Enter the Water Dragon

Updated: 2012-01-02 09:33

By Lee Hannon (China Daily)

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Enter the Water Dragon
If the navel gazers and prophets are correct, 2012 will be a year of conflict and disasters, but Lee Hannon believes we will all survive

The nuclear, biological, chemical warfare suit I bought online is a snug fit. Respirator? Check. Water filtration system? Check. Solar-powered multi-band radio? Check. Iodide pills, dynamo-powered flashlight? Check, check.

If I could just wade through the virtual Gobi desert of salt I have stockpiled in my apartment I would be able to tell you what delicious treats hide inside the box containing my one-year supply of freeze-dried food rations.

The 2012 survival kit, thousands of which are available online, promises to "protect yourself and your family in the event of a possible catastrophe".

Yes, if a number of famous psychics, computer programs, ancient societies and Hollywood blockbusters are to be believed, then the end is truly nigh, my friends.

From apocalyptic zealots to Hapgood's Earth crust displacement theory to Planet-X's cataclysmic collision course with our planet we're all doomed in 2012.

After a hearty sniff of the smelling salts, the reality is that we will all still probably be here 365 days from now, moaning about the cold, the traffic and the latest loss by our favorite team back home.

Beijing's taxi drivers will still drive past and ignore me in the street. Occasionally one will pick me up, insult my attempt at Chinese before throwing me out of his car in favor of a fellow countryman.

Some things are more guaranteed than the Earth's magnetic field reversing as it falls off its axis amid a sudden alien attack.

I care little for New Year predictions or resolutions. They're usually made in earnest and broken even more hastily by people who say things like "don't sweat the small stuff" but do just that.

Even if a small percentage spent one week taming the bulge, getting fit and stubbing out the smokes, they still wouldn't have an opinion on whether the statue of the notorious Song Dynasty (960-1279) traitor Qin Hui should be allowed to sit down after 492 years on his knees.

That's the problem with the human condition. Everyone is self-obsessed with what is going on in their own personal universe that they care little for what is going on in the world.

We need China's Got Talent judges to drunkenly crash their cars, trains to be late and food to be cold in order to divert us away from the real problems the dark forces of 2012 may harbor.

A looming war in Iran, an economic Armageddon or the saber-rattling and interference in the South China Sea make the gripes of daily life similar to comparing a pebble to a mountain.

As we witness the dawning of the dragon, one would be wise not to underestimate the power of symbolism in China.

While the mythical figure may be a paragon of evil in the West let's leave Puff the Magic Dragon and Toothless aside for now it is the only one of the 12 celestial animals in the Chinese zodiac that is considered legendary in Chinese mythology and folklore.

Dragons hold auspicious power, strength and good luck. So much so that China will witness a huge baby boom in the coming year as parents rush to conceive as they believe the icon of Chinese emperors symbolizes power and wealth. Couples need to move fast, they have until about May 15 to be in with a chance of a dragon baby.

But more important, dragons are the rulers of moving bodies of water: rainfall, waterfalls, rivers and seas.

And this year's rotating zodiac will also align with the elemental sign of water making 2012 the year of the water dragon, which last made an appearance in 1952.

So while the hawks and sensationalists warn we should "prepare for the sounds of cannons" in South China Sea with the mythical beast around, the truth remains to be seen.

But be warned as we enter the year of the dragon, the iron rooster will crow a little louder in 2012 with the ruler of the seas protecting its shores.