Yesterday was the start of Chinese New Year, a multi-day celebration of food, dancing dragons, and lucky money. It's also a day to not wash your hair and not eat pan fried squid, which is a Chinese Slang for getting fired, though for those of us that don't have jobs, you can probably eat as much as you want. This year, we start the Chinese Calendar all over again as this year is the Year of the Rat!? Did you say Rat, like those stinky animals that live in sewers and eat through your electrical wiring? Yup!
Like many Chinese things, I don't quite understand them, even though they are a part of my heritage. It's like getting "Yeet Hay" when you eat fried foods, or having to eat every grain of rice in your bowl because it will affect the complexion of your future wife. Asking elders to explain them is like pulling teeth and we are then just told, "it's just the way things are". So what's the deal with the Rat? I mean, compared to the Dragon, Horse, Rabbit, heck...even the Sheep, the Rat doesn't have that great of a reputation as a "noble" animal.
Apparently, the story goes that the twelve animals that make up the Chinese Zodiac were asked to cross a river and the order in which they crossed would dictate the rotation of the Zodiac. Since the Rat is a...Rat...it jumped on the back of the Ox and rode all the way, leaping off the Ox at the last minute to clinch the win and the first place on the Zodiac. Sounds pretty dirty...borderline evil. I wonder if John Chow is a Rat?
Despite the obvious dirty and shady behaviour that is associated with this animal, the Rat also has a number of positive traits like: Intelligence, shrewdness, compassion, charisma, charm, ambition, practicality, honesty, eloquence, versatility, creativity, hard-working, neatness and organization. However, even Wikipedia has a hard time playing up the good points of this pesky little animal. With the Rat representing 2008, it's going to be an interesting year. I wonder how many rats will be let out of the bag this year?