Chinese zodiac/Feng Shui and more, Hong Kong
In the east asian countries and Teritories of Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan, these have the odd and peculiar urinals of which you would not see any toilet bowls or bidets, only open faced but ceramic pit privy of which you can take a dump of even pee and if you are not used to these urinals, don't despair as they have the regular Urinals side by side with these local peculiar ones.
trying them and taking pictures of them is an oddity.
Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese code devised to create the perfect living environment. It has the water, wind and other elements mixed and matched in such way that they work together for the well-being of the people. Living proof of the contrary is the building of the Bank of China. One of the most interesting structures in skyscraper-jammed Hong Kong has had a real problem with its neighbors. Apparently, for the initial decade of existence it was similar to a curse to the governorship of the region. Like never before governors came and went quickly - fired, blemished even dead. And all of this due to the ignorance or malfeasance of some architect who made the structure angular and full of triangles pointing at and piercing the heart of the Governor’s house. Halleluiah, a new, very square-looking skyscraper was built in the way of the negative energies and minor changes to the governor’s house grounds were made so the curse was removed. Nowadays, the Bank of China building remains as controversially beautiful as ever and no matter how high the next generation of skyscrapers are going to be it will keep its special place in the architectural landscape of Hong Kong.
Welcome to the year of the horse 2014. Ever wonder why the years are called after animals? There is an old Chinese legend to explain it.
Many years ago the Jade Emperor decided to call the years after animals in a twelve yearly cycle, but which animals to choose? He decided to solve his problem by getting the animals to compete in a race. The first twelve to reach him would have a year named after them. The hardest part of the race was right at the end when the animals had to cross a fast flowing river. Each animal crossed in their own way and their actions resulted in their position in the race; plus they tell us about the personalities of those born in each year.
Rat and cat were the worst swimmers of the animals so they asked kind ox, a very powerful swimmer, to let them sit on his back when he swam across. When they were nearing the bank of the river, rat suddenly pushed cat into the water and leapt off ox's head to arrive in first place. I think we all know rats in this world !!!! Ox clambered out in second place. Cat was swept away by the water.
The tiger a strong and powerful animal arrived in third place. Behind him came rabbit. He was not a good swimmer, but he was clever and used some stepping stones to help him cross the river. As he hopped across, he suddenly fell in and just managed to grab onto a floating log. Dragon was right behind him. He was able to fly and could easily have won the race but he stopped to help the rabbit and used his powerful breath to blow him to the shore. Rabbit took fourth place and kind dragon took fifth. Horse was also a good swimmer, but sneaky snake (that's me) had secretly wrapped himself around his leg to cross the stream. As the horse emerged from the water, snake slithered off his hoof giving horse such a fright that he stepped backwards allowing snake to take sixth place and horse seventh. Meanwhile goat, monkey and rooster who were not able to swim at all, decided to work together to cross the stream. Clever rooster found a raft hidden in the rushes, monkey and goat helped clear the rushes away and free the raft and the three animals crossed together. Goat finished in eighth place, monkey in ninth and rooster in tenth. Meanwhile dog (all my class are dogs this year and how they laughed at this story) was a strong swimmer and could have finished much earlier, but the water was so lovely he stopped to play and enjoy himself. He finished in eleventh place. In twelfth place pig waddled out of the water. He had taken a long time as he had stopped to eat and take a nap on the way.
Finally, out of the water, half drowned and exhausted came cat. The Jade Emperor looked at him sadly and told him all the years had already been named. Cat was furious and to this day every time he sees his great enemy rat he chases him to get his revenge.
Kung Hei Fat Choi
Sometimes even a traveller is exhausted or the weather is bad and so staying in hotel and looking regional TV-
and so sometime we found suddenly the TV Series of the Chinese "White Snake Legend".
Very nice was some of the musik.
Much later I found suddenly in a store in Bandung in Indonesia (!) this songs of the White Snake Legend in a cassette compilation - see at Photo. Real very nice to hear.
The story itself is a Chinese old saga and of course it is full of surprises, great characters and so on and at the end the good wins - but I recommend to ask for it in a good bookstore or musicstore.
By the way, just looking in internet I was surprised- so much to find- real the White Snake legend seems legendery!
While in a tour sightseeing to Aberdeen, Victoria,
the Guide suddenly stopped and showed us one unusual building at the near hill.
See- here at the hill people like to build houses - and like everywhere in Hongkong, very hight houses. But for luck, like usual in China it is better for the architects to ask a fortune-teller before wider planning.
The fortune-teller came and real, it seems to be difficulties at that place near the hill. After some magic calculations he saw, real at this place and way, a dragon is coming away every day! Oh a dragon, real great - ask the archtects, but what to do? After some magic calulations the fortune teller found out, that this here is a good dragon! And tould the architects, it is able to build the house at this place- but let a free opening, great enought- so not disturbe the dragons way - and the dragon will glad for the attention and as a sportsman not disturb anymore...
Oh interesting storys our Hongkong Guide had to tell...!
In Chinese astrology, the years are categorized by twelve animals in this order: the Rat, the Ox, the Tiger, the Rabbit, the Dragon, the Snake, the Horse, the Sheep, the Monkey, the Rooster, the Dog and the Boar. But why these animals in these order? One legend is that they were selected by Buddha for their respectful presence during celebration prayers. The other is that the Heavenly Jade Emperor was pleased by these animals who were assembled by his courtiers for his amusement. The third one is about the competition of all animals to cross the fast-moving Lo River being organized by the King of Heaven with the first twelve to represent the years of calendar. But how come the Rat won? It's because the Rat was clever enough to hitch a ride on the back of the Ox and before reaching the finishing line, he jumped off and won the race. The year 2004 is the Year of Money starting on 22nd Jan.
