Inspiring Water Dragons

As the dragon is seen to be an auspicious creature, it's not surprising to see many couples trying to get married in this Year of the Dragon or trying for a Dragon baby.

According to geomancers, this Year of the Water Dragon will bring good luck to those in the arts.

Also brace for growth and changes, as the Chinese element theory dictates that water produces wood, which signifies growth.

This is a double boost for the dragon, which itself represents growth and is a symbol of power.

The dragon is the most revered mythical animal for the Chinese, who have no qualms calling themselves descendents of the dragon.

In the old days, the dragon represented the Chinese emperor and was used as an image to extol and herald prosperity, power and intelligence.

Those born in the Year of the Dragon are said to live by their own set of rules, are optimistic and self-driven, and are usually successful.

Dragon personalities in the region include homegrown billionaire Tan Sri Vincent Tan, economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram and journalist R. Nadeswaran, Singapore prime minister Lee Hsien Loong and entertainers Anita Sarawak and Ramli Sarip. Vladmir Putin, Jimmy Connors, Shirley Temple, Ringo Starr, Pearl Buck, George Bernard Shaw, John Lennon, Neil Diamond, Placido Domingo and Al Pacino are some international Dragons.

For more insight into Dragon characteristics, we interviewed those born in the previous Year of the Water Dragon (1952) to see if their Chinese zodiac sign brought them luck and fortune.

Ramli Sarip Singer, music arranger, producer Singapore

Ramli Sarip is among the more famous Water Dragons in the Malay entertainment industry.

He attests that Dragon years did bring good luck to his career.

His music career started with a kampung band in 1964, a Dragon year.

In the following Dragon year, 1976, he clinched a recording deal with Warner Music for an English album. Though the album did not materialise, his debut album,

Ramli (named after his band, Sweet Charity), hit the market in 1979 and became a success with sales of more than 50,000 copies.

Sweet Charity also ushered in a rock explosion in the mid-1980s in Singapore and Malaysia.

The next Dragon year, 1988, was also significant for Ramli.

His duet with Datuk Khadijah Ibrahim, Doa Buat Kekasih, became a huge hit.

The song would have achieved even wider acclaim if it entered the popular TV3 Juara Lagu contest, but it didn't qualify because Ramli was a Singaporean.

Dragon year 2000 was equally significant for Ramli.

It was the year he made a big comeback to the local entertainment industry following a seven-year ban by RTM for keeping his long hair.

"With my then new album, Syair Timur, I received more invitations to perform in Malaysia, including on RTM, TV3 and Astro," he recalls. His dragon luck was certainly with him.

That same year, Ramli secured a spot to perform at Womad (World of Music, Art and Dance) in Singapore.

Five years later, he became the first Malay rock singer to hold two solo concerts at Instana Budaya in Kuala Lumpur.

At the time, the venue was synonymous with premium cultural music and theatre performances.

At 60 today, Ramli still enjoys much popularity.

His closest contact with a dragon, he says, is a long-sleeved knitwear he bought in Jakarta sometime ago which has a dragon print on it. "I don't look out for it, but, like many people, I'm attracted to the beauty of the dragon."

Annie Juhl Sea kayak instructor Copenhagen

For Annie Juhl, Dragon years have always been significant in her life.

She fell in love with her Danish husband while in Kibbutz, Israel, in 1976, a Dragon year. "It was a special year that changed my life," she says.

But in the next Dragon year, 1988, her mother died.

Nevertheless, she says the dragon has been kind to her as she has achieved most of what she wanted to do in life.

Recently, she started blogging and instinctively named her blog, Water Dragon.

"Blogging is new to me, and this year marks a new start for my writing, hopefully with a little help from the Water Dragon," she says.

A well-known haiku poet, Juhl wrote her first dragon haiku - classroom/I fly away on the back/of a dragon - about six months ago.

She wrote it on impulse, perhaps due to her affinity with the dragon.

The fact that she's a sea kayak instructor shows her other natural affinity with water, as a Water Dragon.

Juhl says her strongest traits are her free spirit, instinctiveness and spontaneity, with a penchant for all things spiritual.

She has a Tibetan Buddhist teacher and feels connected to that part of the world.

As for her weaknesses, she counts impatience and her sometimes lack of logic, especially when she has to stick to doing one thing at a time.

Juhl says the Chinese zodiac system is new to her - she only discovered it after being active on Facebook. She admires fellow Dragon, John Lennon.

Connie Da Silva Technical adviser Manila

Connie Da Silva is an extremely happy Dragon.

She says Dragon years have been significant for her, though some years brought more heartbreak than joy.

In 1964, a year after her mother's death, her father remarried.

She says it was an excruciating period in her life as she had to adapt to a new home.

The next dragon year, 1976, was more uplifting - she gave birth to her eldest daughter.

"So we had two Dragons in the family," she says. Coincidentally, her daughter also married a Dragon.

In 1988, Da Silva started a business.

Unfortunately, the business wrapped up a year later, but she learnt a lot from that experience, she recalls.

In the following Dragon year, 2000, she had more luck as one of her business proposals was accepted by business partners she used to work with.

In summing up the dragon, Da Silva says: "The creature has inspired a sense of optimism in my life. It has given me a sense of security to triumph in the worst of times. The dragon in me is utterly relentless, resolved and radiant."

The dragon, she adds, has made her "very, very confident in my 60 years".

Her fondest memory of the dragon? An angpow with a dragon sign. That, she says, was her first real contact with the creature.

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