Welcome to the enthusiastic Pig Year. It starts on 5 February 2019 and will be overtaken by the Rat on 25 January 2020. The pig is the last animal in the Chinese zodiac reflecting their slow speed and propensity to eat and sleep too much.
Piggy Back in History
-The mortgage crisis in the US began to burst
-Harry Potter series came to an end with the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
-Nicolas Sarkozy became French President and Gordon Brown Prime Minister of UK
-Kevin Rudd became the 26th Prime Minister of Australia. He ratified the Kyoto Protocol on climate change on his first day as Prime Minister
-Nancy Pelosi the first female speaker of the House (USA) (and she’s back in 2019)
-China’s first property law passed
– China’s population reached 1.2 billion
– Former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated
– American spacecraft Galileo arrived at Jupiter
– The (WTO) World Trade Organization started as a replacement for GATT
– Budget deadlock in USA workers not paid (echoes of 2019)
– Ebay started
– US president Ronald Reagan proposed Strategic Defence Initiative, known as “Star Wars” and the first Space Shuttle launched
– Deng Xiaoping proposed the “One country, two systems” principle for the first time
– World’s most popular word processing program, Microsoft Word launched its first version Word 1.0
– Swatch introduced their first watches.
– First mobile phones launched
– China’s population reached 1 billion
– Bob Hawke became Australian Prime Minister
– Start of the digital age – Intel released world’s first microprocessor
– Apollo 14 landed on the moon and Soviet Union launches first space station
– China admitted to the United Nations
– UAE established
-UK moved to decimal currency (Australia was 1966)
– NASDAQ debut
– The US table tennis team visited China – “Ping Pong Diplomacy” started
-Barbie Doll launched
-Fidel Castro came to power in Cuba
-Dalai Lama fled Tibet
-Alaska and Hawaii became 49th and 50th states in USA
-Antarctic Treaty signed
-NASA’s first astronauts chosen
-India and Pakistan gained independence (India invaded Pakistan in the next Pig Year)
-UN voted to create Israel
-Start of Cold War
-International Monetary Fund commenced
-Polaroid (instant) camera demonstrated
-Bell Laboratories invented the transistor
-Amelia Earhart flew solo across the Pacific
-Parker Brothers released Monopoly
-On a Pig theme: Porky Pig character was launched; Porgy and Bess opened in New York
-First paperback books
-First canned beer sold
-First insulin used for diabetes
-Warner Brothers established
-Great Kanto earthquake in Japan killed 100,000
-Construction started on Sydney Harbour Bridge
-China’s dynastic system of over 2000 years was overthrown in a pig year
Twists in the Tails
- During the 7.9-magnitude quake that struck Sichuan, China in 2008, a pig survived on charcoal and rainwater for 36 days while trapped under debris. This pig, later called “猪坚强” (zhu jian qiang, meaning strong pig), has become a national icon in China.
- By contrast, in 2017, a group of firefighters in Wiltshire, Britain saved 18 piglets and two sows from fire at a local farm. Six months later, the farmer sent sausages that are made of those pigs to show her gratitude.
- In the renowned Chinese classic Journey to the West, Zhu Bajie was among the three helpers to the Master Buddhist Xuan Zang. He is half pig and half human, portrayed as lazy, gluttony and lecherous but has a good heart after all. There are some two-part allegorical sayings referring to him. For example, 猪八戒照镜子——里外不是人 (Zhu Bajie looks into the mirror — not human on either side), in Chinese it has a metaphorical meaning that is close to Catch 22 situation. Another example is 猪八戒进了女儿国——不想走 (Zhu Bajie in the Kingdom of Women ——does not want to leave).
Portraits of pigs in literature
- In Charlotte’s Web, the adorable piggy Wilbur was saved by his friendship with a spider Charlotte.
- Churchill said “I am fond of pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals.”
- Peppa Pig is a children’s television programme, the show revolves around Peppa, an anthropomorphic female pig, and her family and friends.
In the spirit of the Pig, we hope you can indulge in some Chinese New Year festivities while Chin works on, China goes on holidays for a week. We’ll also be channelling the pig in helping you with your Chinese plans during the year.
Wishing you Luck and Happiness in the Year of the Pig!