Will The Rooster Year Be Cagey?

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THE FIRE Rooster follows a mischievous Monkey year when the world went ape over a variety of economic and global issues.

What fortunes and pitfalls will strut in this Rooster year?

There are already rumblings in the US and China. These economic powerhouses and regional actions will influence how turbulent a ride Singapore will have to endure in the Rooster year. Economic and political changes of the world have put us on edge for most of 2016; will the Rooster year see more of the same?

In this week’s Friday Focus, we talk to people from different zodiac signs, industries and backgrounds to find out what they are hoping for and expecting in the year of the Rooster. Perhaps some of their ideas may be helpful to the reader as they strut, scratch or blaze a trail through the year of the Fire Rooster.

Ning Cai, Author/Celebrity Magician

2016 was brutal for many of us but challenges and adversities are the scars that make us who we are. Without them we don’t exist. Especially now with how quickly we are surging forwards in this fast-paced society, we need to remember to always balance wisdom with compassion. Humanity needs more love, kindness, and graciousness. And I do wish that for everybody!

2017 is going to be a year history never forgets. Change is the only constant and as it is, dramatic developments are already underway. There will be revolutions!  And for peace around the world, diversity needs to be embraced. Unfortunately, the human condition is flawed by fear, greed and selfishness, so unless there is keen awareness and understanding, there will be plenty of strife in the year of the Fire Rooster. And we all know what fighting cocks are capable of. So pay it forward, and be a positive influence…one who radiates love and light.

There’s a reason why ancient Chinese esoteric wisdom has survived thousands of years throughout history. I personally believe there is a degree of truth to the ancient divination arts, which like anything else, does depends on the skill and talent of the person doing it. I learnt the I-Ching from my grandmother and found the advice given to be wise and effective.

Fortunately, there’s no major clashes for me to worry about this year, so I choose to take note of the sound advice and take heed of warnings like being aware of backstabbing “females” (which I generally accept as people who like to bitch behind your back, because I’ve met plenty of men who do that too… it’s not a gender thing!) and such.

How your fate and fortune will be affected, lies in your own hands (not the stars and the zodiac) at the end of the day. It’s the decisions you make, which ultimately forge your destiny. Just in case, it’s always helpful to wear a real piece of jade… just for good luck!

Charlene Kang, Executive Director, Vault

The rooster and the rat are generally no good for each other. However, I am no ordinary rat!

The Monkey year was one of twists and turns, causing mischief through mainstream media and changes in key market sectors of the economies. The  region and the world are in a state of flux, and I am unsettled by what is yet to come.

The rooster is alert throughout the day and night, stealing peace and slumber from the villagers. This year will be a year of constant distractions and disruption in businesses and politics. For those who are able to sleep through most of the racket in 2017, it will be a year of preservation and consolidation of resources. For the rest of us — we will probably be losing some sleep.

While the constant racket is a nuisance, it is a wake up call to a new reality. As the rooster heralds a new day, this Lunar New Year heralds a new paradigm. We have to be vigilant and alert to this new world, a world that is harsh to those who choose to be inflexible to change. I will need to apply a lot of my witty Rat skills once the rooster crows.

As our leadership discovers, the goodwill forged by our predecessors with leaders in the region are invalid. Politically we seek new alliances amidst ambitious agendas of our neighbours. Protection, privacy and preservation become important in changing political climate and sentiments.

Old comforts will become new threats.

Our traditional ways of accumulating and protecting wealth will render us vulnerable. And we are yet to experience the full costs of open border taxation policies and the surrender of information for convenience, too. As the world shrinks, the reach of institutions gets increasingly pervasive. Additional guidelines within complex financial structures question the sovereignty and security of both our fiscal and sentimental assets. Holistic security becomes more important and popular in times of uncertainty.

The Rooster’s call is an awakening from the old ways — change is the only constant. The surest way is to ignore its call but remain vigilant in preservation of wealth.

Chye H. Koh, Senior Counsel, Chevron Asia Pacific

In my industry, my wish is for the price of oil to go up to a fair price for the producers and consumers, certainly above US$60 per barrel.

