his Chinese New Year, which begins February 18, has been heralded by more buzz than any in recent memory. It seems that some Corean (Korean) astrologer spread the word that this is not just the year of any pig but of the Golden Pig. Apparently derived by applying yin/yang principles to the Chinese zodiac, a Golden Pig year is said to occur just once every 600 years. The pronouncement ignited a boom in couples planning babies to take advantage of this auspicious confluence said to ensure remarkably good fortune. It has also touched off a marketing frenzy by companies sensing a rare opportunity to sell everything from investments to baby cribs to tiny pigs shaped from solid gold.
Others pooh-pooh the notion of a Golden Pig year, finding no mention of such a year in Taejong Sillok, the annals of King Taejong who ruled ancient Korea's Joseon Dynasty 600 years ago. These skeptics theorize that the Golden Pig thing may be a government ploy to pump up flagging birth rates. But even Chinese astrologers agree that 2007 is a particularly auspicious year for a baby because applying the theory of five elements to the zodiac does make this year a Golden Pig year occurring just once every 60 years.
Whichever theory one believes, all agree that people born in pig years (1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995) enjoy good fortune. These people are said to combine unmatched generosity of spirit with unstinting devotion to loved ones and uncompromising fidelity to the core value of honesty. Pig people are universally admired but difficult to befriend. They can do well in business but are considered better suited for artistic pursuits.
A look at some famous pig-year Asians in America bears out this prognosis, with one notable exception:
During the final hours of his life CNET gadget reviewer James Kim earned the world's admiration with his courageous, nearly superhuman effort at finding help for his family after being trapped for a week on a remote, snow-covered Oregon mountain.
Avon chairman/CEO Andrea Jung has become one of the three most powerful women in American business by combining her uncompromisingly honest eye for product quality with an instinct for the values that drive today's woman.
More than any American alive, architect Maya Lin has borne out the ultimate wisdom of staying true to a structure's setting and purpose even if it means going against popular expectations.
Novelist John Okada died in obscurity without knowing the deep appreciation his novel would inspire in the Asian American literary community for its intense depiction of the double-bind in which America's betrayal placed Japanese Americans.