Oxes are huat (lucky), Dragons are suay (unlucky)

Predictions are usually a mixed bag, leaving you with a vague idea of how your year will go. But it’s 2020, and we’re aiming for clarity (get it?).

That’s why we’re deferring to the machines. Using sentiment analysis, we analysed predictions from three local Feng Shui masters to give you a definitive answer to the question, “Will I have an auspicious year?”

Explore your fortunes by category and how your zodiac compares with others.

Breakdown of all predictions by sentence

Show fortune for All Love Career Family Health

Auspicious Inauspicious Neutral

Ox leads the rat race with the greatest number of auspicious predictions. Dragon ranks last, as one of only two zodiacs (the other being Snake) with more inauspicious predictions than auspicious ones. But no need to get rattled just yet; most negative predictions for the Dragon are only cautionary, with words like ‘avoid’ and ‘risks’ appearing consistently in predictions for love and career.

While offending the Tai Sui deity typically invites turbulence, the Rat, Goat, Rooster, and Rabbit all fare above average in overall fortune. Horse is the only outlier, ranking at ninth.

Are marriages and births planned around zodiac signs?

In Feng Shui (Chinese geomancy), zodiac signs not only affect your yearly fortunes but determine your overall life trajectory. With such high stakes at hand, we wondered if Singaporeans timed their marriages and pregnancies in order to land a favourable zodiac sign.

Marriages, sorted by zodiac year, of ethnic Singaporean Chinese (1995 to 2018)

1995 - 2006 2007 - 2018

Source: Data.gov.sg

In matters of love, the Dragon’s powerful traits seem less important than plain old hard work and luck. There were more new marriages among ethnic Chinese in the Ox, Rabbit, Rat, and Horse years than in Dragon years. Coming in last for love, the Pig, Snake, and Monkey—popularly viewed as lazy, crafty, and mischievous—saw far fewer marriages in these years. At least these individuals have a robust defence when a nosy relative pries, “Why aren’t you married yet?” during the festive season.

We feel that the Pig gets more slime than it deserves, though. It’s the only animal with fewer than 100,000 births over 60 years, and has nearly half the marriages of every other Zodiac. From idioms such as ‘猪朋狗友’ (disreputable companions, like pigs and dogs) to the lecherous Zhu Bajie (猪八戒) in the iconic 16th century novel Journey to the West, the Pig has been synonymous with laziness, greed, and incompetence for a long time. Smear campaign, anyone?

Births, sorted by zodiac year, of ethnic Singaporean Chinese (1971 to 2018)

1971 - 1982 1983 - 1994 1995 - 2006 2007 - 2018

Source: Data.gov.sg

Call it a coincidence, but the numbers don’t lie. Dragon babies have outnumbered all other zodiac signs among ethnic Chinese in Singapore. Most notably, there was a 28 percent surge in Dragon babies in 1988 compared to Rabbit babies from the previous year.

Why this favouritism towards Dragons? Chinese cultures have long revered the Dragon, the only magical animal in the Zodiac, for its power, luck, and strength. The phrase ‘望子成龙’ (may one’s child become a dragon), for example, captures how parents hope to imbue their children with the Dragon’s auspicious traits by birthing them in a Dragon year. To seal their auspicious fate, they may even include the Chinese character for Dragon, ‘龙’, in their names. Martial arts star Jackie Chan’s Chinese name is ‘成龙’ (become dragon), while Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong‘s Chinese name is ‘李显龙’ (illustrious dragon).

Zodiac signs with the highest SES

Do Dragons deserve our unyielding loyalty? You might reconsider after looking at the zodiac signs of the 50 wealthiest people in Asia.

Forbes’ Top 10 Richest Singaporeans in 2019

Source: Forbes

Net worth: USD$ bil

Year of Birth: ()

Organisation: ,

Dogs dominate the richest ten; they own over 40 percent of the wealth—about the same as the Snakes and Rabbits combined. The Dragon comes in fourth at 11 percent, although that’s still thrice the Rooster’s fortune at last place. Why are there so many Top Dogs among the super-rich? The data leaves this a mystery, but as the saying goes, never underestimate the underdogs.

The rest of Forbes’ 50 Richest Singaporeans in 2019

Source: Forbes

Note: Gordon Tang (#28) is excluded from the chart, as we could not find his birth year.

(#)

Net worth: USD$ bil

Year of Birth: ()

Organisation: ,

The much-maligned Pig has the highest total net worth of the remaining 40 people on the list—talk about a comeback! Next are the Ox, Horse, and Sheep, seen as lucky and hardworking; together with the Pig, these animals contribute half of the wealth in this group. Most shocking, the Dragon winds up last place here, with a net worth almost half that of the next highest earner, the Rat. Maybe Dragons (and Dogs) only soar at the highest altitudes?

Whether you believe in them or think they’re superstitious hogwash, predictions are comforting.

They map out big changes in our lives and guide us in the best ways to handle them. And when fortune or tragedy strike, they help us answer the age-old question, “Why me? Why not me?”

In an age of uncertainty, this is rare comfort indeed.

Story by Isabella Chua, Kenneth Wee and Ng Zu Xiang
Code by
Siti Aishah
Design by Joceline Kuswanto and Griselda Gabriele

Methodology

We collected and transcribed predictions from local Feng Shui masters at three popular sites— Master U (龙子师傅; Fu Lu Shou Complex), Grand Master Hilary Phang (Raffles City), and Fengshui World (People’s Park Centre). Using R, we then ran them through the sentiment analysis package sentimentr. The package analyses the words of each sentence and gives sentences an overall negative or positive Sentiment Score. Positive sentiments, which we call ‘auspicious’, have a score of +0.05 and above, negative sentiments (‘inauspicious’) have a score of -0.05 and below, while neutral sentiments (‘neutral’) range between -0.05 and +0.05. Predictions from the first chart have been edited for brevity, but the Sentiment Score remains the same.

Birth and marriage data for ethnic Chinese in Singapore were taken from Data.gov.sg and selected in 12-year periods for the full zodiac cycle.

For families in the Forbes’ list, we tagged them to the zodiac sign of their predecessor. Siblings such as the Wong brothers are each tagged to a zodiac sign; for the purpose of calculation, we divided their net worth equally.



Topics:

  • chinese new year,
  • fengshui,
  • horoscope,
  • year of the rat,
  • zodiac

Disclaimer: Our stories have been researched and fact-checked to the best of our abilities. Should you spot mistakes, inaccuracies, or have queries about our sources, please drop us an e-mail at hello@kontinentalist.com

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