The turn of the Chinese calendar is a few days away, and ill fortune will be swept away as it is every year for incoming luck.
But for all the well wishes you get for good fortune, happiness, wealth and longevity, some wisenheimer at the annual family reunion will always remind you of the inauspicious traits of the zodiac animal you have the misfortune to be associated with.
Take, for example, those born in the Year of the Horse. While you are known to be productive, enthusiastic and energetic, your mother will be happy to point out that you are also rash, disagreeable and more cunning than intelligent.
Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung and action star Jackie Chan, who some call a CPC government shill, were both born in the Year of the Horse.
Chinese zodiac killers spare no one. Perhaps because they want you to be as bitter, depressed and disillusioned as they are.
Born in the Year of the Snake? You are a meticulous planner and a motivated leader. Your obnoxious sibling, of course, will loudly announce to your entire bloodline that Snakes are self-righteous, egotistical and downright vicious.
Founding father of the People’s Republic of China Mao Zedong and present-day Chinese president Xi Jinxing were born in the Year of the Snake.
Tigers don’t have it much better. Your magnetic personality gives you many many deep relationships. But for all your vim and vigor, grandma will volunteer that those born in the Year of the Tiger are content to sleep the day away. They are cats, after all, she will say.
Yes, former Chinese paramount leader Jiang Zemin is a Tiger.
People born in the Year of the Ox are known to be fanatically patriotic and tremendously self-confident. They meticulously carve out opportunities to amass great wealth. But true to Ox form, they tend to get complacent and sometimes self-destruct, a cousin three times removed will remark.
Meet Bo Xilai, Ox, former high-flying politician and candidate for the elite Politburo Standing Committee who is serving a life sentence in Qincheng Prison.
(Bo’s wife Gu Kalai, for the record, was born in the Year of the Dog. Dogs bear an intense sense of loyalty and sincerity, and will do everything to a fault for the person who they think is most important, especially if that person is yourself. Most women under this sign, it is said, are irritable and bothered by unwarranted anxiety.)
Lucky enough to be born in the Year of the Dragon? A truly auspicious Chinese zodiac animal, the Dragon has unstoppable charisma and the power to turn nothing into something.
Your grandfather in a reverent tone will drone on about Deng Xiaoping, a Dragon who kickstarted China’s development into one of the fastest-growing economies in the world and raised the standard of living of hundreds of millions of Chinese. Looking down the table to you, however, the old coot will say Dragons are impatient and less than diplomatic.
Two words: Tiananmen Square.
Pigs don’t have much to squeal about either. While you are compassionate, a giving soul and known to seek peace, some cynical smart aleck in your miserable gene pool will say despite the calm appearance and strong heart, you are naive, overly optimistic and easily duped.
Hello Dalai Lama, born in the Year of the Pig.
Those born in the Year of the Monkey make prime mates because you are talented, self-assured and sociable. As an added bonus, you love sports. Some distant relative you are connected to by marriage will surely ruin your moment as top banana by saying you tend to look down upon others.
Yao Ming was born in the Year of the Monkey.
To be sure, Rabbits (Jet Li and Donnie Yen), Roosters (Fan Bingbing) and Rats (Liu Yan) don’t have it any easier. Family reunions over Chinese New Year—love them or loathe them—are merciless.
Nobody, incidentally, was born in the Year of the Sheep.
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