Even though the Communist Party dismisses all fortune-telling predictions as mere superstition, it appears that Chinese President Xi Jinping might have consulted some feng shui masters before giving his New Year’s speech at the beginning of 2017.
During his televised address Xi warned that times were getting tougher for the Chinese economy: “There is no such thing as a free lunch, only hard work will make dreams come true,” he warned. That said, he also promised as long as “we roll up our sleeves to work harder… we will surely succeed” in the year ahead.
Xi appears to be echoing a similar theme to that which many feng shui masters have been plying about the Year of the Rooster, which begins on January 28. According to Neil Somerville, a feng shui expert from the UK, the Rooster will be anything but straightforward – indeed, more so than ever it will need hard work and effort to prosper during this zodiac year (which follows the Year of the Monkey, a sign that did live up to its mischievous reputation with upsets in world politics including both Brexit and the election of Donald Trump).
Below, Week in China presents an overview of the year according to experts in feng shui, and offers readers a glimpse of the year ahead for their own zodiac creature.
(For a more interactive version, visit www.weekinchina.com/theyearahead)
The Year of the Rooster
Roosters are associated with wake-up calls, and there are definite grounds to worry about things getting choppy. On the international stage, there will be a lot of peacocking and flexing of military muscle, so be prepared for tension and unrest, warns Somerville. Similarly, Lee Shing-Chak, a Hong Kong feng shui master, advises world leaders to take things slow and not let their egos get in the way.
When it comes to the world economy, Lee is pessimistic. He compares the global economy to a sick patient on life support: “While the pulse of the global financial system hasn’t reached the point of a flat line, it is going up and down.” Perhaps he has imminent American interest rate rises in mind and their impact on the emerging markets – or a major credit event in China’s highly leveraged debt markets.
Still, certain sectors look more promising than others. This year being the Fire Rooster Year, it is reckoned that industries that relate to the Water and Metal elements will thrive, says the Hong Kong Economic Journal. That means industries like gaming, water, shipping (yes, you read it here first), precious metals and logistics will outperform. On the other hand, sectors that relate to the Wood, Fire and Earth elements – like telecoms, paper and construction – could suffer. The latter, of course, is particularly pertinent to the direction of China’s economy.
Thanks to auspicious geographical positioning, some countries will shine, says the Hong Kong Economic Journal. For instance, countries that are located in Southeast Asia will thrive.
Su Minfeng, another expert on the Chinese zodiac from Hong Kong, gives this advice: the stock market will get off to a strong start but taper off as the year progresses. That may suggest a 2017 strategy of sell in May and stay away…
Of course, the beauty of this particular Chinese soothsaying system (which Week in China is not pretending is anything close to foolproof, but nevertheless arouses the interest of more than 1.4 billion people, so is not to be sniffed at) is that each of the 12 signs have a differing relationship to the prevailing zodiac animal. Thus even if the general tone of the Year of the Rooster promises to be a tad trying, some zodiac signs will enjoy a better fortune and others worse.
So what does it mean if you yourself are a Rooster in this Year of the Rooster? That means those of you who were born in the cycle year itself (i.e. 1969, 1981, 1993 or any 12 years before or after). Character-wise Roosters are flamboyant and confident. They are also highly intelligent and very well read. They have a good sense of humour and are effective and persuasive speakers. However, their cockiness can rub some people the wrong way. Some of the most famous Roosters are Benjamin Franklin, Johann Strauss II, Prince Philip (famous for rubbing people the wrong way with his remarks), Beyoncé, Kate Middleton, Roger Federer, Matthew McConnaughey, Britney Spears, Cate Blanchett and Jay-Z.
According to feng shui principles, those born under the same zodiac sign as the cycle year can find things inauspicious and risk offending the Heavenly God – indeed, Sky Post believes Roosters could face a particularly uphill battle this year. The newspaper warns that Roosters should avoid dealing with sharp objects and stay away from places like hospitals and morgues that could hurt the flow of their ‘qi’, or positive energy.
