Chinese Year of the Pig

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070216/ap_on_fe_st/year_of_the_pig

Fortune: Year of Pig will bring disaster

By DIKKY SINN, Associated Press Writer Fri Feb 16, 7:46 AM ET

HONG KONG - Sunday marks the start of the Chinese New Year and it's a lucky one for those starting out in life. But the rest of us are in for a rough ride. Expect epidemics, disasters and violence in much of the world.

"The Year of the Pig will not be very peaceful," said Hong Kong feng shui master Raymond Lo.

...

While the pig is beloved by the Chinese, the animal is offensive to Muslims, who consider it unclean. For that reason, Chinese New Year celebrations have to be handled with care in Malaysia and Indonesia, mainly Muslim countries with large ethnic Chinese minorities.

For the first time in its history, Indonesia introduced a special set of postal stamps to mark the Lunar New Year. But concerns over Muslim sensitivities led the postal service to drop plans to put a large pig on the stamps. It chose a Chinese temple instead.

"We took the middle path," said Hana Suryana, director of the Indonesian postal service.

Still, that was progress for a country where ethnic Chinese, who make up 5 percent of the population and have long faced discrimination, once were not allowed to celebrate the Lunar New Year.

"That has changed now, but we still feel uncomfortable celebrating the day in a large way because there are some people who cannot accept that Chinese culture is a part of Indonesian culture," said Jhony Tan, a trader in Jakarta's bustling Chinatown.

Yusri Mohammad, president of the Muslim Youth Movement of Malaysia, said he had no problem with the Chinese celebrating the pig year in his country. He said decorative pictures of pigs in shopping malls are fine — as long as Chinese don't start using live pigs or eat pork in public.
 

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