True — or not?

As we em­bark on a fresh round of ex­trap­o­la­tions for 2014, we take a quick look at the ac­cu­racy of pre­dic­tions made for 2013.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - LIVING - By GRACE CHEN star2@thes­

IN his weekly Sun­day col­umn on Dec 20, 2012, The Star chief news ed­i­tor and the au­thor of Vasthu Sas­tra Guide T. Selva pre­sented his anal­y­sis of the var­i­ous zo­diac signs us­ing the In­dian almanac. Un­der the Kar­taka (Can­cer) sign, Selva wrote th­ese open­ing lines: “You will be recog­nised for your ef­forts….”

Five months later, a very fa­mous Cance­rian in the form of Sir Richard Bran­son went on board an AirAsia flight, dressed up in a stew­ardess uni­form, com­plete with fish­net stock­ings, red lip­stick and blue eye shadow. Dur­ing the six-hour flight, Bran­son pledged to serve tea, even clean the toi­lets, to hon­our a twoyear-old bet made with AirAsia chief Tan Sri Tony Fer­nan­des. While Bran­son be­came the butt of a mil­lion jokes, his stunt also made world­wide head­lines and ben­e­fit­ting from the funds col­lected on this flight was the Starlight Foun­da­tion, a global char­ity aimed at bring­ing the smiles back to sick chil­dren.

Al­though Selva’s state­ment was a gen­eral one, his pre­dic­tion had come true.

Mean­while the prog­nos­ti­ca­tion from CEO and mas­ter trainer of the Mas­tery Academy of Chi­nese Meta­physics Joey Yap, about Malaysia hav­ing a good year would be best left to in­di­vid­ual in­ter­pre­ta­tion.

He wasn’t com­pletely wrong, of course. In terms of in­ter­na­tional re­la­tions, we did shine. In Jan­uary, Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Na­jib Tun Razak be­came the first Asian leader to hold a two-sided dis­cus­sion con­cern­ing in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties with Ja­panese Prime Miniter Shinzo Abe. Malaysia also wit­nessed the peace process for the South Thai­land un­rest by host­ing the sign­ing of a con­sen­sus be­tween the Thai gov­ern­ment and Badan Revo­lusi Na­sional (BRN), a south­ern Thai­land Mus­lim group. There was also Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s three-day visit to Kuala Lumpur.

But if you’re a wildlife con­ser­va­tion­ist, the above pre­dic­tion wouldn’t be pre­cise. Who can for­get the 14 dead Bor­neo pygmy ele­phants near the Gu­nung Rara For­est Re­serve? Poi­soned with pes­ti­cide, they died slowly and painfully. When their car­casses were found, the sole sur­vivor left was a baby ele­phant named Baby Joe, seen ca­ress­ing the body of its life­less mother.

And what of one Jo­horean busi­ness­man who slipped poi­soned fruit into the an­i­mal en­clo­sures of the Malacca Zoo caus­ing the death of a sun bear and an Ara­bian stal­lion? Or the two youths who thought it was funny to seal a kit­ten in a jar? Thank­fully, Yap was right about the busi­ness land­scape.

The Star Online re­ported the Kuala Lumpur Com­pos­ite In­dex had hit record highs to end at 1,866.96 on New Year’s Eve. Data from Malaysia Au­to­mo­tive In­sti­tute also re­ported new ve­hi­cle sales in­creas­ing by 3.9% to a record 652,120 units sold. Over in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, the Sta­tis­tics Depart­ment recorded 4.4% growth in the man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor, which hit sales of RM53.2bil in Novem­ber.

Maybe we can also look to Mel­bourne-based feng shui consult- ant Edgar Lok who has 13 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in the field.

Lok was spot on when he wrote in his lok­t­in­feng­ that there would be un­con­trol­lable fires burn­ing in South-East Asia. In June and Au­gust, the World Re­sources In­sti­tute re­ported for­est fires in In­done­sia flar­ing to alarm­ing lev­els caus­ing Malaysia and Sin­ga­pore to be en­veloped in thick smog.

