Happy ‘Niú牛’ Year! 春节快乐·牛转钱坤

The Year of the Ox arrives on 12 February 2021. All of us will be eBULLient to see the end of Ratty and welcome what we hope will be a year of recovery. A year where our persistence and resilience pay off – that is the hallmark of the Ox – a symbol of prosperity and success achieved through sheer hard work. Ox is someone you can always rely on. We all need to channel the Ox this year.

To welcome the Year of the Ox, we bring some fun facts about it, including Ox Relationships, Ox Careers, Ox Tales, Famous Oxen, Previous Ox Years, and Ox Sayings(idioms)

The Year of the Ox is not always the easiest of years, but after the Rat it should seem like a picnic. Ox years often see problems resolved. The OECD and NATO were formed in Ox Years and when leaders have come together solutions have emerged. Glasgow’s Climate Change Conference should take place in 2021 and the Ox with its connection to the earth must ring the cowbell for change.

The Ox (or Bull) is strong on relationships and rather than bulls in China shops (牛闯瓷庄niú chuǎng cí zhuāng), we need the Ox with its leader’s hat on to restore our important relationship with China.

Ox years have witnessed three momentous events in recent Chinese history: the proclamation of the People’s Republic of China, the return of Hong Kong to China, and the death of Deng Xiaoping.  What will 2021 deliver for China in the Year of the Ox?

Pandemics have been a thread in Ox years. See what else happened in previous Ox years.

Ox is no Moron

The Ox stands for prosperity; successful Oxen are self-made through their own guts. Patience, loyalty, dependability, modesty, honesty, and the ability to put up with a lot stand out for the tireless and fearless Ox. No fuss – Oxen put on the yoke and work through that long list of tasks until they are all accomplished; discipline is the order of the day and that bodes well for vaccine dissemination.

The Ox isn’t keen living on credit – they shun risk and are on the conservative side as far as risk goes. Perhaps that is why they prosper.

Ox years ought to be times of peace and harmony. Diversity needs to be harnessed to present a united front to combat the virus, climate change and political turmoil. Security is a priority (放牛归马 fàng niú guī mǎ – the battle has been won, the fighting horses and Oxen have been released, no need to resort to arms). Could this be channeling an end to the war on Covid?

Red Rags

As the saying goes Oxen can sometimes be stubborn and headstrong like a bulldozer and do not like opposition or failure. Smart, reflective, with heaps of common sense, they are able to put up with a lot. Oxen, however, do have fierce tempers – raging even – if they have a beef with you, stay clear or you’ll be stampeded.

Oxen need to be more spontaneous and not so judgmental and just lighten up a bit.

Lacking in imagination, they can be seen as plodders, but in fact they appreciate systems and processes and holding course until the goal is achieved – again a good trait in this year battling Covid.

No Bull

Oxen wear the yoke of responsibility and adopt a very serious approach to getting the job done, they are natural leaders.  They like to chew the cud yakking with friends from time to time and are totally reliable always doing what they say they’ll do. They never fish for praise and don’t want to be the centre of attention.

Having the constitution of an Ox means they don’t have much sympathy for others when they are sick.  A bit more compassion required please!

Relationship Bulls Eye

No Romeo when it comes to affairs of the heart, Ox is a bit naïve and certainly won’t be serenading you. They are grounded and direct. Gifts (if you are lucky) are likely to be practical and durable.  If you choose an Ox as a partner, they will stick by you for life, look after you and you’ll never be in need (老牛舐犊 lǎo niú shì dú – the cow licks their calf and dotes on children).

Cock and bull – But who to choose? The Rooster will bring happiness to the Ox – both admire efficiency and dedication. Equally well suited will be the Rat or Snake.

Dragons, Rabbits, other Oxen, Horses, Pigs and Monkeys are less compatible.

Mad Dogs – the Ox is not funny enough for the Dog or Tiger; Lambs aren’t much chop either!

Ox Careers

Oxen are observant with remarkable memories and they are good at reporting down to the finest detail. They think clearly and are meticulous planners. Work is taken very seriously and is a great solace to the Ox. They are responsible and stable and can bring order to stressful jobs. We suggest you put one in charge of a vaccine roll out!

Ox is well regarded for its ability to work with its hands and rarely breaks a sweat, is courageous and single-minded when working towards a goal.

