Sunday, September 30, 2007

Sima Qian on Confucius

China commemorated the 2558th birthday of Confucius (b 551 BC) on 28th September. (Refer to related entry in The Useless Tree blog)

To commemorate the great sage, this blogger shares the following comments from Sima Qian as recorded in the Records of the Historian (Shiji) more than two thousand years ago:

One of the songs says, “The great mountain, I look up to it! The great road, I travel it!”

Although I cannot reach him, my heart goes out to him. When I read the works of Confucius, I try to see the man himself. In Lu I visited his temple and saw his carriage, clothes and sacrificial vessels. Scholars go regularly to study ceremony there, and I found it hard to tear myself away.

The world has known innumerable princes and worthies who enjoyed fame and honour in their day but were forgotten after death, while Confucius, a commoner, has been looked up to by scholars for ten generations and more.

From the emperor, princes and barons downwards, all in China who study the Six Arts take the master as their final authority. Well is he called the Supreme Sage!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Crimes against humanity

The ancients have always advocated for a ruler to be benevolent since only when he loves his people can they enjoy peace and prosperity in the state. But when a ruler only thinks of profits or wants to manifest his power to oppress a powerless people of his own state or others, we see examples of a crime against humanity. In the days of old, we read of such crimes committed against the multitude in China by Chou Hsin of Shang and Shih Huangdi, the first emperor of Chin.

A few thousand years later, with much human development and education, we still witness crimes against humanity with the world looking on usually helpless.

If we think of the Second World War, the Middle East, Bosnia, several African states, Afghanistan, Iraq, and now Myanmar (Burma), we see powerful images of crimes against humanity. The whole world is outraged and yet remains helpless. Besides protesting against the ruler(s) for the whole world to see, with cries for help what can an overtly oppressed people do against guns and the might of a superior army? The unarmed and the peaceful cannot alone fight against oppression and a well armed army. It would be like throwing eggs at a rock, trying to split it?

How many more people need to die or get displaced before the world body, the United Nations steps in? What has the United Nations done except split hairs and listen to the rhetoric of powerful nations, their biggest paymasters? Where is the world statesman when he or she is needed? The answer, my friend, is ‘Blowing in the Wind’.

The world sorely needs a statesperson – a Da Ren - who commands global respect because the great person (the Da Ren) is both humane and just to people on earth. And who has the actual means and sincerity to back up the rhetoric. Perhaps then there will be respite from crimes committed against humanity in the world.

In the Book of Poetry, it is said,

‘Before the sovereigns of the Yin dynasty had lost the hearts of the people, they could appear before God. Take warning from the house of Yin. The great decree is not easily preserved.’

This shows that, by gaining the people, the kingdom is gained, and, by losing the people, the kingdom is lost.

[Da Hsiao – The Great Learning 10 .5]

Surely the ruling generals of Myanmar have ignored the advice in the above poem or quotation in the Great Learning for the past forty five years.

For the sake of profits and power, these heartless rulers oppressed their own people. The Burmese Buddhist monks are right in denying the generals and the army access to pay respects to Buddha. By committing crimes against humanity, can the generals and their soldiers really appear before Buddha?

No, says the ancients in the Book of Poetry and the Great Learning. And I wholeheartedly agree.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Where friendship ends

Whether we like it or not, the rich and powerful certainly have an advantage to the selection of friends and relatives. They undoubtedly have more friends and relatives than others. But once they fall from power or become poor, their friends and relatives will thin. Readers may be surprised to learn that this phenomenon is nothing new and already existed more than two thousand years ago.

Take the cases of worthy Chi An and Cheng Tang-shih who had friends by the score when they were in power during the Han dynasty and none when they fell from power. How must it be with ordinary men!

Lord Chai of Hsiakuei said that when he was chief justice guests thronged his gate, when he was dismissed you could have trapped birds at his door, but when he became chief justice again, his old protégés hoped to come back. Then he wrote in large characters on his gate:

When a lifelong friend is dead,
Friendship has fled;
When a rich man becomes poor,
Friendship is no more;
When a noble is brought low.
Friendship must go.

Chi An and Cheng Tang-shih might have said the same, alas!”

[Comments from the Grand Historian – Sima Qian]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fifty years of Yi study?

The Master said, “If some years were added to my life, I would give fifty to the study of the Yi, and then I might come to be without great faults.”

