Lunar New Year

Monkey business: what traits are associated most often with this year’s zodiac animal?

There’s always a boost in birth rates for the Year of the Monkey, a sign that’s considered charming and streetwise

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 February, 2016, 12:30am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 February, 2016, 12:30am

Twelve-year-old Lareyna Chan is, astrologically speaking, a little monkey. She has much in common with a number of celebrities born in the Year of the Monkey and known for their charm and cheerfulness, such as young tycoon Lau Ming-wai, top model Lynn Xiong Dailin and Hollywood star Lucy Liu.

Feng shui master Yun Wenzi says people born in the Year of the Monkey are generally vivacious, energetic, gregarious, eloquent and streetwise.

The monkey is the ninth creature in the 12-year Chinese zodiac cycle.

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“Look at how monkeys live and stay together. So people belonging to that sign of the zodiac are very sociable. They are loved and surrounded by friends and family members,” Yun says.

“I say they are streetwise because we all know monkeys are very good at imitating others and they learn quickly.” But she cautions that young children who have a knack for imitating others can also easily pick up bad habits from their parents.

Therefore, parents with children born in the Year of the Monkey should always watch their behaviour and use of language at home so they will be a good role model, she says.

Lareyna’s mother, Jenny Li Wing-sze, says her daughter is an adorable girl who always makes relatives and friends happy. “She loves to mingle with everyone, young and old. All my family members and friends just love her and enjoy her company when we get together,” Li says.

The Primary Six student is the second family member born in the Year of the Monkey – after her maternal grandfather, now 72.

Lareyna is the third child with two elder sisters, 14 and 15, and a younger brother, four. Unlike many children with siblings, Lareyna does not try to seek attention from her parents, nor does she feel jealous of her brother and sisters.

While she is easy-going and kind to others, she is rather strict on herself, always trying to excel at schoolwork to be on par with her sisters, who are top students.

“Lareyna is not a top student in school, but she is very self-disciplined and won’t go out without finishing her homework and studies. I don’t need to force her to study at all,” Li says.

But Yun warns of possible risks and obstacles in 2016 for those born in the Year of the Monkey, especially youngsters born in 2004, who could become disobedient and less amicable. Adults will have a higher risk of traffic accidents, she says. This is because of their clash with the Monkey God, who presides over this lunar year. People of other signs face similar risks during the year of their birth signs, Yun explains.

She also cautions that people born in monkey years are so street smart that they may be prone to lie or hide their mistakes to avoid blame. Even Li admits her daughter sometimes tells “white lies”, to avoid hurting others’ feelings.

“On one occasion, Lareyna was asked by a senior family member whether her grandparents [Li’s parents] had brought her any gifts back from their visit to Japan. In fact, my parents didn’t get Lareyna anything. But to avoid embarrassing my parents, Lareyna lied and said she had already received a gift.

“Lareyna is an honest kid. Only on very exceptional occasions will she lie, but with a good motive.”

Yun says people born in the Year of the Monkey are most suitable for lively professions, such as journalists, athletes, pilots and air stewards.

Li believes Lareyna, who enjoys mingling with and caring for others, could be a successful public relations executive.

Coincidentally, Stella Chan Wing-yan actually was a public relations executive for 20 years before becoming a home service chef, and she was also born in the Year of the Monkey. Chan says she has enjoyed both careers because each enabled her to meet people from all walks of life. As a private chef, she travels from one household to another on cooking duties.

Yun says some years are considered auspicious and therefore more beneficial for child-bearing, such as the Year of the Dragon. The last dragon year was 2012, when 91,600 babies were born in Hong Kong. The number of babies born in the following Year of the Snake plunged 37.7 per cent to 57,100.

Yun believes this Year of the Monkey will be another peak year for births because many Chinese families want to have smart, vivacious children. “I’ve noticed that more couples have come to me recently for advice on the auspicious time for Caesarean-section births and on naming their newborns,” she says.

Names are more complicated because it has to match well with the time of birth. Many other elements also need to be taken into account, such as the parents’ birthdays. “So, there is no simple formula for choosing a good name,” Yun says.

According to the Chinese zodiac, the monkey gets along best with the dragon, snake and mouse. However, its major foe is the tiger. “So parents who are Tigers [born in 1950, 1962, 1974] can easily have disputes with their children who are born under the Monkey sign,” she adds.

Actor Moses Chan Ho and his wife Aimee Chan are expecting a baby this year, as is socialite Claudine Ying, the daughter of billionaire Michael Ying Lee-yuen and ballerina Flora Cheong-leen.

Wan Dick-kim and his wife, Cecilia Shen Yao, had their first child by Caesarean section on February 5 for medical reasons. “Our baby was in the breech position [feet first] so doctors strongly advised my wife to have a Caesarean delivery to avoid risk during labour,” Wan explains.

The couple had consulted a feng shui master, who picked February 5 – one day after the arrival of spring on the lunar calendar, but before Lunar New Year’s Day on February 8. Nevertheless, Wan still regards the baby as a monkey child. “Our daughter is the second family member born in the Year of the Monkey after my father, now 73,” Wan says.

Surveyor Michael Lam Siu-fung and his wife Jacqueline Chan Mei-kei are another happy couple expecting their first child, a boy, in June. Lam says they didn’t choose 2016 to have a child for any auspicious reason, nor would they hire a feng shui master to advise them on naming the child.

“My wife is a Christian and we have no plans to go for feng shui. We don’t give much thought to what zodiac sign our child belongs to,” Lam says.

Unlike most Hong Kong parents, who are eager to send their children to top-notch schools, Lam’s wish for their child is simple: “I just don’t want him to be a spoilt kid. We want him to have a happy childhood and learn to be independent.”