By Wayne Chan
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
I have a confession. I have been living a lie.
This doesn’t come easy for me. Actually, it started out very innocently. As a matter of fact, it started out when I was a kid in my family’s favorite Chinese restaurant.
Let me start from the very beginning. We’re heading into the Lunar New Year celebration. It’s a season of honoring your ancestors, family reunions, festive décor, amazing food, firecrackers, burning incense, and lively music. And for each year, there is an animal in the zodiac that represents the year you were born. There are 12 animals in the zodiac, to be exact. This year is the Year of the Dragon.
I was well aware of this because when we ate at our favorite Chinese restaurant as a kid, the restaurant put paper place settings that listed birth years and the corresponding zodiac animal for each year. And right there, as clear as day, it read, “1964—the year of the DRAGON.” Yup, I’m a DRAGON!
And who wouldn’t want to be a dragon? According to the Chinese Zodiac, which I’m a proud believer of, people who were born in the Year of the Dragon have the following personality characteristics. They are confident, imaginative, artistic, and charismatic. But honestly, that’s all just make-believe stuff, right? None of that really applies to me, does it? Let’s see.
Confident? OK, me.
Imaginative? Me again.
Artistic? Wow, this is getting scary.
Charismatic? OK, now you’re just freaking me out!
What I also learned about the Chinese Zodiac is that if you are born at the start of the new year, you are at your most energetic, virile and strong, and for those who are born later in the year, you’re a weaker version of that animal. Therefore, not only am I a dragon, but because I was born on February 6, which is pretty much the start of the Lunar New Year, I’m basically an Arnold Schwarzenegger level dragon.
Think of what that knowledge has done for my self-esteem! Whenever I watch an episode of Game of Thrones and the dragon appears, I shout, “That’s kin!” Whenever I watch the dinosaurs attack the scientists in the Jurassic Park films, I’m kind of rooting for the dinosaurs (they’re like, cousins!). Look, I’m proud of my heritage.
For nearly my entire life, everything was fine and dandy, until…my wife Maya had to spoil it.
We were recently talking about my upcoming birthday, and I naturally opined on what a supernatural dragon would like for his 60th birthday, when Maya sat back, paused, and pulled out her iPhone.
After flipping through a few pages on her phone, she sprung back and said, “You were born on February 6. But the year you were born, Lunar New Year was on February 12. So, you aren’t a dragon, you’re the animal before the dragon. You’re…a rabbit!”
WHAT?!? I’m not a rabbit! What are you talking about!?!
According to the Chinese zodiac, rabbits are lucky, quiet, patient, and kind. Let me ask you this—how lucky can rabbits be if they’re constantly getting their feet cut off? Wasn’t so lucky for them, was it?!? And they’d have to be pretty patient since they can’t hop around anymore seeing as they have no feet!! Who came up with this stupid Zodiac thing?
To make matters worse, not only am I not a dragon, but seeing as how I was born late in the year of the rabbit, I’m not even a very strong rabbit. I’m basically a wheezing, enfeebled rabbit on life support.
Does Game of Thrones even have a rabbit?