"The above statement was the value which Confucius set upon the study of the Yi."

"Zhu Xi supposes that this was spoken when Confucius was about seventy, as he was in his sixty-eighth year when he ceased his wanderings, and settled in Lu to the adjustment and compilation of the Yi and the other Classics."

"Ho Yen interprets the chapter quite differently. Referring to the saying, “At fifty, I knew the decrees of Heaven”, he supposes this to have been spoken when Confucius was forty seven, and explains – “In a few years more I will be fifty, and have finished the Yi, when I may be without great faults.”"

One thing remains upon both views: - Confucius never claimed, what his followers do for him, to be a perfect man."
[Appended notes to Analects 7 .16 Legge]

Personally, I would be quite satisfied if I can study the Yi for a total of fifty years. What about other Yi aficionados?

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Complete omen on natural disaster(s) in 2007

The omen recently given by the Zhouyi (Zhou Book of Changes) via Hexagram 3 Tun / Difficulty at the Beginning portends natural disaster(s) caused by a combination of typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis in Asia.

If the omen unfolds according to my interpretation, there will be a massive loss of lives and of realty. Those who live in high rise housing units or work in multi-storey office blocks will be particularly vulnerable this time round to the expected earth shattering quakes. Many roads will be flooded or broken up into sections.

Since the first blog entry on the omen in early September 2007, as forewarnings from heaven and nature, Central America has been hit by thunderstorms which turned in hurricanes, Indonesia has suffered several earthquakes and a small tsunami, Japan had a typhoon, Northern states in peninsular Malaysia suffered flash floods, Taiwan and China were grazed or hit by a super typhoon with many roads flooded and thousands of homes destroyed in Shanghai.

While many may consider these events good enough signs that the omen has indeed unfolded, this Yi student, like the seismic experts who spent decades predicting the big one that will hit after a series of small earthquakes, still waits for the actual unfolding of the oracle. Credit has to be given to these seismic experts for predicting a big one, if it happens. But prevailing scientific monitors and science severely limit their prediction capabilities to a general area without the ability to determine when and actually where (read time and space) the massive earthquake will likely hit.

If this recent Yi omen unfolds according to my interpretation, skeptics and detractors may realize how profound the Zhouyi is and why the ancients, the Chinese sages and the wise had relied on the Book of Changes to foretell events especially on those that concerned important matters of state.

Since it is timely to do so, let me post the complete omen comprising of both time and space for interested readers:


The Asian countries that would likely be affected by heavy thunderstorms and typhoons would be Malaysia (Kelantan, Terengganu, parts of Kedah and Pahang) and Hong Kong.

Earthquakes followed by tsunamis arising from the bottom of the South China Sea would likely hit Japan, Taiwan, and/or Korea. Coastal areas of neighboring countries like China and Vietnam could also be affected to an extent.


From experience, the timing of omens and heaven secrets given by the Yi to me are based on Malaysian time, therefore readers from different time zones or those who could be affected would have to adjust the time differential accordingly – otherwise dates may slightly differ because of huge timing differences.

Some of the heavy thunderstorms, typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis will likely strike at dawn and can happen any day between September 20th and the end of September. The likely dates to watch out for the huge earthquakes (the big ones) and the tsunamis, if any, are between September 22nd and the 26th.

Heaven and nature have recently given out forewarnings to most of the indicated countries of what to prepare for. As indicated in an earlier entry, heaven and earth are fair to humans, if they have learned how to read the signs of heaven and nature.

It is good to see that the specialists – the meteorologists and geologists – are on their toes and performing their jobs well in the recent ‘test or trail’ runs. So did the respective governments including that of Indonesia which was recently hit by earthquakes, numerous aftershocks and a small tsunami. While China took the drastic step to order 2 million of her people living in the coastal and unprotected areas to move into typhoon shelters to avoid an oncoming super typhoon.

These specialists and the respective governments will be able to save more lives if they are particularly vigilant and pass on vital information to the people in a timely manner. However people should also take steps to protect themselves and their kin. It would be foolhardy of them to ignore governmental warnings of oncoming typhoons and tsunamis even if some of the expected typhoons and tsunamis eventually fizzled out before reaching shore.

In sharing experiences with Yi aficionados on what to watch out for in the heavenly signs of the times and the three updates, they may now note that one big earthquake hit Indonesia at dawn. Forewarnings (or relevant information) usually accompany Yi omens before they unfold and confirm their likelihood of occurrence as the time of the portend events encroaches.

