The other day, I know not for what reason, I started thinking about horoscopes and the zodiac. You know, Gemini, Pisces, all that. I thought: Are people, the young people of today, still doing that?
Are they asking each other what star sign they are, basing their judgment of the other person on that, like we did when I was young? Surely it can't be a thing anymore.
But bugger me if it isn't! At least according to one young person of today that I have access to, Snow Dragon in Sydney. Snow Dragon, 雪龍， was the Chinese name I gave her when we first started Cantonese lessons a few months ago. It wasn't until I started teaching her the wondrous thing that is Cantonese that I realised how much I had missed that aspect of my life in Hong Kong. Cantonese had been my life, and 'the only Norwegian Cantonese teacher in the village' my identity.
I lost my life and identity moving to the other side of the world.
But now they are back! I now have six students on four continents, but more about that later.
Now I want to talk about the zodiac; the Chinese one. Yes, Chinese New Year is coming up, the Year of the Tiger no less. I was so happy a couple of years ago when it was the year of the Rat - MY year. Ha! Was it the day after the change from Pig to Rat that covid broke out?
Still, the idea that everyone born in the same year, not even the same month like in the Western zodiac, should have the same characteristics is not only ludicrous but downright frivolous. So in the name of innocent, frivolous fun, let me present the various Chinese star signs.
1. The Rat.
The first of all the animals, the Rat caught a lift on the head of the Ox when the Jade Emperor had summoned the animals to cross a river to see him. When they reached the other side , the Rat jumped off first and legged it up to Jade Emperor to get his little paws on all the goodies before everyone else.
Here is a quick rundown of the Rat personality according to China Highlights:
"Rats are quick-witted, resourceful, and smart but lack courage. With rich imaginations and sharp observations, they can take advantage of various opportunities well.
In Chinese culture, rats represent working diligently and thriftiness, so people born in a Rat year are thought to be wealthy and prosperous." (Lack courage my arse!)
With good insight and a sharp perspective, Rats have good judgment in what they do, which enables them to prevent unnecessary problems. Rats are cautious and meticulous, so they tend to show a serious attitude toward their work.
General (sic) speaking, Rats are healthy. They are full of energy and active, which helps them keep fit and avoid illness.
A balanced diet and regular exercise benefit Rats. With enough rest Rats can keep high spirits at work, which can improve work efficiency. When in stressful and tense conditions, Rats are suggested to take a tour [walk?] to free stress and tension."
So there you have it. I will present all the animals before Chinese New Year when everything will change - the weather, for one thing.
I am also planning a mega Chinese late lunch on February 5th. If you are in Mallorca, sign up!
Today's Cantonese: 老鼠 Lou Syu, mouse, rat.