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Happy New Year from The Seoul Times
Year of the Earth Dog Dawns in 2018
By Carlton U. Forbes
Staff Writer & Columnist
2018 ushers in the Year of the Dog, or Musulnyeon (Ҵ). The Chinese word, composed three letters, Musulnyeon (Ҵ) literally means the Year of the Golden Dog. The Year of the Golden Dog comes every 60 years on the Oriental (Chinese) Zodiac. Dogs are loyal and faithful animal and are the best friends to the humans.

Now that 2017 has entered the annals of history, it is time to embrace 2018 with anticipation and heightened expectancy. Indeed, the Fire Rooster Year was an eventful, tumultuous, and unmistakable period. It began with a cruel carnage (a terror attack in Istanbul that killed 18 people, carried out by the murderous Islamic caliphate at a New Years Party); and ended with an ominous announcement by North Korean Leader Kim Jong Eun, that the DPRKs Nuclear Program is now complete, and is an existential threat to the United States. Now that the Fire Rooster has crowed its last cock-a-doodle-doo, the bow-wow, woof-woof, or mung-mung of the Dog Year dawns upon us.

Among the many reasons to greet the New Year with hope and optimism is, the canine companion has long been regarded as mans best friend. Generally, dog is known for its noble qualities like faithfulness, loyalty, intelligence and protective nature. Such admirable character traits make the dog a farmers dependable, four legged ally, a hunters reliable helper, a ranchers invaluable partner, and a shepherds capable supporter. Moreover, the dog is known for its ability to adapt itself to diverse functions and tasks for the benefit of its human master.

The dog is such a valued creature in human society, it is celebrated in classical literature, fairy tales, and popular culture. Novelist Erick Knights fictitious Lassie comes to mind as one of pop cultures most notable tribute to a beloved canine pet. The novel Lassie Come Home was later adopted into successful feature films portraying the famous collie saving the day with heartwarming and touching storylines. Such films also gave rise to other television series, with Lassie, or her offspring performing canine heroics on television. Alongside Lassie are other lesser known, but fan-worthy movie productions featuring dogs with heroic qualities like Turner and Hooch, Beethoven, Air Bud, Lady and the Tramp, just to name a few.

Moreover, dog is such a cherished animal, we casually refer to it in our normal conversation. When we want to emphasize the serious nature of an illness, the idiom Sick as a dog is often used for comparison. The adage like a dog with a bone is often used when referring to a person who is overly fixated with a particular issue, object or topic. The cautionary counsel Let sleeping dogs lie is often given to someone who seems inclined to bring up a troublesome issue or matter that could cause unwanted problems.

Generally, dogs compliant nature makes it well-suited to perform diverse roles to meet different needs in society. Such roles can vary from police dogs to assisted living service dogs; from sled pullers in Alaska to bomb sniffers in airports and border crossings. Knowing this, the dog, compared to its canine cousins, has earned its place in many homes as the second most favorite pet, and an invaluable member in millions of families. Unlike fox, wolf, hyena, and coyote, dog has adapted itself so well in our changing world, wherever humans chose to establish future colonies, our beloved companion will likely accompany them on the frontiers of pioneers.

Quite possibly, dogs character traits were among the considerations that earned it a place in Asias astrological signs. Small wonder then, that the Chinese almanac presents dog as the eleventh animal symbol, marking the march of time. According to Chinese zodiac psychics, the Yang form of earth element will coincide in 2018, setting the stage for calming and favorable events. Seemingly, this year is an auspicious time to engage in environmental, social and political activism.

Furthermore, the aura of Earth Dog Year will likely spur admiration, inspiring others to support or join moral advocacy for universal values, diplomatic dialogue, and solidarity. This makes Earth Dog Year an advantageous occasion to initiate lifestyle changes, make earnest efforts towards career goals, and embark upon promising business ventures or personal enterprises. The agreeable nature of this dog year suggests that believers can expect calming experiences, feelings of fulfillment, encouraging support from associates and colleagues who appreciate their communal spirit, and charitable efforts.

Supposing that Earth Dog Year will usher in a period of stability, adherents of Oriental astrology apparently regard 2019 an appropriate time to reevaluate their priorities. Hence, this Dog Year is considered most advantageous for personal rediscovery and reevaluation. The social stability that tends to accompany dog years makes this a perfect time to reorganize, re-strategize, and recommit their efforts and creative talents towards more favorable endeavors. Unlike previous years, 2018 is deemed an opportune time to exhibit values like the brotherhood of man, launching or participating in social movements that seek to shift the focus from greed to benevolence, from self-centeredness to self-sacrifice, from personal enrichment to corporate goodwill.

Indeed, Dog years are known as eras of frugality, temperance, and innovative enterprises, along with the reinvigoration of old industries. Moreover, 2018 is expected to be most favorable for budding romance, rekindling of old flames and reconnecting with long lost friends and loved-ones. Like mans canine companion, people born under the dog sign will be inclined to experience a new enlightenment in literary classics, philosophy, poetry and personal inner discovery. Supposedly, those blessed with creative talents could suddenly find the urge to compose riveting essays or poems, thought-provoking commentaries spellbinding dramas, and gripping novels, etc.

Despite my belief that having impeccable timing can be very advantageous, there are reasons to question the notion that one animal sign can have such consequential impact upon our lives. After all, 2018 is just another year in the annals of history. Aside from dubious concepts peddled by astrological soothsayers, there is nothing about this or any other year that can determine ones fate, destiny or fortune. Regardless of the epoch, era, season or year, most of us do not have full control over all the events of in our lives. What we do have control over is our response to the experiences we have, and the negatives or positive effects they have on us.

The truth is, our lives are shaped by the decisions we make rather than the zodiac sign we are born under. Actually, whether we are born under the zodiac animal like tiger, monkey, horse rooster, or dog symbol is a small matter in the grand scheme of things. Rather, the choices we make, the habits we form, the lifestyle we adopt, and the endeavors we undertake are among the causative factors that determine the course of our lives. Granted, having the foresight to take full advantage of favorable opportunities can increase our chances of obtaining desirable outcomes.

Still, time and chance is a vague oracle, the meaning of which is often elusive. That is, our fate, destiny and future are not wholly subjected to our impulses or whims. Instead, there is a power beyond our comprehension, that no astrologer, fortuneteller, mystic or soothsayer can discern without divine insight. Among the many truisms of Solomon, one seems fitting here. 9The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps—(Proverbs 16:9).

Despite what clairvoyants, mystics and psychics want us to believe, we are not bound by the alignment of particular constellation, stars or any celestial body. Our destiny is not determined by the character traits of any zodiac sign, irrespective of their origin: Arabic, American, Chinese, Egyptian, Indian or Persian. Instead, out fate, fortune and future is in Gods hands. When our actions and plans align with his divine will and purpose, we will experience the fulfillment of his good pleasure in our lives. This brings to mind another maxim from Proverbs. There are many plans in a man's heart; nevertheless the counsel of the LORD, that shall stand—(Proverbs 19:21).

Editors Note:
The writer currently teaches Communicative English at Hankyong National 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 Communicative English at Hankyong National University in S. Korea. 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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