Fortune tellers: Year of Tiger isn’t Tiger’s year
By MIN LEE
Associated Press Writer
HONG KONG — It’s the Year of the Tiger, but Chinese fortune tellers say it’ll be a rough patch for the world’s most famous one: disgraced golfer Tiger Woods.
Other predictions: trying times for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, turmoil in the financial markets, spikes in fire-related natural disasters and a crucial period for U.S. President Barack Obama.
Under the school of feng shui — the traditional Chinese practice of predicting fortunes through dates and classical Chinese texts — the new lunar year starting Sunday is associated with the natural elements of metal, wood, thunder and fire. Metal is a symbol of righteous action — like waging war. Thunder and fire symbolize volatility, while wood feeds the fire.
It’s a recipe for geopolitical tensions and drastic market movements, feng shui experts say.
“People will try to take on the strong and help the weak. They will try to help their fellow brothers. They will help friends who are being bullied. This year will be more violent,” Hong Kong feng shui adviser Raymond Lo said, noting that the previous Year of the Tiger associated with metal was 1950 — the year the Korean War broke out.
Fellow Hong Kong soothsayer Chow Hon-ming expects more terrorist attacks.
Fires and explosions are more likely in the coming year, Lo said, also warning that Iran and North Korea may step up their nuclear ambitions. Kuala Lumpur-based Yap Boh Chu said beware of earthquakes, volcanoes and “metal-related accidents” like car crashes, armed robbery and industrial accidents.
Markets will remain topsy-turvy as the world recovers from the U.S. financial crisis, but on balance they will post decent results, the forecasters say.
“When the markets rise, they will rise fiercely and when they drop, they will drop dramatically,” Chow said.
Yap said investors will be jittery throughout the year.
“You’re always in firefighting mode. You’re always reacting,” the Malaysian said. “It’s like a tiger stalking you. You always have to be aware of it.”
The Chinese zodiac operates on a rotation of 12 different signs, or animals. People who are entering a year whose sign is the same as their birth year’s are considered “in clash” and may have bad luck, according to feng shui belief. But while Chinese fortune tellers give tigers a conservative outlook this year, the zodiac sign that causes the most serious conflict this year is the monkey.
The most notable monkey in world politics is Ban. The South Korean “will face a lot of trouble this year,” Lo said. Other famous monkeys include Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, NBA star Yao Ming, singers Diana Ross, Celine Dion and actors Elizabeth Taylor, Tom Hanks, Michael Douglas, Owen Wilson and Daniel Craig.
The world’s best-known “tiger” — American golfer Tiger Woods — actually isn’t a tiger nor a monkey, according to the lunar calendar. Born Dec. 30, 1975, the 14-time major winner is a rabbit.
But Woods’ birth date is associated with metal, which clashes with the presence of metal in the coming lunar year. So after admitting to cheating on his wife and taking an indefinite leave from golf in December, the 34-year-old can expect more personal trouble this year, predictions say.
“His long-term fortune is on the decline,” Lo said.
As for Obama, there are differing interpretations. The American president’s birthday is Aug. 4, 1961, making him an ox. According to Lo, the tiger is a lucky “nobleman” for people born in years ending in the digit “1” and Obama’s birth date is associated with the natural element of earth, which is complementary with metal because minerals come from the earth.
“He will shine with flying colors,” Lo said, adding that the American leader will become more aggressive in pushing his agenda. “His foreign policy may be tougher.”
Yap disagrees, saying that the presence of thunder and fire traditionally represents the “arrival of the king” — a metaphor for a fierce battle for leadership. The Malaysian called the Year of the Tiger a turning point for the Democrat, whose push for health care reform was threatened by the recent election of a Republican senator in Massachusetts that denied Democrats a 60-vote majority in the chamber.
“He will have a bloody hard time this year. If he survives this year, the rest of his term will be no problem. This is a crux year,” Yap said.