Professionally, says Su, Roosters will also find that hard work may not always pay off in spite of what Xi Jinping has declared. Nevertheless, Su believes Roosters can improve their overall fortune by donating blood and giving to charity. Roger Federer, who returns to the tennis circuit after a six-month absence with injury, may want to temper his expectations of lifting multiple trophies this year.
Thankfully, there are still a few bright spots for Roosters, says Lee Shing-Chak. He reckons that those who are already in a relationship will likely get married and those who are married may have a child.
Financially, Lee warns that Roosters should avoid hitting the casinos when they travel, as even those with a spotless track record will find themselves disappointed.
For those born in the 11 remaining zodiac signs here’s how you will do in the Year of the Rooster:
Contrary to what some Westerners think about Rats, those who are born under the zodiac sign are believed to be highly intelligent and witty. With strong intuition and quick responses, Rats (1960, 1972, 1984 or any 12 years before or after) can easily adapt to new environments. They are also believed to be very imaginative and observant, which renders them particularly suitable for careers like writing (William Shakespeare and Leo Tolstoy were both Rats, for instance). However, a lack of courage and leadership skills means that Rats are not always the most effective leaders. In addition to the two great writers, Jeremy Clarkson, Julianne Moore, LeBron James, Scarlett Johansson, Lewis Hamilton and Katy Perry are all born under the zodiac sign. (Though, somewhat contradicting the idea of Rats being sub-par leaders, WiC should add that George Washington was a Rat.)
The Year of the Rooster is an auspicious one for the Rats. Thanks to the lucky stars around them, Rats will gain plenty of wisdom and new skills, says Lee Shing-Chak. Professionally, they will take on additional duties or even a new role, which could lead to significant advancement in their careers. But new responsibilities also bring a lot of pressure. Lee suggests that in times of stress, Rats should stay focused on their goals and not worry too much about perfection.
This year also brings new romantic possibilities for Rats. Some Rats will find true love this year, says Neil Somerville, a UK expert on Chinese horoscopes. Those who are already in a relationship, this could be the make-or-break year. Some will realise that their relationship is simply not working out in the long run and decide to call it quits. Still, it may not be a bad thing since breaking up is a chance to start afresh.
And with the star of taohua (or peach blossom), which is in charge of relationships, shining upon them during the Rooster Year, Rats should seize the opportunity to connect with old friends and potential clients. Those meetings could turn into something much more meaningful.
Ox (1961, 1973, 1985 or any 12 years before or after) are hard and conscientious workers. They set about every task they attempt in the same resolute and methodical manner. They are also natural-born leaders thanks to their strong and uncompromising personality. On the flip side, Oxen can be very stubborn and obstinate, which render them not the easiest people to work with. Some of the most famous Oxen are Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Barack Obama, George Clooney, Walt Disney, WB Yeats, Diana Princess of Wales, Johann Sebastian Bach and Gwyneth Paltrow.
This is a year when an Ox can do no wrong since the stars are perfectly aligned. That’s because Roosters and Oxen are very compatible in personality as they both favour planning and consistency, says horosope expert Somerville. So during the Rooster Year, Oxen will have plenty of opportunities to put their strengths to effective use. If there is a plan they have been mulling carrying out for some time, now is a good time to put it into action.
Professionally, for those who choose to stay with their existing employer, the Year of the Rooster can bring significant opportunities. The prospects for finding a new job are also good for those who are searching. That’s probably good news for Obama, who will be looking for a new role for the first time in eight years.
There will be significant developments in their romantic life. Those who are already dating could see themselves getting hitched. For those who are already married, having a baby this year could even lead to a stronger marriage. What if you are single? Well, you won’t be for long.
Nevertheless, the Rooster year also has its more cautionary elements. In particular, an Ox could get into some minor legal trouble, warns Sky Post. One way to combat that is to do more charity work, says Lee Shing-Chak, a Hong Kong feng shui master.
