Albert Einstein once said 'We do not have to understand the world, we only have to find our way in it."
And this is how I view the Chinese cultural perspective of the Snake, an animal demonised in Western mythology but which occupies a position of awe and amazement in the East. The Lunar New Year of the Water Snake commences on 10 February 2103, and it promises to be a year of correction and change, one in which each of us have to flexible and quick enough to grab the new opportunities arising. We are embarking on a period when we have to find new ways to do things, look at things and think of alternatives and innovation.
The nature of the Snake can be likened to someone who is intelligent, has charismatic confidence, can shed off adversity like a second skin and is a quiet achiever. Think of people like Oprah Winfrey, Abraham Lincoln, Pablo Picasso, Bob Dylan and Kayne West - they were all born in a previous Lunar Year of the Snake. In Asia, the Snake is revered. The sixth day of the new Lunar Year is dedicated to a deity who protects snakes - the Chor Su Kong - and there is an iconic temple in Penang Island, my home town, dedicated to this. Think of the snake charmers in the Indian sub-continent. The medicinal properties of snake bile are well documented. Reflect on the hypnotic stare of a cobra. In East Asian tradition, the snake was already existent from the very beginning of recorded history. Whilst New Zealand amazingly has no snakes, my own precinct of the Illawarra coast in New South Wales does have its fair share of snakes.
How we can better ourselves this coming year? The cultural forecast follows. Although those born under the the sign of the Rabbit find it an excellent year ahead, Rats should keep their wealth out of sight and both the Ox and Dragon have to be more tolerant of others who do not share their values and opinion. Female Tigers in the entertainment industry are however favoured this coming year. The Horse has to be cautious about infatuations and the Monkey should be wary of infidelity. Goats have increased positive contacts with influential and social contacts. The Rooster has to be more tactful and manage change more effectively. The Dog may find love where least expected. Boars can face a romantically turbulent time. Snakes themselves have to watch out for roller coaster rides in their experience of life.
It is said that for every human being, one third of his or her fate or journey in life is determined by the heavens, implying the time of birth. Another third can be affected by the company he keeps, the parents and family grown up with and the peers who influence him. The final third is sheer personal self-determination, mindset, soul searching and inner self. Otherwise everyone born under the same animal sign will be clones of each other. In deference to Mr Einstein, truly and deeply, each of us have to find our own unique way in life.