Warning :

No matter how I have presented this omen in this entry and in others, there is always a likelihood that it may fail to occur. If the omen does not happen as foretold, blame it on this Yi student’s inaptness in wrongly interpreting what the profound teacher, the Zhouyi actually wanted to say.

Well, chaos and unemployment – the main theme of Hexagram 3 Tun - for me, I suppose – perhaps rather like the hedge funds managers who lost their jobs after making wrong calls on the subprime loans debacle. At least they were well rewarded before their swift dismissals, while I got nothing.

Therefore, readers and those who heard about this omen must take note, in case they missed the relevant qualifications (with ifs) in each entry, that I can be incorrect in the prognostication. Instead of relying on my blog entries, they should always check with their investment advisers and rely on relevant specialist advice for their own investment decisions and other actions, including those of non actions.

All rights reserved.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Heavenly signs of the times – updates 3

On September 18, 2007, a super typhoon traveling at speeds of between 200 to 300 mph grazed Northern Taiwan and now heads towards Shanghai. Taiwan ordered her stock market and businesses to close while China ordered 200,000 people living in exposed areas in Shanghai to move to temporary shelters before evening. (Check out various online media for news report.)

According to Reuters, typhoons, large cyclones known as hurricanes in the West, regularly hit China, Taiwan, the Philippines and Japan during summer, gathering strength from the warm waters of the Pacific or the South China Sea before weakening over land.

Frankly, I was not aware of the summer phenomenon of super strong winds and that of the prediction by seismic experts of series of small earthquakes which will lead to the big one, when publishing the omen given by the Zhouyi.

But unlike their known(s), omens given by the Yi depict both time and space that is why the Book of Changes is profound.

It is said in the Da Zhuan (The Great Treatise) that

The eight signs constitute each a small completion. When we continue and go further and add to the situations all their transitions, all possible situations on earth are encompassed. It reveals tao and renders nature and action divine. Therefore with its help we can meet everything in the right way, and with its help can even assist the gods themselves. The Master said: Whoever knows the tao of the changes and transformations, knows the action of the gods.

Modern Yi scholars and the scientists tend to think that the ancient Chinese sages and the wise did not hold any clues as to what can happen in heaven and on earth, perhaps calling the traditionalists ignorant or mere superstitious. How could modern Yi scholars and scientists ever fully comprehend the workings of tao and nature since they would rely on derivative methods or science to predict natural calamities, and are so full?

I am not claiming that errors have never been made in my Yi predictions which include interpretations. If what my Daoist friend have indicated before is correct, perhaps a one in ten occurs. Probably the great sage, Confucius himself had made mistakes in Yi divinations too which could be the reason why he in his seventies still wished for fifty more years to study the Zhouyi so that he would not commit great errors? (Analects)

But when it comes to omens and heaven secrets, the Zhouyi has been dead right with the timing on the dot.

If the omen on natural disaster(s) in 2007 actually turns out to be correct and recent readers from Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Korea, and Japan have somehow avoided the calamity because of their affinity with the ancients, Buddhas, Daoist immortals and the Zhouyi by reading this blog, perhaps they should thank the divinities in the Daoist and/or Buddhist temples in their respective Asian countries. Those not religious or of a different belief can thank the Zhouyi for giving the omen and the forewarnings.

The reasons for not providing the actual time of occurrence of the omen are manifold. Glory seekers with no merit of their own may want to create a sensation, misleading and unnecessarily frighten their readers. (There were one or two Yi ‘experts’ who did so after the publication of the ‘another 9/11?’ omen in 2003.) It would also dissuade people who read or heard about the omen from pretending to be ShenXian (Daoist deities and immortals). I do not want shares investors to miss out on possible rebounds in the global stock markets since the US and European Central Banks are toiling to stabilize credit and financial markets. Not publishing the time would also allow me to learn from fellow Yi aficionados, if any, who can read omens with much more clarity. It would also allow me to remain blameless.

When it is timely to do so, one will definitely publish the complete omen depicting the time and space.

Meanwhile hope readers especially those from the indicated Asian countries would prepare for all eventualities of a forthcoming natural disaster, if any.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Times when cash is king

Investors in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange over the past few decades may still remember the times when cash is king. A time when share prices tumbled, because of an internal or external crisis and/or an exodus of foreign funds, rebounded and thereafter drifted ever lower the longer one held onto the investments while market liquidity slowly fizzled out.

