A soothsayer’s visions for 2004Lee Soo, a fortune-teller who correctly predicted Roh Moo-hyun’s election victory last year, foresees George W. Bush returning to the White House this year. He foresees North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-il having a hard time throughout the year, while his South Korean counterpart, President Roh, finally basks in good fortune beginning next month.
The year 2004 is full of changes and conflicts, according to Mr. Lee, a fortune-teller in Seoul who makes predictions based on the 60-year Sexagenary Cycle theory.
As a gapsin year in the cycle, 2004 is symbolized by an axe embedded in a pine tree, based on the theory of yin and yang. By comparison, the gapsin year of 1884 is remembered as a period of revolution in Korean history, and Mr. Lee ― who asserts that “history repeats itself” ― thus predicts this year will be more dynamic than static. That does not necessarily mean that 2004 will be shrouded in dark clouds, Mr. Lee says, for the good luck of Mr. Roh and Mr. Bush offset possible misfortune.
This year gets underway with deepening clashes between old and new generations, especially in the political arena.
“Starting with new factions taking the lead against the established, politics will be more chaotic during the first few months of this year,” Mr. Lee says. This confusion will be overcome with new factions falling into disarray over the long haul. Mr. Roh will have to give up a number of battles, but eventually will get the last laugh. His luck will be stronger outside Korea than domestically.
In the United States, Mr. Bush will see his luck turning for the better, helping bring about a full-blown revival of the U.S. economy, Mr. Lee says. But the president will have to tread carefully, for there’s a shadow of bad luck in his family ― most likely in the form of a fatal blow to his father’s health.
Despite his cautionary climate, the U.S. president still has the inside track on Kim Jong-il, whose year’s fortune is studded with betrayal, verbal abuse and rebellion. The fortune-teller sees some disaster befalling the Dear Leader’s children, or even his possible resignation.
Economy-wise, the year does not look too bad. With steelmaking at the helm this year, heavy industries and auto industries possess a good opportunity for growth. Staying on pace with a strengthening U.S. economy, Korea has a fair chance of breaking out of its slump during the first half of the year, Mr. Lee says. Investors will see solid profits in the information technology sector through the summer, but should switch to export-related stocks during the second half. The stock market will enter its prime in February and March. Real-estate investors should look west, Mr. Lee says, to areas like Ganghwa island and Gimpo. Based on yin and yang, Mr. Lee foretells that money is to be found in the west. See more of his predictions in the chart at right.
Believe it ― or not ― the future’s in the animal sign
1948 Watch out for your health. You will find luck during mid-summer.
1960 Stay away from the stock market. Stick to your savings.
1972 You will be spending more than saving this year. Avoid using credit cards.
1949 Steer clear of the real estate market. Otherwise, you will end up losing a good fortune.
1961 From mid-summer, you may hit a jackpot.
1973 Nothing is in your way this year. You will be recognized at work, while enjoying quality time.
1950 A possible windfall in April. Stay away from real estate, but you’ll have good luck in stocks.
1962 This year is the right time to buy a house, at least in the first half of the year.
1974 From May onward, sit on the fence until your luck is restored in the fall.
1951 Go for business rather than the stock market. Don’t expect instant moneymaking.
1963 You may take on risky endeavors until August, but take precautions from October onward.
1975 The best thing to do this year is to get plenty of rest, and steer away from any investment.
1952 Don’t ever be too ambitious this year when it comes to money.
1964 January, May and September are the right times for making an investment.
1976 You are in luck during the first half of the year, but not in the latter half.
1953 It looks like you are having the time of your life ― but, sorry pal, you are not.
1965 You are to reap only what you sow. Do not expect profits without due efforts.
1977 You have a good opportunity to buy a house, though you feel you can’t make both ends meet.
1954 You will have the Midas touch this year ― especially in August.
1966 You will see some decent profit by selling in the first half and by buying in the latter half.
1978 You will overcome crisis and your original ideas will be fruitful.
1955 You can’t be earning money all of the time, so follow the turn of events in the first half of the year.
1967 Get wise and take a step back when you don’t see any good signs.
1979 Fortune is smiling upon you. But watch out; you might suffer from financial difficulties.
1956 Prepare yourself with enough cash reserves, or you will lose the opportunity of a lifetime.
1968 Everything will be on your side from this year. Act according to your convictions.
1980 You will be in trouble, but with a helping hand you will be able to overcome.
1957 Supports from outside will give you ample strength for this year of achievement.
1969 If you stay away from real estate and the stock markets, when are you going to make a fortune?
1981 Before starting an investment, take enough time to go over your plans carefully.
1946 Stand firm in your convictions and chart out the ideal strategies to minimize risk.
1958 Even if you are successful now, you cannot be too cautious this year.
1970 If you have a car in mind, don’t hesitate to buy one. It’s not a crime to enjoy yourself.
1947 If you rely on chance, all you get are risks.
1959 Before anything, take care of your health this year. Moneywise, you should have a passable year.
1971 Employ your own standard of investment. After fall, you will see more zeroes in your bank account.
by Chun Su-jin