The final week of the Chinese calendar saw my dad celebrating his 69th birthday. We had a small party at the office with colleagues and friends. We thank God for his good health and may God bless him with great health, joy and happiness for the years to come.
This year too, we will see the government focussing more on rural education with additional fund of RM2 billion.
Nevertheless, we will read a lot on fortune tellers prediction and forecast. A local Sarawakian, Alan Kou made his prediction for Sarawak earlier in the Eastern Times. Other regional ones as reported by AP follow below:
HONG KONG: The Year of the Pig starts Sunday, and Chinese fortune tellers say it will be a good time to have a baby, but also warn there will be an upsurge in epidemics, disasters and violent conflicts across the world.Â
“The Year of the Pig will not be very peaceful,” said Raymond Lo, a feng shui master in Hong Kong.Â
Pig years can be turbulent because they are dominated by fire and water – two of the five elements that Chinese mystics say are the basis of the universe, Lo said.Â
Since fire and water are conflicting elements, they tend to whip up trouble, he said.Â
“Fire sitting on water is a symbol of conflict and skirmish. We’ll also see more fire disasters and bombings,” he said.Â
Malaysian feng shui master Lillian Too agreed there was trouble ahead.Â
“I wish I could say that there won’t be natural disasters, but I am afraid it could be as bad as last year,” she said.Â
“There could be epidemics. I am very worried about bird flu. Eat healthy foods and take care of your health,” she added.Â
The gloomy predictions won’t stop ethnic Chinese – one-fifth of the world’s population – from kicking off their biggest celebration of the year on Saturday – the Lunar New Year’s eve.Â
It’s an occasion to have family feasts, buy new clothes and exchange red envelopes stuffed with gift money.Â
The pig is the last of the 12 animals in the Chinese zodiac. Â
Legend has it that the pig finished last in the race that determined the zodiac’s order.Â
Despite losing the race, the pig symbolizes good luck and that inspires many Chinese to have children during a porky year.Â
“Any children born in the Year of Pig will receive help from others throughout their lives,” Lo said.Â
Famous pigs include former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, actor-director Woody Allen and singer Elton John.Â
The Russian AK-47 rifle – one of the most popular weapons in the world – was invented during a pig year, Lo said.Â
“So it will not be surprising to see more gunbattles, murder with guns and bombing attacks in 2007,” he said.Â
Last year, Hong Kong soothsayer Alion Yeo accurately predicted that the North Korean nuclear crisis would worsen during the Year of the Dog.Â
This year, Yeo is predicting that the reclusive communist nation will undergo a power struggle that will bring leadership changes around May.Â
Singaporean fortune teller John Lok predicted the situation in Iraq will not settle, U.S. President George W. Bush will have a bad year and the next president of France may be a lady.Â
Most soothsayers said the world economy will continue to boom, but people should also be cautious about their investments.Â
“Because of the water element in the Year of the Pig, the economy will continue to grow, which also paves the way for another round of interest rate hikes,” said Peter So, a celebrity fortune teller in Hong Kong.Â
The Year of the Pig has to be celebrated with special sensitivity in Southeast Asian nations such as Malaysia and Indonesia with large Muslim populations that consider pigs and pork products to be unclean and offensive.Â
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Islamic nation, launched a special set of postal stamps to mark the Lunar New Year for the first time in its history. Â
But concerns over Muslim sensitivities led the postal service to drop plans to put a large pig on the stamps.Â
Instead, it chose an image of a Chinese temple on a red background surrounded by the 12 tiny signs of the Chinese Zodiac, including the pig, said Hana Suryana, director of PT Pos Indonesia.Â
“We took the middle path,” he said, adding the decision was made after discussions with Muslim and Chinese leaders.Â
Ethnic Chinese make up about 5 percent of Indonesia’s population of 220 million. Under the dictatorship of Gen.Â
Suharto, which ended in 1998, the Chinese were subject to state discrimination and were prevented from celebrating the Lunar New Year.Â
“That has changed now, but we still feel uncomfortable celebrating the day in a large way because there are some people who cannot accept that Chinese culture is a part of Indonesian culture,” said Jhony Tan, a trader in Jakarta’s Chinatown, which was decked out with banners and bustling with shoppers.Â
Yusri Mohammad, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, said he had no problem with the Chinese celebrating the pig year in his country. Â
“The Year of the Pig is just a symbolic concept,” he said. Â
“We shouldn’t feel negative about it as long as the celebrations take into account Muslim sensitivities.” – APÂ
â€œWhether itâ€™s Fire, Water, Metal (or Earth) Boar, it doesnâ€™t matter. If you work hard, any Boar will succeed,â€ says feng shui grandmaster Yap Cheng Hai.
The predictions are for our guidelines and physically, this Malaysian flag found at Tamu Muhibah in Miri do need a change. It is the only one left flying at the Tamu. Miri City Council should go around and see what need to be done at their public premises. It should do not blend well for the on-going Visit Malaysia Year and the 50th Independence Anniversary Celebration.
To all my readers, friends and visitors, Gong Xi Fatt Chai and thank you for your patronage.