Good career choices include: Composer, landlord, chef, police officer, soldier or army officer, teacher, judge, banker, insurance broker, academic; being close to the land careers  in horticulture, gardening or farming are good too.

Nice hoofwork: archaeologist, architect, artist, carpenter, engineer, physiotherapist, surgeon.

The ox is attracted to public service but not being in the public eye.

Ox Tail – Bull Dust

In the Han Dynasty (206BC – 220AD) in Hunan Province, a farmer was leading his trusty Ox when he came to a river. Wanting to reach the other side, he saw no crossing or ferry, just a fisherman with a small rowboat. The farmer asked, “Can you please take me and my Ox to the other side and we’ll be really grateful?” The fisherman protested that his boat barely had room for one, let alone a big Ox! The farmer assured him he needn’t worry: “I am honest and wouldn’t deceive you.” Suspicious, the fisherman, however, agreed: “But if my boat sinks then we’ll all be sunk!”

They boarded the boat and, indeed, it did not sink and the fisherman relaxed.  As they approached the other bank, suddenly the Ox lifted its tail and deposited a big pile of dung in the boat. Furious, the fisherman didn’t say anything but just accepted his misfortune while the farmer seemed uncaring when he said: “I’ve got nothing to thank you with except a pile of dung.”

Fisherman friend was speechless as the farmer and his Ox walked off and he started to wash out the boat. All of a sudden he realized that it was no ordinary cow pat – it had turned into gold; he was no simple farmer and that was no ordinary Ox. The fisherman chased after them frantically looking for more heaps of gold, but they had disappeared over the hill. Today it is still called ‘Gold Ox Mountain’. Opportunities come when least expected!

Anti-fart Cattle Feed Wins International Prize

A CSIRO-affiliate, Future Feed, won a $1 million international prize for its seaweed feed product which reduces greenhouse gases from cattle (methane emissions from livestock make up around 15% of global greenhouse emissions). The product is progressing well towards going on sale in Australia.

Director and CSIRO Scientist Michael Battaglia said that by introducing the product into feedlot and dairy cattle diets could be “equivalent to taking 100 million cars off the road”. And that is just the tip of the Oxtail. One cow produces as much gas emissions as a car (200 kg per year).
 Source: ABC News

Oxygenerations – Famous ones


Tennis: Alex Zverev, Stan Wawrinka, John Isner, Andrey Rublev, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Naomi Osaka, Monica Seles, Belinda Bencic, Hsieh Su-Wei

Cricket: Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Dennis Lillee, Dean Jones, Merv Hughes, Kerry O’Keeffe, Dennis Lillee, Bill Lawry

Cathy Freeman, Louise Sauvage, Carl Lewis, Nadia Comaneci, Leisel Jones, Susie O’Neill

Pollies (and a few dictators):  Julia Gillard,  Sussan Ley, Andrew Wilkie, Joel Fitzgibbon, Andrew Giles, Dr Helen Haines, Mark Latham Barack Obama, Jeremy Corbyn, Elizabeth Warren, Benjamin Netanyahu, Antonio Guterres, Thaksin Shinawatra, Jose Ramos Horta, Margaret Thatcher,  Robert F Kennedy, Mahathir Mohamed, Bill English, John Key, Tung Chee-hwa, Nawaz Sharif, Napoleon Bonaparte, Saddam Hussein, Pol Pot, Adolf Hitler

Arts: Anna Wintour, Bill Nighy, Julian Fellowes, Lionel Richie, Christopher Hitchins,  Keira Knightley, Merryl Streep, Bruno Mars, Pharrell Williams,  George Clooney,  Ricky Gervais, Boy George, Peter Jackson (Kiwi director), Arundhati Roy, Martin Clunes (Doc Martin), Robin and  Maurice Gibb (Bee Gees), Richard Gere, Billy Joel, Sigourney Weaver, Charlie Chaplin, Bruce Springsteen, Vincent Van Gogh, Walt Disney

Larry Page, Monica Lewinsky, Ghislaine Maxwell, Ivana Trump, Princess Diana

Chinese interest: Poet Li Bai, Su Shi (artist and statesman), Liang Sicheng (father of modern Chinese architecture), Andy Lau (actor), Jacky Cheung Hok-yao (singer), Vera Wang (fashion designer), Li Bingbing (actress)

Australian interest: John Farnham, Colleen McCullough, Marta Dusseldorp, Magda Szubanski, Gina Riley, Andrew Forrest.