Perhaps those adversedly affected may remember the hardships endured during the Pan El crisis in late 1985, the subsequent severe recession in 1986 / 87, the exodus of foreign funds in January 1994 and in August 1997, or the Asian financial crisis in 1997/ 98?

On hindsight, we often reminisced and wished that we had sold the shares earlier and held onto cash in order to buyback the same shares at distressed prices. But at the time, our decisions were clouded by false hopes that share prices could continue to rebound after the plunge(s). Those who have suffered the severe recessions in 1986 / 87 and in 1997/ 98 will understand what it meant to have cash.

Stockbrokers’ agents left the industry in droves in 1995 since shares transactions dwindled to a trickle. The KLSE rebounded in 1996 because of easy credit where tons of money were lent out by banks to small second board companies for real or fictitious huge projects. When the Asian financial crisis hit in 1997, shares of those companies became literally worthless (what with six limit downs of 30% each) and the lender banks had to write off most of the loans given out. Some smaller financial institutions had to be rescued by the Government or absorbed by bigger banks.

If we had cash in late 1998, we could be ‘king’ since bank deposits were paying 10% interest per annum and by then the KLCI had already fallen 1,000+ points from its record high of 1330+ reached in early 1994. (This explains my skepticism about stock market charts and fundamentals analysis, analysts’ and fund managers’ reports, and why I continue to follow the Yi.)

Ten years on and in September 2007, we face a similar scenario. The KLSE has gone up almost 40 % since November last year because of good fundamentals amidst some foreign buying, before the subprime mortgage crisis in the US and the sudden reversal of the yen carry trades in August panicked global stock and financial markets.

Global banks are hurt and paying penalties for their past risky lending practices; the big US investment banks have made several wrong calls this year and continue to bleed from their investments in hedge funds specializing in collateralized debts obligations (CDO) comprising mainly of subprime mortgages. The subprime loans, easy money spinning machines for those involved in the housing and finance industries before the huge defaults in loan repayments, had been designed to fail.

As indicated by, how a (non English speaking) fruit picker in the US can be expected to keep up with regular monthly installments of USD 12,000 to the subprime lender or the holder of the CDO is beyond sanity and prudence? Greed, fear, panic, call it what you will, such housing loans, their finesse repackaging and the subsequent ‘collusions’ certainly look like a perfect con game to me. But, how would I know?

A few days ago, global banks have started borrowing heavily from lenders of last resort (Central Banks) at punitive rates, since no one else wanted their assets-backed IOUs (Commercial papers). They had played coy earlier – in taking token sums from the US Fed.

Central banks in the West are now pressurized into making ‘damn if you do and damn if you don’t’ decisions to either reduce interest rates or staying pat. If the central banks made wrong calls on their own monetary policies and allow inflation to rear its ugly head then more hell can break loose. Remember the US dollar deposit rates of 20+% in 1980 / 81?

Senior accountants may recall the difficult theoretical inflation accounting studies in the US and in the UK back in the 1970s, where lecturers and professors seemed not to know how to handle the subject? US economists appeared flustered by their wrong collective calls on the latest US employment figures – a consensus prediction of 100,000+ new payrolls which turned into an actual minus 4,000 jobs. What is new, when things have gone into total disarray?

Back in Malaysia, the daily trade values in the KLSE have dwindled to figures last seen in 2006. September is usually a quiet month. The onset of the fasting month of Ramadan may lower market trades even further. That is the good news – not much harm done in not ‘following the money’, since there are still some small rallies. (Possible bear traps and syndicates trying to cash out of the market. There are still sharks out there, remember?)

The bad news is that there had been a huge net outflow of 5.6 billion ringgit from the country during the second half of August. A large part of the outflow could be money taken out by foreign or hedge funds who sold down their share investments, which helped explain the huge falls of the KLCI by mid August. If investors follow the local financial news and read the market closely, owners have started to reduce their stake holdings. It is also quite obvious that stock market syndicates (the sharks) are caught at higher prices before the recent rout in mid August took its toll.

The questions in my mind now are:

‘What if the banks and stockbrokers because of some internal or external shocks suddenly turn jittery and start to recall financing of warehoused stocks and syndicates’ holdings?

What if the omen on natural disaster(s) in 2007 really unfolds?

