Previous Years

Earth Rat:

7 Feb 2008 - 25 Jan 2009
  • 19 Feb
    Death of Lydia Shum, Hong Kong comedian and actress
  • 13 Mar
    Gold passes US$1,000 per ounce for the first time
  • 12 May
    Earthquake in Sichuan, China, kills 87,000 people
  • 16 Jun
    Same-sex marriage legalised in California
  • 9 Aug
    Hong Kong hosts the equestrian events of the Olympics
  • 27 Oct
    Hang Seng drops to a four-year low
  • 4 Nov
    Barack Obama elected as the first black president of the USA
  • 14 Nov
    Hong Kong officially falls into recession
  • 11 Dec
    The Peninsula Hong Kong celebrates its 80th anniversary
  • 12 Jan
    Cristiano Ronaldo wins his first FIFA world player of the year award

The Earth Rat set up camp as the global financial crisis dragged on. In May, there was a squeak of confidence as it gnawed its way up a small mound and raised its whiskers to the breeze. But that was not to last. Right through to August, crumbs fell by the wayside, and after that it was a slow-moving downhill cheese-rolling chase. The Pied Piper of Hang Seng whistled his merry ditties and earth rats marched one after the other off the cliff, followed by our glorious fowl following them halfway to hell.

Fire Rat:

19 Feb 1996 - 6 Feb 1997
  • 23 Mar
    First direct presidential election takes place in Taiwan
  • 20 May
    Hong Kong Equal Opportunities Commission established
  • 4 Jun
    Chinese State Council issues white paper on environmental protection
  • 29 Jul
    Lee Lai-shan wins HK’s first Olympic gold medal (windsurfing)
  • 1 Aug
    A Game of Thrones, the first in a series, is published
  • 1 Sep
    Beijing-Hong Kong rail line is opened
  • 21 Oct
    Chinese politician, Wang Li, dies
  • 5 Nov
    Bill Clinton elected the 42nd President of the United States
  • 11 Dec
    Election held for the first post-handover leader of Hong Kong
  • 18 Jan
    Norwegian Borge Ousland crosses Antarctica on his own

The CLSA Feng Shui Index cleverly predicted the moves of the Hang Seng as a mirror image - it was a Mickey Mouse affair as our precious chook threw rats off the scent. Our bird bided its time for the first half of the year; poking its head out only encouraged the Fire Rat to close in, leading to the Hang Seng taking to the skies and recording a near 40% rise by the end of the year from the lowest point. Looks like our bird won the rat race.

Wood Rat:

2 Feb 1984 - 19 Feb 1985
  • 22 Mar
    British Airways flight bound for Beijing is hijacked and lands in Taipei
  • 10 Jun
    Zhu Jianhua breaks the world high-jump record
  • 6 Jun
    Tile-matching game Tetris is first released
  • 25 Jul
    Svetlana Savitskaya becomes first woman to moonwalk in space
  • 11 Aug
    Ronald Reagan jokes that he has outlawed Russia
  • 12 Oct
    IRA bombs Brighton hotel where Margaret Thatcher is staying
  • 22 Nov
    Indonesia and Papua New Guinea enjoy a total solar eclipse
  • 19 Dec
    Sino-British Joint Declaration on Hong Kong is signed
  • 1 Jan
    Domain Name System (DNS) of the internet is created
  • 17 Feb
    First reported AIDS death in Hong Kong

The Wood Rat stayed in its hole for the first five months, burrowing deeper. Rumours circulated in April and June, but were put to rest within weeks and the burrow just went deeper. All strategies for improvement had more holes than Swiss cheese, and the best laid plans of mice and men. But from late July it was cheesecake all the way. Rats and our earthly cock embraced in a financial fondue and the value had nearly doubled by early January.

Water Rat:

15 Feb 1972 - 2 Feb 1973
  • 21 Feb
    US President Richard Nixon begins his visit to China
  • 23 Apr
    Tai Kok Tsui Ferry Pier comes into use
  • 18 Jun
    Floods in Hong Kong lead to landslides, killing 156 people
  • 6 Jul
    Hong Kong dollar pegged to the US dollar at US$5.65
  • 2 Aug
    Cross-Harbour Tunnel is officially opened
  • 2 Sep
    Lee Kuan Yew re-elected as Singaporean Prime Minister
  • 29 Sep
    Japan and China establish diplomatic relations
  • 13 Dec
    The last time a human walked on the moon
  • 17 Jan
    Retirement age for Hong Kong public service raised to 60
  • 27 Jan
    Paris Peace Accords ends the Vietnam War

The Water Rat had the Hang Seng swinging on its perch like a piece of prize driftwood bobbing on the ocean. No cheesecake, but also no Ratsak. From the New Year to October, there was a slight rise and no major falls, but the smart set were more interested in watching paint dry. Later in the year, however, our beloved rooster began rising like the maize god. The index rose 50% from September to January, then took off like a rat up a drainpipe.