IF feng shui predictions for 2012 are to be believed, then we need all the help we can get from the various lucky charms we can buy from the market.
Of course, most Filipino families already welcome the New Year with traditions and symbols, many of which are derived from Chinese customs.
For instance, we usually buy 12 round fruits like oranges, kiat-kiats, grapes, pomelos, and apples to signify the 12 months of the year. Among the Chinese, round shape usually means continuous prosperity and good luck.
We also set off firecrackers and make a lot of noise, like tooting horns and pressing car horns, which according to the Chinese, is meant to scare away the bad spirits.
To implore the gods for wealth in the coming year, many families also open their windows and put money on the windowsill (or under their pillows) before the stroke of midnight, and wear polka dot-themed clothes or accessories. In lieu of polka-dotted clothes, wearing red shirts, blouses, or dresses, or even pants is our best bet to ensure good luck for the New Year.
The year 2012 may not mean the end of the world as the Mayan calendar seems to have indicated, but it will certainly be a “year of transformation,” according to feng shui expert Marites Allen.
In a recent press briefing to preview Manila Hotel’s celebration to officially welcome the Year of the Water Dragon on January 23, 2012, Allen, president of World of Feng Shui Philippines, also foresees “serious misfortune” such as natural calamities, potentially falling on the Philippines.
She added that U.S. President Barack Obama, born in the Year of the Ox, is also in danger of being booted out of office next year, making him just a one-term president.
Of all the 12 animal signs in Chinese astrology, the Dragon is said to symbolize power and strength. But it is precisely because of this nature that will push the dramatic changes in 2012. “In general, the year of the Water Dragon is a year for transformation. We can expect a shift in various aspects of our economy, our country and the world in general,” she said.
Allen recalled that in the last Water Dragon year, which was 1952, King George VI of the United Kingdom passed away, and his daughter Elizabeth assumed the throne. The first hydrogen bomb was also detonated that year, ushering in the Nuclear Age. Then World War II came to an official end when the Treaty of Peace signed between Japan and the 48-member Allied powers, came into force.
During the last Dragon year, in 2000 (Metal Dragon), “the Rizal Day bombings and the Glorietta 2 explosion claimed several innocent lives,” Allen noted.
The coming Chinese New Year couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time. It is “afflicted,” she said, “as [it] commences on the worst day of the month in the worst month of the year” as indicated by the Chinese lunar calendar.
Fortunately, it is also a “double spring” year, meaning two seasons of spring will be recorded, the feng shui expert stressed. Considered lucky, this rare occurrence could help ease the problems and conflicts in 2012, unlike in 2011 where the metal element ruled the Year of the Rabbit, and thus saw a lot of armed conflicts (i.e. metal signifying guns).
The presence of the Five Yellow affliction star in the Southeast quadrant in 2012, however, means there are “possibilities that unfortunate events (e.g. earthquakes, landslides, floods, diseases, fire, etc.) may hit the Southeast Asian region,” the Philippines included, Allen said.
She noted that in 2011, for instance, the Five Yellow star was located in the East, the general location of Sendai City in Japan, which suffered major catastrophes such as the earthquake and tsunami. In 2003, the same star was also located in the Southeast quadrant; SARS hit Hong Kong and the rest of Southeast Asia.
While 2012 “will be better” than 2011, Allen said “it does signify continuing disharmony, with conflicts between governments and social classes, and political and social unrest. There are to be key leadership changes; and social and industrial disputes are to escalate.” The year 2012 is election period in the U.S., France, Russia, and India, she pointed out.
Asked whether this meant a new President for the U.S. next year, Allen said: Yes, Obama is an Ox (1961), and is slowly losing popularity with the yearly economic challenges in the U.S. So chances are, he may not make it to another term unless he implements major changes more favorable to the U.S. economy.”
As for our own President Benigno S. Aquino III, Allen said he should be careful of his health, having been born in the Year of the Rat (1960). “It is a mixed year for the Rat, so look after your health.”
She declined to answer questions about Aquino’s love life in 2012, however, as she had yet to study his chart. But she stressed, as many other geomancers have before her, that Aquino’s official residence, Malacañang, is located in an undesirable location. Water, which symbolizes luck, runs behind the Palace, i.e. the Pasig River. “It could have been good sana, but it is dirty water,” she said.
Coincidentally, Aquino’s major pet peeve, Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, is also a Rat having been born in 1948. While Aquino is a Metal Rat, supposedly the toughest of all, Corona’s sign is dominated by the Earth element, signifying solidity. But with 2012 being a “year of transformation,” which Rat will dominate? Your guess is as good as ours.
The Year of the Water Dragon will be a generally good year for those born in the Year of the Tiger, Rabbit, Horse, and Sheep, she said. (Check www.maritesallen.com to determine your Chinese zodiac sign.)
Dragon-born people won’t be so lucky. “Dragon-borns are highly ambitious and will stop at nothing to get what they want. They make good organizers and can be counted upon for their exciting and creative ideas. Thus, they make great managing directors, prime ministers and presidents.
“But as with every other sign in the Chinese horoscope, Dragons also have their own allies and their own foes. For the Year of the Water Dragon, Dogs are unfortunately classified into the latter so they should expect to have a rather tough and challenging year,” Allen explained.
As for the Philippine economy, she warned of a lackluster performance by the stock market in 2012. She said the Water Dragon “will consume the fire (element)”, which drives the market. The Philippines Stock Exchange index was up four percent in 2011, one of the few bourses in the Asian region that didn’t succumb to the bears.
The fire element, which dominates finances, and its apparent absence in 2012, will also mean the continuation of the European debt crisis and the sluggishness of the U.S. economy. But Allen said Southeast Asian economies would generally perform “better” than their Western counterparts, adding that even in the midst of calamities, there will be sectors that will still make money in the region.
She said wood-based industries such as agriculture, floral industry, and garments/fashion, for example, will thrive. For the media/publishing industry, 2012 will still be relatively bring better tidings but she warns that its “biggest threat…is the Internet. So my advice [to publishers] is to go with the flow, as changes are happening. Everyone now carries an iPad or tablets, no one brings books around anymore.”
Allen stresses that prayer can help ward off impending calamities and tragic events, as well as the use of lucky charms specific to one’s Chinese Zodiac sign.
Doomsday enthusiasts believe the world would end on December 21, 2012 because the calendar of the Mayans, a now extinct indigenous civilization that once dwelled in Mexico, ends on that date.
On Jan. 22 to 23, 2012, the Manila Hotel will be welcoming the Year of the Water Dragon with a Grand Chinese Bazaar featuring different stores selling lucky charms, house decorations, and delectable Chinese delicacies. The countdown to the New Year will begin at 9:30 p.m. with rituals conducted by Allen, and at midnight, she will give out her predictions and forecasts for 2012.
While the sky lights up with the fireworks, hotel guests will dine on a feast prepared by Executive Chinese Chef Sun Bing at the Mabuhay Palace. The dishes will symbolize luck, longevity and wealth in the coming year.
• For ticket inquiries and reservations on Manila Hotel’s Chinese New Year festivities, please call 527-0011 local 1108 or 1243.