In charm's way
Amid busy preparations for the Year of the Rabbit, some car owners might have forgotten to check the zodiac road map for their car's fung shui. Critics might scoff at this oversight, but Hong Kong's metaphysically minded motorists probably agree that you need the best chi you can get when navigating the city's congested roads.
Figures from the Transport Department show that in 2009 there were an average of 39 car crashes a day, with at least five serious injuries and 41 minor injuries - and about five deaths a fortnight. Car insurance premiums in Hong Kong aren't high for nothing.
So a little car fung shui might help protect your no-claim bonus, particularly when geomancers are urging motorists not to be caught on the hop in the Year of the Rabbit.
'Traffic accidents are often more serious in the Year of the Tiger,' says celebrity fung shui master Raymond Lo. 'The Year of the Rabbit could be less dangerous, but one should still take due care as 2011 is also a metal-wood conflict year, like 2010. Metal could be metal objects like cars, and Rabbit wood is bone.'
As in 1951, we're in 'the same year of yin metal over Rabbit', Lo says on his website (www.raymond-lo.com). Yin metal is symbolised by a small knife or dagger, and yin wood represents the neck, back and the spine, he says. 'So the clash between yin metal and yin wood is often associated with incidents of stabbing or breaking of back and limbs.' The accidents of Christopher Reeve, Madonna and Heather Mills exemplify 'serious clashes between yin metal and yin wood'.
SCMP fung shui columnist Jin Peh agrees that drivers should be aware of the metal-wood elemental clash this year. 'It suggests that there will be a higher incidence of bone breakages and motor vehicular accidents,' says the author of Feng Shui: A Hong Kong Perspective. Motorists born in the Year of the Dog could be vulnerable, because of the sign's interactions with the Rabbit year, he says. But those born in the Year of the Rooster will be more at risk, 'as this animal clashes with the Rabbit', Jin says, adding that signs which are six years apart in the 12-sign cycle clash with each other; for example, the Rat and Horse, the Ox and Sheep, etc.
Lo, on the other hand, says the Dog 'is OK this year' as it is 'a good friend of the Rabbit', but he agrees that Rooster drivers should be less cocksure in 2011. 'The Rooster clashes [with] the Rabbit, and such clashes will bring ... movements, travel and changes, but could also cause accidents.' Rats could also be at risk this year as they are in a 'penalty relationship' with the Rooster and the Rabbit, Lo says.
Charms can offer protection from malevolent influences, fung shui practitioners say. 'Some fung shui masters recommend a hanging talisman that has been blessed, while others recommend a Chinese zodiac animal that will [counteract] the animal that is harmful,' Jin says. Website Dragon Gate recommends Roosters position a 'Tortoises of Harmony' charm at the east-facing part of the living room or office. Dogs can ward off accidents by carrying a 'Tassel of Health and Wealth'.
Lo says a Dog device might help motoring Roosters. 'The traditional cure is to carry a dog pendant or place a toy dog in the car,' he says. 'A dog pendant can be carried on a telephone string or key chain or wallet, as these are items people usually carry near their body all the time.' A nodding dog from a Mong Kok motor-accessories shop may also do the trick.
Talismans can be bought from many websites, as can a set of eight 'Car Fung Shui' stickers, as advertised by carshui.sandanyi.com, which explains how the eight fundamental areas of fung shui correspond to the parts of your car.
Several websites advise motorists how to improve their cars' fung shui. Care2Green.com recommends a good clean 'to clear negative energy' and 'prevent road rage'. Rodika Tchi, of the About.com Guide, advises drivers to keep the air in their car fresh and park metaphysically correctly, 'facing away from home, rather than into the home'. A car directed at you or your home creates a 'sha chi' (or slightly attacking quality) of energy, which is best avoided, Tchi says.
Experts vary on this year's auspicious car colours. These are usually based on the favourable elements of birthdays, Lo says. 'For example, people who need more fire should choose a warmer colour, such as purple, red, green and blue, and those who need more water should choose cooler colours, such as black, white, grey, gold and silver,' he says.
Jin says green, black and blue are best for the coming year. 'The Year of the Rabbit is represented by the wood element and will be beneficial for those for whom wood is a positive element. The wood element is represented by the colour green,' he says. 'The water element nurtures the wood element and is represented by the colours black and blue.'
Superstitious drivers might welcome the Euro NCAP's list of best-performing cars of 2010. The crash-testers said last month that its top scorers were the BMW 5 Series, Alfa Romeo Giulietta, Honda CR-Z, Kia Sportage and Toyota Verso, with the European Suzuki Swift, Kia Venga, BMW X1, VW Alhambra and Citroen C4 also scoring well.
'Euro NCAP's poorest results of 2010 were achieved by the Citroen Nemo, with three stars, and by the Landwind CV9, which received only two stars,' the testers say.
Rooster, Rat and Dog drivers might want to take note.