Cormac MacConnell: Will meat eaters do better in Year of the Pig?

Is it a bit unfortunate that our Taoiseach recently said he was trying to eat less red meat, when asked what he was doing on climate change?

Our beef farmers reacted quite loudly to that report, as we all know by now, but Leo Varadkar is so linguistically adroit that he can easily handle that small issue.

But, was he aware at the time when his diet hit the headlines that we were on the brink of the Chinese official Year Of the Pig?

It was launched with blazing fanfares and celebrations this very week, and could lead to our leader finding himself skating over thin ice for this porcine year, in any political dealings with the huge nation that might become the world’s most powerful political and economic force before this Year of the Pig ends.

This outcome could easily prove to be one of the most fundamentally vital truths revealed here yet.

It is clear that our wily and astute oriental brethren away in the Far East set great importance upon the zodiac indications attached down the centuries to their New Years, all of which, dear Taoiseach, if you are alerted to this message, are named after animals of one species or another, and never, ever, after vegetables.

They even have a Year of the Rat, never mind a Pig or a Monkey.

There are many elements attached by their fortune-tellers to the birthdays of those born in this or that zodiac year.

The opinions and horoscopes of those experts are invariably believed by wise leaders of other nations to influence political and vital trade decisions which impact upon all our lives (especially when we could be facing into a no-deal Brexit within weeks).

Are you a Pig?

Are you a Monkey?

Is Leo a Dog or a Rat maybe?

The Chinese fortune-tellers don’t reveal the secrets of their unique zodiacal kind of folklore too easily so, again being totally honest with you all, I believe that the minute and hour of your birth date is as important to your projected life directions and expectations as the calendar year involved.

Another area connected with your precise birth time, according to the Chinese foretellers, seems to involve elements such as various woods and metals, and horoscopes based on the strengths of these in the atmosphere, when you emitted your first earthly bawl and squall, are seen by their adherents and followers as being extremely accurate.

There is much more to it, away beyond my limited mentality. But this Chinese system, at all levels, is clearly far more sophisticated than the palm reading tactics we all encountered in the summers of a different and simpler Ireland, when Madame X charged us a shilling for her predictions in a seaside resort booth or tent, as the waves whispered the mysteries of the tides of time within earshot.

Madame X in Bundoran informed me, when I was 12 years old, with my father, that I would live long past a century, and eventually die happy and wealthy.

I fervently hope she was totally accurate though, in fairness, there is little evidence to date apart from the fact I’m still here, writing away this week.

And maybe I’ll win the Lotto this weekend, and die happily wealthy, holding a complimentary letter from Michael D or his successor, on reaching my century.

Miracles still happen, both here and far away in China.

Another pure truth. Maybe!

Finally, for what it might be worth to our Taoiseach, in his crucial Brexit-related meetings with other leaders for the remainder of the Year of the Pig, my researches indicate that Donald Trump was born in the Year of the Dog, according to the Chinese experts.

And Theresa May, they claim, born back in 1956, is a Fire Chicken!

We’ll leave it at that.

I have to go out and purchase the Lotto ticket, as advised by Madame X in Bundoran in a Year of the Monkey long ago, as the waves whispered their mysteries on the beach outside.

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