Elwood 5566

Year of the Rabbit 2011 – Boring Bunnies

Posted in Animals, bathhouse Ballads by 노강호 on February 4, 2011

2011, year of the rabbit

새해 복 많이받으세요! Happy New Year! 2011 is the year of the rabbit and as the Chinese astrological calendar operates through a 12 year cycle, this means that it is particularly pertinent to those people born in 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963,1975, 1987, and 1999. I’m not particularly into any form of astrology and only today read the characteristics of my Chinese astrological animal, surprised at how closely it matched my temperament, only to discover I was reading the wrong one. It seems you can find aspects of yourself in any character, Chinese or otherwise. Call me a cynic! Apparently, rabbit people are kind and fabulous dressers, a trait also shared by sheep people which is the character presiding over my birth year. Unfortunately, I am a total slob when it comes to fashion!

I do wonder however, the extent to which astrological characters, or indeed Korean names, influence ones character. I still have an essay from a student in my last high school,  who wrote that their name, Dong-jo (동조), when written in hanja (東 照), could be translated as ‘leader from Asia. His grandfather had paid a shaman 250.000 for choosing this name. Dong-jo writes:

‘But without mentioning its price, it is still special because it has a meaning that is still leading me through my whole life. Influenced by my name, I always tried to be a captain of a group which I belonged to. It has been natural for me to be class president every year and even when I spent time in New Zealand, I was captain of our school’s house.’

I have met other Koreans who tell me their names have had an influence on their lives. So, I wonder to what extent your life might change if you not only have a meaningful name, but it is also somehow connected with your zodiac character. I have never been enamored with a goat as my western astrological sign, Capricorn, and as equally uninspired by my Chinese character,  a sheep, or my corresponding element, wood. In what way can you rescue anything from the ‘wood sheep?’ My Chinese zodiac sign is as boring and mundane as my western sign!

Bruce Lee, 'Little Dragon,' born in the year of the dragon (1940)

Bruce Lee (이소룡), born in San Francisco, was not only born in the year of the dragon (1940), but his elemental influence was that of metal. Lee had several names but was originally ‘Little Phoenix’ (細鳳), but as this was slightly feminine, it was later changed to ‘Return Again’  (李振藩) as his parents, having since moved back to Hong Kong,  thought he would at sometime return the USA. When he started acting, he adopted the name ‘Little Dragon’ (李小龍)  and it is by he is known in Korean (이소룡).

Bruce Lee's statue in Hong Kong

To what extent was the young Lee influenced by his various names and by the fact he was born in the year of the ‘metal dragon.’ I wonder how he would have fared had he been born one year earlier, in 1939, in the year of the ‘rabbit,’ and a boring ‘earth rabbit’ in terms that year’s element. A dragon suits everything about Bruce Lee’s life, his dertermination, fighting prowess and incredible physique but having him utter ‘the rabbit flicks its tail’ after kicking an opponent in the stomach, as he does in Way of the Dragon,  is more suited to a character in Kung Fu Panda. I quite envy both Dong-jo and Bruce Lee for having names that gave them something to aspire to from an early age. 

Happy New Year and good luck if you too have a boring astrological sign, Chinese or otherwise!

Creative Commons License

© 林東哲 2011 Creative Commons Licence.


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