What if the Dow Jones Index crash this October – on the back of bad news of huge bank losses?’

(The global banks will file their financial statements to Central Banks in October and November.)

The plunge(s) that would follow could be the worst case scenario for those still with heavy borrowings or huge unpaid stock market losses. Perhaps for some, bankruptcy could be the only way out.

But as readers are aware, ‘old fools never learn’.

The Government has recently started to publicize their guarantee of a maximum sum of RM 60,000 held in any bank account, if fellow Malaysians have not noticed. Those still holding large cash positions in their equity margins should withdraw some money and deposit the funds with bank(s).

There must be a good reason why a large global investment fund of Goldman Sachs is currently holding a huge cash position (about 70% of remaining funds) after suffering a 22% + realized loss in August.

Unless investors want to ‘die standing’ or ‘shit bricks’ later, the old Chinese saying of ‘On Bin Bu Dong’ or ‘Pacify the soldiers and not move’ certainly applies in such times of uncertainty – that is if we still have an army intact and not left with the ‘walking wounded’ or relying on ‘old and weak soldiers’ after the recent rout and panic, to fight another battle.

Writing this entry encourages me to try to get out of the ‘old fools’ mode and to hold cash. Hope readers, friends and kin could also try to.

Meanwhile as I write, time is ticking towards the unfolding of the omen on natural disaster(s) in 2007.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Heavenly signs of the times - update 2

PADANG, Indonesia - Powerful earthquakes struck Indonesia for a third day Friday, terrorizing thousands of people who slept outside in fear of tsunami and falling debris. Seismologists warned that the worst may be yet to come.

The massive 8.4-magnitude quake that shook Southeast Asia on Wednesday has been followed by dozens of strong aftershocks that have killed at least 13 people, damaged hundreds of homes and churned up a 10-foot-high tsunami.

On Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey measured one aftershock jolting the area at magnitude 6.4.

Experts have been predicting a repeat of the massive earthquake that triggered the 2004 Asian tsunami, which killed more than 230,000 people in a dozen Indian Ocean nations. Kerry Sieh of the California Institute of Technology, who has spent decades studying the fault line in the area, said these temblors could be leading up to the big one.

"No one can say whether it will be in 30 seconds or 30 years," Sieh said. "But what happened the other day, I think is quite possibly a sequence of smaller earthquakes leading up to the bigger one."

By ANTHONY DEUTSCH, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 54 minutes ago

Scientists and experts tend to think that if they cannot predict the time of likely events, after studying them for decades, no one else can. The skeptics who had studied the Yi for decades and accused me being a false prophet on the ‘another 9/11’ omen, perhaps held similar thoughts.

Just because they cannot do it or have not seen it done before, does not mean no one else can. Perhaps they have never really heard of or understood that the Zhouyi is indeed profound?

This is one of the reasons why I had only specified the event and the space (read countries) but on purpose, left out the time.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Heavenly signs of the times - updates

Skeptics tend to think that what the ancients knew about heaven and earth and omens are nothing compared to the advent of science. Since to them, science can be relied upon to explain (almost) everything that happens on earth and predict forthcoming natural disasters. Perhaps those skeptical are right or perhaps not, for only time will tell.

Meanwhile these two consecutive powerful earthquakes in Indonesia show that even the best scientific equipments made available to man can only read from hindsight what had actually happened. Yi aficionados interested in the phenomenon of omens given by the Book of Changes should take particular note of the detailed information provided in the AP news and made available by Yahoo on September 13, 2007 (extracts):

PADANG, Indonesia – “The second powerful earthquake in as many days shook western Indonesia Thursday, collapsing buildings in a coastal city and triggering tsunami alerts around the region.

The latest quake was also felt in Malaysia and in Singapore where tall buildings swayed. It triggered at least one strong aftershock.

On Wednesday, a strong earthquake shook Southeast Asia, collapsing buildings, killing at least five people and injuring dozens in Indonesia. That tremor triggered a small non-destructive tsunami off the coastal city of Padang on Sumatra, the Indonesian island ravaged by the 2004 tsunami disaster. A tsunami warning was issued for wide areas of the region and nations as far away as Africa.

Thursday's magnitude-7.8 quake rattled the same area of Sumatra and caused extensive damage in Padang.

"Many buildings collapsed after this morning's quake," Fauzi Bahar, the mayor, told El Shinta radio. "We're still trying to find out about victims.

