Donald Trump to ruffle feathers in Year of the Rooster

HONG KONG (AFP) - US president Donald Trump will strut through the Year of the Rooster, thriving as Hong Kong geomancers predict 2017 will be marked by the arguments and aggression that are characteristic of the animal.

With Trump at the top of the pecking order, the volatile traits of the rooster - combined with the year's signature element of fire - mean rocky times ahead, particularly in the Western world, fengshui masters say.

"The rooster likes to pick fights, loves to have verbal arguments and is combative," Hong Kong soothsayer Thierry Chow told AFP.

Trump's inauguration was met with mass protests in the US and he has already riled China, prompting fears of a trade war between the world's top two economies.

Chow predicted he would ruffle more feathers in his first year as president.

"There will be a lot of strikes and even riots," says Chow.

Although born in the Year of the Dog, Trump can afford to be cocky due to his flock of faithful followers and his personal "bazi" element of earth, which is compatible with the fire element defining 2017.

According to the philosophy of fengshui, all events are dictated by the varying balances in the five elements that make up the universe: metal, wood, water, fire and earth.

"Bazi" are fate-setting traits linked to the exact time and date of a person's birth.

"The year will have all these elements, these people, these things and environment which will help him personally as a president," says Chow.

Celebrity fengshui master Alion Yeo said the US economy would benefit due to the rooster's signature element of metal, which also represents money and stocks.

"Trump's 'bazi' shows he will be prosperous, so the US stock market will perform well in 2017," Yeo said.

But he says Trump's good luck will only be temporary as the elements turn against him in future years.

"He will have a good run in 2017, but this won't be the case for 2018 (the Year of the Dog)," says Yeo.

Fengshui - literally meaning "wind-water" - is influential in many parts of Asia, where people adjust their lives and carefully position items such as a cup of wine or pieces of ivory in offices and homes to maximise their luck and wealth.

Those who practise the ancient philosophy were highly sought-after by Chinese dynastic rulers as far back as 1,000 years ago.

"We were government workers in the past and would help the emperors ask the heavens whether the year was going to be a good one or not," Yeo said.

One traditional method was to shake three coins in a turtle shell and see which way they fell in order to judge important topics, including picking dates for marriage or how to fight a major battle.

Yeo still rolls coins to make predictions but uses a cup not a turtle shell. Others use a metal shell replica.

To divine the future, Yeo says the geomancer's heart must be "very quiet".

"Whether or not you can communicate with the heavens is a gift," he adds.

Yeo says the world will be like a "sick ox" in 2017, with an even less favourable outlook than tumultuous 2016.

"It can barely even get up to eat the grass around it," he says, adding that Europe will fare particularly badly.

The rooster's metal element signifies western countries, especially Europe, and will come under pressure from the year's fire element, explains Yeo.

Brexit and the refugee crisis will drive more chaos for the continent in 2017, says Chow, who uses the "flying star" system to make her predictions based on constellation positions.

"I wouldn't say things are calming down," she said.

"It will be a year of very heated arguments."