The Year of the Fire Monkey will be less violent than the previous two years. There will be international conflicts and clashes but they may not be very violent, predicts renowned Hong Kong feng shui master Raymond Lo.
According to feng shui, the Monkey year is symbolised by two elements - yang fire sitting on top of metal.
According to the cycle of birth and destruction in Chinese metaphysics, fire conquers metal. Therefore, these conflicting elements are on a destructive cycle and signify disharmony.
As yang fire can also mean the powerful energy of the Sun, Lo predicts fiery or explosive disasters this year.
But, being symbolic of the Sun, it can also be perceived as "generating sentiments of optimism and happiness", Lo adds. This means it is "a favourable year for entertainment and glamorous industries".
The Monkey, Lo says, is a strong metal element and hidden inside it is yang metal, yang water and yang earth. Yang metal is a destructive element representing a sword or a lethal weapon.
"Yang water is powerful ocean water with aggressive energy. As such, it also indicates clashes related to the ocean or conflicts at sea. So it will not be surprising if the tension over disputed territories in the South China Sea may escalate. There is also a possibility of shipping and airline accidents or air and sea disasters."
According to Flying Star feng shui, star No. 2, representing sickness, occupies the centre of the Lo Shu Chart (or Magic Square) in 2016.
As such, Lo says, there may also be an increase in flu cases or at worst, a pandemic. Another common illness during the year may be disorders of the skin.
In Chinese metaphysics, yang fire represents heart, blood circulation and the shoulder. Hence, Lo predicts: "The fire year will see an increase in ailments involving the heart, blood, inflammation of the intestine and shoulder pain."
The metal element relates to lungs and breathing. With fire attacking metal, he predicts there may be illnesses related to the respiratory system.
Some people, like those born in the Monkey Year or a Monkey Day (in Chinese metaphysics, Feb 8 is a Monkey Day, for example) and Tiger years, are likely to travel more.
There will be "more movements" (changing job or travel or moving house/office) for people whose Chinese zodiac animals are the Pig, Rabbit and Goat.
The Monkey, Tiger and Snake should also be more cautious as their signs are in the Three Fire Penalty configuration.
Lo explains: "This means that there is hidden danger which will cause irritation, worries and serious misfortune related to the fire element. Pay particular attention to health issues and relationship problems."
People born in the Monkey year are "offending the Grand Duke" (Farn Tai Sui in Cantonese) and will be more susceptible to traffic troubles or fire hazards, Lo predicts.
People born in the year of the Tiger are "clashing" with the year. They should try to minimise travelling directly south-west as that is the direction of the Grand Duke (Tai Sui in Cantonese) this year.
Lo assures that "it is quite all right to travel or make necessary changes such as moving house or office, changing job or important trips.
However, take extra care and refrain from risky sports such as driving fast cars, diving or parachuting."
He suggests that people born in the Monkey. Tiger and Snake years carry a snake pendant to minimise negative influences and avoid misfortune.
Intellect and romance
On the optimistic side, love is in the air for certain zodiac signs.
The Rooster is the "flower of romance" this year, says Lo.
"This means people born in that year or on a Rooster Day can anticipate a more sociable year with more opportunity to develop friendship with the opposite sex."
The Monkey is a "nobleman" (protective angel) for people born in years or days of yin wood, yin earth, heavenly stems (any birth year ending with the number 5 or 9 such as 1955, 1959, 1965, 1969, 1975, 1979, 1985, 1989, 1995 and 1999). This means the Monkey will come to help and make everything smooth.
The Monkey is also the "academic star" for people born in a yang fire year. Lo says: "This is also a good year for birth as all babies born this year will automatically have an academic star, which means intellectual quality and strong desire to learn.
However, one has to make positive use of such a quality. It is an inborn potential but you must still put in effort and use it properly."
Einstein, Vincent Van Gogh and Kim Jong Un were born on the Fire Monkey Day.
