Doing Business in Asia? Better Check Your Chinese Horoscope.
The Year of the Dog began on February 16…
The Lunar New Year – rather than the Deceased-Dick-Clark New Year – is celebrated across Asia.
The Chinese Zodiac and local variations of it are used to designate the lunar year in China, Japan, Korea, Mongolia, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and elsewhere on the continent.
According to the Chinese Zodiac, there is a 12-year cycle in which each year takes the name and the characteristics of an animal – Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Goat, Monkey, Rooster, Dog, and Pig. (Except for the dragon, it sounds like a low-budget municipal zoo.)
What can we expect from the Year of the Dog?
I consulted China Travel Guide, the largest online China travel agency, which, besides making bookings, gives pointers and explanations about Chinese culture:
Dog is man’s good friend who can understand the human’s spirit and obey its master, whether he is wealthy or not. The Chinese regard it as an auspicious animal. If a dog happens to come to a house, it symbolizes the coming of fortune [and a mess on the rug].
The invincible God Erlang in Chinese legend used a loyal wolfhound to help him capture monsters. [I use a loyal Labrador retriever to help me capture dead ducks.]
Then I randomly – fortune cookie style – chose a website on the subject. It’s called “Your Chinese Astrology.” It says:
People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature. They are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable and have a strong sense of responsibility. On the negative side, they are likely to be self-righteous, cold, terribly stubborn, slippery, critical of others, and not good at social activities.
Donald Trump was born in the Year of the Dog. You be the judge of the Chinese Zodiac’s accuracy.
Of course, 2018 is also called “2018” by the Chinese. The dog is an auspicious animal and both 8 and 18 are auspicious numbers.
I’m too Irish to make fun of Chinese superstitions. If you grew up with as many Irish great-aunts as I did (six of them), you know that a lone crow, shoes on the table, a hat on a bed, a red-headed woman aboard a ship, and a chair falling over when someone stands up are all terrible omens.
At least the Chinese have good omens. The only Irish good omen I can think of is that it’s lucky to be pooped on by a bird.
According to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal, some real estate brokers who serve Chinese clients are expecting a banner year, because…
The number eight when spoken in Cantonese, sounds like the word for “prosperity.”
The number 18, when spoken out loud in Cantonese, sounds like the phrase “I want to be very wealthy.”
One real estate broker interviewed by the Journal said…
You will likely see buyers and agents scheduling viewings and closings for the eighth day of the eighth month of 2018.
So it’s going to be a good year… at least for selling Apartment 18 at 888 Park Avenue or for going out and buying 18 dogs in August.
One final thought on the Year of the Dog…
In the 1730s, poet Alexander Pope’s treasured Great Dane, Bounce, had a litter of puppies. Pope gave one to his patron Frederick, Prince of Wales, who was living at Kew Palace. Pope wrote a couplet engraved on the pup’s collar.
We might want to keep it in mind concerning U.S./China trade relations.
I am his Highness’s dog at Kew;
Pray tell me, Sir, whose dog are you?