The Ox in Chinese mythology is a symbol of prosperity, won through hard work in the face of adversity and daunting challenges. Tradition praises its dependability, patience and compassion – an animal with its feet planted firmly on the ground.
In these trying times, we should all learn from the example of this faithful, steady beast, who just buckles down to work and gets on with it.
And work there will be definitely plenty of in the Chinese lunar new year, which starts officially today. Asian sages are telling us that fire – which makes up five of the basic universal elements – is lacking in the Year of the Ox, and fire is what is supposed to drive economic growth. In short, it’s going to mean a turbulent journey to reach the end of this current tunnel. To add to the maelstrom, soothsayers are also predicting more earthquakes, rising tension between the US and Russia and a troubled presidency for Barack Obama.
Born in 1961, Obama is an Ox baby, but given the state of the planet and problems he’s inherited from the Bush administration, it’s certainly not going to be his year.
Doom and gloom, of course, isn’t new news to anyone since the financial world (as we knew it) came crashing down late last year, bringing with it not only our hard-earned savings and profits, but our faith in institutions that we trusted to protect them.
But if there is one thing comforting to know, it is that we are still alive and kicking. Each time we’ve suffered – remember past recessions, 9/11 and SARS – we have licked our wounds and moved on and rebuilt. Yes, superpowers collapse, industry giants dissolve and companies fall off the Forbes 500 list, but we are still here.
The Year of the Ox gives us more reason to embrace our resilient side and perhaps, rediscover a sense of humour and the blessings of family and friends.
Today’s events will inevitably find themselves in the pages of tomorrow’s history books, recessions included.
When the time comes, the bull market will charge once more – history always repeats itself. But for now, enjoy the long holiday – really enjoy it.
From the team at Business Traveller Asia-Pacific, Kung Hei Fat Choy! Happy New Year!
Margie T Logarta and He Ruiming