Want to know what’s in store for 2012? Who will win the US election? Will the eurozone implode? As Chinese communities around the world prepared to ring in the new lunar year last night, astrologers and geomancers were predicting the Year of the Dragon will bring natural disasters and financial volatility, especially to crisis-hit Europe.
“The world economy will be unstable in the Year of the Dragon, because the economies in Europe and the US are still suffering from the effects of the recession,” Hong Kong feng shui master Anthony Cheng (鄭棋之) said.
Celebrity astrologer Peter So (蘇民峰) says the US will provide some good news late in the year, but his charts for Europe make grim reading.
“Europe will not recover so soon — it is expected to suffer at least until 2014, but what I can say is this: A recovery for the US economy is possible in 2013,” he said.
If you’re prepared to ride the dragon and invest this year, Russia and China could be your best bets. The two emerging markets will be the best performers in a volatile year, Cheng said.
However, be prepared for surprises, especially out of China, where the Chinese Communist Party will hold its 18th Congress to select a new generation of leaders.
“In the second half of the year, a scandalous corruption case will be exposed in China,” Cheng warned, refusing to elaborate about who will be implicated. “I can also predict that in Hong Kong and in mainland China, a number of high-ranking officials will be forced to step down. Some may be thrown behind bars, or even pass away.”
Many Chinese take such predictions seriously and adjust their lives accordingly. Feng shui, the ancient study of the forces of chi, or life energy, is a daily part of life in the Chinese world.
One of Hong Kong’s largest brokerages, CLSA, releases a Feng Shui Index every year, offering its “tongue-in-cheek” predictions for global markets and world affairs.
Lest anyone takes it seriously, CLSA admits that feng shui’s “original purpose was to locate auspicious burial spots, not call the twists and turns of the equity markets or individual sectors.”
However, it has a stab anyway, even if some of its predictions are less than audacious. For example, it says the stars point to a “job opening” for Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (習近平), the man everyone expects to become China’s next ruler after the 18th Congress in October or November.
As for US politics, the soothsayers are more cautious. When asked who will win the US elections, So refuses to make a prediction without precise information about the dates and times of the candidates’ births.
“Sometimes luck depends on the country itself, rather than an individual president,” he said enigmatically. “For the US, they are starting to have luck on their side again, so it is going to be a good year no matter who’s elected.”
The five Chinese elements are wood, fire, earth, metal and water, and this year is tipped to be big on water. This could mean riches and abundance, but it could also spell disaster.
Well-known Hong Kong astrologer Alion Yeo (楊天命) said we should brace for storms and floods.
“Expect to see a lot of flooding in areas like Thailand and southeast China,” he said.
So sees similar portents, but with an earthy twist.
“Indonesia, Pakistan, India and places in China like Sichuan, Yunnan and Guizhou are particularly disaster-prone. They are likely to experience frequent earthquakes,” he said.