In my private life, I wish for continued good health for my family and friends. I wish for a harmonious world where all forms of extremism in ideology and religion, and political adventurism are avoided.

The meaning of the zodiac lies in its symbolism and how this is interpreted. The year of the Rooster is the year of awakening from the damages we cause to the environment, our extravagant excesses in the pursuit of material things and extremism in ideology, religion and politics. Less is more and more is not more.

The destiny of an individual is shaped more by attitudes and less by the stars. The same goes for nations. The influence of the stars is in inverse proportion to the influence of one’s attitude.

Mae Chong, Marketing Manager, Kwirke 

I’m expecting a year of many challenges and obstacles in both professionally and personally. I know that my stubborn personality (if managed carefully) can be the catalyst for many unexpected and unforeseen opportunities.

Given that most Tigers are passionate about boldly expressing themselves, I will have to tone it down a notch in the Rooster year, to fully understand how to express my opinion and emotions at the right place and time.

Tigers will have to continue to manage their personal financial wealth as diligently as the year before, but will begin to enjoy the fruits of their labour in the corporate setting. Corporate financial losses will unexpectedly be renewed and for some, even multiplied!

I believe in the zodiac in the capacity of the energy emitted in that certain time and space at which you were born.

The sheep will make the best companions and I should heed their advice, especially when it comes to friendships and relationships with the Ox, Snake and Monkey. The Rooster and Dog will also play a vital role in bridging you with other animals that you won’t normally be compatible with.

Tigers are chasers of romantic affairs. For those born in the year of the Rat,  look forward to an especially exciting yet humbling relationship.

Shafiq Ali, Principal/Co-founder, Meka 3D Printing

The year of the Monkey was one of continued growth for me personally and professionally.

My biggest hope for the year of the Rooster is that it continues!

If at the end of the year, I can tell myself I have done more and learnt more, then I’ll be a happy man.

I’ve been told it’s not going to be a very good year for Rabbits. I’m trying not to let it affect anything — don’t want it to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I think the year of the Rooster will bring tremendous growth opportunities for Meka. However, as more people discover the pros of 3D printing, we will also be made more aware of some of the concerns and problems associated with it. We hope to seize these opportunities and grow our interests locally and around Asia too. I’m very excited about the possibilities of 3D printing for the medical and healthcare industries in the near future as well. Regardless, as with every year before this, I’ve set diversification as one of the primary goals for our business.

Globally, it’s going to be interesting too. What a time to be alive!

Teng Theng Dar, Founding Chairman, Asia Entrepreneurs Exchange Ltd

I hope this particular Rooster will call for a new dawn in ASEAN for all entrepreneurs.

2016 saw the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community. To be fair, it has not been smooth sailing but it is here to stay and will promote the growth potential in the region. I believe ASEAN could be the only bright spot in the world in the year of the Rooster. We now represent the sixth-largest economy in the world and it is still growing!

I hope the newly launched Asia Entrepreneurs Exchange (AEx) — driven by trust, confidence, and the belief in the power of co-creation — will promote entrepreneurial collaboration for co-creation possibilities and growth opportunities in the region.

We are looking to spread our influence into Myanmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia in coming months and we are working towards creating a complete ASEAN AEx community by the end of 2017.

In accordance to the great tradition of Singapore, I would like to wish all a great Rooster year — HUAT Ah!

Anson Quek, Executive Director, Food From The Heart

I am hoping that the year of the Rooster will bring growth in the charity sector.

A stronger sense of empathy and giving amongst corporate bodies and individuals would be a boon this year. While the economy is taking a hit, we must remember that the underprivileged will face far greater difficulties than the rest of us.

In 2016, we supported 33,000 individuals, quite a large number.

But based on our recent study, 105,000 (or about 12%) of Singaporean HDB households live on a monthly household income of less than $1,500 and still require much needed assistance.

