FlyingTypers Logo
   Vol. 19 No. 6
Monday January 27, 2020
Animals Talk At Lunar New Year

     Chinese New Year, also known as Lunar New Year and Spring Festival (to be inclusive of the East Asian diaspora that is not Chinese) began on January 25, 2020. It is the year of the Rat. The Rat occupies the first position in the Chinese zodiac. The story of how he earned that position has many versions, but they all center around a mythical race hosted by the Jade Emperor. The Jade Emperor, ruler of all the gods of Chinese mythology, desired 12 guards and decreed that the first 12 animals to pass through the Heavenly Gate would form his regiment.
     In most retellings, the race involves crossing a river. The Rat, who was not a very good swimmer, knew that he would never come in first without a little help. The other animals had strengths that ensured good finishing placements. The Ox was strong and industrious, the Tiger and the Rabbit were fast, the Dragon could fly. The Rat knew that, in all likelihood, he would drown before he reached the other side. However, the Rat was quick witted and cunning—smarter than many of his compatriots. He was also a devout early riser. On the day of the race, the Rat got up very early and asked the Ox if he wouldn’t mind a companion as they crossed the river. With his smarts and the Ox’s strength, he assured, they would certainly finish in the top. The Ox, ever obliging, kind, and trustworthy, saw no reason to deny the small animal a little help. The Rat hitched a ride in the Ox’s ear, far above the raging water, and glided safely across the river. As they neared the far bank, the Rat jumped from the Ox’s ear, landing at the feet of the Jade Emperor and securing his first-place position. The Ox wasn’t too pleased to have the first position stolen, but he was the Ox. He took it in good stride.
     There is one animal conspicuously missing from the Chinese zodiac: the Cat. The Cat and the Rat, both possessed of a superior intelligence, were very good friends at the time. There are two versions of the story—both involve deception, though one seems intentional while the other seems less pointed. In the first version, the Cat asks his best friend the Rat to wake him up for the race. The Cat is a notorious late sleeper. Unfortunately, the Rat forgets to wake his friend, and the Cat misses the race entirely. In the other version, both the Rat and the Cat strategize riding the Ox across the river because they know they will drown otherwise. As they reach the far shore, the Rat pushes the Cat into the river. The Cat drowns, and the feline fear of water is born. Both versions secure the Cat as the eternal enemy of the Rat owing to this first broken trust.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson celebrates Lunar New Year at 10 Downing Street.

     It’s an amusing story, but I don’t recommend modeling your 2020 after the Rat. Don’t deceive your friends. Be an early riser, but don’t take advantage of your most steadfast, reliable compatriots. If they help you achieve something significant this year, acknowledgment of their assistance is an objectively better move than snatching any accolades they might earn. Being cunning is a virtue, but so is being genuine and dependable. There’s something to be said for the animals who ended the race in the latter placements. The dragon, who should have come in first place given he could have simply flown over the river, only came in fifth—he stopped to help douse the flames of a village on fire. The dog, who came in second to last place, was distracted by how much he enjoyed his swim, having not had a bath in quite some time. The pig, who came in dead last, was very hungry, stopped to eat and then, drowsy with food, took a nap. I can respect that.
     There are many traditions and taboos around Lunar New Year. You may not believe in such things. The power of intention, and moving through your life with intention, should be considered. Infusing your actions with meaning is a little like adding healthy spices to your food. Maybe turmeric doesn’t help with inflammation, perhaps cumin can’t lower cholesterol, but if the food tastes better for it, why not? Placebos have power. If you believe it, that belief will empower your attitude and actions. It can’t hurt. A few rituals to remember as you move through Lunar New Year:
          1.  Try to clean before, not during, the new year. You’re not just sweeping dust out of your home—you could also sweep away your good fortune.
          2.  Don’t cut your hair until the new year is over. As with cleaning, you don’t want to cut short your luck or success for the year. By that same token, don’t wash your hair or your clothes on the first day of the Lunar New Year unless you want to see your good luck go down the drain.
          3.  Only use positive words. Any negative words will linger for the rest of the year. This is sound advice in general.
          4.  It might be cold out, and oatmeal might be healthy, but skip the porridge on the first day of Lunar New Year. Eating porridge will bring poverty in the new year. Porridge is delicious but use this as an excuse to eat a large, hearty breakfast that morning. Pancakes are great. Skip the bacon, though, out of respect for the vegetarian Buddhist gods.
          5.  Wear bright clothes. No black or white, which symbolize death. Red is preferred. Make sure your clothes aren’t raggedy, as that courts poverty.
          6.  Crying is believed to bring bad luck, so try not to cry. There’s no crying in Lunar Festival.
          7.  Try not to borrow money, and if you’ve lent someone money, don’t collect it during Lunar New Year. It is believed it will bring bad luck.
     Do spend time with your family. Share a meal with loved ones—fish increases prosperity, dumplings ensure great wealth, and rice cakes encourage a higher income or better position at work. For the record, when you say kung hei fat choi you’re wishing for someone to have a happy, prosperous year. It’s common in formal situations, especially in the workplace. If you’d like to say Happy New Year to a stranger or acquaintance, say Xin nián kuài lè (Shin nee-yen kwai ler); with friends and family, shorten the greeting to Xi¯n nián hao (Shin nee-yen haow). You can learn more customary greetings here.

If You Missed Any Of The Previous 3 Issues Of FlyingTypers
Access complete issue by clicking on issue icon or
Access specific articles by clicking on article title
FT011420Vol. 19 No. 3
Quotable Mae Jemison
Chuckles for January 14, 2020
FedEx & Fred Still Together
White Paper Looks Ahead
Another One Bites The Dust?

Vol. 19 No. 4
ATC Steps Out Smartly In 2020
Chuckles for January 20, 2020
Lionel Is A Nice Guy First
Heavy Lifters At LAX

Vol. 19 No. 5
February Top Banana
Chuckles for January 23, 2020
What It Means To Be United In 2020
The Redwood At Schiphol

Publisher-Geoffrey Arend • Managing Editor-Flossie Arend •
Film Editor-Ralph Arend • Special Assignments-Sabiha Arend, Emily Arend • Advertising Sales-Judy Miller

fblogoSend comments and news to geoffrey@aircargonews.com
Opinions and comments expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher but remain solely those of the author(s).
Air Cargo News FlyingTypers reserves the right to edit all submissions for length and content. All photos and written material submitted to this publication become the property of All Cargo Media.
All Cargo Media, Publishers of Air Cargo News Digital and FlyingTypers. Copyright ©2018 ACM, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
More@ www.aircargonews.com

recycle100% Green