How 8 Asians exemplify (or defy!) their snake traits

By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly

According to ancient Chinese wisdom, having a snake in the house is a good omen because it means that your loved ones will not starve. Feb. 10 marks the first day of the Lunar New Year, and this year happens to be the Year of the Snake. As the sixth sign of the Chinese Zodiac, the snake is the most enigmatic, intuitive, introspective, refined, and collected of the animal signs.

According to Chinese tradition, snakes are attractive people who are thoughtful and wise, but can also tend to be stingy or greedy when it comes to financial matters. Because they appreciate beauty, snakes are also very stylish, fashionable, and have great taste. They can also be egotistical and conceited. Insightful and naturally intuitive, failure is definitely not an option for the determined and ambitious snakes.

Below, we look at a few famous individuals who exemplify snake characteristics, some more than others.

Won Bin (born 1977) is a Korean actor who shot to fame when he landed a role in two Korean dramas, “Kkokjii” and “Autumn Fairy Tale,” in 2000. In the past decade, Bin has won several magazine awards for his fashion sense and attractiveness. Unlike many snakes, however, he is not greedy or egotistical — he spends his time volunteering as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.

Kal Penn (1977) is an Indian American actor who starred in the Harold & Kumar series. In early 2009, Penn accepted the position of Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement in the Obama administration. In addition to still pursuing roles in TV and film and his government job, the ambitious Penn is also working on a graduate certificate in international security from Stanford University.

James Wan (1977) is widely known for directing “Saw,” the horror film series, and creating Billy the puppet in the films. Wan and his partner Leigh Whannell created “Saw” in 2004, and the film saw extreme success when it was shown at the Sundance Film Festival. He went on to direct more horror and suspense films, including “Dead Silence” and “Death Sentence.” Perhaps Wan thought he would be able to find the same success in the horror genre, but unfortunately, none of his other movies were as triumphant as “Saw.”

Dina Eastwood (born 1965) is best known for being the current wife of legendary actor and director Clint Eastwood. She owes her good looks to her mixed heritage that includes Native Hawaiian, Japanese, German, and English. She started out as a journalist before taking on a few roles as a TV host for shows like “A Quest for Excellence” and “Candid Camera.” Dina is currently featured on the E! reality show “Mrs. Eastwood and Company,” with her family. Thanks to her snake-like intuitive nature, she discovered Overtone, a South African a capella band, during the filming of her husband’s film, “Invictus,” and currently manages them.

Gong Li (1965) is a famous Chinese actress who starred in “Farewell,” “My Concubine,” “Curse of the Golden Flower,” and many other films. Gong first came into international prominence through close collaboration with Chinese director Zhang Yimou and is credited with helping to bring Chinese cinema to Europe and the United States. Known for her classic beauty and voluptuous body, Li also has great fashion sense, as she represents Shanghai Tang, a Chinese clothing brand, as their spokesperson. In 2006, she was also voted the most beautiful woman in China.

Hayao Miyazaki (1941) is a famous Japanese film director, animator, manga artist, and screenwriter with a career that has spanned over 50 years. Known for his award-winning films, such as “Princess Mononoke” and “Spirited Away,” Miyazaki’s movies emphasize progressive themes, such as environmentalism, pacifism, feminism, and the absence of villains. In college, the film “Hakujaden” (The Tale of the White Serpent) inspired Miyazaki to give up management and pursue animation.

Mao Zedong (1893) was an infamous Chinese Communist political figure who was the founding father of the People’s Republic of China. Mao was born wealthy and quickly rose to a senior leadership position in the Chinese government when he became an early member of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

Coincidentally, snakes are attracted to the color red, and the Chinese flag is mostly red with five yellow stars representing the unity of the Chinese people under the leadership of the CPC.

Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (1869) was more commonly known as Mahatma Gandhi, the most well known leader of Indian nationalism in British-ruled India. Through his peaceful protests — which included fasting — Gandhi led his country to independence and inspired movements for non-violence, civil rights, and freedom across the world. Set out to succeed, Gandhi was the purest example of ambition and determination, like a true snake. (end)

Nina Huang can be reached at


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  1. […] How 8 Asians exemplify (or defy!) their snake traits Won Bin (born 1977) is a Korean actor who shot to fame when he landed a role in two Korean dramas, “Kkokjii” and “Autumn Fairy Tale,” in 2000. In the past decade, Bin has won several magazine awards for his fashion sense and attractiveness. Unlike many … Read more on Northwest Asian Weekly […]

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