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Fortunes of our baker's dozen of famous faces
Janet Yellen
Chair Apparent,
US Federal Reserve Board

Born: 13 August 1946
Sign: Fire Dog
Day Master: Yin Earth (Ji)
Shinzo Abe
Japanese Prime Minister
Born: 21 September 1954
Sign: Wood Horse
Day Master: Yang Metal (Geng)
Mulch has been written about Ben Bernanke's chair apparent, but we'd wager you've not read this before: Janet Yellen's wu xing are mouth-watering. Which is reassuring (in case you were wondering). Wu xing refers to the five elementary energies - a sort of feng shui DNA. The closer they cluster, the better. Yellen's weightings look pure Goldilocks: a 'just right' balance of safe, sensible, sure and steady, with enough off-kilter to keep it real. Her Fire Dog fortune chart's ears have pricked up of late, with the expectation of some big-time tailwagging all next year. Sure, any dumb Mutt should do well, but the Fire breed leads the packing order. Not that it will be a walk in the park: September threatens to seriously stress-test Yellen's mettle and cool, while the final month feels exhausting. But overcoming challenges is part of what makes a good year grrreat. And Yellen's charts inspire confidence. We only wish the Sheep that takes over in 2015 didn't look like such a bah-humbagger. If the Hi-ho that gets to set the course of the bourse next year has even half the fire power of the Wood Horse that ignited Japan's markets in 2013, it will be a ride to remember. Japan's Horse, of course, was Shinzo 'Three Arrows' Abe, who must be one of the few leaders of a major developed economy to have enlisted feng shui in support of his policies. [Promising his radical revivalism would deliver change as profound as the Snake's skinshedding was probably an understatement.] Even if we'd checked Abe's charts ahead of time, we doubt we'd have foreseen his triumphant return. But the influences and ascribed traits they suggest are certainly in keeping with his performance. We rate this a 'rein at times' year for Nags, but Abe has enough giddyup to earn a 'good, hard ride'. It will be tough, at times, especially during the final six months, and it won't come cheap. Yet the PM's greatest challenge and danger may well be the Wood Horse in his mirror: himself.

Yip Wing-sie
Music Director, HK Sinfonietta
Born: 05 October 1960
Sign: Metal Rat
Day Master: Yang Fire (Bing)
Jack Ma Yun
Founder and chairman, Alibaba
Born: 10 September 1964
Sign: Wood Dragon
Day Master: Yang Water (Ren)
We don't know about you, but we've only got to hear Yip Wing-sie's name and we start tapping our feet and going: 'Tum-tiddle-tum-de-tah.' Even at such a remove, she works on us like some sort of Pavlovian belle (note-perfect, of course), so we can't begin to imagine the buzz of playing in the Sinfonietta that's been under the spell of her baton since the Water Horse of 2002. Yip is pretty much how we imagine appassionato personified, with just enough allegrezza. Not that we expected to see much when we sat down to look at her charts, given the rather gnaw-sious Rat outlook for 2014. But while it won't be the easiest passage Yip has ever had to play, she seems singularly well suited to discovering the Beethoven's Ninth amid the most lamentable dirge. Patience is the key, especially when it's F# minor, and July and December threaten to be particularly pizzicato. Encouragingly, this may be the year for Yip to focus on some of her more innovative interests. Over to you, Maestro! Jack Ma fervently believes small is beautiful. Yes, the same Jack Ma who's preparing to float his Alibaba group in what will be one of the most humungous IPOs ever. Ma has no trouble reconciling such contradictions. But then he is a Dragon. Here's another (and they're not hard to find): Ma is worth about US$3.5bn, yet his charts suggest the savings of a struggling English teacher. Ma's success is extraordinary; and his management style seems uncommonly sensible. He's driven by a clear vision - and, increasingly, guided by a strong conscience. So we'd be happy to report that the float will be wildly successful (in its own "small" way) and will be in Hong Kong (with CLSA as lead bookrunner, of course). Instead, we see a sea of troubles that puts us in mind of the Odyssey - though you couldn't ask for better than Ma's Wood-Water combination at the helm. After all, a man who can steer a supertanker as if it were a jetski is going to have no trouble with a mere Scylla and Charybdis.

Rio de Janeiro
Host of Fifa World Cup Final
Born: 01 March 1565
Sign: Wood Cow
Day Master: Yang Earth (Wu)
Fan Bingbing
China's most powerful celebrity
Born: 16 September 1981
Sign: Metal Rooster
Day Master: Yin Fire (Ding)
Who knew Rio was known for so much? There's Copacabana; Giant Jesus; that T&T&Y&L Girl from Ipenema; dental-floss bikinis; Sugarloaf; Carnaval; samba; hillside favelas (slums); drug gangs; veganhell churrascarias; Portuguese tarts; pastries - and one of the most gutting, final-minutes defeats in World Cup futebol, when Who?-raguay humbled Brazil in 1950. The quadrenniel pitch battle of the 'beautiful game' returns to the 'marvellous city' midyear, with the final in the same (rebuilt) Maracanã stadium. It will be a good test ahead of the 2016 Olympics. How's it looking? Much as you'd expect from the charts: a little too chaotic for comfort, but definitely moving forward. As a Wood Cow, Rio's people relationships can quickly turn nasty. Quiet conciliation is advised - rather than using teargas and rubber bullets against people protesting hefty fare rises. Like any great sporting drama, this one will go to the wire. Certain disaster is averted with external support. Hand of God, perhaps? Depending on where you put your tongue, "bing" in Chinese can be anything from ice to an almighty blaze (such as the zodiac's yang-fire third heavenly stem). Put a "fan" in front of a brace of bings then and you might expect a red-hot big noise and lots of sparks. Meet Fan Bingbing. Barely 32, the luxlabel pinup is China's most powerful celebrity (Forbes) and may be the world's top-dollar actress. But it's her chart, not her art, that has us transfixed. It's feng shui full-metal jacket: twin Fire flashes (albeit soft yin) encased in Metal, with a whetted wick. It surely suggests some serious psychic tension. More awe to Fan if she's tamed it (and she rates her life a perfect 10). Two trials threaten, though laser-focus Fan is probably immune to the first: a "bird flu" of ennui set to sap many a Rooster's snap. But treachery is a horse of a different coat and the risk is that a cabal of 'friends' lays a trap primed with humiliation. Look to Sun Tzu: Doubledoublecross and give 'em both BB barrels!
Note: The Day Master is the heavenly stem of your fortune chart's birth-day pillar and is said to reveal your true nature.
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