In Chinese culture, a Tiger (1962, 1974, 1986 or any 12 years before or after) is a symbol of bravery and power. Small wonder then, those who are born under this zodiac sign are believed to be bold, competitive and very charismatic. Nevertheless, Tigers can also be annoyingly stubborn and have a tendency to assert their authority at all times. Some of the most famous Tigers are Dwight Eisenhower, Queen Elizabeth II, Agatha Christie, Sir Richard Branson, Marilyn Monroe, Tom Cruise, Oscar Wilde, Kofi Annan and Lady Gaga.
With the help of lucky stars, Tigers will have plenty of opportunities to shine during the Year of the Rooster. Professionally, a promotion looks extremely promising, says Hong Kong feng shui practitioner Su Minfeng. Their progress at work could lead to sizable financial gains.
Meanwhile, Su’s Hong Kong counterpart Lee Shing-Chak says this Rooster Year is a time for Tigers to learn to go with the flow and not insist on their own opinions and ideas every single time. He reckons that it is important that they keep an open mind and pay attention to the advice from those around them. Neil Somerville, who has published a book on Chinese horoscopes, concurs: “This is no time to go out on a limb or be too independent.”
Similarly, on a personal level, Lee believes that there are plenty of lucky stars around Tigers, meaning people who could give them a lift in all aspects of life. But it is important that they let fate take its course. When they do, they will find bliss in their marriage; those who are single will also find love.
Investment-wise, even though the financial prospects looks bright, Su says it is best for Tigers not to lend money to friends as they may suffer losses as a consequence. They should also watch their spending and not waste frivolously. Donating money to charities could also have an overall positive impact on their fortune.
Rabbits (1963, 1975, 1987 or any 12 years before or after) are gentle, quiet and astute. They are also efficient and have an extremely good memory. They are natural team players thanks to their calming but powerful presence. Famous Rabbits are Albert Einstein, Jeff Bezos, Novak Djokovic, Angelina Jolie, Michelle Obama, Frank Sinatra, J.R.R. Tolkien, Queen Victoria, Brad Pitt and David Beckham.
If the theme of the Rooster Year was hard work, Rabbits appear to have their work cut out for them. At the risk of offending the ‘Heavenly God’, this is going to be a bumpy year for those born under this zodiac sign. At work, some could get sucked into office politics and company reorganisations. Neil Somerville, a UK expert on Chinese horoscopes, believes that it is best for Rabbits to keep a low profile and just concentrate on the tasks in hand. “This is a year for patience and knuckling down,” he writes.
This is also not the best year financially for Rabbits. Sky Post says it is best that they avoid gambling and investing aggressively. If they were planning a new business in the Rooster year, better to wait a little longer. This is also not a year for unnecessary spending. Su Minfeng, a Hong Kong-based feng shui practitioner, warns that it is important for Rabbits to pay close attention to their personal finances to ensure that they make ends meet.
Thankfully, for those who are looking for new romantic connections, this is going to be a good year to do that. Those who are single will have a lot of opportunities to spark a new romance, says Su. Those who are already in a relationship or married, however, do need to be careful of temptations. He suggests that those who are dating should consider tying the knot; and for those who are already married this is a good year to have children.
Among all the Chinese zodiac animals, Dragon (1964, 1976, 1988 or any 12 years before or after) is the only one that is imaginary. The reason it was included is because Chinese people believed that the mythical animal is not only auspicious but powerful and highly intelligent. In ancient times, people believed the Dragon to be a symbol of authority and good fortune (it was also the symbol for China’s emperors). Legend had it they could control wind, water and rainfall.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that those who are born in the Year of the Dragon are usually proud and dominating in personality. They are also very ambitious, aggressive and hold themselves to high standards. However, they can also be judgemental and demanding. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Vladimir Putin, who rules Russia like a tsar, is a Dragon. Other Dragons, both historical and contemporary include: Abraham Lincoln, Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, Martin Luther King Jnr, Andy Warhol, Boris Johnson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rihanna and Emma Stone.
