WHAT WILL IT BE? A new year usually brings with it new challenges and most people want to be fully prepared for anything that may come their way. Tan Choe Choe speaks to a tarot card reader and a Chinese geomancer to find out what's in store in 2014
The numbers in the year 2014, when added together, is 7 and this, in the tarot system, represents the Chariot card -- two strong, feisty horses pulling a chariot forward.
For energy healer and tarot card reader, Sherwin Ng, that means it's not going to be a peaceful year.
"It'll be a year of people fighting for something... a year of changes. It's going to be a fiery and volatile year."
The Chariot also brings with it vehicular accidents, particularly in the first half of the year.
It also heralds possible positive changes in the automobile industry -- how they make cars or how their offerings are viewed by the people at large. There would be a renewed focus on hybrid cars.
However, these changes would not translate to immediate financial gains, but rather a new way of doing things and new inventions. "It may not be immediately profitable because people will have to adapt to it first."
While the Chariot is at the heart of the year, the three other cards of influence for the year are the Empress, the Temperance and the Hermit.
"The Empress' influence came in from 2010 onwards. She represents Mother Earth, so we see issues like genetically modified food and organic farming coming into play these 10 years," said Ng.
With the Empress' prevalent influence, and with the Chariot coming in this year, there will be a stronger fight against "unnatural things".
The new year will also be the 14th year since the turn of the new millennium, which also makes it the 14th year of the first century. This 14 is governed by the card Temperance, which depicts an angel pouring water from one cup to another.
"I always call this the teh tarik card and it's all about balancing. So this normally means new discoveries, inventions and thoughts and trying to balance the modern with ancient wisdom."
The Chariot also brings with it a hidden card, the Tower.
"That's one of the most disastrous and explosive cards ever. So, we're talking about volcanoes, literal explosions and earthquakes.
"The year before was wind-related, that brought tornadoes and typhoons. The coming year will be earthquakes. I'd say the earth is correcting itself."
Ng said many psychological problems will also surface.
"We will see drugs become useless as people start becoming immune to them. There will be a realisation that such drugs are not long-term cures and they bring a lot of side effects, which will be revealed next year. So, the medical industry will be shaken up a bit."
The flow of energies in the new year will also mean that people will not be unduly worried over the money aspect in their lives. Rather, they would be more into questioning their existential purpose, their emotional and spiritual wellbeing, and doing things to better themselves.
"Money-wise, there'll be a change in trend of how people earn money. They will be looking for more freedom in how they can earn their money.
"The focus will not be so much on stable jobs, but more on having comfortable work environments, on freelancing, and working from home. And the industries will be more receptive to this."
Lastly, the Chariot year is also a challenging year for governments and people in positions of authority.
"Your way of doing things must be justified. Otherwise, you will be immediately challenged."
In terms of Chinese feng shui and astrology, the new year proper will start only on Feb 4, 2014, at 6.03am, according to feng shui master Kenny Hoo.
The new year carries the Wood element in its heavenly stem and the Fire element in its early branch, hence its moniker, Wooden Horse.
"There'll be frequent incidents of ferocious, downpours, and storms and hurricanes, especially in countries in the East and Northwest regions. These will result in floods, earthquakes and landslides."
Regions in the East should be on high alert against outbreaks of diseases, as the Sickness Star arrives in this region.
The Northeast region could be prone to riots, while the Southeast region is likely to see disputes and legal embattlements.
The year will be especially unfavourable to Earth-related industries like property and construction, and Wood-related industries like timber, furniture and publication.
But, the year also brings with it the Wealth and Nobleman Stars, indicating that with more efforts and better management skills, one can still benefit from the year.
"As the saying goes, 'in order to get the best performance out of a horse, one needs to look for Bo Le, the legendary expert horse trainer'. Hence, to really make good profits in the Horse Year of 2014, one must identify and choose high-quality partners with good acumen, or find the Nobleman in one's birth sign for support," said Hoo.
Still, the first half of the year will bring with it potential wealth losses, especially with agricultural land, properties, estates, and high-rise units undergoing price adjustments.
"However, it may be beneficial to those who had previously wanted to buy but were unable to due to rising property prices. Now, there will be ample options, especially with the continued profusion of high-rise units in the market."
But, there might be some roadblocks with banks imposing stricter lending guidelines, so there will be a general sense of unease.
While certain regions may experience unstable climates such as flood, storm or drought, on the whole, it will be a better harvest year than most.
That said, those involved in Wood- and Fire-related industries, such as plantation, oil palm, rubber, glove, education, tyre, petroleum, electrical, energy, entertainment, and restaurant, "will have greater business opportunities, with more aggressive and active business plans that will lead to greater harvests".
The new year is also a major Peach Blossom year so many singles will meet their match while most unmarried couples will be tying the knot and having babies, and there will be more people moving into new homes and such.
These should be especially prevalent during the middle of the year, said Hoo.
However, the Wealth Loss Star is also present at the same time of the year and its appearance should serve as a reminder to guard against any careless or excessive spending.
Care should also be taken to avoid the downside of the Peach Blossom effect as those married would tend to have extramarital affairs. "Politicians and businessmen could lose their positions and wealth due to love affairs, which could even lead to scandals."
Due to the overwhelming influence of the Wood and Fire elements next year, most people will pay more attention to health and wellness. Those with sensitive skin, weaknesses in the liver, gallbladder, or stomach, nervous system disorders, and strained eyesight should take extra care as the year's Qi is unfavourable to the human organs related to these parts.