Researching my prospects for the Year of the Rat, I was somewhat rattled to discover that my own sign of the Horse is the Rat’s worst enemy, so I should bite the bit in expectation of a rough ride over the next 12 months.
But “whoa,” I quickly told myself before my terror got out of hand, and started reining-in my fears with thoughts of the positive role that rats – if not Rats – have played in my life so far.
For a start, one of my all-time favourite characters in one of my all-time favourite tales, ‘The wind in the willows’, is Mr. Rat aka Ratty, best friend and faithful companion of Mr. Mole.
A further factor inspiring my affection for the humble and industrious rat is how richly its name has contributed to the colour and range of the English – and even more so to the Australian – language.
For example, if it weren’t for this unjustly-reviled rodent, I wouldn’t be able to invoke its name to say that I “smell a rat” every time a member of Australia’s current right- or rather rat-wing government says or pretends to do anything.
Nor could I characterize such sly and slippery customers more aptly than “as cunning as shit-house rats”. Or more vividly convey the speed and urgency with which these people are capable of acting in their own or their cronies’ special interests than with the classic simile “like a rat up a drainpipe”.
Their ratting-out of the Australian people with the support of the rotten Ruprat-Murdoch-owned media on ever issue from taxation and press-freedom to the climate-change-exacerbated current bushfires is a disgrace to all good, honest rodents.
Which, of course many if not most people who were born in a Rat year surely are.
As even a matsalleh/ratsalleh like me is aware, the Rat, like all the other 11 animals of the Chinese zodiac, has both its positives and negatives, virtues and vices.
On the plus side, according to my Googling of the subject, Rat people are supposedly clever, quick-thinking, optimistic, energetic, creative and popular.
But on the other hand, or, if you prefer, paw, negative rats can allegedly be stubborn, rude, stingy, cowardly and unhealthy.
And of course an added negative for me personally and my fellows born under the equine sign is, as I mentioned earlier, that a Rat year is very bad bucking news indeed for Horse people.
Thank goodness, then, that I couldn’t give a rat’s ass for horoscopes/horrorscopes,or indeed for any other species of superstitions/stuporstitions, be they pious or profane, ‘sacred’ or secular.
Especially in light of the fact that most of them, both occidental and oriental, were originally dreamed-up in the Northern Hemisphere, and thus have little or no relevance here, Down-Under.
Indeed only two of the Chinese lunar-year animals, the Snake and the Dog, the latter locally known as the dingo, are indigenous to Australia, while the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Horse, Sheep, Money and Pig have all been imported here from elsewhere, and the Dragon, as far as I’m aware, has yet to make it through quarantine.
So that, while the coming Lunar New Year is that of the Rat in the Chinese zoological tradition, it could well, for all anybody knows, the New Year of the Bandicoot, Bunyip or Fruit Bat down here in Terra Australis.
Though, on second thoughts, it’s been so much more Terror Australis here lately for all of our indigenous flora and fauna that future predictions for a great many of them appear far from propitious.
The carelessness and callousness of our right/rat-wing Liberal-National Party government when it comes to caring for the country’s environment has been so catastrophic, of, if you like, ratastrophic, for every native-Australian animal that this regime rates as not just a coal-ition but an anti-Koalition.
In other words, it’s totally ratshit. But let me hasten to remind myself, my Asian and especially Chinese friends, that, with the exception of a certain immigrant rat-wing electoral fraudster named Gladys Liu, the current rule of Australia by a pack of plutoc-rats rather than true democ-rats is neither your fault or your problem.
And in any case you have quite enough problems with autoc-rats, kleptoc-rats and would-be theoc-rats in your own countries, some of whom, I’ve been disgusted to learn, are against Lunar New Year celebrations on ‘religious’ grounds.
In short, it’s high time I stopped all my wranting on here against all the rats in our ranks, and wished you, my dear readers, a happy, healthy, wealthy and altogether rattling good Chinese New Year.