Year of Tiger

With the departure of the stoic and disciplined Ox, and the arrival of the competitive and spontaneous Tiger, the next Lunar zodiac cycle is poised to be one of transformation. The Tiger, guardian spirit of the Korean people and the king of all beasts in China, possesses the strength and leadership needed to persevere through this transition period and claw out of the most recent wave of pandemic-induced disruption. Prepare for a year of growth, adventure and risk taking, but proceed with caution – according to Mao Zedong, “In waking a tiger, use a long stick”.

This year’s Tiger element will be Water, which signifies continued good prospects for healthcare and shipping and a revival of tourism, an industry in dire need of a change in fortune. Water is the most Yin character of the five zodiac elements, representing not only emotion and inspiration, but also resiliency in its ability to navigate any obstacle without losing its way. The Tiger, on the other hand, is associated with Yang, where positive and active energy will complement Water’s calmness to create opportunities for those who can take advantage of an evolving environment. The absence of fire and metal is expected to darken the prospects for the commodities, technology and auto sectors.

While the Tiger is charming and well-liked by others, an impulsive nature draws it into situations of tension and struggle. The outset of the Korean War in 1950, the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, and the Asian Financial Crisis in 1998 offer stark warnings of the dangers of dealing with a wounded Tiger. At the same time, Tiger years have also served as a catalyst of constructive change, such as the founding of Google in 1998 and the development of the world’s first oral polio vaccine in 1962. This year Vietnam, often regarded as one of the next great Asian Tiger economies, looks poised to continue its transition from Tiger cub to a maturing economic beast. The election of Pham Minh Chinh as Vietnam’s Prime Minister should support this evolution, underscoring a continued commitment to the country’s economic expansion.  

Given the Tiger’s independent and sometimes arrogant disposition, it is no surprise that many influential political and philosophical leaders were born in previous Tiger Years: Joseph Stalin (1878), former leader of the Soviet Union; and Fidel Castro (1926), former secretary general of the Communist Party of Cuba. It is hard to ignore the common theme of strong and autocratic leadership, particularly at a time of political uncertainty around the world. The upcoming South Korean Presidential election in March 2022 is just one example that will pit against each other two frontrunners with seriously divergent plans for the future of the country. 

The Year of the Tiger can be expected to bring about roaring transformations that offer compelling opportunities but also bona fide risks. Although it would be foolish to underestimate the ferocity of the Tiger, as the old Korean proverb says, “To catch a Tiger, you have to enter its den”.


The observations set forth above represent the distilled thoughts of a number of Chinese feng shui commentators, and do not constitute investment criteria for the professionals at Excelsior Capital Asia!