We hope that the public will increase their support so that we can reach out and help more. For example, supermarket chains, food importers, and manufacturers could contribute through donations of surplus, packaging-damaged or near-expiry food items towards FFTH’s Market Place programme, which benefits over 40 welfare homes and beneficiaries of our Community Food Pack programme. Commercial organisations could also donate a portion of their profits to FFTH, and conduct food donation drives internally, or with the public.

I am also hoping for more organized effort within the charity sector so that we, as a whole, can reach out to the needy more efficiently. For example, I wish that food charities would collaborate more so that we can reach out to more hungry people together.

And of course, I wish good health and happiness for our volunteers, sponsors, donors, friends and families!

I believe that there is good in everyone, despite our different zodiac signs. So regardless of which sign or race or religion, we are all capable of spreading positivity and the goodness of the human spirit.

Lynne Kok, Director, Space Management, The RICE Company

There has been much focus on the economic decline of last year and worryingly, it seems to be continuing into this year as well. While we should be aware of the direction and status of the economy, I hope that the world can adopt a more positive attitude about it.

Being too negative about everything in life will only make situations worse.

There are many opportunities in any situation, even amidst adversity, and we just need to look out for them instead of worrying our time away.

I look at Zodiac predictions only for the fun of it but I do not believe in them. There are so many versions in the market! Which one is accurate?

Let’s stay happy, and positive, and you may see everything taking a turn for the better in your life!

Mark Greedy, CEO, DestinationElite

Given the worldwide geopolitical changes, the ruffling of feathers, and potential leaders strutting around like banty roosters I think the first step for the year of the Rooster will be an establishment of the new pecking order.

As a cock of the walk I assume Donald Trump’s strategy will include a rush to break the eggs to make a new omelette and to show who is really ruling the roost. He may even throw in some caviar!

This will include a lot of counting chickens before they hatch and will no doubt ruffle the feathers of those who have strutted for some time within another kind of hen house. There will continue to be a fear of those newbies feathering their own nest but it will be no more than the other henpecked roosters.

Eventually, I expect there will be something for the new Rooster to crow about. But it will always be understood that this is mostly a cock and bull story.

We will all realise that the Rooster makes all the noise but the hen rules the roost.

In this case, the hen’s feathers have been unfairly ruffled and no doubt the hard-boiled hen will ensure we know it’s all chicken feed.

To partly quote Al Gore — Trump taking credit for the wall going up is like a rooster taking credit for the sunrise.

I will not be brooding this year, however, I will be driving DestinationElite and the new “world affairs” to the success they deserve. Other Roosters will wisely contribute capital eggs such that we are ruling the global online roost and I am not scratching out a living and having all eggs in the one basket.

I hope we sneak sunshine past the Rooster and the omelette we continue to create is of excellent flavour and popularity.

I look forward to my personal fortunes being positively affected by the hyper active and intense year of the Rooster as well.

Singapore’s bio-tech industry is set to finally scratch pay-dirt with the long awaited creation of synthetic stem cells that will support the cure of juvenile diabetes throughout the world. Within quick time juvenile diabetes will be a thing of the past along with polio and other now curable and almost forgotten concerns.

Of course the pharmaceutical firms and their business models, dependent upon no cure for such chronic illnesses, will need to find other sources and scalable income streams to feather their nests, but in the year of the Rooster we know it’s only chicken feed!

Suguna Madhavan, Founder/Director, Firesong Initiatives

Amidst a world of geopolitical and economic instability and social disruption, the year of the Yin Fire Rooster is said to be one of optimism, innovation and progress. For me, that’s a good place to start from, for work and personal life – optimism and growth in the right places. These three key words resonate in the tech, entrepreneurship industry sector where I continue to be engaged. Start-ups and businesses operate in a digital age which is marked by divergence and challenges, but a good dollop of innovative thinking coupled with bright daylight-led execution may see the cock crowing with gusto!

I lead my life based on a combination of value-based intuitive motivations and practical thinking, so astrological or numerological predictions don’t influence me. However, my insatiable hunger for knowledge and growth have led me from the age of 16 to read extensively on these subjects. I tend to take a few positive seeds from these readings if they are compatible with my intuition.

