- It has been a turbulent Year of the Pig for Hong Kong. But believe it or not, an era of tender loving governance may be just round the corner
A violent storm blows through Hong Kong with an unprecedented intensity, leaving a trail of broken glass, blocked roads and traffic disruptions, and the government comes under fire for failing to manage the situation.
That would be Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the city on September 16 last year " a Pig day with an unusually forceful element of water, according to the Chinese almanac. But it could as easily be the protest actions that have engulfed Hong Kong this year, which happens to be a Pig year with an underlying element of water.
I am neither a fortune-teller nor a feng shui expert. I'm just a civilian who takes a geeky interest in Chinese cosmology, its poetic possibilities and its understanding of the interconnection of all things. Much ink has been spilled on how Hong Kong should move forward, but perhaps it would be useful to start from the beginning and see the city through the prism of ba zi, the age-old practice of analysing the eight characters denoting a birth time.
In Chinese astrology, hours, days, months, years and even decades follow the zodiac cycle. Hong Kong was reborn as a special administrative region of China on July 1, 1997, a Wood Dragon day, which makes it a wood sign. More precisely, it is a tree growing in wet, fertile earth, and its birth chart is a picture of a thriving forest: trees, a little stream, soil, sparks, starlight, sunshine.
When you are a wood sign, a suitable amount of water makes your world go round " it is mother's milk, love and luck. Wood fuels fire or light, which is your productivity, and fire produces ash or earth, which is your money.
For a tree planted in the withering heat of summer, Hong Kong is in an enviable position. Although this Wood Dragon is flanked in the ba zi chart by a Wood Rat, a lucky tree that is even closer to the stream, there is enough water to go around and keep everyone fairly happy. (Could the other tree be Singapore or some other city? Your guess is as good as mine.) Besides, Hong Kong is capable. It keeps a little ecosystem running by tapping into water, radiating heat and producing earth to sink roots into. So far so viable, right?
But we need to talk about metal: an element that is virtually non-existent in Hong Kong's chart, yet is making its presence felt in the city's life. Metal symbolises structure. With regard to a tree, it is a controlling element that could take the form of an axe or shears; it could be a woodcutter or a gardener; it could be a boss.
Hong Kong is, by nature, a free spirit. In the forest it was planted in, there was no danger of being cut down for firewood or even having its leaves trimmed. Moreover, the fire in Hong Kong's chart keeps it safe. Fire has no fear of metal, just as a resourceful employee has no fear of a stressful boss.
Yet, the water in Hong Kong's chart needs metal. Metal is the surface on which water forms, just as order becomes a support for liveability.
Here, Hong Kong faces a paradox. In the Chinese zodiac, the Monkey and the Rooster represent big and small metal objects like axe blades and shears, respectively. By the alchemical logic of Chinese cosmology, it is the Monkey, not the Rooster, that bonds with the Dragon and Rat in Hong Kong's chart to form more water " more luck to feed into the city.
However, think again of the axe-swinging woodcutter and the tree-pruning gardener. One is efficient, the other is patient. One wants the forest to thrive so there is more wood to be cut and more money to be made; the other wants the trees to thrive. Who would be a better boss?
Hong Kong has been in a Monkey luck cycle since 2009, but is moving into a Rooster decade next year. A gentler era might be just round the corner.
And what of this year? Why hasn't it felt like a lucky year, despite the powerful presence of water symbolised by the Pig? Well, for a tree, real or imagined, there can be such a thing as too much water. In Chinese cosmology, water is a metaphor for the fluidity of thought, but also the rush of fear. However, fear is not Hong Kong's style. I, for one, choose to believe the city can brainstorm its way out of this year.
Foong Woei Wan is a production editor at the Post
Copyright (c) 2019. South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved.查看原始文章