Hong Kong’s top soothsayers expect the Chinese Year of the Ox, which arrives on Friday, to be a good one for Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and, despite the challenges presented by Covid-19, possibly the city’s battered economy as well.
The end of the Year of the Rat will also be a positive for China’s President Xi Jinping, though United States President Joe Biden will face a challenging time until the Year of the Tiger comes around in 2022, they predicted.
The Chinese zodiac’s 12 animal signs appear five times over a 60-year cycle, arriving each time in the elements of wood, fire, earth, metal or water.
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Each animal is believed to possess unique characteristics that affect not only those born that year, but also those born under other signs. The Ox represents diligence, honesty and strength.
Master astrologer Choi Hing-wah predicts good things ahead for city leader Lam, who was born in 1957, a Year of the Rooster.
“The rooster is among the celestial animals that get along well with the Ox. Overall, the Year of the Ox promises to be good for roosters,” said Choi, when asked what the year ahead held for Lam.
“Luck will smile on her, and she can set out some strategies to better handle the future. With determination, Lam will be able to overcome challenges. There is a big duty for her to take up and she will make the right decisions.”
Agreeing, feng shui master Raymond Lo Hang-lap said: “Until 2022, Lam can expect to enjoy bright prospects as an official.”
He stopped short of predicting whether Lam would seek another term – or if she would win should she run in next year’s election for the chief executive post.
A year ago, the city’s soothsayers predicted the Year of the Rat would be a smoother one for Lam than 2019, when Hong Kong faced months of anti-government protests. The global Covid-19 crisis did not figure in many predictions for 2020.
Choi inherited her soothsaying knowledge from her late father, Choi Park-lai, a revered geomancer. The Choi family publishes an annual Chinese almanac, known locally as “Tung Shing”, which was declared an intangible cultural heritage in 2013 by the Guangdong provincial government.
Choi predicted that the delayed Legislative Council elections, now scheduled for September 5, will be a successful event if they go ahead as planned.
Referring to the almanac, she said: “September 5 is an auspicious day. If the election is held that day, it is sure to go well and be successful. I am not suggesting that it will favour the pro-establishment side or the pan-democrats. I am an astrologer, not a psychic.
“A successful election does not necessarily mean a landslide victory by one side. If voters can exercise their right to elect their favourite candidates, and candidates can debate their platforms, will it not be a successful election?”
Stock market ‘volatile’
On the local economic front, celebrity fortune-teller Yunwenzi, also known as Master Cloud, said Hong Kong’s status as an international financial centre would remain firm, despite sanctions by the US.
“But it will still take some time before Hong Kong can fully recover from the Covid-19 recession,” said the geomancer, whose clients include Credit Suisse and Vivienne Westwood.
She correctly predicted a year of social upheaval for Hong Kong in 2019 and that last year would see more conflict in society.
She expects a boom in the tourism-related and logistics sectors, but only around the end of this year.
Yunwenzi, whose speciality is Qimen Dunjia, a Chinese art of divination devised to help with military strategies in ancient China, warned the stock market could turn volatile around the third, fourth and seventh months of the upcoming year.
But Lo, accorded the “grandmaster” title by the International Feng Shui Association in Singapore, was more pessimistic, explaining that the fire element would be weak in the Year of the Ox.
“The fire element represents happiness and optimism. The presence of fire can boost people’s confidence about the economy and promote good performance in the stock market,” he said. “With a weak fire element in the Year of the Ox, the general economic atmosphere will be mostly bearish, and the economic pace will be slow.”
Geomancer Priscilla Lam, who gained prominence by predicting that Donald Trump would win the 2016 US presidential election, said: “The Year of the Ox can be seen as a stepping stone to something better. It is a year of healing and rebuilding. But it will take time for normality to return.”
Trouble for Tokyo
Looking at the region, Yunwenzi predicted that Sino-Japan relations would turn more tense in the latter half of the year, due mainly to the territorial dispute over the Diaoyu Islands, a group of uninhabited islands, called the Senkakus by the Japanese. The governments of mainland China, Japan and Taiwan all claim jurisdiction over the islands.
She also predicted that US-Sino trade tensions will linger, though China’s rise could not be easily held back.
Lo warned of possible trouble in Taiwan, as he saw “bad energy” on the horizon.
“Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen can expect an arduous year ahead,” he said. “Relations between the mainland and Taiwan could remain tense, but armed conflicts are not expected.”
However, he saw a better year ahead for China’s leader.
“President Xi Jinping, born in the Year of the Snake in 1953, experienced a clash with the Year of the Rat. In the Year of the Ox, however, the clash is finished. So, China can regain more stability and prosperity in the economy and world standing,” Lo said.
US President Biden, on the other hand, faces a tough year ahead as he was born in 1942, the Year of the Horse. His fortunes are only expected to improve when the more favourable Tiger year arrives in 2022.
Choi, meanwhile, also predicted trouble brewing for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, which were delayed from last summer because of the pandemic and are now scheduled for late July, the sixth month of the Ox year.
Referring to the period between July 10 and August 7, she said: “There are many bad luck days in the sixth month of the lunar calendar.
“One should avoid making big transactions or organising big events during the month. If Tokyo 2020 is held during that period, they need to be very careful.”