So in the case of the Rooster year, the rooster is first on the scene at the break of dawn. He is said to be loyal, reliable and a symbol of optimism. These are qualities that I share so I’m happy that he has flapped the troublesome Fire Monkey of 2016 away.

I am born in the year of the Wood Snake, a sign that is compatible with the Rooster. Snakes are honest, inventive, independent and good at making money, so the feng shui masters are calling for me to shed my skin and be reborn in 2017. That sits just beautifully well with my passion for innovation and growth, and the new personal growth space I’ve already stepped into at the end of 2016. Wood energies are in ascendency in the first months of the Rooster year until May, so, I welcome the rooster in his bright plumage to come crow in my yard this year!

Alan Go, Deputy CEO, ERC Institute

I wish in the Rooster year the world will not be overly affected by the changes in political situations in the US. Similarly, regional stability would be critical for ASEAN. I believe China’s influence on world affairs will continue to take centre stage — especially in its economic impact on trade and security. Singapore should be able to weather all storms and challenges as we always do — the country is always prepared for our future survival.

Coming from the education sector, and as a private education provider, ERC Institute is an entrepreneurship-based business school. With our entrepreneurial business culture, the Rooster year gives us confidence to grow our business — we expect more students from ASEAN to further their education in Singapore next year.

Being born in the year of the Horse, I’m supposed to be active, energetic, independent, positive and of good endurance. I hope these traits will provide me the strength to continue to lead my wonderful team and my organization towards better growth opportunities in the Rooster year, conflict notwithstanding. On a personal front, I wish that my family stay happy, positive, and most importantly in good health…of course making more money!

Tan Bee Wan, Executive Chairman, Integrative CSR Consulting Pte Ltd

The year of the Rooster will bring lots of change and unpredictability — on the home front and abroad. It will be a time where we have to be flexible, agile, and ever vigilant. My advice — best have more that one back-up plan.

It’s difficult to have expectations in a time like this. 2016 has already thrown us a couple of curve balls. No one expected the Trump victory in the US, or even Brexit. But these have primed us, and forewarned us, for what is to come this year. The effects of these changes will not be immediate, they will reverberate in the coming years — the dominoes are already in motion. They will be a serious test of our ability to not only manage change but to adapt to them.

I expect it to be a challenging year in the training and management industry. Businesses aren’t doing too well and more budget cuts will be just around the corner but expectations will continue to rise. Training is viewed as dispensable in tough times and it will be the first to go. As such we have to manage the costs of what we do to mitigate the loss of revenue there.

In recent times, conventional wisdom has always been to look outside Singapore, into the region, for new opportunities. Unfortunately, that trick might not work anymore. Just like Singapore, our neighbours are going to be in the same boat, too — everyone will be tightening the purse strings.

Violet Lim, CEO/Co-Founder, Lunch Actually Group

My wish for the year of the Rooster is of course, to continue growing and developing our Cupids and Transformers as we work together to hit our Big hairy audacious goal of creating one million happy marriages!

I hope to see more happy relationships formed and more singles getting together through our service (who otherwise would not have met).

Last year my word for 2016 was “connect”. And connect I did. By making a conscious effort to, I was able to catch up and reconnect with many friends over the year.

This year, my word is “courage”.

Overall, I feel that there was a lot of negativity and hatred in the world last year. I am hoping for a change this year — I wish that people will spread more love and focus on making the effort to connect with each other, and realise that we have more in common than we are different.

Personally, I do not believe in feng shui and horoscopes. However, I think for people who do believe it can be seen as an affirmation or encouragement to give that extra push to motivate yourself to achieve what is predicted. A prediction of good fortune, however, doesn’t excuse one from putting in the necessary effort. You can’t just relax and expect good things to happen without putting in the effort!

Tan Kee Wee, Economist

2016 was a very volatile year for the capital markets (stocks, bonds and currencies). Many unexpected events happened and as a result, the capital markets went on a wild ride. It was good for short-term traders. They must have made money from the swings.

For long-term investors though, it was bad, especially those long-term bond investors.

Looking ahead, I expect another volatile year. This is because we are witnessing a seismic shift as the two superpowers vie for the upper hand on the global stage.