The Year of the Rooster is an encouraging one for Dragons, says Su Minfeng, a feng shui practitioner in Hong Kong. From a career perspective, those who are born under the zodiac sign could be well placed for promotion and make impressive progress over the year (Emma Stone, for instance, looks likely to clean up during the awards season for her role in La La Land). For those looking to change careers, this could also be the right time to make a move.
Another Hong Kong feng shui master Lee Shing-Chak, reckons that this is going to be a year of big changes for Dragons. Nevertheless, he suggests that they remain patient and not act on impulse. Putin should probably take heed, as he negotiates the new and unpredictable Trump era.
During the Rooster Year, Dragons should pay more attention to their home life. Neil Somerville, author of a book on China’s zodiac, reckons that if they become too preoccupied with their own issues, strains and tensions may arise. “This is not a year to take feelings for granted,” he writes. Similarly, it is best to be more cautious with investments. Su believes that this is not the year to take too many risks when it comes to investing and it is best for Dragons to put money into physical assets, like properties.
Contrary to what Westerners think of this reptile, people born in the Year of the Snake (1965, 1977, 1989 or any 12 years before or after) are believed to be lucky and insightful since snakes represent the symbol of wisdom in Chinese culture. Although their characteristics can include a scheming mind, they are usually charming and likeable. In addition to being calculating, they are quiet and reticent at times. Some of the most famous Snakes are Xi Jinping, Mao Zedong, Oprah Winfrey, Ben Bernanke, Stephen Hawking, Audrey Hepburn, JK Rowling, Franklin D Roosevelt, JFK and Pablo Picasso.
According to feng shui principles, Snakes and Roosters are extremely compatible. So with conditions more conducive for their temperament, Snakes will have a hugely productive year ahead. Professionally, they are well positioned to take on a greater role or even a promotion. Snakes who are currently seeking a new job will find developments moving much more swiftly in the Rooster Year.
Financially, too, this is a year that is going to be hugely rewarding for the Snakes. Su Minfeng, a feng shui expert, reckons that with luck on their side, those who are born under this zodiac sign could win the lottery this year. Snakes who are entrepreneurs or self-employed will also see their hard work paying off.
Relationship-wise, running into the star of taohua, which is in charge of love, Snakes who are single can look forward to making meaningful connections in the Year of the Rooster. For those already in a relationship, too, this could be an auspicious time to tie the knot.
However, Lee Shing-Chak warns that Snakes who are in leadership positions could face some headwind during this year. Lee’s verdict won’t be music to President Xi’s ears as he seeks to consolidate his power ahead of the leadership reshuffle at the 19th Party Congress, which takes place every five years, and is expected in October or November.
It is a sign associated by the Chinese with elegance, and Horses (1966, 1978, 1990 or any 12 years before or after) have an engaging and charming personality that makes them very popular in social circles. They also possess many leadership qualities and are generally admired for their honesty and straightforward approach. However, they have a short-fuse so they can get into trouble for saying things that they later regret. Some of the most famous Horses are Angela Merkel, Sir Isaac Newton, Theodore Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, David Cameron, Joe Biden (who has made many verbal gaffes he’s later regretted), Jennifer Lawrence, Gordon Ramsay and Jackie Chan.
With the lucky stars perfectly aligned this year, Horses will enjoy great fortune in the Rooster Year, says Lee Shing-Chak, a Hong Kong feng shui master. Professionally, they will receive help from people around them that could eventually lead to a promotion or a new role. Those who are running their own company will also see their business thrive this year. This could be fortuitous for Angela Merkel, who is standing for re-election as German Chancellor.
