By heeding the advice of his feng shui master, Freddie Low saved his share portfolio from getting burned last year in the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Low even managed to make a bit of money and is not taking any chances in the Year of the Ox, which begins Monday according to the Chinese almanac.
AdvertisementHe is in constant touch with the feng shui master, getting advice on his investment strategy for a year which Asia's soothsayers agree will have one unfortunate trait there will be no market bull run in the Year of the Ox, they say.
He told me to be careful and hold back first because it looks like a rough ride, said Low, 40, a Singaporean IT professional.
Jenny Lin, a feng shui expert in Taipei and the author of several popular books, said: Everybody has to work as hard as an ox while ploughing the field this year.
The Year of the Ox is missing the fire element that feng shui masters say is key to fuelling any financial activities. According to their analysis this likely points to another lacklustre run for the world's stock markets, many of which sank 50 percent or more in 2008.
You might see a spike in the markets but I don't see a bull run in the market, at this point, in the next 12 months, said Michael Teo, a feng shui expert in Singapore.
The charts indicate the stock markets will be quite volatile, and generally in business also. I don't see things turning brighter so soon,he said.
In the world of feng shui, a Chinese practice dating back at least 2,000 years, five elements fire, gold, wood, water and earth make up the core of the universe.
Feng shui experts say the earth element dominates the Year of the Ox, which all but rules out any quick turnaround from the current economic malaise which has left major global economies in recession.
Raymond Lo, a feng shui expert in Hong Kong, said things will gradually calm down because the earth element symbolises harmony, relaxation and recovery.
But although financial markets will go up a little in the first couple of months, the rebound will be short-lived, he said.
Investors are bound to be disappointed in the end, Lo said.
Lin, the Taipei feng shui expert, said things will be particularly bad for some people, including those born in the Year of the Ox.
I recommend everyone to be as cautious and conservative as possible in financial matters, especially those born in the years of ox, goat, dragon and dog who are out of luck in the year of ox, said Lin.
This year lacks four of life's five basic elements wood, fire, metal and water and only has 'earth', she said. And it looks to be a very bad year in which the stock markets and other investment channels would remain stagnant and the aftermath of the financial tsunami will continue.
More fraud cases are also likely to emerge in the Year of the Ox, feng shui experts said.
Many problems and disputes will happen in banking, credit cards and credit industry, financial frauds and corporate chain closures will happen continually, said Chen Zhizhan, master of the Academy for Ancient Metaphysics Studies in Hong Kong.
Like the soothsayers, equity analysts are also pessimistic.
Equity markets are going to be very volatile this year, Garry Evans, a strategist with banking giant HSBC, said recently in Singapore.
I think we will also have some very sharp corrections that will mainly be driven by event shock. It could be a country defaulting, it could be a big corporate bankruptcy, he said.
Singaporean entrepreneur Eric Cheng is doing all he can to prepare for the worst during the crisis that has required billions of dollars in government bailouts and stimulus measures.
Cheng is changing his wardrobe to gold and black, or shades of the two. They are his lucky colours in the Year of the Ox, his feng shui master said.
He is also altering his company website and name card to gold and black designs to protect his business in what could be a bumpy Ox year.
Cheng said he owns four cars with licence plates that all include the lucky number 7777, and he even gave his home a fresh coat of paint in shades of gold.
Some may not believe in it but I do and I think everyone will be worried about the economy because of the uncertainties, Cheng said.
I am one of the strong believers and I want to get myself prepared for the bumps this year.