HONG KONG – Conflicts, disasters, record-high temperatures, an economic chill in Asia and more trouble for Justin Bieber — the upcoming Year of the Horse is set to be a dramatic one, say Hong Kong feng shui masters.
With the Year of the Snake slithering into history, they say that the Lunar New Year beginning Friday is going to a horse that you shouldn’t stand behind, because it incorporates the volatile element of fire.
“With this being the Year of the Wood Horse, and with wood being very combustible, there will be a lot of scandals, conflicts, explosions and arguments,” said celebrity feng shui master Alion Yeo.
Feng shui — literally “wind and water” — is an influential philosophy in many parts of Asia, where people adjust their lives and even renovate offices and homes based on its edicts to maximize luck and wealth.
Yeo says that conflict in the new year could be defined by anything from diplomatic tension to armed engagement, particularly in the first, fourth and seventh lunar months — February, May and August.
“The most likely thing that could lead to a physical war would be the Diaoyu Islands,” Yeo said, referring to the islets Japan administers and calls the Senkakus. Japan effectively nationalized the chain in 2012, escalating tensions with China and Taiwan.
The previous Year of the Wood Horse, in 1954, was marked by nuclear bomb tests by the United States and the Soviet Union, and by the battle of Dien Bien Phu, which led to the defeat of French forces in Vietnam.
Chinese fortunetelling such as feng shui is based on ancient philosophy and the belief that events are dictated by the varying balances in the five elements that make up the universe: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.
The lunar calendar is based on the cycles of the moon and through Chinese folklore ascribes 12 animals, one for each year in the rotating cycle. The horse is in the seventh position.
Feng shui master Chow Hon-ming believes that while the United States and Europe will enjoy economic recovery, nations such as Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, India and Pakistan will feel a negative impact.
Chow believes it will also be a tricky year for U.S. President Barack Obama, who was born in the Year of the Ox in 1961. “He may make gaffes, he may face obstacles when it comes to cutting through political red tape,” Chow said.
Record-high temperatures and natural disasters will be prominent due to the influence of the fire element, according to soothsayers.
“There will be a higher chance of volcanic eruption and earthquakes because the earth element will be irritated by the abundance of fire,” said fortuneteller Cheng Chi-hang, adding that Japan, Indonesia and China will be particularly prone.
A person’s fortune is calculated by using the exact time and date of his birth, with the relationship of each of the elements.
As for troubled Canadian pop star Justin Bieber, he will be on a streak of negativity this year, Yeo said: “There will be times where he will not be able to control himself.” Bieber, 19, has been charged with two separate offences in the last week.
Celebrities born in the Year of the Horse include Filipino world champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, actress Halle Berry, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the late former South African President Nelson Mandela, whose 1990 release from prison also occurred in a year of the horse.