I would prepare for another wild year!

I know nothing about Chinese astrology. But I have been told that the Monkey year is very bad for those born in the year of the Monkey. I can say my experience bore this out.

Whether the coming year would be better, as they say it would for those born in Monkey years, I don’t know. I shall just wait and see.

Mark Tan, CEO, Way Fengshui Group

In the Year of the Rooster, I wish to bring my business to a new level. My team has been working really hard to bring credibility and professionalism to our industry and in 2017, we are introducing new systems and products that could help us take it one step further.

We are looking into setting ethical and professional standards for our industry. My goal this year is to spearhead this movement by living up to the standards we wish to see.

Our feng shui academy is also making great strides in setting new standards in creating a learning experience. We’ve focused on helping our students build a really strong foundation in making sure that they have access to the most traditional teachings. At the same time, we provide them with modern and effective learning tools to aid them. In 2017, we will have our first batch of students graduate from the first full certification course. We’ve also built a platform for them to pursue a career in feng shui. That’ll make us a truly professional consulting business.

The most difficult part in achieving this is to get the support of the industry players. The year of the Rooster brings luck to those who wish to cooperate and work together ­— I am confident that we can overcome it but getting people on board to bring more credibility and trust for our industry.

The year of the Rooster spells good wealth and romantic luck. It will generally be a much better year than 2016. In the Chinese calendar, there are two spring seasons in the year of the Rooster, which means it is going to be a happier year for everyone too.

For me, benefactors are those born in the year of the Dragon! I will be sure to keep a look out for that. Yellow and brown are my auspicious colours this year, so I will be sporting those in the year of the Rooster!

Dr David Chan, Senior Consultant Eye Surgeon/Medical Director, Atlas Eye Specialist Centre

Seems like the past year has been one of conflicts, closed minds, and entrenched points of views. It would be good to see trends reversed in this regard.

More opening of minds and accepting of differences between peoples, cultures, ideas, and religions — I wish to see more of that in the year of the Rooster. We need to listen more and be less inclined to talk past one another.

I hope that the new year will bring further refinements in our technology and techniques in advanced eye surgery. We have been seeing new developments in safer and better ways of improving our patients’ vision.

See Friday Focus article: A Look At Ocular Health

As healthcare providers to both local and overseas patients we are very much affected by global and regional events. If experiences of the past year are anything to go by we will be expecting a period of uncertainty both economically and politically in the year ahead.

I am not one to indulge in astrology but the Rooster, to me, represents the dawn of a new day, fresh starts and early rising. Here’s hoping that it will bring fresh opportunities and new horizons to all.

Melvin Tan, COO, Cyclect Group

Three things come to mind when thinking of the year of the Rooster — a giant inflatable Trump rooster (that I saw online recently), robotics and ASEAN.

The giant inflatable Trump rooster crows to mark the start of increased global protectionism. I’m hoping it will be just an inflatable — that is just form without substance. But if the expected walls and trade barriers get raised, coupled with the high cost of manufacturing in Singapore, I expect some manufacturers to shift their investments to the US rather than to Singapore, affecting businesses and jobs here. And based on anecdotal evidence, this trend has already begun.

Robots and automation will steadfastly disrupt traditional jobs. This trend has already begun in previous years. The year of the Rooster marks the acute adoption of robotics and automation beyond factories into daily life in hotels, restaurants, malls, and taxis. This will cut both ways, offering opportunity to disrupt but it also offers disproportionate change in the quantity and nature of jobs. I will be taking pulse and remain agile to meet these changes.

ASEAN is perhaps the only glimmer of hope for Singapore. It is a region with the greatest growth projection this year. The factors of high growth in income and investments offer opportunities for Singaporeans and companies that choose to invest there.

I will keep my focus on Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar and the Philippines as they continue to invest in infrastructure and have very pro-investment policies.

In the year of the Rooster, I hope to be as agile and hungry as a rooster, cautiously avoiding the protectionist predator whilst chasing the elusive grub of technology and the ASEAN opportunity.


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