Rafael Abreu, a geologist with The U.S. Geological Survey in Colorado, said the quake on Thursday did not appear to be an aftershock to the 8.4-magnitude temblor the day before. But the centers of both were close together.

"We are not calling it an aftershock at this point. It's fairly large itself. It seems to be a different earthquake," Abreu said.

"The quake seems to be pretty shallow," he said. "These are the quakes that can produce tsunamis."

Indonesia issued a tsunami warning, lifted it and then reissued it. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning that unusual waves could hit Christmas Island early Thursday, but locals said there was no sign of a tsunami about an hour after the predicted time.

"The danger has passed," said Linda Cash, a manager at the Christmas Island Visitors Center. "There was no wave or damage or anything."

However, Cash said police were out early Thursday warning people to stay away from the beaches.

The USGS said the new quake was centered about 125 miles from Bengkulu, a city on Sumatra. It occurred at a shallow depth of about six miles and struck at 6:49 a.m.
The first quake was felt in at least four countries, with tall buildings swaying in cities up to 1,200 miles away. It was followed by a series of strong aftershocks, further rattling residents.”

(AP news written by ANTHONY DEUTSCH and provided online 38 minutes ago)

It is good to note that the specialists are performing their jobs well and that the respective governments provided the forewarnings in a timely manner.

Hopefully, these ‘test runs’ from heaven and earth and nature provide adequate forewarnings to specialists and governments to be alert of the forthcoming omen.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Heavenly signs of the times

After consulting the tortoise and/or the yarrow, the ancients on occasions had to rely on tell tale signs from heaven to confirm an omen on important matters of state. Heavenly signs can signify a rise and fall of dynasties/ empires for examples: an eclipse of the sun* during noon (also refer to 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines of Hexagram 55 Feng / Abundance) and the numerous comets sighted, a few earthquakes, great famine and floods during the conquest of the warring states and Zhou by the first Qin Emperor of China**. Since 1,070 BC (if not earlier), the ancients came to call these heavenly signs, Mandates of Heaven (Tian Ming).

With the advent of science and gradual development of specialized fields over the past few thousand of years, with a mere touch of a button on the remote to the TV or radio nowadays, one gets to read or hear of weather forecasts, to foreknow occurrences of eclipses of the sun and the moon, and to receive forewarnings of impending natural disasters brought on by droughts, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis, that is if the specialists – meteorologists, astrologers, and geologists – provided the relevant up-to-date information in a timely manner and discharged their jobs fully. Then it would be up to respective governments to speedily communicate any dire news to help and protect their people.

With the recent failures of inept governments to provide help and timely forewarnings, the best favor the people can do is to look after themselves. (Think of the tsunami that hit Indonesia, the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the recent hurricanes that hit Central America and the Caribbean.)

In the case of omens, and similar to ancient times, the Yi diviner could be given forebodings that presage a prognostication. Heaven and nature are fair to people, if humans have learned how to read the warning signs. Let us read some of the recent signs, and consider if they constitute forebodings.

About two years ago, the forewarnings started with an earthquake off the islands of Indonesia followed by a tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Indonesia as well as holidaymakers in Penang, Malaysia and Phuket, Thailand. The next natural disaster was Hurricane Katrina which hit and flooded New Orleans. In both calamities, many people lost their lives, with many homes and infrastructures swept away or simply destroyed.

Some time later, a few countries suffered the worst floods in decades – Malaysia (Johor), China, and England. In between, several earthquakes jolted various countries – for example Japan and Taiwan.

In early September, heavy thunderstorms turned into hurricanes to hit Central America and the Caribbean. Tokyo was put on alert of an approach of a typhoon from the south on Thursday, September 6. Nearer to home, flash floods on Saturday hit several areas in Penang and Perak – both states north of where I live. The latest is that of a 6.8 magnitude earthquake jolting western Columbia on Sunday – online news provided by Reuters, UK.

Perhaps there will be more heavenly signs as the omen on natural disaster(s) in 2007 approaches.

Take care.


*In his very well researched book titled The Mandate of Heaven – Hidden history of the I Ching, Steve J Marshall pinpointed and discussed the occurrence of an eclipse of the sun in 1,070 BC that presaged the change of dynasties from Shang or Yin to that of the Zhou. In the book, Marshall also meticulously explained the hidden meanings in most of the lines in Hexagram 55 Feng and a few other hexagrams.

