Tomorrow will mark the Chines New Year – and it’s the turn of the tiger for 2010.
Tomorrow will mark the Chines New Year – and it’s the turn of the tiger for 2010.

Chinese New Year brings mixed bag

THE year of the tiger begins tomorrow, on Chinese New Year, February 14, and Sydney-based Feng Shui expert Mina Zheng says the next 12 months will bring mixed fortune to Australia and the world.

“Australia and Indonesia will have violent events and domestic troubles,” she predicts.

“The Chinese economy will continue to rise, but needs to be careful with sudden crises. Japan and South Korea’s economies will pick up gradually.

“Africa, South America, Pakistan, Indian will have some new serious diseases.

“Thailand will have more protests against the government, and have more domestic violence.”

So were you born in the year of the Tiger (1902, 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, and 1998)?

If you were, Zheng says 2010 isn’t a good year to take risks.

“From a business and career aspect, there will be difficulties, however, if you ground yourself, plan carefully, and work hard you can still be successful,” she predicts.

People with tiger-year birthdays should watch their health.

“Under the unlucky ... sword blade influences, during this year it will be easier to get hurt by sharp items, sport injuries or accident,” she says.

“Especially in February, March, August, November, and December, health will be low.”

Sydney Taronga Zoo spokesman Mark Williams says despite it being their year, the outlook is grim for endangered tiger species.

Tigers are under threat from declining rainforest habitats and poachers who sell their body parts on the black market for traditional medicines.

Williams says globally tiger numbers in the wild have plummeted from an estimated 100,000 a century ago to 2800 today.

“The numbers have collapsed by 97 per cent in a century,” Williams says.

“Three species are already extinct – the Balinese Tiger, the last reported sighting was 1937; the Caspian Tiger became extinct in the 1970s; and the Javanese Tiger was last seen in the 1980s.”

He says there is a risk that in the future tigers will only be found in zoos.

“There are more (Sumatran Tigers) in zoos than in the wild,” he says.

“We believe there’s only 350 left in the wild.”

He says global zoo breeding programs will keep tigers alive, but more work is needed to encourage local authorities to crack down on illegal hunting and protect habitats in countries like Indonesia and Burma.

The year of the tiger is a good time to consider their plight.

“When choosing outdoor furniture, make sure it is made from plantation timber and not rainforest timber,” he says.

“Avoid traditional medicines that use tiger parts, and when travelling overseas do not buy tiger products, such as paws, pelts or tiger meats.”

TIGER WOODS

Could life get any worse for golf mega-star Tiger Woods? Apparently, in the year of the tiger, it could.

Woods was born December 30, 1975, in the year of the rabbit.

According to Hong Kong feng shui adviser Raymond Lo, Woods’ birthday is associated with metal, which clashes with the presence of metal in the coming lunar year.

So after admitting to cheating on his wife and taking an indefinite leave from golf last December, the 34-year-old can expect more personal trouble this year.

“His long-term fortune is on the decline,” Lo says.

SPORTING TIGERS

Basketball star Chris Anstey is used to hanging out with his Melbourne Tiger team mates but now he’s experienced the real McCoy.

Anstey, who was born in the year of the tiger, posed for photos at Melbourne Zoo with 14-year-old Sumatran tiger Ramalon to launch a special Australia Post Chinese New Year stamp.

“I was glad to be on the other side of the glass,” he joked of his close encounter with the majestic big cat.

After undergoing hip surgery in 2009, the 35-year-old announced he will retire at the end of the 2009-10 season.

He first played for the Melbourne Tigers in 1994, before moving to America to play in the NBA including a stint with the Chicago Bulls; returning to the Tiger’s fold in 2006.

His last game with the Tigers coincides with Chinese New Year this weekend but is unlikely to bring any joy, with the side out of finals contention.

The Richmond Tigers, meanwhile, are hoping the stars will align for them this weekend when they travel south to take on Hawthorn in Tasmania in the preseason AFL draw.

And Wests Tigers rugby league stars Jason Cayless, Tame Tupou, Robert Lui, Junior Roqica and Aaron Woods are set to channel some of their team namesake’s power when they compete in a dragon boat race at the Sydney Fish Markets, Pyrmont, on Sunday.