Lok also pre­dicted elec­tric­ity prob­lems and true enough, Malaysia ex­pe­ri­enced sev­eral black­outs, most no­tably in Sarawak, when cir­cuits at the Ke­me­naBin­tulu trans­mis­sion power line tripped, plung­ing the state into a tur­moil of dark­ness and snarling traf­fic jams for sev­eral hours.

In a twist of events still re­lated to elec­tric­ity, a freak storm in Pe­nang caused the col­lapse of a light­ning ar­rester from the is­land’s Umno build­ing in Ma­cal­is­ter Road. Tak­ing the brunt of the im­pact was an econ­omy rice seller driv­ing past then. Save for parts of his car sal­vaged from a deep crater left by the light­ning ar­rester, his body was never re­cov­ered.

Lok also fore­casted vol­cano erup­tions. The At­lantic re­ported one in Mount Etna, Italy and Vol­can Copahue, Ar­gentina.

Just like Lok said, th­ese two hap­pened in the South Amer­i­can re­gion and Europe. How­ever, we sus­pect he might have missed out one un­der­wa­ter erup­tion in the seas of Ja­pan.

This event was of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est be­cause it gave birth to a new is­land, about 1,000km south of Tokyo. The last time a sim­i­lar phe­nom­e­non was recorded by Ja­panese me­dia was in 1970.

Un­for­tu­nately, Lok was also right when he wrote the year would see a de­cline in so­cial niceties with vi­o­lent up­ris­ings and civil un­rest tak­ing place.

There is no need to men­tion the usual places of strife. The Min­ion Mad­ness in July where an un­ruly crowd pulled at a roller shut­ter of a McDon­ald’s out­let in Ge­orge Town un­til it gave way was enough to af­firm peo­ple have for­got­ten that a Happy Meal is sup­posed to bring smiles, not bruises and frowns.

But the most im­pres­sive set of pre­dic­tions would come from founder and chief re­searcher of Good Feng Shui Ge­o­man­tic Re­search Kenny Hoo when he summed up 2013 as the year of cor­rec­tion.

Proof that Hoo had got­ten it right was a Bloomberg re­port re­veal­ing the re­duc­tion of en­ter­tain­ment bud­gets for min­is­ters and a freeze on ren­o­va­tions in gov­ern­ment of­fices in an ef­fort by the Malaysian gov­ern­ment to curb pub­lic spend­ing. Cuts would also see civil ser­vants trav­el­ling in econ­omy class for do­mes­tic flights and a de­crease in sou­venir pre­sen­ta­tions and re­fresh­ments.

He was also very right about it be­ing a “painful” tran­si­tion for some as price hikes for fuel, elec­tric­ity, toll, su­gar and the in­tro­duc­tion of the GST be­came the hottest topics for the year. How­ever, Hoo didn’t com­pletely hit the mark about the sports sec­tor do­ing well. While squash and bad­minton stars Datuk Ni­col David and Datuk Lee Chong Wei shone, our sepak takraw team lost to Laos at the Myan­mar SEA Games. Over­all, Malaysia fin­ished fifth be­hind Thai­land, Viet­nam, Myan­mar and In­done­sia. Datuk K. Ra­jagopal would also be say­ing good­bye as his con­tract has not been re­newed, seem­ingly for fail­ing to get the Na­tional foot­ball squad into the 2015 Asian Cup.

Speak­ing on the sub­ject of like­li­hoods and the chances of prophe­cies com­ing true, fig­ur­ing at the top of the mas­ter list of “Favourite In­ac­cu­racy of All Time” should go to Harold Camp­ing, a ra­dio evan­ge­list who said the world would end in 2011.

Since we are all still here, Camp­ing’s pre­dic­tion ob­vi­ously did not hold wa­ter. How­ever, Camp­ing did pre­dict the com­ing of his own end. Though the world did not end in 2011, Camp­ing suf­fered a stroke. Still, he was man enough to redeem hope among his fol­low­ers by ac­knowl­edg­ing he was wrong a year later. Camp­ing died in 2013.

Sooth or dare?: do the

an­nual pre­dic­tions by as­trologers usu­ally come true? Is there re­ally a sci­ence in­volved and ev­i­dence to sug­gest that this is more than just a

guess­ing game?

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