By Wayne Chan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
I have been living a lie.
I’m not who I thought I was. Apparently, everything I knew about myself is now in question.
It wasn’t intentional. I would have been fine if I had never found out the truth about my identity. But somehow, some way, I’m going to have to live with myself.
You see, I am not a dragon.
I’m reminded of this every Lunar New Year, which happens in a few weeks. In 2023, we are celebrating the Year of the Rabbit.
For years, actually, for decades, I have had the firm belief that I was born in the Year of the Dragon. Why would I think this? Well, when I was a kid, there was no Google or internet. Everyone got their information from school, or if you wanted to find something specific, from an encyclopedia.
Fortunately for me, I was reminded that I was born in the Year of the Dragon every time my parents took me to their favorite Chinese restaurant.
When we sat down at our favorite booth, it was right there on the table sitting in front of us—a paper place mat, with red lettering printed out calling out various birth years and how that correlated to which animal in the Chinese Zodiac. And looking at the year I was born, it was as plain as day. I was born in the Year of the Dragon.
I was a dragon, and this was way before the series Game of Thrones made dragons a cool thing.
And who wouldn’t want to be a dragon? Now that we have the internet, here are the characteristics of the dragon. The dragon is “the most vital and powerful beast in the Chinese Zodiac.” Also, here are the personal characteristics of the dragon, and I couldn’t help comparing them to my own personality.
✔ Innate courage. OK…me.
✔ Tenacity. Yup, me again. Keep going.
✔ Intelligence. OK, now I’m starting to blush. Stop it!
With all of my natural, inherent intelligence, I set out to find out as much as I could about dragons and the Chinese Zodiac.
It turns out that with each new year, the celebration of each animal is also the time when that animal is at its most robust and virile. And since my birthday is in early February, not only am I a dragon, but I’m a dragon at the top of its game. A truly beautiful and magnificent creature.
Please, please, stop with the compliments. Yes, I’m a powerful, magnificent dragon at the height of his powers, but I’m just like everyone else—just stronger and more magnificent.
This is what I have believed for decades, and to say the least, I was perfectly fine with it.
Until I got married.
I remember it vividly. My beautiful wife Maya and I went out to dinner to a Chinese restaurant, and as if right on cue, there was the Chinese Zodiac placemat. It was time for me to regale my wife with my life story and how lucky she was to be married to a courageous, virile, and brilliant dragon. I pointed at my year of birth, and proudly exclaimed, “Yup, I’m a dragon.”
Then Maya picked up her phone, and after a little research, said, “Wait, you were born on February 6, and that year, Lunar New Year was on February 13.
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?” I said.
You’re not a dragon. You were born seven days before the new year. That means, you’re…a rabbit!
“WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!?” I said, again.
A rabbit? How can I be a rabbit? I was a strong, virile, courageous dragon just two minutes ago!
What makes it worse, is that if I really was born at the tail end of the rabbit year, I’m not even a strong, energetic rabbit. I’m basically a rabbit at the end of its rope. I’m a rabbit on its deathbed. I’m a bunny on life support!
In shock and in a panic, I looked up to see the characteristics of the rabbit. It turns out that people born in the Year of the Rabbit have soft and tender personality traits. Well, of course they’re soft and tender! You’re a rabbit! You’d be soft and tender too if you were a rabbit on its deathbed on life support!
My whole life is in question. I love my wife, but she cannot be right. I need a second opinion.
Anyone know a reliable Chinese Zodiac specialist?
Wayne can be reached at email@example.com.