Kung Hei Fat Choy
Metal Rat

The Rat Pack hits town

Welcome to the Year of the Metal Rat and our 26th Feng Shui guide, offering you an alternative look at what's in store to help the luck flow in your direction. On stage with its trusty Rat-Pack buddies, the resilient 'king of the hill, top of the heap' ushers in a new 12-year cycle in the Chinese horoscope. The instability prevalent in last year's charts is absent, and harmonies fill the air.

A rare folk-tale hailing from Tibet and Khotan tells of rats defeating a human army by eating all the leather bowstrings and thongs that held the shields. And in the West, they are best known for carrying the flea that harboured the Black Death. On the other hand, the Philistines worshipped five golden mice, and in China they are associated with money. Above, we feature some more modern famous rats.

And here's our forecast!

CLSA Feng Shui Index, 2020
CLSA Feng Shui Index 2020

It's a time of beginnings and renewals as the new 12-year astral cycle ushers in the first sign of the Chinese Zodiac, the Rat. All the metal in his chart bodes well for our favourite Earth Rooster, the Hang Seng Index. Late spring and early summer could be a golden patch, with gains and losses in other months. Reading our forecast is relatively simple. We adopt Li Chun, 4 February, as the traditional spring start to the year. We use a fortune scale to indicate the relative size of the Hang Seng’s likely movement each month. The year begins well. Early on, there may be legal measures that improve business conditions - perhaps the removal of red tape. That will provide a small incentive which will peter out soon enough, as contradictions in market conditions permeate the wider world.

No need to get anyone's mazes in a twist, as the following few months should see the Rat join our Rooster for cocktails on a rooftop bar of their choice. Expect gains in all sectors through to the summer. Over the hotter months, the profits are less impressive, but they are there. As the days lengthen, the relentless heat has the Rat swooning and our Rooster wilting - a too-rich diet and whiskers clogged with cheese send the pair into a sleep coma. In the last quarter, a few rattles of the cage will reawaken our Rooster to finish the year just below the summer high. Not too ratty, we must say.


Previous Rat Years

How did we fare?

It was a downhill cheese-rolling chase in 2008. There were more holes than Swiss cheese in the first half of 1996, but our earthly cock embraced the financial fondue to nearly double its value by year-end. In 1984, we cleverly predicted the moves of the Hang Seng as a mirror image. And in 1972, our beloved Earth Rooster swung on its perch like a piece of prize driftwood for much of the year, then took off like a rat up a drainpipe.


So what's Feng Shui?

Interplay determines our forecasts

In Feng Shui, the four pillars of destiny (the year, month, day and hour) comprise eight characters, hence the name Bazi. Each of the pillars is described by the two cycles that have characterised Chinese ways of telling time for the past three millennia. They are the 10 heavenly stems and the 12 earthly branches. When you place those two cycles side by side, they repeat at intervals of 60, which means you return to the beginning of the sequence.

The new year for Feng Shui purposes is different to the Chinese New Year which strictly follows the phases of the moon. It begins a little after 5pm on 4 February when the heavenly stem is geng 庚 and the earthly branch is zi 子. Each stem and branch is associated with one of the five elements (water, fire, metal, wood and earth), and also with either yin or yang. That gives us the chart for the year, and we compare that against our Hang Seng Rooster’s natal chart for 24 November 1969.

The Bazi destiny charts for the Rat and the Hang Seng Index


Industry selection based on the five phases

Remember that wood fuels fire, which, in turn, produces earth. Metal comes from the earth and produces water, a fundamental ingredient for life and needed for wood to grow. Conversely, water puts out fire, fire melts metal, metal cuts wood, and wood overcomes earth as roots grow down into the soil and use up nutrients. Finally, earth overcomes water through its ability to channel and control water.


The Zodiacs

What sign are you?
How will you fare in the Year of the Metal Rat

Affliction deflection

How to mitigate negative energy

Feng Shui determines the points on the compass assigned to potential negative energies, or malevolent qi in their various guises. The usual suspects are the Tai Sui, Tsui Po, San Sha and Wu Wang: ghostly forces meandering across the Feng Shui firmament, so if the predictions are not in your favour, purchase a canister of reality and breathe deep . . . you'll be fine.


Celebrity Fortunes 2020

Where to park your tail?

Where to invest your precious funds

Welcome to the Battle Royale where good stars fight bad influences and vice-versa. We highlight hotspots and notspots in Hong Kong worth your attention. The Northwest is best; avoid the East and South; and don't dig in the North.