When he speaks, you better listen.
Choi Park-lai, 93, is neither a Li Ka-shing nor a CY Leung but he is probably better than Goldman Sachs at foretelling the future.
He is a third-generation descendant of a family that has been specializing in the astronomical calendar for 120 years.
Even the New York Times seeks his views on feng shui.
Last year, Guangzhou honored Choi’s business, Choi Gen Po Tong, as an “intangible” cultural heritage.
Yesterday, Choi made a rare public appearance and shared a few bold predictions. That day was also notable for Leung’s policy address.
First, he said this would be a stable year for Hong Kong politics in contrast to dire forecasts by most political commentators and democracy activists.
Reason? Last year was a year of wood and fire. A mild wind could almost burn up a forest, he said.
But this year would be peaceful. He compared Hong Kong to a patient straight out of surgery who needs time to heal, according to Wen Wei Po.
Too bad Choi’s prediction came a day late.
Leung would have gone easy with a teenager whose essay on “self-determination” drew a sharp rebuke in his policy address, never mind that very few people actually saw the offending article.
In another fearless forecast, Choi said Hong Kong property prices would fall, this being a year of wood and earth, another contrarian view.
This should be a kind of vindication for people who criticized Leung’s housing policy as insufficient, although, to be fair, the government showed more determination and effort to try to tackle a problem that no Hong Kong chief executive has managed to solve.
Choi’s property forecast is consistent with analysts’ predictions that tycoon Li Ka-shing would cut his exposure to Hong Kong with the sweeping restructuring of Cheung Kong-Hutchison flagships.
Finally, Choi offered a word about Hong Kong: Our fair city has always been blessed with good luck; it’s not going to run out for another 180 years.
What’s not love about him?
Unlike high-paid analysts, Choi makes his prognostications pure and simple — no slides, charts or laser pointers.
Judging from his three predictions, we can happily conclude that he is more like a psychologist who knows how to cheer us up.
After all, he is not Li Ka-shing’s feng shui consultant for nothing (he denied being consulted on the mega reorganization).
I should also mention that he has been providing feng shui advice to the Hong Kong government since former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa tapped him.
I’m not sure about his first prediction but I hope he got the other two right.
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