About the picture: A reading monkey at Kaohsiung airport in Taiwan to welcome the new year!
Chinese New Year is around the corner. According to the Chinese tradition, this year is the monkey year. I happen to be a monkey as I was born in a monkey year (stop calculating my ages).
For many friends not born in the Chinese culture, when they hear that this year is my monkey year, they congratulate me. I usually just smile, knowing in heart that for the Chinese, the meaning is the opposite.
Since late last year, one of my best friends in Macau repeatedly mentioned to me, “oh, you know, next year is our běn mìng nián (本命年). We were both born in the monkey year. We are going to face lots of difficulties next year”.
Apparently, this stresses her a lot and she probably has gone to some temples and churches at the same time, praying that no bad luck would come to her in her běn mìng nián”.
My Chinese colleagues at the Confucius Institute suggest that I should follow the traditional advice to wear everything in red to expel bad luck.
As a Christian, these beliefs do not really bother me. Anyway, I think it is not a bad thing that my friends continue to congratulate me on the arrival of my LOVELY monkey year!