#AceChinaNews says `The Chinese Calendar 2014′ and this year is the `Chinese Year of the Horse’
2014 is the year of the Horse. It is the jiăwŭ (甲午) year (Wooden Horse). Ji is the first of the ten celestial stems and ăwŭ (Horse) is the seventh of the twelve terrestrial branches and thus 1/7 marks the year of the Horse.
Calculating ‘When is the Chinese New Year in 2014′
The fact that the date of Chinese New Year varies within about a month is a clue that it’s linked to the new moon. A rough, and almost infallible guide is that the Chinese New Year follows the second new moon after the winter solstice. The winter solstice falls on December 21st, the next new moon is on January 1st 2014, and the second new moon is on January 30th 2014.
Will and Guy admit that the precise rules for determining ‘When is the Chinese New Year’, are far more complex. For example, one problem with any lunar calendar system is that some years there are 13 new moons. The Chinese deal with this by slotting in an extra intercalary month.
Those Born in the Year of the Horse
Horses are popular, quick-witted, charming, cheerful, and talented.
People born in the Year of the Horse are popular. They are cheerful, skilful with money, and perceptive, although they sometimes talk too much.
They are wise, talented, good with their hands, and sometimes have a weakness for members of the opposite sex.
They are impatient and hot-blooded about everything except their daily work. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are very independent and rarely listen to advice.
They are most compatible with Tigers, Dogs, and Sheep.
Therefore a horse year may be marked by an increase in business and commercial activity, particularly those involved with non-essentials like luxury cars, high fashion, alcoholic beverages, athletics, and anything “male” oriented.
Unfortunately, it is often a year of waste. A household should be careful to make sure they don’t overspend their budgets during a horse year.
As in most Chinese Stories there is a moral hidden within them; these examples are no exception to that rule.
An Old Man’s Wisdom – A Blessing in Disguise
Once upon a time in Chinese myths, there was a wise old man who lived in the steppes. He owned many horses. One evening, after a long day of working in the fields, he came home to discover that one of his horses, a mare, had run off. His family and his neighbours searched the surrounding area. When they finally gave up, they sent him their condolences, ‘We are sorry that this unfortunate incident happened to you.’
The old man of the steppes remarked calmly, ‘The loss of my mare is not necessarily a bad thing. All will be shown for its true worth in time.’
The next morning, the old man of the steppes looked up in the horizon and saw two horses coming towards his house. The first horse was his mare that had run off, and the other was a stallion following the mare. Even from a distance, he could see that this stallion was a war-horse of great stature and worth. He quickly inquired at the county office whether anyone had reported the loss of their stallion.
The county magistrate advised him to keep the horse until someone had reported it missing. That evening, the old man’s family and his neighbours celebrated the return of his mare as well as his newly acquired stallion. At the celebration, he was called upon to make a speech. The old man of the steppes stood up and remarked calmly, ‘The acquisition of this stallion is not necessarily a good thing. All will be shown for its true worth in time.’
Chinese myths say that a week later, the old man’s son took the stallion out for a ride. Not being skilled in manoeuvring a great war-horse, the boy suffered a terrible fall. As a result, his leg was broken. The old man’s family and his neighbours crowded around the boy and commented, ‘This is an awful thing that has happened. This stallion has brought bad luck to the family.’
The old man of the steppes stood by the boy and remarked calmly, ‘This accident is not necessarily a bad thing. All will be shown for its true worth in time.’
Sometime later, the kingdom was involved in a cruel and unjust war with a neighbouring kingdom. All the young men of the kingdom were called upon to enlist in the army. The old man’s neighbours lamented as all their sons were called off to fight in the war. It was impossible to escape the draft as the enlisting officers moved from county to county and house to house in search of all the young men. Inevitably, they finally came upon the old man’s house.
Seeing the stallion in the yard, they remarked to themselves, ‘This must be the home of a great warrior. But why has this coward not gone off to war? We must seize him at once.’
When they searched the house, they found only the old man of the steppes, his wife and their crippled son.
The enlisting officers then remarked, ‘This young man would have been a fine soldier if it were not for his broken leg. We cannot take him with us.’ And thus, their son was exempted from fighting in the war.
The old man’s neighbours, observing with amazement the declared, ‘What wisdom this old man has, that he can foresee both good and bad incidences for what they are truly worth.’
More Stories For the Chinese New Year 2014
There was an Emperor who was willing to pay a thousand pieces of gold for a horse that could run a thousand mile without stopping. For three years he tried in vain to find such a steed.
Then Chenglei offered, ‘Let me look for a horse My Lord.’
The Emperor agreed to this.
After three months Chenglei came back, having spent five hundred pieces of gold on a horse’s skull.
The Emperor became enraged. ‘I want a live horse.’ he roared. ‘What use is a dead horse to me? Why spend five hundred pieces of gold on nothing?’
