen should also be more conservative than usual to avoid investment losses.

It’s better news for those who are born in the Year of the Ox (1949, 1961). “Even though Oxen also offend the Heavenly God, they have many lucky stars that will lift their fortune. April is going to be an especially good month – expect a big promotion and pay rise. Those who are planning to start their own business should also kick-start their plans,” says Money Times.

President Obama, who is an Ox, faces re-election this year so he could certainly use a bit of dragon magic.

But his likely opponent Mitt Romney might not want to put much store in the Chinese zodiac. A Horse (1954, 1966), Romney is in a perilous position with many people trying put him in harm’s way, says Li Chengze, a Hong Kong feng shui consultant.

Li then suggests that Romney and fellow Horses go down to the temple and make offerings to the Gods.

One wonders how Fox would cover that…

© ChinTell Ltd. All rights reserved.

Sponsored by HSBC.

The Week in China website and the weekly magazine publications are owned and maintained by ChinTell Limited, Hong Kong. Neither HSBC nor any member of the HSBC group of companies ("HSBC") endorses the contents and/or is involved in selecting, creating or editing the contents of the Week in China website or the Week in China magazine. The views expressed in these publications are solely the views of ChinTell Limited and do not necessarily reflect the views or investment ideas of HSBC. No responsibility will therefore be assumed by HSBC for the contents of these publications or for the errors or omissions therein.