The Year of the Mouse threatens to see a build-up of
international tensions, natural and air disasters, and a more
turbulent stock market, soothsayers and analysts say.
As the Year of the Pig ends, followers of Chinese feng shui will
be scurrying to consult fortune-tellers, astrologers, feng shui
geomancers to guide their year ahead.
Chinese fortunes are based on a belief that events are dictated
by the different balances in the elements that make up the earth --
gold, wood, water, fire and earth.
Feng shui master Raymond Lo says this year will see the earth
element sitting atop water, suggesting an outward solidity built on
"The earth on top is Yang earth which symbolises a mountain, and
mountain gives a sense of stability and firmness. But such floating
earth in the ocean is weak in foundation and the stability appears
to be fragile," Lo said.
"This elemental relationship will bring a year which apparently
is more stable but there are a lot of underlying tensions and
Lo added that the Chinese calendar follows a 60-year cycle, so
2008 will be similar historically to 1948, when Israel was
established and the blockade of Berlin started, both events part of
the build-up to long-standing conflict.
The lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and
associates each of the 12 years forming a partial cycle with an
animal. Fortune-tellers base their predictions on the relationship
between the zodiac animals and the characteristics of each.
The Mouse is the first of the 12 animal signs, so marks new
beginnings, which Lo said will be reflected in changes of
leadership in the United States and Russia.
It is followed by ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, goat,
monkey, rooster, dog and pig.
The rodent is also seen as a "flower of romance" which means the
year will stimulate romance, but also sex scandals.
More worryingly, it provokes a clash between water and fire
which could mean heavy flooding or a tsunami, Lo added.
"The most famous water disasters in history, such as the south
Asian tsunami in 2004 and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, both
incidents happened on a date with prominent appearance of the
Mouse," Lo said.
He also said that the previous Year of the Mouse, 1996,
witnessed more than 20 plane crashes including the Trans World
Airlines Boeing aircraft which exploded over the Atlantic, killing
Lee Sing-tong, a third-generation feng shui master, said China
may suffer a water shortage in the next 12 months.
But after the property bubbles in the US and China's tightening
monetary measures, Lee believes the US and China property markets
will enter another chapter and will see stable development.
Although the subprime crisis has caused concerns in the global
economy, unexpectedly the property market will stabilize in
He predicts a better economy for China after the 2008 Olympics.
"2009 will be its most prosperous year in history," he added.
Kenny Lau, head of the small-cap sector at Credit Suisse, said
the last three Mouse years had all seen very strong stock market
growth in Hong Kong. It grew 232 percent in 1972, 30 percent in
1984 and 18 percent in 1996.
But he said high inflation -- he predicted 5.1 percent in Hong
Kong and 6.5 percent in the Chinese mainland -- would provide a
threat to economic growth and turbulent times were ahead.
His colleague Vincent Chan, head of China research, said the
markets will not repeat the record returns of the past few
"It is likely that the volatility of the market in 2008 will be
comparable to that of 2007, but the chance of significant absolute
returns is rather remote," he said.
(China Daily/Agencies February 8, 2008)