Gong Xi Fa Cai
Tomorrow is the start of the Chinese New Year, the Year of the Rooster. It is also, I understand from this very informative site
, Year 4702 in the Chinese calendar, which somewhat predates the International Calendar based on the Gregorian Calendar
(in) use at the present day which goes back only some 425 years.
Or is it 426?
Those born as Roosters, in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981 and 1993, including ex-President Suharto, Yoko Ono, Rod Stewart, Mia Farrow, Eric Clapton and 'Er Indoors, tend to be hard-working and definite about their decision
and not afraid to speak their minds and can therefore sometimes come across as boastful.
is, perhaps luckily for us, not a Rooster. The Rooster likes to flaunt his authority and a lot of trouble can come from his domineering attitude. But since he also symbolizes the good administrator and conscientious overseer of justice in the barnyard, the peace will still be kept. Everything will be precariously balanced in the Rooster's year, as his dramatic personality can set off all kinds of petty disputes.
In fact, SBY is an Ox
. Oxen are born leaders, inspiring confidence in everyone they come into contact with. However, they can be too demanding.
Long-term residents such as myself are not only grateful for tomorrow's holiday but can be pleased that, as the Jakarta Post says
, non-ethnic Chinese can now enjoy the richness of the occasion.
President Abdurrahman Wahid eased the cultural restrictions in 2000 by allowing ethnic Chinese to resume and celebrate their cultural identity
. Incidentally, Gus Dur is a Dragon
. They tend to be popular individuals who are always full of life and enthusiasm, with a reputation for being fun-loving. They make good priests, artists and politicians.
President Megawati Soekarnoputri, a Boar
, went a step further in providing the ultimate acknowledgement of Chinese culture by declaring the Lunar New Year a national holiday.
Less than a decade ago such
(it) would have been unthinkable. Chinese cultural traditions were considered taboo. Under a misguided political pretext* - related to the anti-communist hysteria - anything that was even vaguely connected to Chinese culture was frowned upon.
The stereotypes have not been completely jettisoned from ignorant minds, but formal acceptance of Chinese culture is a tremendous leap forward. Even non-ethnic Chinese can now enjoy the richness of the occasion.
So the shopping malls are now resplendent with Chinese clothes, food stuffs and all that make this festival special. And that is most encouraging.
If this year in Indonesia passes with diminished inter-communal strife and with public perception that there is a positive future without corruption but with a respect for the environment we share, then I believe that there would truly be something to crow about.
Ward Churchill, a Native American, says in this article,
which makes somber reading, that with the events of 9/11, the chickens came home to roost.
When queried by reporters concerning his views on the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963, Malcolm X famously - and quite charitably, all things considered - replied that it was merely a case of "chickens coming home to roost."
On the morning of September 11, 2001, a few more chickens - along with some half-million dead Iraqi children came home to roost in a very big way at the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center. Well, actually, a few of them seem to have nestled in at the Pentagon as well.
The Iraqi youngsters, all of them under 12, died as a predictable - in fact, widely predicted - result of the 1991 US "surgical" bombing of their country's water purification and sewage facilities, as well as other "infrastructural" targets upon which Iraq's civilian population depends for its very survival.