**The numerous sightings of comets, earthquakes, great famine and floods were recorded in the Shiji (Records of the Historian) by Sima Qian whom I heard to be versed with the Zhouyi just like his father, the previous Han Grand Historian. A shooting star was sighted a year before the demise of the Qin emperor.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

An omen on natural disaster(s) in 2007

It is not often that the Zhouyi wants to tell me something momentous. Over the past two decades, the Yi only gives omens or heaven’s secrets where necessary to forewarn of impending huge financial loss or to keep me and kin out of harms way.

Since my consultations have diminished over the past few years, the Yi has resorted to prompt me to ask of it the simplest yet general question, ‘What is happening?’

With this line of questioning, the Yi had given the last two omens in 2003. One portended the US invasion of Iraq while the other foretold the (intended) bombing of the US Library Tower and trains in the US and Europe by Muslim terrorists pretending to be tourists – refer to blog entries and related entries on ‘Another 9/11?’

Fours years have quickly gone by and under the scenario of such a prompting, one has recently consulted the Yi about what would happen. And as indicated in the entry on ‘Chaos and unemployment’ the prognostication came in the form of an unchanged Hexagram 3 Tun / Difficulty at the Beginning. Hexagram Tun comprise of trigram Kan (water) on top of trigram Zhen (thunder).

Before we proceed into different levels of interpreting the prognostication, I have to caution readers that one did not actually feel the usual awareness that exists in prior omens, because of a small increase in body warmth arising from the neidan practice. With this minor qualification in place, I feel somewhat at ease to continue.

Since the question posed is simple and general, the Yi can reveal any heaven secrets or omens while remaining blameless - akin to actions of Daoist heavenly immortals who reveal heaven secrets through cryptic messages hidden in ‘flowery’ verses.

When the Yi speaks, the prognostication will be accurate, it is then up to the diviner(s) to interpret the omen. If the interpretation is somehow inaccurate, Yi’s cryptic message remains a hidden secret to be unlocked by the right person(s) who can see such messages clear as day.

The hexagram, Tun talks about chaos and unemployment. If the diviner is not affected, his kin could be. Using another level of interpretation, one has occasion to caution my son not to do something until the Chinese New Year is over. This particular type of interpretation would prove easy for more experienced Yi diviners.

The omen portends natural disasters arising from hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes and tsunamis (depicted by Kan and Zhen). What had started out as heavy tropical storms in Central America have already turned into hurricanes, but that is not it!

Upon deeper pondering and analysis, the omen foretells of a forthcoming natural disaster or disasters caused by a combination of typhoons, earthquakes, and tsunamis that would hit Asia – one will give the likely time of occurrence later.

The countries that could be hit by rather heavy thunder storms or massive typhoons will be the Northeastern states of peninsular Malaysia and typhoon prone Hong Kong. A huge earthquake or earthquakes arising from the bottom of the South China Sea followed by tsunami(s) will likely hit Japan, Taiwan, and/or Korea. (Obviously coastal areas of neighboring China could also be affected.)

If this natural disaster or calamity actually occurs, the omen foretells of massive losses of lives and property.

Those who live in high rise apartments or work in tall office buildings are particularly vulnerable to the earth shattering quake(s), this time round. Many roads would be flooded and/or broken up into sections.

The damage to property could be as severe as the Kobe Earthquake in January 1995, if not more – since the Yi gave that particular omen in a different hexagram. Just like the events after the Kobe earthquake, there will be chaos and unemployment.

The prevention of loss of lives is more important than loss of property, therefore meteorologists and geologists of these Asian nations should be extra vigilant during the time predicted, and to quickly forewarn fellow citizens of any forthcoming heavy thunder storms, typhoons, major earthquakes or tsunamis.

Just like what one had indicated in my previous omen – another 9/11 – lives can be saved if governments are particularly vigilant – for example, the averted US Library Tower bombing episode in June 2003 – the predicted time of that omen.

If the natural disaster(s) actually occur, Asian stock markets could be adversely affected. Therefore be very careful with your investments in Asia.

From experience, if the exact time is revealed too early, people tend to panic or do silly things since few can handle the stress of foreknowledge of ominous omens. Therefore it is more beneficial than harm to indicate the exact time closer to the predicted event.

Readers who plan to visit the indicated areas or countries can either defer their holidays or be extra careful on arrival since the Yi has mentioned caution, a number of times.

