• Kathy Chin Leong

What does it Mean?


My nephew Tyler was born 12 years ago, which means he is the year of the tiger. What does this mean? According to the Chinese tradition, 2022 is not only year of the tiger, but the year of the Water Tiger which occurs every sixty years. And, as you can imagine, the tiger represents strength, confidence, boldness, and courage. It is said that people born in the year of the tiger are popular, beloved, well respected, born with strong leadership skills. Tigers are generally very active and enjoy playing sports. They thrive on energy, and they are fueled by enthusiasm and passion.


What is the tiger’s weakness? Those who follow the Zodiac horoscope claim tigers behave in impetuous, irritable and overindulgent ways. The China Highlights website reports that they are “authoritative and never go back on what they have said,” and often do things “in a high-handed manner.”

According to Chinese folklore, the tiger is the king of the beasts. In an ancient fable, the lion had a ferocious nature and was so aggressive and merciless it left the forest in chaos. Next, the lion and other beasts stalked into human territory and caused havoc. The sea was also terrorized and untamed. And seeing such devastation everything, the Jade Emperor dispatched the guardian tiger from the heavenly realms to set things in order. The tiger hunted down the pig, bear, lion, and defeated them all. The human world, the forest, and the sea were restored and henceforth the tiger would bring good luck and peace.


In addition to following the creatures on the Lunar calendar, Chinese also hold ancient beliefs related to the five elements which include gold or metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. When these are associated with different Zodiac animals, the outcomes are quite different. The water tiger comes in a 60-year cycle. The water tiger possesses high self-esteem and ability to learn. The earth tiger is adventurous and realistic, with strong faith. Fire tiger? Optimistic. Wood tiger is compassionate whereas the gold tiger is stubborn if a male and enthusiastic if female.


Where does my nephew Tyler fit into this scenario? He’s only twelve, but the boy is truly charismatic, enthusiastic, full of energy, and loves sports. Will his ferocious side someday come out and get the better of him? I hope not! For now, we are enjoying the happy and positive side of Tyler the Tiger.

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