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Enter the Year of the Dragon

Jakarta Post Editorial - February 9, 2024

Jakarta – Jakarta and many other cities have been dressing up ahead of Chinese New Year, with dragons made of wood visible in office buildings, shopping malls, markets and other public venues as the festive mood sweeps across the predominantly Muslim but culturally diverse country.

Chinese New Year ornaments decorate Chinatown in Glodok, West Jakarta, where a wide-ranging variety of traditional Chinese foods are on offer.

Buddhist temples are set to welcome worshippers for rituals on Saturday and the city's amusement park operator PT Jaya Ancol is set to mark the Year of the Wood Dragon by hosting the Ancol Lunar Festival on Feb. 8 to Feb. 11 to, which features a number of special performances including an underwater dragon show and of course, a lion dance.

The celebrations will be an ideal respite from the three-month election campaign, which has generally run peacefully. No major clashes have occurred between the supporters of rival candidates, although the social media war of narratives and negative campaigns has been as fierce and acrimonious as in the past.

In Chinese culture, the dragon symbolizes strength and wisdom, while the wood element adds to the mythical creature's natural qualities. According to Chinese astrology, wood represents growth, life and innovation, and is also linked to characteristics such as flexibility and creativity.

The combination of the dragon zodiac with the wood element suggests that 2024 is expected to be full of courage, growth and innovation.

Whatever astrologers or fortune tellers say about the year of the wood dragon, there is no question that a new year means new commitments, new resolutions and new thoughts.

For example, we need courage and wisdom to curb our addiction to fossil fuels and turn to energy efficiency as a new way of life to stop the world's march toward an environmental catastrophe due to "global boiling".

For Indonesia, where the general election will take place just a few days after Chinese New Year, we can hope voters will elect resolute figures with the courage, wisdom and vision to lead the nation to prosperity and justice for all.

Gong Xi Fa Cai, let's have a prosperous Year of the Dragon!

Source: https://www.thejakartapost.com/opinion/2024/02/09/enter-the-year-of-the-dragon.htm