Market Thinking

making sense of the narrative

Kung Hei Fat Choi!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Today is New Year’s Day for Greater China and much of South East Asia and so a wish for health and prosperity for all friends and colleagues who are celebrating (as best they can).

The Year of the Tiger for almost 2bn people.

The Year of the Tiger isn’t just being celebrated in China of course, but across much of Asia. Singapore, North and South Korea and Cambodia have the same symbols to China and while Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam and Japan have some slight differences in some years, all of them celebrate the year of the Tiger. Indeed, even before we include mainland China itself, that is a population of over 478m people and once we add in the 1.44bn in China that is 1.92bn people celebrating this week!

For those less familiar with the Chinese system, there are twelve animals that move in rotation, and this year is the Year of the Tiger. Each animal has 5 elements, Wood, Water, Fire, Earth and Metal, so that the birth year only comes around again once in a lifetime on the fifth cycle. This year is the turn of the Water Tiger, sometimes referred to as Tiger Crossing a mountain, last seen in 1962. For those interested in more detail, here is a reasonable place to start.

One of the more disappointing developments in the last few years has been the return of orientalism and the ‘othering’ of Asia in general and China in particular. This seems to be largely for US Geo-political reasons and comes at a time when we should all be trying to learn about and understand other cultures. The Chinese horoscope, and in particular its notion of the generating and controlling cycle of the elements, is an important window on Chinese philosophy and for that reason alone should be taken a little more seriously in the west.

Share this article