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The Fire Rooster: Proclaimer of a New Reality
By Carlton U. Forbes
Staff Writer & Columnist
Traditional Korean rooster

Most geography students know that Asia is the largest continent, with the world’s most populous countries: for example, China, India, and Indonesia. Nowadays, Asia also has the world’s fastest trains, the tallest skyscrapers, and the world’s biggest annual human migration. Every year, just weeks after the winter solstice, the world’s largest human event happens in Asia. That’s when hundreds of millions of Chinese, Koreans, Taiwanese and Vietnamese embark upon a journey of epic proportion.

They travel by bus, planes, trains and private vehicles, visiting their hometowns, to celebrate the annual Spring Festival. The festivities include feasting on succulent traditional delicacies like dumplings, dainty rice entrées, and other holiday treats. Dressed in new fashion garments, and armed with red envelopes stuffed with lucky money, they reunite with relatives, indulge in cultural activities, and attend special events and fireworks displays.

Along with rituals marking the passing of winter’s frigid chill, merrymakers anticipate the upcoming spring season, and welcome the Lunar New Year in the company of loved-ones. As the mischievous monkey takes its leave, the Chinese calendar heralds the dawn of 2017—Year of the Rooster. Sandwiched between the Monkey and Dog (9th and 11th astrological signs) on the Chinese Zodiac chart, the Rooster proclaims the start of another calendar-turning event.

Fortuitously, 2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster. In Chinese astrology, the animal symbols are often paired with the five elements: gold, (metal) wood, water, fire and earth. Evidently, when the animal sign is coupled with one of the elements, the astrological meaning of each zodiac symbol is broadened and heightened. Though the animal-element pairing occurs every 60 years, such combination tend to affect the perceived importance of each zodiac sign during certain years.

The online blog, China Highlights “Year of the Rooster 2017” cites a short list of famous people born under the Rooster birth animal. Among them are Bob Marley, Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez, and Britney Spears. Coincidentally, there are a few famous Fire Roosters who will turn 60 this year. They are Dawn French, Donny Osmond, Martin Luther King III, Stephen Fry, Hans Zimmer, Dolph Lundgren, and Jools Holland.

Presumably, people born in a Fire Rooster year are said to be trustworthy, time-conscious,

professional and consistently reliable. Moreover, the animal-metal merger can have a significant impact the personality of individuals born under the element-sign combo. Like most zodiac animals, people born in a rooster year tend to be courageous, diligent, observant, resourceful self-assured, and multi-talented. Other desirable character-traits of roosters are action-oriented, athletic, honest, humorous, loyal, naturally charming, sociable and talkative.

Ancient Chinese belief-system claims that the attributes of individual animals are often accorded to people born under such signs. Knowing this, astrologers surmise that one’s zodiac birth sign is a divine forecaster of destiny, fate, fortune and life’s prospect. Supposedly, each astrological sign imparts its human subject with desirable qualities like courage, an entrepreneurial spirit, intuition and perseverance.

Like the male foul, which is the “proclaimer of dawn,” Rooster people are seemingly dutiful and diligent, initiators and risk takers. They faithfully perform their roles, despite commotions, and confusion—annoyances that often distract others. Consequently, Rooster people tend to succeed where others fail, due to their willingness to endure difficulties, and overcome hardship.

With that in mind, one question is worth asking. Is the Fire Rooster Year an auspicious time for dream pursuits, family planning, goal setting, and devising new strategies for a new life course? Well, not exactly. Why not? According to some fortune-telling forecasters, there are astral conflicts and mystical barriers that could impede or restrict the rooster’s ambitious prospect in 2017.

This is where the astrologists and diviners explain away their inability to accurately discern the full potential of human aspirations and the innate drive to overcome insurmountable odds and succeed. Actually, success depends less on luck or intellect, and more on earnest effort, and single-minded resolve to win. Most often, achievements and satisfactory outcomes are the results of ambition, discipline, diligence and perseverance.

Aside from rare congenital, cerebral or physical disabilities, most able-bodied men and women are naturally equipped with the mental faculties and physical capacities to dream great dreams and endeavor to achieve them. Consider this! If you are an able-bodied or hardy person, then you are endowed with the aptitude to acquire new skills, accomplish great feats; to do the impossible, think the unthinkable, and overcome the insurmountable.

Regardless of your birth year, astrological sign, or mythological belief-system, your destiny is still shaped by the choices you make, ambitions that drive you, the dreams that propel you, and your personal resolve to persevere until success is realized. So in 2017, refrain from defining yourself by the Fire Rooster’s attributes. Instead, take the initiative to carve out your fate, create your own good fortune, and fulfill the dream that was born in your bosom. Then, like the Fire Rooster, you too can proclaim the dawn of a new reality for yourself.

Editor’s Note: The writer currently teaches Communicative English at Dongyang University. He has also authored a forthcoming book “A Few Choice Words.” He can be reached at

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Carlton U. Forbes, who serves as staff writer & columnist for The Seoul Times, currently teaches Global English at Dongyang University in S. Korea's Yeongju City. Among the books he authored are "A Few Choice Words" and "ESL Teaching Aids." A resident of S. Korea for over a decade Prof. Forbes can be reached at






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