AT the stroke of midnight this Sunday, January 22, 2023; the Year of the Tiger departs with a quiet growl that welcomes the Year of the Water Rabbit that hops in quietly even as it wags its lively tail.
After a two-year absence due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the members of the Baguio-Filipino Cantonese Association were back around the table of their president hotelier Peter L. Ng to answer questions from the media in relation to the celebration of the Baguio Spring Festival or Chinese New Year.
That is the reason behind the traditional Chinese New Year greeting “Kung Hei Fat Choy” which is typically Cantonese, according to the BFCA panel. But if it is in Mandarin, the most widely spoken Chinese dialect, the greeting is “Gong xi fa cai.”
“Gong xi” means “wishes for success” and “fa cai” is “to become rich”, according to Feng Shui experts. So the whole phrase simply means “Congratulations, may you become wealthy”. That is exactly what every earthly human wants – prosperity. Chongloy and Richard Wong agree.
Anyone of us who has tried raising rabbits knows that aside from its soft thick coat, the animal is calm, hates stress and likes quiet surroundings so that it quickly retreats to a corner when it hears a noise.
After experiencing the worst two years of the coronavirus pandemic and after going through a divisive political election in a ferocious tiger year, there is new hope that the personality of the water rabbit will be with us this year.
Since Feng Shui also includes historical records in scanning and analyzing what could happen in the present year, there could be a repeat of what happened 60 years ago when the Year of the Rabbit was here in 1963.
That year brought important medical breakthroughs such as the invention of the measles vaccine, the tranquilizer Valium that was abused by teens of that generation was sold, and the human lung and liver were first transplanted that year.
The entry of the Rabbit year likely soothes the character of the Tiger year which was fierce after a divisive election and the contrasting decisions regarding COVID vaccination and the economy. This translates to some sense of harmonious interaction among opposing sides. The rabbit brings a sense of reconciliation this year.
And since this year brings a sense of reconciliation among nations such as China and the ASEAN over the control of the sea between them, and the United States. Investments on agriculture, gold, silver, water, and electricity could come in.
Feng Shui experts predicted that food-related services such as manpower and packaging in the vegetable and poultry production are good prospects. Business deals could be signed, and mergers and acquisitions in properties and mining could happen this year.
“Gong xi fa cai” Sangilo! Talking about reconciliation and mining, the earth-moving activities at the Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) of the Itogon Suyoc Resources Inc., a.k.a. Sangilo Mines in Itogon have sparked differences among community members taking opposite sides, including brothers.
Although I sense that this local cold war would not be prolonged in the Rabbit Year which is a year for reconciliation, this depends on whether the parties are willing to meet face to face. At present, there is a cloud of suspicion over Itogon, but as usual, my fellow Ibaloys prefer to be mum.
Not to mention names, I was told that those who are on the side of the mining company had their personal agenda granted in any form. The other side meanwhile claim that they have no other concerns but to see that legitimate environmental issues are not compromised to avoid untoward incidents in the future.
In an informal talk with ISRI OIC Resident Manager Eric Andal, he explained that the earth-moving activities at the Sangilo TSF is to thicken the slope of the dam to 30 meters in preparation for the planned additional four-meter height of the facility.
The question is whether the on-going earth-moving on the TSF slope is within or outside an agreement that has yet to be finalized and signed by personalities representing not only those who are known to be on the side of ISRI but all, including those who have legitimate concerns.
By the way, members of the Itogon community wrote the Mines and Geosciences Bureau-Cordillera, citing their concerns of “Impermissible disposal of mining waste… and incidents of animal and fish kills…” and their “concern into the overall stability of the dam”, further alleging that “procedures and mining laws to ensure such have been ignored”.
They wrote MGB “being the rightful agency to look into this matter and determine the extent of damage and violations the company has committed and enact corresponding sanctions.” The MGB said it will closely monitor the company’s mining activities and attached ISRI’s comments to the letter.
This time I saw the mining company answering for a government agency which was unusual. Unusual because what has been implanted in the minds of journalists like me was the reverse – that certain government agencies protected and talked for private companies.
But not everything is good in a rabbit year as it could also bring volcanic eruptions, landslides, earthquakes, air disasters and mining explosions. Indeed, the stability of things could not be assured even by the best structural engineers in the world.
The Feng Shui experts’ advice is more acceptable in the Year of the Rabbit. Act like a rabbit. Be kind to your perceived oppositors. Face them and reconcile your differences. That is the win-win solution. After all, people are more valuable than all the gold in the mines. Kung Hei Fat Choy to all!