Nevertheless, Su Minfeng, another feng shui practitioner, says that it is easy for Horses to be drawn into petty verbal arguments. Already, that much seems to be true. Even before his inauguration, US President Donald Trump wasted no time in criticising Merkel’s immigration policies, saying she made “one catastrophic mistake” by welcoming an unlimited number of Syrian refugees, which drew a rebuke from the German government.
Thankfully, Horses are in luck on the relationship-front. Taohua, which is in charge of love and relationship, is shining on their path, so those who are single could look forward to making new meaningful connections. Those who are married, however, should be careful and avoid places that could lead to misunderstandings, like nightclubs and karaoke bars.
Neil Somerville, a UK expert on Chinese horoscopes, believes that Horses may enjoy a modest rise in income over the year. However, they will have to manage their finances carefully. Sky Post too reckons that those born under this zodiac sign should consider a saving plan to deal with possible emergencies.
Two years ago Western media was confused as the Chinese New Year approached: is it the Year of the Goat or Sheep? Or Ram, it was asked? The Chinese character yang can be translated as all of these animals (in fact, even the gazelle is called yang in Chinese). But for simplicity, we will stick with Goat, which has been WiC’s preference in this matter over the years.
Those who are born under this zodiac sign (1967, 1979, 1991 or any 12 years before or after) are imaginative and creative. They are also calm, dependable and intelligent. They enjoy being part of a large group, though they prefer being on the sidelines rather than becoming the centre of attention. It should hardly come as a surprise that some of the most famous Goats were artists or writers. Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mark Twain, Michelangelo and Coco Chanel were all born in the Year of the Goat. So was Steve Jobs (admittedly someone who liked attention rather than shunned it) as are Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Christine Lagarde.
Historically, it was believed that those born in the Year of the Goat are doomed to misfortune. In fact, a common folk saying has it that out of 10 children that are born in the Year of the Goat, nine have bad luck (the theory relates to the fact that goats are livestock raised to be slaughtered). The Chinese government has tried to debunk the myth – declaring it untrue – but it did little to change the common perception. The last Goat Year – which took place in 2015 – saw the birth rate drop 2% compared with the year before even though the One-Child Policy was being relaxed.
Unfortunately for Goats, their number of lucky stars is few and far between in the Year of the Rooster, says Zhang Xinxun, a Hong Kong feng shui master. She warns that professionally, they could encounter some obstacles in getting things done. However, once they have overcome those challenges, they can achieve some impressive results. But Neil Somerville, who has penned a book on China’s zodiac, says as long as Goats “act with determination” they will find a lot in their favour.
On a personal level, for those who are already in a relationship, the first half of the year is a good time to tie the knot, Su Minfeng, a feng shui practitioner, suggests. Those who are single should also be more active socially during the period. If they miss their chance, single Goats may have to wait until 2020 until they meet ‘the one’.
Monkeys (1968, 1980, 1992 or any 12 years before or after) are generally imaginative, curious and highly intelligent. They are also naturally charming and chatty, which renders them very popular in social circles. Nevertheless, Monkeys are known for mischief so those born under the zodiac sign often find themselves in trouble. Famous Monkeys are Leonardo Da Vinci, Julius Caesar, Ian Fleming, F Scott Fitzgerald, Theresa May, Marine Le Pen, Jennifer Aniston, Tom Hanks and Celine Dion.
In this Rooster Year, the defining theme for Monkeys is health. Throughout the year, they may find themselves suffering from minor ailments, says Sky Post The newspaper reckons that it is best for Monkeys to avoid going to the hospital (even if only to keep other people company). With their outgoing nature, it is also a good idea to skip the nightlife and head for the gym instead.
Thankfully, this is going to be a great year for self-development. Professionally, Monkeys will have the opportunity to use their skills and judgement well, says Neil Somerville, a UK expert on Chinese horoscopes. That could be positive for Marine Le Pen, who is seeking to win the French presidency this year. And for Theresa May, it confirms again that the British prime minister will have to perform to her peak as she navigates her country through Brexit.