If you are interested in Chinese Horoscope, check this site: http://chinese.astrology.com/
.......Well, I just found a way to let these 12 animals into your mind....Shhh....keep it secret, OK?
ROll The Real DRAGON SHxt for 'Soup' Making, Really Delicious! Burr...maybe it's a bit crazy to have this idea, but it came to my mind when I think of the Harvard way to remember the twelve cranial nerves.
FORTUNE TELLING: Many Chinese will also go to temples to have their fortune read during the Chinese New Year period which lasts for 15 days (usually in February of each year; I think next year's Chinese New Year starts on 24 Jan.). The fortune teller will then ask for the person's birth date & time & proceed to 'calculate' & tell the luck of the person involved. Mishaps may also be predicted & he will then advise you as to ways to prevent them, if any. I had mine read for a meagre sum (well, a good friend highly recommended the reading of this fortune-teller; so far so good!) & it was real fun since my luck is good & will be even better as I age ;-)
One very famous temple in HK is the WONG TAI SIN TEMPLE where all 3 main religions of China - Buddhism, Confucianism & Taoism - are practised at this temple. Here, interpretations of the 'fortune sticks' are available & comprise one of the most common methods of fortune telling in HK. It involves shaking a bamboo cup filled with chim (fortune sticks) until one falls out. The numbered chim correspond to a book of fortunes & may be interpreted by the fortune teller. To visit, take the Wong Tai Sin MTR, exit at B2 & walk about 3 minutes from the station.
An interesting & mind-boggling practice of many Chinese in Hong Kong is to place their faith on GEOMANCY: The study of forces of nature on buildings which in turn affects the luck of those who work or live in the building. To many believers, Geomancy is a Science and are willing to pay large sums of money (to me anything more than $50 is a lot; but I was told many paid more than a few thousand dollars just for this service) to have their houses inspected & redesigned so as to change their lives for the better! Many times, the facing of the main doors will be changed just for this purpose! So, it will be interesting to talk to those believers...
Just as signs in the Western zodiac carry different personality traits, so do the signs of the Chinese system. There is, of course, disagreement as to the precise character of each of the signs, but their general traits are as follows:
THE RAT (1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996):
The rat is a charming & fun-loving soul with a quick but generally controllable temper. He knows the value of money (for which he works very hard) but is very generous to those he loves. Highly inquisitive, to the point of being nosy, rats are said to be excellent writers.
THE OX (1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997):
Like the qualities of the animal it represents, the ox is a hard, if plodding, worker. Logical, systematic & fair-minded, the ox also tends to be very stubborn. Nevertheless, he is very good in a position of authority & responsibility.
THE TIGER (1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998):
The tiger commands great respect from the other signs. He is fierce, warm-hearted, rebellious, obstinate, daring, passionate, sensitive & impulsive. Known as a brave fighter, the tiger will go to the aid of others without hesitation.
THE RABBIT (1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999):
The rabbit symbolizes longevity, refinement, kindness & sensitivity to the arts. Rabbits tend to lead reserved, rather tranquil lives. Although extremely cunning, rabbits will nevertheless avoid confrontations. The rabbit minds his own business; others are expected to do likewise.
THE DRAGON (1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000):
Perhaps the most propitious sign in the zodiac, the dragon is known for his strength, honesty, decisiveness & sheer energy - and also, unfortunately, his ego. Despite its terrifying reputation, the dragon is a benevolent creature.
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THE CHINESE ZODIAC:
(Excerpts From HKTA)
The Chinese zodiac system commands a certain degree of attention & respect - if not always great faith - among the people of HK. People take notice of it most during the Lunar New Year period, when media commentators give their predictions for the coming 12 months. Astrology itself is actually only one element in a very large & complex belief system that includes fung shui, numerology, magic & the Chinese almanac. However, it is probably the most approachable to the Western mind.
While the lunar calendar itself dates back to 2637 BC, when the Emperor Huang Ti introduced the 1st cycle of this zodiac, just how the astrological system developed out of that calendar is somewhat unclear to historians. Legend has it that the 12 animal signs were created at the time of the Lord Buddha, who one day commanded all the beasts in creation to assemble before him - only 12 responded & were rewarded by having their names given to a specific year. The order in which the animals appeared & their corresponding years are given below.
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Though Hong Kong always has been a mixture of (East) Chinese and (West) English cultures, the Chinese culture weighs - especially since the take-over by China - heavier and heavier. Funny is to know that the supersticiousness of Chinese can climb to amazing heights (even literally). Stories about this are:
1. a building-tycoon wanted to have recommendations on the architecture of his latest skyscratcher from his fortuneteller. He told him that it looked like a big cigaret and so would slowly burn up to the ground ... unless ... a big swimmingpool was built on top (water extingueses fire!). Watch carefully from Victoria Peak and you will see the tower.
Numbers have special meaning for Chinese: number 5 brings good overall fortune and 3 has to do with health. Number 8 brings good luck in money (that is why the numberplate with 8888 costed more then the Rolls Royce it was put on!). Oh, and never give someone a gift that excists of 4 items as 4 is the number of death (watch in hotels, this floor often doesn't excist).
If you are at Repulse Bay you may notice one of the high rises situated behind the beach in front of the large green hill has a rather strange and conspicuous hole through it. It was not always so. The building was built as part of a hotel and the hotel was not doing well. In the feng shui tradition and with chinese mythology, the hole came to be. Chinese believe that on every hill, lives a dragon and that the building was blocking the dragon from getting down to have some water. This angered him and the hotel had bad business as a result. They cut a hole and right in the middle so the dragon could get down to drink some water and business recovered!
pulm reading at the road side. If you have been told that you are GOOD, then try your luck immediately at Macau casino.