Bullish or Cowed in Previous Ox Years


First case of H1N1 Swine Flu in US and declared a global pandemic (China was the first country to have a successful clinical trial for a vaccine)

Black Saturday Victorian bushfires (at its time, the worst national disaster in our history)

Barack Obama accepted Nobel Peace Prize

Earthquake in Haiti killed over 316,000

The longest annular solar eclipse of the 21st century at just over 11 minutes

GFC continued

Michael Jackson died

Sony sold 12 million floppy disks and then halted production


Pokemon debuted in Japan (and over 700 children suffered epileptic attacks from one episode)

Deep Blue Computer beat world chess champion Garry Kasparov

Harry Potter first book published

Princess Diana (an Ox) killed in Paris car crash

Hong Kong returned to China

The first outbreak of Bird flu in Hong Kong

Stock markets crashed around the world


Neighbours debuted on Australian TV

Live Aid benefit concert raised 50 million pounds for Ethiopia famine

DNA first used in a criminal case

Zhongxing Semiconductor, a predecessor for ZTE, a famous smartphone brand, founded in Shenzhen

Challenger Space Shuttle disintegrated on launch killing 7 astronauts and a teacher

The Greenpeace Rainbow Warrior was sunk by French agents in Auckland

The first .com domain registered

Microsoft released first version of Windows


First handheld mobile phone call made

New York’s World Trade Centre opened (tallest building in the world)

Sydney Opera House opened

White Australia Policy removed

Watergate hearings commenced

Genetic engineering and barcodes invented

End of Vietnam War (Paris Peace Accord)

Roe v Wade made abortion a constitutional right in the US


Parkes radio telescope officially opened in Australia

OECD was formed

DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover was banned from sale in Australia

ABC Four Corners was launched on TV

The Pill went on sale in Australia

IBM introduced golf ball typewriter

Russian Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space

Construction of the Berlin wall commenced

Britain applied for membership of the EEC!

World population reached 4 billion


The People’s Republic of China proclaimed

George Orwell’s 1984 published

ASIO established in Australia

The Geneva Convention on treatment of prisoners agreed

Siam officially translated its name to Thailand

East and West Germany established

Indonesia became independent


Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs premiered

The Hindenburg burst into flames killing 36

The Japanese captured Shanghai, Nanjing, Tianjin, Hangzhou

First blood bank opened

Toyota founded in Japan


The first television transmitter created

Scotch tape invented (3M)

Hitler published Mein Kampf

The first motel (motorists hotel) opened in the US


Australia started building its new capital Canberra

Sung Chiao-jen, a founder of the Chinese nationalist party (Kuomintang), assassinated

Stainless steel invented

World’s first fertilizer plant in Germany commenced operation

First moving assembly line started by Ford in Michigan

In 2021

Summer Olympics in Tokyo

World Expo in Dubai

China’s first mission to Mars

The Year of the Ox, Oxidises and the reign of the Tiger roars into life on 1 February 2022.

Cow Udderings

九牛一毛jiǔ niú yīmáo: nine oxen, one hair – something very insignificant

对牛弹琴duì niú tán qín: playing a lute to a cow –wasting their time by offering something valuable or helpful that they do not appreciate or understand (casting pearls before swine)

隔山买老牛gé shān mǎi lǎo niú: buying an old cow over the mountain (or on the internet) – not showing caution and making rash decisions

宁为鸡口不为牛后níng wéi jī kǒu bù wéi niú hòu: rather be the mouth of a chicken than on the back of a cow – rather be the CEO of an SME than a GM of an MNC

初生牛犊不怕虎 chū shēng niúdú bù pà hǔ: newborn calves are not afraid of tigers (young or inexperienced people have less fear)

九牛二虎之力jiǔ niú èr hǔ zhī lì: the strength of nine bulls and two tigers (tremendous effort)

钻牛角尖zuān niú jiǎo jiān: take unnecessary pains to study an insignificant problem

牛气冲天niú qì chōng tiān: a cliched Chinese New Year’s phrase for the Year of the Ox meaning good luck in the coming year

The Ox is a symbol of prosperity and success. We wish you plenty of both and good health!

From all of us at Chin Communications


Got a question? We’d love to hear from you


Level 4, 221 Queen Street, Melbourne 3000
GPO Box 2231, Melbourne 3001

P. 1300 792 446
F. 03 9670 0766


"*" indicates required fields