Romantically, those who are single could look forward to making new connections, says Hong Kong feng shui master Su Minfeng. On the flip side, though, those who are married should be cautious of unwanted attention.
Financially, “this is no year for taking risks,” Somerville suggests. Monkeys should look forward to a modest rise in personal wealth this year. Hong Kong’s feng shui practitioner Lee Shing-Chak believes that it is best for Monkeys not to set investment goals in the Rooster Year. In fact, he suggests that they donate whatever they make to charity during this period. After all, in order to get what you want you sometimes need to give first.
Born under a sign that connotes loyalty and honesty, Dogs (1970, 1982, 1994 or any 12 years before or after) are dogmatic in their beliefs. They are also very direct and straightforward, often speaking their mind frankly and freely. Dogs can also be stubborn and have a short temper, even though those outbursts tend to be short-lived. Some of the most famous Dogs are Voltaire, Sir Winston Churchill, Bill Clinton, George W Bush, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, Matt Damon, Jennifer Lopez, Anne Hathaway, and (guess who) yes, Donald Trump.
The Rooster Year is going to be a mixed one for Dogs. At risk of offending the Heavenly God, those born under the zodiac sign will find the year ahead a bumpy one. Zhang Xinxun, a Hong Kong feng shui practitioner, says it is best that they keep a low profile in the Year of the Rooster (something President Trump may find tough) and not propose too many drastic changes. One way to improve their fortune is to avoid dressing in overly bright colours like red and yellow.
Meanwhile, Shin Min Daily News warns that Dogs could make some enemies this year so they should work on their interpersonal skills. It remains to be seen whether Trump will take heed;even before his inauguration, he had promised to repeal – and replace – Obamacare and caused friction with China.
Nevertheless, Lee Shing-Chak, another feng shui master, reckons that while this is not a good time for Dogs to make too many changes, if they are diligent about laying the ground work for their plans during the Rooster Year, they will be well positioned to reap the gains next year, which is the Year of the Dog. “Dogs who are smart will know that this is a year to be disciplined. When next year comes, naturally they will have plenty of opportunities to succeed,” he writes.
Romantically, Su Minfeng, another feng shui practitioner, warns that arguments over small issues could derail a relationship. So Dogs should exhibit patience and understanding where their other half is concerned and not let the little things affect them.
While most people would associate Pigs with characteristics like laziness and greed, in Chinese culture those born under this zodiac sign (1971, 1983, 1995 or any 12 years before or after) are believed to be not only highly intelligent but also hardworking. They are also respected for their reliability and integrity. They enjoy helping people and are always willing to lend a helping hand. Nevertheless, Pigs tend to be big spenders, as they enjoy indulging in the finer things in life. Still, they are usually quite wise with financial matters and there are many Pigs who have become wealthy. Some of the most famous Pigs are Henry VIII, Marie Antoinette, Ernest Hemingway, Alfred Hitchcock, Stephen King, Ronald Reagan, Steven Spielberg, Sir Elton John, Hillary Clinton and Mike Pence.
Pigs can do no wrong in the Year of the Rooster, says Su Minfeng, a Hong Kong feng shui master. There will be plenty of opportunities for them to make the most out of their talents. This is also a good time to put their plans in motion because once they take action, the stars will align and everything will go smoothly. For those who are seeking work, the Rooster Year will have significant developments in store. Be open-minded, says Neil Somerville, author of a book on Chinese horoscopes – the payoff will be worth it.
Health-wise, Pigs could be weighed down by small ailments throughout the year, says Somerville. He suggests that those born under the zodiac sign should exercise more, start a fitness discipline or adhere to a better diet to improve their overall health.
Nevertheless, Lee Shing-Chak suggests that Pigs should remain cautious with their investments and not take too many risks. But there is no reason to stress out too much. In fact, the more relaxed they are, the more they will make. It is a year to let go of all their expectations and trust that everything will work out.
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