masters say Ox year likely full of burden
By James Pomfret (Fri Jan 23, 2009)
HONG KONG (Reuters Life!) - More global financial woes, and even
more strife, are on the cards for the Chinese lunar Year of the Ox,
according to Hong Kong's respected soothsayers who say it might not
end in tears after all.
Hong Kong, an Asian financial hub known for its ultra-capitalist
ways, reveres its feng shui masters and fortune tellers -- men and
women who draw on ancient Chinese traditions to predict the future,
offer investment advice and help mere mortals make sense of their
The Year of the Ox, which starts on Monday, could prove another
tough one for everybody, including U.S. President Barack Obama.
"The Year of the Ox will be a number nine fire year," said Raymond
Lai, a seer in the city. "And the color is purple, so the fire
energy will be very intense ... this could bring fire disasters or
war, racial conflicts and things like that."
Practitioners of feng shui maintain the universe is made up of five
elements -- earth, water, fire, wood and metal -- that define the
collective mood in our environment.
Alion Yeo, who predicted major financial turbulence last year as
well as a major disaster in the East, sees further seismic shifts in
global financial markets come May and June this year.
"There will be another major crisis, the bubble will burst again in
the U.S. and it will be worse than last year," said Yeo, who counts
top bankers and celebrities among his clients.
Peter So, a pony-tailed guru with his own TV shows and whose books
fill the Hong Kong's bookshops, also thinks 2009 will remain trapped
within a negative cycle.
"We'll have to wait for the years between 2011 till 2015 for a
steadier period. Every 12 years we experience a cycle for the
economy and for now, the Year of the Ox is a transition year."
But So, who intersperses feng shui terms with the rapid-fire jargon
of a broker, is bullish on banking, shipping, tourism and trade
stocks due to their association with "water."
"No one likes banking stocks right now, but this is of course the
best time to buy," he said, admitting he'd bought shares in ailing
global banking giant HSBC this week.
Stocks associated with the fire and earth elements, including oil
and construction, are also expected to surge later in the year, So
said, but property remains a no-go, even in Asia or Europe, with the
sector mired in a six-year down cycle.
The feng shui masters have also turned their skills to Obama,
predicting that he is likely to face stiff challenges, despite being
born in an "Ox" year. According to the Chinese zodiac, Ox year
people tend to be dependable and steady.
"In 2009, Obama will experience a conflict of destiny and bad luck.
He'll face a string of incidents that may trip him up, mainly
administrative challenges," said So.
But others are more sanguine, saying Obama also has what's known as
a streak of "gambler's luck."
"He is able to handle the economy and he has the element of
intelligence to deal with that money," said Raymond Lo, whose office
is crammed with the paraphernalia of his trade, including large
compasses and mystic charts.
Despite it all -- there could be a silver lining to 2009.
Yeo, who has had an uncanny track record of late, thinks the Ox year
could shake off its tragic yoke and unburden its woes.
"In August there could be some good news," said Yeo who often
deploys a method consisting of tossing three ancient coins six times
onto the ground.
"I'm pretty confident that things will start stabilizing by
year-end," he told Reuters.