As we embark on a fresh round of extrapolations for 2014, we take a quick look at the accuracy of predictions made for 2013.
IN his weekly Sunday column on Dec 20, 2012, The Star chief news editor and the author of Vasthu Sastra Guide T. Selva presented his analysis of the various zodiac signs using the Indian almanac. Under the Kartaka (Cancer) sign, Selva wrote these opening lines: “You will be recognised for your efforts….”
Five months later, a very famous Cancerian in the form of Sir Richard Branson went on board an AirAsia flight, dressed up in a stewardess uniform, complete with fishnet stockings, red lipstick and blue eye shadow. During the six-hour flight, Branson pledged to serve tea, even clean the toilets, to honour a two-year-old bet made with AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fernandes. While Branson became the butt of a million jokes, his stunt also made worldwide headlines and benefitting from the funds collected on this flight was the Starlight Foundation, a global charity aimed at bringing the smiles back to sick children.
Although Selva’s statement was a general one, his prediction had come true.
Meanwhile the prognostication from CEO and master trainer of the Mastery Academy of Chinese Metaphysics Joey Yap, about Malaysia having a good year would be best left to individual interpretation.
He wasn’t completely wrong, of course. In terms of international relations, we did shine. In January, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak became the first Asian leader to hold a two-sided discussion concerning investment opportunities with Japanese Prime Miniter Shinzo Abe. Malaysia also witnessed the peace process for the South Thailand unrest by hosting the signing of a consensus between the Thai government and Badan Revolusi Nasional (BRN), a southern Thailand Muslim group. There was also President Xi Jinping’s three-day visit to Kuala Lumpur.
But if you’re a wildlife conservationist, the above prediction wouldn’t be precise. Who can forget the 14 dead Borneo pygmy elephants near the Gunung Rara Forest Reserve? Poisoned with pesticide, they died slowly and painfully. When their carcasses were found, the sole survivor left was a baby elephant named Baby Joe, seen caressing the body of its lifeless mother.
And what of one Johorean businessman who slipped poisoned fruit into the animal enclosures of the Malacca Zoo causing the death of a sun bear and an Arabian stallion? Or the two youths who thought it was funny to seal a kitten in a jar? Thankfully, Yap was right about the business landscape.
The Star Online reported the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index had hit record highs to end at 1,866.96 on New Year’s Eve. Data from Malaysia Automotive Institute also reported new vehicle sales increasing by 3.9% to a record 652,120 units sold. Over in the manufacturing sector, the Statistics Department recorded 4.4% growth in the manufacturing sector, which hit sales of RM53.2bil in November.
Maybe we can also look to Melbourne-based feng shui consultant Edgar Lok who has 13 years of experience in the field.
Lok was spot on when he wrote in his loktinfengshui.com.au that there would be uncontrollable fires burning in South-East Asia. In June and August, the World Resources Institute reported forest fires in Indonesia flaring to alarming levels causing Malaysia and Singapore to be enveloped in thick smog.
Lok also predicted electricity problems and true enough, Malaysia experienced several blackouts, most notably in Sarawak, when circuits at the Kemena-Bintulu transmission power line tripped, plunging the state into a turmoil of darkness and snarling traffic jams for several hours.
In a twist of events still related to electricity, a freak storm in Penang caused the collapse of a lightning arrester from the island’s Umno building in Macalister Road. Taking the brunt of the impact was an economy rice seller driving past then. Save for parts of his car salvaged from a deep crater left by the lightning arrester, his body was never recovered.
Lok also forecasted volcano eruptions. The Atlantic reported one in Mount Etna, Italy and Volcan Copahue, Argentina.
Just like Lok said, these two happened in the South American region and Europe. However, we suspect he might have missed out one underwater eruption in the seas of Japan.
This event was of particular interest because it gave birth to a new island, about 1,000km south of Tokyo. The last time a similar phenomenon was recorded by Japanese media was in 1970.
Unfortunately, Lok was also right when he wrote the year would see a decline in social niceties with violent uprisings and civil unrest taking place.
There is no need to mention the usual places of strife. The Minion Madness in July where an unruly crowd pulled at a roller shutter of a McDonald’s outlet in George Town until it gave way was enough to affirm people have forgotten that a Happy Meal is supposed to bring smiles, not bruises and frowns.
But the most impressive set of predictions would come from founder and chief researcher of Good Feng Shui Geomantic Research Kenny Hoo when he summed up 2013 as the year of correction.
Proof that Hoo had gotten it right was a Bloomberg report revealing the reduction of entertainment budgets for ministers and a freeze on renovations in government offices in an effort by the Malaysian government to curb public spending. Cuts would also see civil servants travelling in economy class for domestic flights and a decrease in souvenir presentations and refreshments.
He was also very right about it being a “painful” transition for some as price hikes for fuel, electricity, toll, sugar and the introduction of the GST became the hottest topics for the year. However, Hoo didn’t completely hit the mark about the sports sector doing well. While squash and badminton stars Datuk Nicol David and Datuk Lee Chong Wei shone, our sepak takraw team lost to Laos at the Myanmar SEA Games. Overall, Malaysia finished fifth behind Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. Datuk K. Rajagopal would also be saying goodbye as his contract has not been renewed, seemingly for failing to get the National football squad into the 2015 Asian Cup.
Speaking on the subject of likelihoods and the chances of prophecies coming true, figuring at the top of the master list of “Favourite Inaccuracy of All Time” should go to Harold Camping, a radio evangelist who said the world would end in 2011.
Since we are all still here, Camping’s prediction obviously did not hold water. However, Camping did predict the coming of his own end. Though the world did not end in 2011, Camping suffered a stroke. Still, he was man enough to redeem hope among his followers by acknowledging he was wrong a year later. Camping died in 2013.