BEIJING (AP) — The new Chinese year is the one to go bananas over.On Feb. 8, the zodiac calendar enters the Year of the Monkey — the ninth of 12 animal signs. Plastic monkeys are adorning shoppingcenters and office buildings, and government departments have been giving outtoy monkeys.
Having ababy in the Year of the Monkey is generally thought to be more auspicious thanin that of its predecessor, the sheep, and the cute creature is in any caselargely beloved by the masses for its playful and human-like characteristics,despite a penchant for stealing food.
The newlunar year is already boosting a fighting style that imitates the movements ofa monkey. It also offers an excuse to cash in on China's most famous monkey — Sun Wukong, or the Monkey King — a fableddemon-slayer.
Lesshappily, feng shui predictions foresee fire, disease and volatile stocks.
A look atwhat mischief the Year of the Monkey may have in store.
Those bornin the Year of the Monkey are held to be playful, mischievous and clever — much like a monkey.
"Myson and daughter-in-law also bought me four pairs of long red underwear, fourred underpants and four pairs of red socks," he said. "Actually Idon't think these are something people must wear, but, in my year, the Year ofthe Monkey, I must do things very prudently and cautiously."
MORE BIRTHS EXPECTED
In this Feb. 2, 2016 photo, Hong Kong fengshui master Louis Wong poses after an interview in Hong K …
To enhancea couple's relationship this year, Wong advises placing a pink crystal on thewoman's side of the bedroom and a purple crystal on the man's side. He added:"And if we want them to have fewer quarrels and arguments, we can put afirecracker behind the door." While watching out for fire risks, ofcourse.
Wongcautioned that bad luck is more likely to befall those who are monkeys — "they need to be careful about their career and wealth" — and tigers — "they need to be carefulabout accidents, especially car accidents."
Wong saysthe lucky signs in the coming year will be the dragon and rat. "For thepeople born in the Year of the Dragon it will be good for their career andwealth, while for the rat it is good for their relationships with people,"he said.
A HongKong brokerage that publishes a tongue-in-cheek annual feng shui report saidthe Chinese territory's Hang Seng stock index would perform decently until adownward swing mid-year, followed by a recovery.
"Overall,it's a year for slow, considered expansion, not for raucous monkeyantics," it advises.
The CLSAbrokerage says U.S. presidential campaigner Donald Trump should watch his cashoutflow and beware the "golden-tongued" Hilary Clinton, who was bornin the Year of the Pig and is therefore a good pal of the monkey.
Also onthe agenda: A revival in houquan, or monkey kung fu. Practitioners imitatemonkey moves, in the same way as other strands of martial arts are based onanimals such as tigers and white crane.
The monkeystyle dates back to China's Western Han Dynasty around 200 B.C., said ChenQifang, the head of Lin'an City Martial Arts Council in Zhejiang province."It's a kind of kung fu that attempts to imitate a monkey's lively,mischievous and cute features with some of its typical moves like leaping,somersaulting, scratching ears and looking around as if for peaches or to seeif someone is attacking its territory."
Because ofits somersaults and other challenging moves, it's not as popular as otherstyles, says Chen.
Hisorganization has taught houquan in the past, but never seen as many primaryschool students sign up for it as in its latest class — almost 200.
"Thecoming Year of the Monkey may boost the resurgence of houquan, as it would be alot of fun for the kids to show off some monkey moves at the family partyduring the Chinese New Year holiday," he added.
The Yearof the Monkey gives a little-needed excuse to reference the much loved MonkeyKing character from the 16th century adventure novel "Journey to theWest." The supernatural Monkey King, also known as Sun Wukong, accompanieda monk on a journey to retrieve sacred scriptures and the story has inspiredcountless TV shows and movies over the years.
Unashamedlytrying to capitalize on the new zodiac year, yet another Monkey King adaptationwill be released on the first day of the lunar new year — Feb. 8. The 450 million yuan ($68 million) budget movie stars AaronKwok as Sun, Feng Shaofeng as the monk and Gong Li playing the skeleton demon.