With Tuesday ushering in the Year of the Pig according to the Chinese zodiac, what are the prospects of political leaders across the Asia-Pacific? This Week In Asia spoke to four of Hong Kong’s best known fortune-tellers to get their views. To feng shui master Lee Shing-chak, who has been in the business for almost three decades, the year will bring “lots of changes”. He said there will be tensions over cyberwarfare and technology, while conflict in the South China Sea will “affect the economy”. “Leaders should wear blue and other cool colours to appear less aggressive. Wearing gold, white, and silver will bring luck,” he said. So who will fortune favour in the Year of the Pig? Read on to find out. MAHATHIR MOHAMAD Born: July 10, 1925 Chinese zodiac sign: Ox Veteran Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohamad returned to power in a shock victory over disgraced incumbent Najib Razak last year, ending six decades of rule by the Barisan Nasional coalition and making Mahathir, at 93, the oldest prime minister in the world. Lee Shing-chak says the year ahead for Mahathir will be tumultuous, “like what would happen after stepping on a leopard’s tail.” “He will likely anger someone and hurt his reputation, and should be cautious between the seventh and ninth lunar months [from the beginning of August to the end of October].” Najib, Mahathir’s predecessor, is embroiled in the 1MDB corruption scandal. He is facing trial in February for a series of corruption charges tied to the state investment fund that he helped set up. If found guilty, the former prime minister could be fined and face 20 years in jail. Geomancer So Man-fung, who is known for his signature ponytail, said Najib’s zodiac – the snake – is in conflict with Tai Sui, or “Great Duke Jupiter”, which means that “this year will bring big changes and instability for him”. “2018 was already a particularly bad year for him. Since his trial is taking place after the new year begins, there is a higher chance that he will go to jail,” he said. Lee Shing-chak similarly said this year would be a huge challenge for Najib because of the snake zodiac clashing with the pig: “His reputation will not hold.” NARENDRA MODI Born: September 17, 1950 Chinese zodiac sign: Tiger The world’s largest democracy is heading to the polls, with national elections to be held by May. The contenders are incumbent prime minister Narendra Modi and Rahul Gandhi, the president of the Indian National Congress. Is Lunar New Year the worst time to travel in Asia? Modi, a Hindu nationalist, won a landslide election victory in 2014, but his Bharatiya Janata Party suffered setbacks in three key states in December’s regional polls. Religious polarisation and rural discontent with falling prices for agricultural commodities and unemployment are seen as key issues in the upcoming ballot. Raymond Lo, popularly known as “Feng Shui Lo”, predicted that Modi will be re-elected. “Modi’s birth element is wood, which is assisted by the water element. This means he will have good fortune in 2019 and 2020 because both the Year of the Pig and the Rat have the water element,” he said. Lee Shing-chak also anticipated a Modi victory: “His opposition [Gandhi] doesn’t have fortune on his side. Modi is stronger and will have a very stable year if he remains in politics.” JOKO WIDODO Born: June 21, 1961 Chinese zodiac sign: Ox Joko Widodo, known as Jokowi, will run for re-election against former general Prabowo Subianto, who has been accused of human rights violations and who narrowly lost in the 2014 national elections. Widodo is under pressure to appeal to the country’s significant Muslim voting bloc , while moderate voters who supported him previously feel he has not taken a strong enough stand on resolving past human rights abuses. But despite this, fortune-tellers believe Widodo will triumph when over 190 millions go to the polls on April 17. “Widodo is running on good luck, while his opposition’s fortune is only so-so,” Lo said. So agreed. “Prabowo’s birth element is metal so he needs fire, but 2019 and 2020 are water years so he won’t have enough fortune,” he said. “Widodo’s birth element is wood so he needs water. He also has good fortune between the age of 45 and 70.” Indonesia, which is situated in the Ring of Fire, was devastated by more than 2,000 natural disasters last year. The country must brace itself for more natural disasters to come, fortune-tellers say. “From 2004 to 2024 the disaster area is in the southeast area, so countries like Indonesia and Nepal will be impacted,” So said. LEE HSIEN LOONG Born: February 10, 1952 Chinese zodiac sign : Dragon Singapore’s prime minister Lee Hsien Loong may call an early election this year as it fits into his previously stated plan to hand over the mantle to his successor and stand down by the time he turns 70 in 2022. Lo says he will likely win because the water element in the Year of the Pig will bring him good fortune. The leader is blessed with the Gui Ren, which means that powerful mentors and benefactors will help open doors for him, Lo says. But the prime minister’s relationship with his brother, Lee Hsien Yang, will remain strained. They