The Jakarta Post
New Year spirit: A woman prays in the Dharma Bakti vihara in West Jakarta on Wednesday. The oldest Buddhist house of worship in the city, built in 1650, is decorated with red lanterns to welcome Imlek. (JP/Ricky Yudhistira)
As 2018 ushers in the Year of the Dog this Chinese New Year, astrology and feng shui experts say Indonesia is looking at a hard-headed year.
The dog is the 11th sign on the Chinese astrological calendar and mainly symbolizes protection, intelligence and harmony. It is grounded in the Earth element, which also symbolize firmness but the tendency to be stubborn.
When consulted on the fortunes of the year, Indonesian feng shui experts and authors Yulius Fang and Xiangyi Hong both agreed that due to the stubborn nature of the Earth element, any changes that Indonesia needed to make would still be obstructed by those who insisted on using old methods to solve new problems and address new issues.
The earth dog also symbolizes a longing for the past and a desire to address those past memories in the present. Behavior-wise, the Year of the Dog in 2018 will be mostly affected by people who are either too patient or too stubborn or too honest, with differing amounts of control.
Recent bouts of shocking social intolerance in Indonesia revolving around religious and sexual freedom have shocked many members of the public in their swiftness and ridiculousness.
Yulius explained that this was caused by a bevy of people who insisted on “doing things the old fashioned way”.
“To absolve this, we must treat this year as a year of mediation and understanding […] It is this clash between ideas and methods that is creating the image of disharmony,” Yulius said.
Meanwhile, Xiangyi said that in 2018, potential disasters that might occur would likely revolve around earthen themes: earthquakes, landslides or structural collapse.
“Because Earth is a strong element, we must keep up our stamina and be cautious of heights,” Xiangyi added.
The Year of the Earth Dog is also the year that calls on everyone to be more creative and flexible. This not only applied to individuals but also to the Indonesian government as well, said Yulius.
The nature of the year symbolizes why a lot of the government’s infrastructure projects will likely be delayed this year, as the government’s priorities have visibly shifted outside of development to what seems to be mending its fractured social harmony.
“Problems that we as individuals might face economically this year may be hard, but that difficulty will only propel us to become more creative in overcoming them. For one, due to slowdowns in several economic sectors, many people may decide to start businesses this year,”
Yulius also considers this economic creativity a duty that must be taken up by the Indonesian government. However, he places a more urgent emphasis on being realistic when setting government economic targets for
Currently, President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s economic growth target for this year is 5.3 percent. It is a target that the feng shui expert feels is difficult to attain.
A more realistic growth percentage that the country can reach this year is a minimum of 4.9 percent and a maximum of 5.1 percent.
Despite the lower target, the expert feels that the country’s economic condition will stay relatively stable due to Jokowi’s “unique” energy.
Politically, Xiangyi commented that the nostalgic factor of the year would also be the reason why the Indonesian government would be preoccupied with ideas of yore instead of fostering and moving forward with new ideas for the sake of the country.
“Candidate pairs running for elections will tend to rehash old programs or promises that are similar to ideas in the past, but oddly, this will only increase their winning chances,” Xiangyi said.
• Rabbit, Horse, Tiger.
Less harmonious signs:
• Dragon, Chicken, Goat, Dog