By coincidence, just prior to my recent post on ‘Chaos and unemployment’, some readers from Taiwan and Japan have visited this blog. Hope they will pay a repeat visit and read this entry. Perhaps then they can take some safety measures to protect themselves and their kin if in the event that their respective countries really get slammed by huge earthquake(s) and tsunami(s). Another coincidence is that hundreds of thousands of Japanese took part in an annual earthquake disaster drills on September 1st.

Nowadays the Yi keeps testing my skills on interpretation and on time determination – what with an unchanged hexagram prognostication, this time. Well, if the teacher decides to set an extremely difficult assignment, the earnest student will just have to bear with it and grin. What else can the student do?

If readers have interpreted the omen based on the traditional approach, please feel free to post your current thoughts on concern areas (countries or of interpretation) which could have been omitted in this entry. (Comments on omissions based on hindsight are not encouraged.)

As to whether the omen will occur or not, akin to what Zhuangzi liked to say, ‘How would I know?’

Therefore readers or anyone else will be wholly responsible for their own actions or non actions after reading and/or hearing about this omen.

All rights reserved.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Chaos and unemployment

My last consultation of the Zhouyi was in April and in the midst of the current meltdown of the financial markets, I recently put to the Yi the simplest of questions, ‘What is happening?’

The prognostication came in the form of an unchanged Hexagram 3 Tun / Difficulty at the Beginning. Not surprising for any Yi aficionado to receive such an answer, during a time of stagnation where heaven and earth stay as they are, and when the inferior man (Xiao Ren) comes into prominence, the superior man (Junzi) withdraws into seclusion since no one wants to listen.

The judgment in Tun says:
Difficulty at the Beginning works supreme success, furthering through perseverance. Nothing should be undertaken. It furthers one to appoint helpers.

Times of growth are beset with difficulties. They resemble a first birth (an individual produced by heaven and earth).
When it is a man’s fate to undertake such new beginnings, everything is still unformed, dark. Hence he must hold back, because any premature move might bring disaster.
Like wise, it is very important not to remain alone; in order to overcome the chaos he need helpers. [W/B]

The image says:
Clouds and thunder: The image of Difficulty at the Beginning. Thus the superior man brings order out of confusion.

Who this Junzi will be is the trillion dollars question, since without the necessary and forthcoming revelations (read real exposure, estimated ‘damage’ or losses, denials); no one really knows how to resolve the current crises. Therefore team work is required which is what the G7 is currently doing.

Gleaning from the online financial pages of various international newspapers and reputable global TV stations, it seems that the US subprime mortgages, related CDOs and their highly ‘sophisticated’ derivatives amounting to trillions of US dollars are treated as off-balance sheet items by banks. The carry trades industry could easily add a few more trillions in credit exposure to these global banks not forgetting the hefty equity financing and the recent un-disgorged loans for leveraged buyouts. (The reason the Junzi who could resolve the chaos is considered a trillion dollars question.)

With various prestigious US universities’ economic professors coming forward to predict a major economic downturn arising from the deepening subprime mortgages crisis, and/or a 30 to 50% fall in US house prices, the Junzi will definitely need all the help, he or she can get to alleviate the problems of creditworthy house buyers and for the common good.

As to what these US professors have predicted will the US property market follow the horrendous falls (up to 70%) in prices of Hong Kong’s real properties witnessed after the Asian financial crisis and the SAR crisis? It is quite obvious, like the Hong Kong example given; there will be negative net worth of subprime properties, since the lending criteria to buyers of these houses in the US were irrational in the first place. But whether or not US house prices will fall 50% is anyone’s guess.

In times of chaos and unemployment, the Yi indicates not to undertake anything. The fated or 'heaven assigned' Junzi would handle the chaos and the unemployment factors.

Therefore one holds cash to wait for the debris from the crises fallout to settle.

This entry is written for most Yi aficionados. There are at least two more levels of interpretation of the prognostication if they understand the purpose of my ‘simplest question’ and ponder the Yi’s answer deeper.

The two other interpretations are reserved for another entry. Meanwhile those interested have some lead time (a day or two) to make their own interpretations, based on the assumption that the Yi has really spoken. Let us see if we can arrive at the same conclusion as to what the Yi had wanted to tell me and the world, with an unchanged hexagram Tun.
(Hint: there is still some time before the ominous omen, if any, occurs.)