Time to be bold

This article first appeared in Wealth, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on January 31, 2022 - February 06, 2022.
Time to be bold
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Investors are likely to see their hard work and perseverance pay off as the global economy will be on the path to recovery in the Year of the Tiger, say feng shui practitioners.

Most geomancers believe that the Year of the Tiger will mark a change for the better, and abound with positivity and progress as the world overcomes the tumult caused primarily by the coronavirus pandemic that plagued the Year of the Ox.

“In 2021, most people around the world had to deal with months of pandemic lockdowns and isolation. We needed to trudge through Covid-19 hardships,” says Jane Hor, consultant and founder of Xuan Jixuan Feng Shui Consultation Centre.

The Year of the Tiger — which according to feng shui kicks off at 4.51am on Feb 4, as opposed to the Chinese New Year that strictly follows the phases of the moon — will bring many changes, and with those changes will come opportunities.

In feng shui, the four pillars of destiny — the year, month, day and hour — are known as Ba Zi. The four pillars are made up of the 12 zodiac animals and the five elements, which are wood, fire, earth, metal and water.

Together they create a 60-year cycle that covers all the possible combinations of the zodiac animals and elements — ancient geomancy principles that is used to harmonise individuals with their surroundings including the movements of the financial markets where businesses and industries are assigned elements to determine their general trajectory.

As such, the start of the Water Tiger year is taking place in a water tiger month and on an earth rat day, and the hour is represented by the wood tiger. “There are three tigers in the four destiny pillars, and the tiger signifies ambition, competitive spirit, impulsiveness and courage, which is why at the beginning of the spring of 2022, there will be a lot of movement.

“These last two years, many have been feeling constrained and even stranded, so they are eager to move. We are going to see more people travelling, which is why industries related to movement will be booming — but it will be after August,” says Hor.

In the preceding Year of the Ox, people needed to take a breather and reflect on what they should do after the turbulence that wrecked the global economy in 2020, says Kenny Hoo, chief researcher and consultant at Good Feng Shui Holdings Sdn Bhd.

“The pandemic situation will be calmer after early August. There will be less stress this year with more good returns and harvests [return on investments] from various industries. The inflation rate will gradually stabilise after entering 3Q of 2022.

“This year, people will become wiser and have sharper insight, especially when it comes to the selection of leaders, career, study and all sorts of future planning,” he adds.

Despite the positive outlook, Hoo says there will be “lots of ups and downs” as water years usually bring out emotions more than any of the other elements.

Generally, the auspicious months in 2022 will be April, October and November. Individuals are advised to proceed with caution as challenges are aplenty in February, June, August and December.

“There will be more obvious volatility in February, May, June, August, October and December. However, these may offer more trading opportunities,” says Hoo.

Travel to rebound

The element of water that accompanies the 2022 zodiac signifies good prospects for industries related to shipping and cross-border trade, says Yap Boh Chu, feng shui master at Yap Cheng Hai Academy Sdn Bhd.

“The major elements this year are wood and water. Keeping this in mind, sectors and industries related to these two elements are likely to do well. The element of water is about travel and trade, which is why I believe the outlook for these sectors will improve.

“Industries associated with wood, like timber and furniture, are also poised to do well. Education and learning, which has to do with wood, will also do well,” he says.

In the last couple of years, the education sector was very tumultuous especially in countries such as Australia and New Zealand, which are favourite destinations of students looking to pursue their higher education overseas, Yap adds.

The Covid-19 pandemic has given people a lot of time to focus on self-improvement and an opportunity to reset their goals, he elaborates. “The one thing people do when resetting is to improve themselves, which is why education will come to the fore.

“Another area to look into is innovation in education. I see education technology starting to gain ground and I foresee that to be an opportunity for education to spread further. For example, if I’m thinking of my MBA at Harvard, I can do it online. I don’t need to travel to the US.”

The performance of sectors related to the element of metal, such as the financial industry, will be moderate, unlike in the previous years when it was the dominant element causing constraints and limitations. “This is purely in reference to the finance industry, like banks, loans or payments,” says Yap. “Chances of having partnerships and mergers will be high.”

Apart from trade and tourism, the Water Tiger promotes innovation and creativity, shares Hor. “This means in 2022, we will be seeing a lot of innovative businesses and concepts and advanced inventions. Those who are already dabbling in industries that value innovation and creativity above all will be at an advantage.”

But there will also be negative aspects to contend with, she warns. High pressure and stressful situations are likely to occur more than usual, resulting in higher incidences of mental health-related problems.

“Also, the Ba Zi for 2022 is full with the elements of water, wood and earth, none of fire and metal. Without the fire and metal elements, instances like Covid-19 infections are likely to continue throughout the year,” adds Hor.

E-commerce and women-focused businesses to thrive

According to the Ba Zi, we are now at the late stage of the Eighth Period, which started in 2004 and ends in 2024. The later stage of each period (which starts at one and ends at nine) tends to be filled with turmoil and chaos. There will be two more years to go before the Ninth Period, or Li Gua, starts, which will see the world and markets usher in an era of prosperity.

These last years of the Eighth Period are considered transitory and will be marked by events that are often chaotic, says Hor.

She attributes the disastrous impact of the Covid-19 virus and political upheavals in the country and around the world to wild energies that peak during any transition.

“At the end of this period, which is tied to the element of earth, those in the business of property investing or land ownership would reap benefits. But the effects of the Ninth Period are already being felt as the element of fire is starting to take dominance,” she adds.

The influence of the Ninth Period can be seen in the explosive growth of the e-commerce and technology sectors, Hor points out.

“The element of fire will be governing us for the next 20 years starting 2024. This means fire-related industries such as e-commerce, technology and telecommunication will prosper.

“Nowadays, no matter what industry you are in, there is a link to e-commerce or technology. These are the sectors that investors can look at,” she says.

Sectors such as semiconductors, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain, user experience design, cybersecurity, traditional energy and renewable energy will do well in 2022, Hor adds.

Moreover, the Ninth Period belongs to women, says Hor. “The next 20 years will be dominated by women because Li Gua also means women. So, businesses centred around women as the main consumer, like the beauty industry, will boom.

Considering that the Eighth Period is nearing its end, the chances of making lucrative earnings from property holdings are lower. “2022 will still be beneficial for the big developers compared to the smaller ones. And, if investors are looking at investing in property, it would be better to look for commercial spaces, which they can lease as warehouses or to businesses related to e-commerce instead of residential-type properties.”

While finance and banking-related equities might underperform, Hor says there is a likelihood of investors choosing riskier investments such as forex and cryptocurrencies, seeing that we are still in the Eighth Period when many are driven to make fast money.

This attribute is bolstered by the Tiger’s tendency to be impulsive and overconfident, she adds.

“Since the Tiger signifies bravery, many will have the courage to take risks. I am worried that it might turn into overconfidence, which could lead one to make wrong decisions. But there are also indications that they might be able to make fast money, so a good decision might pay off,” Hor elaborates.

Nevertheless, she advises caution and prudence, stressing that fraud will be on the rise as many want to make a quick buck. “As there are three Tigers in the Ba Zi in the beginning of spring, this could result in impulsive behaviour, which means we have to be cognisant and think twice before making decisions. And, emotions are likely to run high as the strong influence of the Water Tiger can lead to conflict or even violence, so let’s try to be patient.”