Taking inspiration from the wild boar in the Year of the Pig

  • The wild boar is resourceful and determined, something that Chinese should reflect upon amid US President Donald Trump’s efforts to curtail China’s rise
PUBLISHED : Sunday, 03 February, 2019, 11:06pm
UPDATED : Monday, 04 February, 2019, 6:35am

We think of pigs as being intelligent, although lazy. As the Lunar New Year approaches, it is worth remembering it is the wild boar, not the domesticated pig, which was traditionally considered as part of celebrations.

The boar is a markedly different animal. It is resourceful and determined, traits well know by anyone who has come into contact with the creatures in areas of Hong Kong where civilisation has encroached on their natural habitat.

It is perhaps this resilience that Chinese should reflect upon as they mark another year amid geopolitical turmoil sown by US President Donald Trump’s efforts to curtail China’s rise.

The wild boar has a fighting nature. They can be gentle, but when threatened can also react ferociously. Their sharp tusks are used to fight during mating season, and can become a dangerous weapon to those encroaching on their turf.

The male wild boar is not to be trifled with. It can grow up to 200kg in weight, run at 50km/h and shift a heavy tree trunk with its snout. Hunters for centuries past feared boars even more than bears or tigers.

For followers of the Chinese zodiac, such characteristics make the upcoming year special. Feng shui masters speak sagely of the coming months being ones of “wisdom”, “moving” or “changing”, and “uncertainty”.

This year, geomancers also speak of the start of a three-year cycle in which the element water is dominant. Water represents wisdom in the Chinese five-element theory.

Hong Kong’s wild boars: are they dangerous, why are there more around?

Those who believe in the traditional would rightly be hopeful that Trump too will prove wise in the Year of the Pig and end his trade war with China.

Water, however, also is about fluidity, so it is a time for people to move, whether to a new job, to a new home, or to marry or divorce. When it comes to the economy and the markets, this fluidity is perhaps less welcome. There are predictions that in the coming six months, the stock markets will face wild fluctuations.

More uncertainty after two years of the Trump administration will be difficult to face. The two biggest economies should be benefiting from strengthened trade and people-to-people exchanges, not reverting to conflict and isolationism, as the American president appears to desire.

Instead, there should be joint effort on global development and fighting threats like climate change and extremism. In the Year of the Pig, perhaps Trump and his advisers will finally summon the will to end their irrational fear of things Chinese.

In the meantime, Chinese can take inspiration from the boar’s ability to adapt, to resist and tenaciously protect itself and its territory, to win and be in charge.