Chenglei replied philosophically, ‘If you will spend five hundred pieces of gold on a dead horse, won’t you give much more for a live one? When people hear of this, they will know you are really willing to pay for a good horse, and will quickly send you their best.
Sure enough, in less than a year the Emperor succeeded in buying three excellent horses.
A 213 metre long and weighing some 1,256-kilogram horse casing sausage is dried in Yining of Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.
Photos – Xinhua
A Kazak horse meat butcher made the sausage with casings from 30 horses and thigh meat from another eight 5-year-old horses.
Did You Know? Horse Trivia and China
- The record for most runners in a horse race is 228 set in Bayanwula, Xiwuzhumuqinqi, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, China on 25th July 2005.
- The White Horse Temple [Baima Si] in Luoyang, Henan Province, was the first Buddhist temple in China, established by Emperor Mingdi in the year 68 AD. The historic, leafy site features several ancient buildings.
- The Terracotta Army or the “Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses”, is a collection of terracotta sculptures depicting the armies of Qin Shi Huang, the First China. The figures, dating from 210 BC, were discovered in 1974 by some local farmers in Lintong District, Xi’an, Shaanxi province.
- Xian Cavalryman of the Terracotta Army.
- Four bronze horses with chariot. Representing part of the Emperor’s army
- Chinese New Year 2014: ‘Wooden horse’ celebrated in online art(cbc.ca)
- 新年快乐! Happy & Prosperous Chinese New Year 2014! Xin Nian Kuai Le!(acenewsservices.com)
- PHOTOS: Chinese Lunar New Year of Horse(photos.newhavenregister.com)
- The Year of the Horse – Chinese New Year(librarianbrain.wordpress.com)
- Chinese New Year 2014: Google Doodle marks the Year of the Horse(telegraph.co.uk)
#AceChinaNews says this post was courtesy of wuyiyao and his report, on how someone on his course asked ” Is there a way of laundering money `properly’ and this is his post.
A little later, another student said she had heard that even small coffee houses can launder cash. She asked for an explanation of how the practice works and how to spot financial crimes committed under the guise of daily business activity.
Dang Hue, Asia head of the Association of Certified Anti-Money-Laundering Specialists, said in response to the students’ questions, “There is no legal way to launder money, because the activity is intrinsically illegal, and anyone involved will be caught and punished.”
Li and his peers are the first undergraduates in China to major in Compliance and Anti-Money-Laundering, a course created to meet increasing demand from financial markets amid the country’s ongoing economic development.
Dang said the students’ questions are a sign that compliance and anti-money-laundering are still relatively new concepts.
“There’s a long way to go. When the students graduate from this undergraduate program, they will still need more hands-on experience and training to become qualified anti-money-laundering specialists,” Dang said.
Compliance, the adherence to business laws and policy, has become a buzzword after recent probes into alleged bribery, corruption and fraud at State-owned enterprises and multinational corporations, especially large pharmaceutical companies.
The students realize that what they learn will be crucial for the healthy development of China’s financial and economic system and that the demand for professionals in the field will surge in the next few years.
According to the International Monetary Fund, laundered money accounts for approximately 5 percent of the combined annual GDP of all the countries in the world, approximately $1.8 trillion. The figure is rising at a rapid rate, with annual growth of $100 billion.
Amid faster-than-ever global capital flows, dirty money, which finances crimes including drug dealing, human trafficking and terrorism, will be “washed clean” by laundering if effective action isn’t taken, said Dang.
“As the world’s second-largest economy plays an increasingly important role in global economic development and the internationalization of the yuan continues, China’s efforts to combat money laundering will have a growing impact on the global economic picture,” said Dang.
However, the gap between the supply of and demand for talent in compliance and AML work is wide.
“In Shanghai alone, about 2,000 professionals are needed for compliance and AML work,” said Chu Zhen, head of the Department of Finance at Shanghai Finance University. It’s likely that it will take a long time to fill all those positions, however, given that the school only can enroll around 50 students a year. The first majors in compliance and AML will graduate in 2017.
Ma Qing, a Shanghai-based head hunter who specializes in the financial sector, said some of the most difficult requests to fulfil come from companies looking for compliance officers.
In the past, many employers put compliance under the direction of other, unrelated departments, and the responsibilities often included a number of miscellaneous functions that had little to do with legal affairs.
“The job prospects were not attractive; the pay was low, the outline of the responsibilities was too vague and compliance units were given very few resources,” said Ma.
That may be about to change, though; salaries in the field may rise by 40 percent or even more, and compliance units are being given a say in a wider range of decisions.
“One client on our books told me that as a compliance officer, he feels more respected, involved, and indispensable in his workplace than before. He is not alone in thinking that,” said Ma.
The difficulty in finding talent lies in the current dearth of experienced professionals, he added.
