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What the Year of the Dog reveals..

The global economy will do well despite gyrations in the lunar year starting on January 29. But stock markets do not promise much.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 14:05 IST

It may be a dog-eat-dog world, but conflicts could abate in the Year of the Dog - as long as canine watchfulness doesn't turn into anxiety and paranoia, Chinese soothsayers say.

The global economy will do well despite gyrations in the lunar year starting on January 29. But if you're looking for a big jump in the stock markets you may be barking up the wrong tree.

Be on the lookout for diseases involving livestock or lungs this year, especially coming from the west. Drought and fires could be a problem this year as well.

"This year will see less severe war, natural disasters and international conflict compared with last year," said Raymond Lai, a master of fengshui, the ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with the environment and using the elements of metal, wood, water, fire and earth to tap life's energy.

China's relations with Japan would continue to be dogged by problems and the North Korean nuclear crisis might not end, but neither will the situation worsen, he said.

Last year was turbulent because wood and metal elements clashed. This year will be represented by the more harmonious combination of fire and earth. "We will see things go back to normal and have a less intense year," said Lai.

That said, we could see more of the kind of earth and weather-related disasters that struck in the Year of the Rooster, like the hurricanes that hit New Orleans or the quake that shook Pakistan in October killing 73,000 people, some soothsayers said.

An intriguing factor in the geopolitical equation is that US President George W. Bush was born in 1946 -- a Year of the Dog.

For those born in a Dog year, their normal tendencies toward loyalty and vigilance risk turning into dogmatism and paranoia.

For Bush and his wife, Laura, also born in a dog year, this year will be filled with "debate and anxiety", said California-based astrologer Shelly Wu.

"They'll get their pyjamas on early and they sit around and worry about things," she said. "We are not going to disarm (in Iraq) any time soon, especially in a dog year."

Hong Kong-based feng shui master Edwin Ma predicts it will be increasingly a dog's life for the United States, while China's clout rises in the Year of the Dog.

"As the fortunes of US continue on to weaken in 2006, more disasters and unpredictable problems are to be expected. Occupied with its internal affairs. It is likely that George W. Bush will perform some petty action for distraction," he said.

China's economy will remain strong, he said. "As the old Chinese saying goes: 'A boost of wealth, a change of mien.' The boost of China's economy will result in a more systematic and structured China."

Geomancer Yum Hung says to expect a "major shakeup" in Chinese politics relating to widespread corruption.

Yum also ominously predicted that SARS may return this year, and another disease could surface affecting lungs and breathing.

Wu also saw a strong possibility of livestock-related illness. "We could, could -- I'd like to emphasise that see a resurgence or a rise in the avian flu this year," she said.

"It's a year of building loyalty. It's a year of building relationships that will stand the test of time," said Wu.

It could be a good year to have kids, she noted. "This is not a year for frivolous pursuits. The dog takes itself way too seriously."

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 09:00 IST