Friday, January 7, 2011

three tigers

"The White Tiger is connected to the symbol of jinx in China history. Some Chinese might consider that 2010 White Tiger is a bad year....

...Tiger contains Mainly Wood, Fire and little Earth. Wood and Fire together will make Fire stronger. Metal is afraid of Fire and Metal is also against Wood. That means Metal and Tiger together will fight each other, which implies 2010 won't come quietly and peacefully. We can image that 2010 is a Tiger wearing armor. This Tiger doesn't like armor on the top its body and keeps jumping around. For safety, we should keep our distance from it. That's why many Chinese don't like White Tiger."

-Chinese Fortune Calendar

A year ago, whilst celebrating Lunar New Year in Chinatown with my buddy Ivey, I slipped and fell down the steps of the subway, giving myself a massive bruise on my hip, and breaking a bracelet that a friend had made me in the process. A week after that, my wallet (containing my immigrant work permit) and mobile phone were pickpocketed. This was the start to my third Year of the Tiger.

I had meant to draw this picture back then, but the incidents listed above put that thought out of my mind for quite some time, and after that things just seemed to keep cropping up. A recent trip to the Singapore Zoo (it's beautiful; I took lots of pictures :D) made me remember it, and I figured might as well do it before the year officially ends. I try to draw a Lunar New Year picture every year, and I had meant this year to be far from an exception.

The Tiger is the year of my own birth, which means as of this year I've completed two twelve-year cycles (a complete cycle is 60 years, which means I've gone through the years of each animal in each of the five elements). Tiger Year children, generally speaking, are not traditionally favoured in Chinese culture (in the year of my birth, 1986, the birth rate fell dramatically in predominantly-Chinese Singapore), and girls particularly not so - apparently because it is supposed to make them overly aggressive, which is not a value that Chinese women are traditionally supposed to aspire to. The Chinese equivalent of the term 'bitch', at least where I come from, is 'mu lao hu' - 'tigress'.

It's been an interesting year, to say the least, definitely a year of extremes and firsts. A lot has been going on, some things nice and others not-so-nice, but one thing it has certainly not been is forgettable - as tigers never are. I've been very fortunate this year, but with all the good fortune came a great deal of stress and wear, and I've been trying to hold it all together and keep everything in check. Exhausting, but worth the effort in the end to my mind. Similarly, with all the not so nice things that happened, there was always a silver lining somewhere -- the day of my fall in the subway, there were good samaritans kind enough to help me up and give me tissues for my bleeding wrist; and the day my valuables got stolen, my friends pulled through for me unbelievably while I was being a hysterical mess. Also, I had already sent in the application for my work visa, so that was unaffected by my permit being missing (applying for my social security number on the other hand was another story, but thankfully that's all in the past now and didn't really affect anything either).

So here's my image for the Year of the White (Gold/Metal) Tiger -- the White Tiger himself, sitting in foreground, the Yellow Earth Tiger (1998) in the middle and the Red Fire Tiger (1986) at back. I'm amazed at the ease with which this picture appeared within the space of a day or so, given that it took me long enough to get around to making the effort.

Anyway, actual Lunar New Year picture coming soonish. :B And a fond farewell to the Year of the White Tiger -- it's been rocky, but grrrr-eat.

Oh oh also! Going to the zoo gave me the idea of possibly making some prints to raise money (and awareness) for conservation efforts. I hope I can find a good way to do this - since I've never done anything like that before and am not sure how to set it up. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

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