Fung Shui Masters reflect and look ahead
Five years ago Raymond Lo, popularly known as 'Fung Shui Lo', predicted a strong economy in 'fire years' and good luck for chief executive Donald Tsang Yam-kuen with a blip in 2009 - and he says he was right.
'The economy is strong when there is fire as it symbolises excitement, and the economy does poorly if there is water as it means fear,' Lo says.
He says the economy was quite strong in 2006 and 2007 as those years were under the fire element, but 2008 was a water year, so there was a financial crisis. There were signs of recovery in 2009 and 2010 which were wood years and wood can start a fire.
'The presence of wood provides a temporary relief, but we won't see the reappearance of fire until 2013 when the economy will be fully recovered,' he says.
Lo says the economy will prosper in 2014 when the fire is the strongest but will slowly fade and the flame go out in 2017.
For Tsang, 2009 was the year when he drew public ire by telling lawmakers to 'move on' from the Tiananmen Square crackdown of 20 years earlier because the mainland economy had brought much prosperity to the city. He later apologised for his comment but said it reflected the views of the population at large.
Lo says this year has also been difficult for Tsang because it is the year of the dragon, his birth sign, but things would be much easier in the latter part of the year, after he leaves office.
'To be chief executive is not necessarily good luck because it's tough work. But Tsang will continue to have the luck of having protective angels around him.'
Things look good, according to Lo, for incoming chief executive Leung Chun-ying, born in the 'metal' month of August 1954, who will enjoy overarching good fortune until he is 69. But he may encounter difficulties in 2014, a year of the horse, as it is the same as his birth year.
Lo also predicts that opposition may build up in 2017 for Leung because it is a metal year, which clashes and competes with the metal element in Leung.
And the problems may worsen in 2018 as it is the year of the earth, which presents itself as an overpowering force that challenges Leung's metal element.
Gladys Mak Ling-ling
Gladys Mak Ling-ling predicted in 2007 that support from mainland China for Hong Kong would lessen in the coming years, and now - five years later - Mak is sticking by her words.
'Everything comes in a loop,' she says. 'In the past, Hongkongers went up to Shenzhen to buy cheap goods, and now mainland consumers come to Hong Kong for expensive goods.'
Five years ago, Mak also foresaw that Hong Kong would slowly become less popular as a travel destination with mainland tourists due to the weakening of the star of wealth. 'The growth in the number of mainland tourists is already calming down, with many choosing to visit France or Japan instead,' she says, predicting that the numbers will continue to grow less dramatically in future. Statistics from the Hong Kong Tourism Board tend to back that up, although the growth is still robust.
Mak also predicted that the tourism industry will face serious challenges in 2009 and 2010. And in fact, it was in 2010 that an uproar broke out after a Hong Kong tour guide was secretly filmed yelling at her mainland tour group for not buying any souvenirs. Another of her 2007 predictions was that Donald Tsang Yam-kuen, who steps down as chief executive on July 1, would be influenced by good fortune during his time in office. But Tsang's term has been tarnished by accusations of collusion for accepting trips and a discounted luxury apartment from his wealthy business friends. He is now under investigation by the Independent Commission Against Corruption.
Does that still count as good fortune? Mak says yes.
'Mr Tsang has not experienced a lot of ups and downs during his term even though he is not very bright,' she says, noting that the scandal came only at the very end of his term. A leader enjoying good fortune brings good luck to the city, she says, and 'Hong Kong is still a fortunate place - we have no natural disasters'.
As for the stock market, Mak has noted that Hong Kong's is always volatile in years ending with the number seven, and says 2016 and 2017 may see a lot of problems. 'There may be a lot of conflict regarding labour issues.'
Alion Yeo Tin-ming
Alion Yeo Tin-ming has predicted that Hong Kong will enjoy economic stability and poverty relief under the reign of Leung Chun-ying, but says public opposition will be increasingly gagged.
Yeo also says conflicts in mainland China, long concealed, will begin to bubble up. Yeo, who sports shaggy shoulder-length hair, follows a fung shui school of thought that employs kua numbers. The number he picked out for Hong Kong, under the guidance of fung shui spirits, was one that represented bountifulness.
'This means there will be improvement. Leung is a strong leader and he will be putting out effective policies that will narrow the rich-poor gap, but we will notice that the voices of opposition are muffled,' he says.
Hong Kong would also enjoy good economic fortune under Leung. 'There will be economic recession all over the world and many countries will be affected by the euro crisis, but Hong Kong will be affected the least comparatively because of its ties to China,' says the geomancy expert.
He says Hong Kong can look forward to a rising economy in the second half of this year.
But five years ahead, in 2017, the only prediction that Yeo will make is that property prices will drop.
For the mainland, Yeo picked out a kua that included a military symbol carrying alarming predictions.
'There seem to be signs that China is prepared to deploy troops, especially in 2014,' he says. 'If negotiations don't work out, we need to watch conflicts such as the maritime dispute with the Philippines very closely. The kua tells us that it will not benefit China to deploy troops.'
But he doesn't think China's militaristic moves will affect its economy. 'China's economy is untouchable,' Yeo says. 'Up to 2014, I am confident in saying China's economy will be very prosperous.'
Its relations with other countries regarding trade will be 'solid and stubborn with no chance of budging'.
The kua also predicted water-related disasters in the coming years for China, he says.