have been embroiled in a bitter public argument over their father Lee Kuan Yew ’s legacy – with Lee Hsien Yang, the youngest of three siblings, joining hands with his sister Lee Wei Ling to accuse their brother of gratuitously invoking their father’s memory for personal political gain. “Lee Hsien Loong will be under pressure from many rivals, including his brother, who will oppose him this year,” Lo said. On speculation that Li Hongyi – the older son of Lee Hsien Loong and his second wife Ho Ching – will enter politics, Lo says: “Li is running on good fortune right now, but he won’t get into politics this year. It will probably be 2022.” SCOTT MORRISON Born: May 13, 1968 Chinese zodiac sign: Monkey Scott Morrison ’s bid for electoral victory has taken a hit lately thanks to the public’s changing opinion of him but the Australian prime minister is hoping to win support with a stronger economy and tax cuts. The date of the election has yet to be confirmed but the showdown between Morrison and opposition leader Bill Shorten is expected to be in May. “Morrison’s fortune is not that good this year. 2018 was very tough for him so 2019 should be a little better, albeit a hectic one,” Lo said. “He should eat more omega-3 for good health. Placing white objects and metals in his surroundings will also be beneficial.” Lo said Morrison’s challenger has better fortune on his side because those who are born in a year that ends with a seven tend to have good fortune in the Year of the Pig. So also predicts that Shorten will fare better in the upcoming federal election: “Morrison will start having better fortune only after turning 57 years old, whereas Shorten is currently in the stage of his best fortune. Shorten’s chance of winning is, therefore, much higher.” OTHER LEADERS … Shinzo Abe , a conservative who has devoted much effort to revising Japan’s pacifist constitution , will become the country’s longest-serving prime minister if he is still in office this November. Born in the Year of the Horse, Abe “will be very ambitious but also inflexible”, Lee Shing-chak said. “His fortune is not bad for this year. He’ll want to do a lot in terms of the economy and real estate but issues with foreign exchange will not make his plans go smoothly.” Heightened tensions between Japan and South Korea over wartime forced labour and comfort women are also unlikely to ease, according to Lee Shing-chak. South Korean president Moon Jae-in was born in the Year of the Dragon. the soothsayer said the zodiacs of Abe and Moon “aren’t a great fit, so they will easily have differences”. Public support for Moon has plummeted, and he is hugely unpopular among men in their twenties . “His image will take a hit during and between the seventh and ninth lunar months, so he will need to be careful,” Lee Shing-chak said. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who at 38 is the world’s youngest female head of government, made history when she gave her debut speech at the UN General Assembly with her three-month-old baby. Ardern endured a difficult 2018. She was urged to take a stand against allegations of Chinese political interference in New Zealand and oversaw the ban on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei’s 5G network roll out in November. Luck doesn’t seem to be on her side, either. Ardern’s zodiac sign, the monkey, will clash with Tai Sui this year, and the fortune-tellers said she will have another troublesome two years ahead of her. “This year is not the best for her, it won’t be smooth. People don’t think she’ll do well so there’ll be a lot of rumours circling around. 2018, 2019 and 2020 are three years of big struggle for her,” said feng shui master Mak Ling-ling. So, meanwhile, warned that “2020 will be the most challenging year in her lifetime.” In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte has built a reputation for being tough on crime, drugs and corruption. Human rights watchdogs have criticised his ruthless war on drugs, in particular, which has left thousands dead . Duterte and his allies are seeking to lower the country’s legal age of criminal liability to 12 after resistance to the proposal of dropping it to nine . “He won’t have enough support to carry out change in legislation and educational policy, even if he’s very enthusiastic about it,” Lee Shing-chak said, while also warning that the Philippines will be hit with more natural disasters this year. Vietnam’s ‘incense village’ gets busy ahead of Lunar New Year Aung San Suu Kyi , the civilian leader of Myanmar , is facing international criticism for failing to speak out against the atrocities committed by her country’s troops against the Rohingya Muslim minority. The Nobel Peace Prize winner has denied what the US and the United Nations have called ethnic cleansing in Rakhine state. “She’ll be under more pressure but the Year of the Pig will be better for her. She has finally put bad fortune behind her,” Mak said. “This year is better for females who were born in the Year of the Rooster compared to males [like Duterte]. She’ll have more success with enacting legislative change but the economy may pose problems,” Lee Shing-chak said.