Superstition is not a concept that has tended to make sense to your correspondent's ever-so-rational mind. In the past, he has always tended to walk under ladders without giving it a second thought, broken mirrors with reckless abandon and opened umbrellas indoors - much to the chagrin of those around him. And what of Friday the 13th, and all that stuff about black cats? Nothing more than mere piffle. The stigmas that built up about these types of occurrences always came across as being without basis - and aimed at scaring the pants off poor unfortunates harbouring baseless fears. Or so it seemed. But in the past few months, something has happened. Even this bastion of rationality has to admit he has recently been transformed into something approaching a cross between a hippy tea-leaf reader and a veritable doomsayer. No longer does logic dictate his actions. Touching wood has become a regular ritual whenever something remotely suspicious happens. Salt dropped on the table during meals gets instantly thrown over the shoulder. And with a Friday the 13th popping up in February, then repeating itself exactly one month later this year - well, we have been living a hermit-like existence. What has prompted such a radical transformation? In a word: omens. As your correspondent's wealth has headed the way of many regional economies, he has started to read things into events which preceded the monetary mayhem. It all began with a series of non-financial phenomena which swept Asia last year - just before monetary matters started to turn sour. The first occurrence that started the journey from scepticism to superstition was Hong Kong's very own handover last year. The actual ceremonies of the big event may now seem anti-climactic. But the meteorological machinations during the big day and for several weeks following started to seem not a little portentous. We seem to recall the non-stop period of rain that occurred during and following the handover approaching the 40 days and 40 nights of precipitation that occurred after Noah built his ark. As a number of landslides accompanied the oh-so-damp start to Chinese rule, your correspondent was warned by a wise old Chinese man: 'This is a bad omen for the outlook of the Hong Kong property market.' We thought nothing more of what he said - until three or four months later: property prices collapsed in spectacular fashion soon after the share market staged a similar capitulation. Suddenly, it all started to make sense. Financial and other key events that had happened seemed to have followed the course of natural phenomena. We thought of the meltdowns in several Southeast Asian economies during the second half of the year. They might have started in earnest in July - but disciples of the omen were given a clear signal that things were about to run amok about a month earlier. A choking smoke haze started to envelope both Indonesia and Malaysia during June. Could this not have been nature's warning that all was not right with the countries' currencies, we asked ourselves? From that point on, your correspondent ceased to be a sceptic. Anything and everything became a sign. When folks started to panic about the chicken flu outbreak, we recalled advertisements that had been using poultry to plug phone services and other products. One phone company at the time claimed its offer was 'guaranteed to get everyone squawking', and that its rates were 'chicken-feed'. Fateful words indeed! Then, that financial institution named after another bird, Peregrine Investments, received a bad omen for its fortunes. It started to receive a succession of business awards and accolades towards the end of last year. Winning awards increasingly seems to us to be a way of tempting fate. This certainly appears to have been the scenario in Peregrine's case. After all, it did go into liquidation last month. Then just last week, Financial Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen delivered his Budget speech - just a few minutes after an unprecedented storm in which snow-like hailstones fell from the sky. We can only imagine what such a bizarre occurrence can mean for the Hong Kong economy in the year ahead - but, put it this way, your correspondent has decided to put his savings underneath his mattress, just in case. Perhaps the most portentous phenomenon lately, however, has been in the world of films. After all, when a blockbuster about a sinking ship is breaking box office records in markets all over the world - Hong Kong included - who can blame anyone for feeling just a little superstitious?