By Alex Berger
Thank God for the Chinese. Without them, what would the rest of us eat?
On Feb. 10, the Year of the Tiger will start. According to Chinese astrology, 2010 — 4708 in the Chinese calendar — will be a dramatic period filled with the unexpected. The weather is likely to be unusual and international crises are expected. It is a year to be courageous, especially for people born under the sign of the Tiger in 1998, ’86, ’74, ’62 and ’50 who will be most affected.
Chinese astrology, with origins in ancient philosophy, is centered mainly around three concepts. The most important is the Chinese lunar calendar, which dates from 2637 B.C. It consists of a 60-year cycle made up of five 12-year cycles with an animal assigned to each of the 12 years, beginning with the rat and ending with the pig.
Chinese is a tough language. A quarter of a million words and not one in English.
Within the 60-year cycle, a second factor comes into play: the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water. Each influences a person’s characteristics. The elements are, in turn, split into positive and the negative magnetic poles, known in Chinese philosophy as yin and yang, which affect the potency of each of the elements’ influence.
Are you getting all this?
Both Western and Eastern horoscopes are determined by a person’s birth date, but in the East people are attributed a sign depending on the calendar year rather than the month in which they were born, as in the West. Also, the time of birth is thought to influence a person’s character.
Chun King says, “Husbands are living proof that a woman can take a joke.”
People’s personalities are believed to reflect the traits of the animal sign they were born under. No one knows why these 12 animals were chosen as astrological signs, but it is thought they were picked to reflect the mood of the year, such as the steady and hardworking ox, which gave its name to the second year in the rotation.
It is also uncertain what period Chinese astrology in its current form dates from. Some say it began in the fifth century, others during the Hsia Dynasty (2070 B.C. to 1600 B.C.). Whatever the roots of Chinese astrology, they reach deep into the Chinese psyche. Most people in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong are aware of their animal signs and all their good and bad attributes. The tiger has always enjoyed a special relationship with the Chinese for its ferocity and power, and, deservedly, had a year named after it.
2010 will offer good challenges for all you Tiger people, including Gloria, who usually are forthright, sensitive, courageous, deep thinkers, blessed with tunnel vision and destined to be rulers, although at times they can also be stubborn and selfish. Tigers should guard against high-risk investment ventures and any new faces that creep into their territory. They should pay attention to business matters, keeping an eye on their cash flow.
To make it through the year, Tigers will need to think carefully before they act. They must trust, but verify, and when playing cards always cut them first. In addition, they must be careful not to allow stress to take a toll on their health, or the happiness of their loved ones and friends. Trusted friends will play an important role for them during this year.
The year also looks promising for Rats (2008, 1984, ’72, ’60, ’48), Rabbits (1999, ’87, ’75, ’63, ’51) and Dogs (2006, 1994, ’82, ’70, ’58). But Oxen (2009, 1997, ’85, ’73, ’61), Snakes (200l, 1989, ’77, ’65, ’53) and Monkeys (2004, 1992, ’80, ’68, ’56) may face a difficult time. Horses (2002, 1990, ’78, ’66, ’54) and Roosters (2005, 1993, ’81, ’69, ’57) must be careful with their money in 2010, while relationships may cause problems for Dragons (2000, 1988, ’76, ’64, ’52), Sheep (2003, 1991, ’79, ’67, ’55) and Pigs (2007, 1995, ’83, ’71, ’59).
No man is lonely while eating Chinese noodles — it takes so much attention.
Food is very important to the Chinese and — readers, writing this column is making me hungry. So please excuse me while I trek to my favorite Chinese restaurant and devour one dish from column “A” and two dishes from column “B.”
Incidentally, where do the Chinese go when they want to eat out?
Kung-hsi fa-ts’ai — a happy greeting and may you gather wealth.
Confidential Secret: Every 12 years, I look forward to the Year of the Tiger so I can witness Gloria’s transformation from a lamb to a stalking tigress. Roar, Gloria, roar!
Contact Alex Berger at email@example.com.