“I’ve been working on filling a vacancy at a bank, but the employer is demanding at least five years’ experience in compliance. But that’s a very rare commodity because few people were willing to work in the sector given the poor conditions in the past, and very few remained in the field for five years to gain the necessary experience,” he said.
Some educational establishments realized the problem existed and began to take action. In 2009, Shanghai Fudan University established postgraduate-level programs in compliance and AML, and cultivated talent to meet the future market demand.
Shanghai Finance University and AML association have cooperated on the undergraduate program since autumn. Together, they are providing wide-ranging training, including basic AML courses that focus on regulatory requirements in China, the study of global standards and leading practices in the fight against money laundering.
Experts in compliance and AML from across the world will be invited to lecture and provide practical experience, and all the Shanghai Finance University lecturers have been trained by experts from the AML association, according to Dang.
Student will gain hands-on experience through internships at insurers, stockbrokers, financial institutions, auction houses and property developers, according to Chu.
In addition to courses in economics, finance and other compulsory studies for Chinese college students, the first undergraduate compliance and AML majors at Shanghai Finance University will learn by studying cases of illegal financial behaviour.
“Wherever there is significant cash flow, there is soil for compliance and AML work. Students will use case studies to understand how money laundering works, but personal integrity will also be key to their future success – we hope students equipped with that sort of knowledge won’t get involved in improper deeds,” said Chu.
Circumstances can also play a role, however. A report published by Ernst & Young’s Fraud Investigation & Dispute Service in August 2013, said: “We are beginning to see a slowdown in growth. Companies are faced with budget cuts and are struggling to meet their targets. Business risks are often heightened in economically hard times.”
Weak controls, a tough business environment – which may prompt enterprises to take “shortcuts” to achieve sales or business-growth targets – the use of technology to detect bribery and fraud, and an established, but as yet, immature whistle-blowing program all contribute to compliance risks.
In the Asia-Pacific region and other emerging markets, poor regulatory frameworks and a lack of effective channels for reporting illegal behaviour have provided an environment in which illegal financial activities, such as fraud and corruption, are able to flourish.
“The key question for companies in the (Asia-Pacific) region is how to effectively minimize the risk of fraud and corruption in high-risk markets with weak control environments, given the restricted resources,” said the E&Y report.
The authorities and businesses have strengthened measures to combat illegal behaviour in economic activity, and funding has been increased to help achieve that goal.
Chinese banks already rate their clients’ risk of criminal conduct on a scale of one to five as part of efforts by the People’s Bank of China to curb laundering and fraudulent transactions, according to a post on the central bank’s official website.
Financial institutions must identify their riskiest clients and use their own discretion to report suspect deals. The accounts of clients assessed as high-risk must be checked frequently and not once every six months, as is the normal practice, the PBOC website said.
In December 2012, the PBOC issued new anti-money laundering rules to all domestic financial institutions, requiring lenders to rate clients based on their location and the nature of their business, including their levels of transparency. A number of insurers and stockbrokers have also implemented the system.
So far the PBOC has yet to set a deadline for companies to comply with the guidelines.
“In the past, clients were rated against a checklist of money laundering traits, but the list failed to differentiate risk levels. That led financial institutions to unwittingly inundate the authorities with information and false leads that impeded the checks,” said a source with a Shanghai-based commercial bank who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.
The source said that as the PBOC’s anti-money laundering rules are implemented, a greater number of professionals are becoming involved in training programs to learn more about AML and the prevalent practices.
Businesses are becoming more attuned to, and knowledgeable about, AML and bribery, according to market insiders.
Foreign businesses were once regulated by the laws of their home countries, but an increasing number are now better prepared and aware of the fact that they need to ensure they have good “know-your-customer” policies to tackle AML issues and effective anti-corruption and bribery policies in place, said Dang.
A large number of financial professionals have undertaken intensive training in the relevant programs.
Approximately 190,000 professionals work in the AML field in China’s banking, insurance and securities sectors, but most of them are new to the field, according to a report published by the PBOC, which acts as the banking regulator in China.
Crucially, however, self-regulation is a growing trend as companies acknowledge the benefits that can accrue from being seen as squeaky clean.
Research undertaken in 2013 by the consultancy services provider A.T. Kearney, which conducted in-depth interviews with compliance executives at 40 top companies worldwide, showed that most of the interviewees said they expect to expand their compliance systems. Furthermore, 57 percent of those interviewed said they will most likely seek external help, especially in staffing departments with experts in issues such as anti-corruption, data protection and product safety.
“Today’s regulatory pressure doesn’t stop with the external authorities. Many firms understand that compliance can lead to a competitive advantage and are making their suppliers commit to compliance standards that go far beyond those required by law,” said the report.
Thanks to the Author wuyiyao for supplying this post.
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