Local geomancer Yap Boh Chu says speed will take precedence this year. "Events will happen at lightning speed. There will be sudden changes and movements, whether for good or bad. Bad can become good suddenly, and good can change to bad suddenly."
Problems, he says, can be solved early but they can easily recur.
Overall, Yap reckons 2016 to be "a good year for the world despite market volatility".
The United States will continue to be a major player influencing the world but not as prominently as last year.
China will be in the forefront of mixed fortunes this year.
He predicts that there will be fires, haze and flash floods, as well as air and sea disasters this year.
There will also be an increase in incidences of ailments involving the lungs and stomach.
China may encounter bird flu again and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), a viral respiratory ailment, may again rear its ugly head in the Middle East.
Yap predicts this year will be good for sectors such as the arts, entertainment, beauty, security and advertising.
However, it is an average year for finance and banking, and jewellery.
Financial institutions will encounter mixed fortunes because of market volatility.
The timber, education and agriculture sectors will fare reasonably well.
Food-based agriculture can be very good if crops can reach the market. However, he warns that the harvest may be affected by natural forces, thereby resulting in shortages.
Transport and travel will not have a good year, he adds, while the gambling industry will be average and the food business, mediocre.
Real estate will be a buyers' market, Yap says, as the industry will be slowing down. Medical sectors will also be affected and animal husbandry will be hit by incidences of disease.
The three afflictions
Each year, three afflictions will bear negative energy. They are: Tai Sui (Grand Duke of Jupiter), Sui Po (Year Breaker) and San Sha (Three Killings).
The negative effects will be felt when "invasive" activities (such as renovations) are carried out. With the No. 2 star in the centre sector, abstain from any major construction or digging in this sector.
Local feng shui master Gan Wai Kwang says that this year, the Monkey is the Tai Sui of the South-West sector.
Those born in the year of the Monkey, Tiger and Snake are "offending" him and need to pray to him (in temples) to avoid misfortune (like accidents, conflicts, illnesses, unsteady relationships, financial woes and unemployment).
"If you are sitting in this sector and cannot change your place, it is best to sit behind the sector for support.
If you sit facing the Grand Duke (South-West), you may experience bad luck, disharmony or illness," Gan says.
You can minimise bad luck by placing feng shui items (such as coins, a music box or water vessel) in this sector to reduce the impact of negative energy that can cause illnesses.
Since Tai Sui belongs to the fire element, do not place wooden objects in the centre sector or you will incur his wrath.
"Consider donating blood to avert bad luck or place five elements in a clockwise arrangement: water (in a cup), wood (a plant or green card), fire (red card), earth (rock) and metal (music box)," Gan suggests.
Gan says: "The Sui Po occupies the North-East sector, which is opposite Tai Sui. So do not face the South-West sector.
If you are unable to change the direction, you can place a cup of water between the South-West and North-East to reduce the impact from direct conflict with the negative force."
"The North-East is also said to be a high-risk sector since it is occupied by the No. 5 star.
Do not sit facing the South-West sector or you may have health problems (affecting the bones, skin and ears). Remember also to not engage in any renovation, digging or noisy activities.
If the sector is disturbed, it will also affect your children's education and cause arguments, thefts, lawsuits, illnesses and bad luck!"
Enhance wealth, avoid conflict
This year, the No. 8 star has flown to the South-West sector.
As a result of this, Gan believes, wealth is trapped and the economy will suffer and experience a slowdown.
Industries affected are finance (banks and the stock market), gold and real estate.
Those who want to enhance wealth can consider placing a red cloth or mat on the floor, then put eight white stones on it and then place it in the South-West sector of the house or office.
Gan says the No. 3 star has flown to the North-West sector.
This means that there will be conflicts in this sector. Avoid green and do not put any plants in this sector.
For those whose main door, bedroom or office faces the north-west, place a pink floor mat to reduce any conflict.
Parents who want their children to do well in school can place water bamboo plants in the West sector.