ACCORDING to Chinese folklore, 12 animals come to worship at the birth of Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. Since then the Chinese have accounted for time according to the order of their arrival. The 12-year cycle, therefore, starts with the year of the rat, the first animal to meet Buddha.

It is followed by the year of the ox, the tiger, the hare, the dragon, the serpent, the horse, the sheep, the monkey, the rooster, the dog, and the pig. The next cycle begins with another year of the rat. The year 2017 is the rooster’s year. For us, a rooster is a male domestic fowl. Filipinos are not Chinese but we are very Chinese in certain ways considering that many Filipinos have Chinese ancestors. We have also learned to live with Chinese in our community.

How do we interpret the influence of the rooster in our Filipino life? The dominance of the rooster is in our President Digong Duterte. He “rules the roost” with two hens (or more hens) at his side. If you rule the roost, you are a dominating person. President Digong is not only a rooster, he is a fighting cock. His past records spoke of his “fights” for the people in Davao City for the principles he stood for. Many women could attest to those fights.

The rooster has a “macho image.” He wants to perch for the night. Since he dominates the hen house (his haven), he wants to settle in a perch. The boastful image is always there as he capers for sex or to deliver a message in the barnyard that he is in control of everything. He got too much confidence.

How is our economics affected by the rooster? Businessmen should work like a rooster. He scratches hard to look for worms. He shares his food especially to the hens following him. He is protective of his fowl family from the hawk or the crow. Businessmen should work for big income but they have to share to their employees. They have to be aware of their social responsibilities to the consumers who have patronized their products.

What is the influence of a rooster in our politics? Last year, the monkey ruled. There was monkey business in politics, especially in the presidential election. The Filipinos have chosen who will monkey the Philippine government. In 2017, these monkeys will behave like roosters. Congress becomes a cockfight arena. The politicians will prove whose cocks are strong. Fighting cock politicians will outdo each other. Local politicians will do the same.

How is our military (also policemen) affected by the will of a rooster (fighting cock)? The gladiatorial attitude of the rooster will influence “the gun powder mind” of some men in uniform. EJKs will continue because fighting cocks love to kill. All the chaos around us could be tempered by a “hen.” Who is this hen? Well, she is going around Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao to pacify and to promote her “hen image”.

Can tourism be dominated by a rooster? What is fun and who is funny? Our tourism secretary is a hen, not a rooster. This hen could have a rooster attitude. She is having one big leap because the Philippines hosted the 2016 Miss Universe. This could be one big cocky event for the country. We hope that our Korean visitors will not be affected by the cock killing of their countryman by the rooster policemen. This is shameful that even President Digong could not cock his gun.

Can we be proud of our rooster infrastructure projects in 2017? There is a big fortune in our roads, bridges and buildings as long as the hens and roosters of the Department of Public Works and Highways will not chicken out the budget. The Department of Environment and Natural Resources can work better if the employees and recipients will not be tempted by “chicken joy” and other chicken delicacies. The Department of Education like the rooster, will fly high with its K to 12 program with special attention to the chicks and without the condoms.

This rooster is very influential. He can be foolish also. Many cockfight enthusiasts trust their millions in the small brains of the roosters doing blood sport in the arena. A winning rooster is good but a dead rooster is as good as butchered. Ours here could be a nonsense conversation but Filipinos love what is nonsense. The rooster story is just good as a chicken delight… “chicken inasal.”

Don’t rely your luck on a rooster. Our destiny hangs on five life points: what our hands do; where our feet go; what our lips say; what our mind thinks; and what our hearts desire. Trust God. Cherish our life, health, family, and friends. Money is bonus. Toktorook!