Chinese New Year is on Jan 28 and most people have their horoscopes read to prepare themselves for the Year of the Rooster. According to Chinese astrology, this year's rooster comes in the form of a yin fire rooster.
Saturday marks the first day of the Chinese New Year celebrations in Thailand and the neighbour's roosters won't be crowing "luck" to wake me up since I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, which is likely to face a woeful pi chong after a good Year of the Monkey. Pi chong is an ill-omened year, according to Thai-Chinese descendants.
This is due to the compatibility between the rabbit and the monkey, whereas rabbits and roosters are in conflict.
The rabbit opposes the rooster on the Chinese zodiac wheel. Direct confrontation makes rabbit the year's worst-affected animal sign, referred to as 100% chong. This will have people born in the Year of the Rabbit encountering all sorts of crises, particularly financial and health, until Feb 15, 2018.
Many rabbits may chicken out from any risky business and stay safe in their burrows until next year, which is the Year of the Dog. According to Chinese belief, 2018 promises to make things better for bunnies, who will then pass the bad-luck baton to those born in the Year of the Dragon.
Even in its own year, roosters face difficulties along with horse and rat people. Those born under these three animal signs are respectively 75%, 50% and 25% chong or negatively affected by the stars.
Causing concerns about what the future holds, the Chinese belief of chong may have people panicking.
For instance, the horoscope says elderly rabbits are prone to health issues, requiring a check-up for early detection and treatment. This is general advice for all the elderly under any zodiac sign; however, if your horoscope mentions it, it will immediately trigger a visit to the doctor.
Unlucky folks are also encouraged to make merit, do good deeds and engage in charity. To lessen the impact, they can ask for blessings at nine temples and pray to Tai Sui Chinese deities, who determine fate and fortune.
Applying feng shui practices, such as wearing lucky charms and placing ornaments in the house and office, will further help attract positive energy and dispel bad luck in order to get through an anticipated tough year.
Even so, "when the going gets tough, the tough gets going", and according to astrologer Tossaporn Sritula, 33.33% of what happens depends on what we do -- another 33.33% on feng shui and the last on the stars.
The stars merely open up opportunities, he added, and then it's up to people to make the most of these opportunities.
The pi chong belief however, doesn't correspond with Buddhist teachings, according to Phra Paisarn Visalo. He believes everything depends on one's efforts and perseverance without having to wait for auspicious timing for good fortune to come along.
At the end of the day, I, along with many other Thais, welcome the Year of the Rooster regardless of what's in store.
Spinning the zodiac wheel simply follows fair play, as each animal sign takes turns in having a smooth or bumpy year. So enjoy life's rollercoaster ride -- safety belt tightly fastened, of course.
Kanokporn Chanasongkram is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.