Friday, January 23, 2009

The Coming of the Year of the Ox - tamer, quieter, more reflective

26 Jan 2009 will herald in the Year of the Ox, according to the Chinese lunar calendar. The Ox ( 牛 ) is one of the 12-year cycle of animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac related to the Chinese calendar. It is said that people born in the Year of the Ox are typically born leaders, dependable, modest, extremely patient and tireless and systematic in their work, though they could be very hard to convince otherwise once they have set their minds on something. Indeed it is certainly the above traits which many of us would need to inculcate admidst the current Global Financial Crisis.

The current Year of the Rat had been a year of many lows globally. In what appears to have been a hungry and evil looking Rat, which had been eating away the grains in many stores in the many parts of the world - stores which had been trusted but now viewed with a more sceptical lens. It is not just financial losses I am talking about. But also the tainted dairy products from China with its what seemed unending rippling repurcussions into many many by-products availed globally,caused the loss of many lives in China, a loss of trust of many towards China food products, drops in sales for many dairy products on the shelves.

How is the atmosphere this year prior the Chinese New Year? For one, the lead up of events and festivities like the recent Christmas - QUIETER. There is a lack of celebratory and festivity in the air. Singaporeans are in a rather pensive mood, with uncertainties looming in our minds on whether we would still have a job to hold onto, in the near future. For this upcoming Chinese New Year, celebrations are expected to be tamer than previous years - preparations for this festive season eonomically skewed. A number of Singaporeans interviewed (source: 11-JAN'09 Sunday Times) are spending less on Chinese New Year goodies, decorations and clothes.

However, there were also a number, who whilst were scrimping on the spend in the preparations, would not be tightening their purse strings on the giving away of red packets or hongbao during the New Year visits. The perspective? "Chinese New Year ia a once-a-year thing and hongbao are a blessing to the children who receive them."

So what's next after the Chinese New Year? In every Chinese New Year that I could remember celebrating, my family and I always kept a look out to read up on what the coming New Year would hold for all of us, whether watching it from the TV or reading it in the newspapers.

In fact, just the other day while I was shopping in the heartlands, I saw many people crowding round a column. Venturing nearer, I found out why the huge interest level. All around the column, one could read up on what the Year of the Ox offered to the various people who were born in all the twelve Chinese Zodiacs.

What will the Year of the Ox offer us? Here is what I have gathered thus far from my lit search. This is the Year of the Earth Ox: Earth symbolizing slow and steady progress. Earth Ox will make us all hardworking and bring order to our business and home life after the turbulence of the Rat Year. Ox year is the year to be persistent without being pushy. Extra care to the fine print needs to be undertaken during negotiations to avoid misunderstandings in our communications. In the climate of credit crunch, consolidation will come to many industries. Hong Kong Feng Shui Master, Raymond Lo sums it up, "This year of the Ox is an 'earth' year, when people will take a breather and reflect on what they should do after a turbulent 2008".

No matter what. Here's looking up, leaning forward and gearing ourselves up with the indomitable human spirit for 2009. Work hard, keep on going but also stay healthy and communicate, communicate, communicate. Happy New Year, Gong Xi Fa Cai, Wan Shi Ru Yi!

Nelson Wee

More links:
1. Chinese Astrology Forecast for the Year of the Ox
2.Chinese Fortune Calendar
3. 2009 Chinese horoscopes
4. Raymond Lo, Hong Kong Feng Shui Master on the Year of the Ox
5. Chinese New Year Celebrations in Singapore

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