By Mộc Miên
I have a dear friend who is now at the age of 34. As a Vietnamese woman, she is said to be late for marriage. Her life seems quite balanced and exciting, full of hobbies and activities, but I bet deep down inside she feels insecure about her future. It comes as no surprise to me that she often spends money on fortune telling services.
“I am anxious thinking about my future marriage. I want to know when it will happen,” my friend Trần Thanh Hằng said.
It is not rare for Vietnamese to turn to supernatural powers for answers regarding their life choices. Many of the women, who tend to be emotional and rely on intuition, believe in supernatural powers and spirits. At times in their lives, they start to question whether they are making wise decisions, so they consult everybody around them. But when ordinary people are not enough for her, she will indeed look for a fortune teller.
“Fortune tellers have special abilities to predict things well. I have a strong belief in them. Sometimes I rely on them to make decisions,” Hồ Vân Anh, an office worker, said.
“Even though they have advised against what I intended to do, I feel somewhat convinced by them so I compromise accordingly,” she added. “I think that my life is influenced by the deities and spirits, so my job is just to follow their instructions.”
Most women I know are very good at finding psychics across the country, however hard it may be. The forms of fortune telling are diverse, including cartomancy, cold readings, clairvoyance and necromancy, to name a few. Quite a few people have become frequent guests of the prophets.
“I am a loyal follower of Uncle Hậu in Xuân Đỉnh,” said Nguyễn Mai Linh, a believer in fortune telling. “I often ask him for advice in building houses, organising wedding days, buying cars and even visiting doctors. Any time I acted in accordance with his instructions and advice, things happened smoothly. I have consulted him for 10 years or more.”
“After any successful case, I often present gifts to Uncle Hậu to show my gratitude for his service,” Linh added.
Despite Linh’s case, not everyone can find a satisfying fortune teller to follow. There are those who ask many soothsayers about a single matter for more clues before making a final decision.
“I have tried a lot to see who is the best fortune teller for me,” Anh said. “Some of them can be right once or twice, but he might be ineffective the next time. That’s why I have to switch to another. It costs me a lot.
“It is not to mention those who frequently visit fortune tellers, but don’t trust any of them. They are so strange. They might be looking for something they don’t even know.”
A high percentage of the women keep their admiration for fortune tellers a secret rather than disclose it to their husbands or boyfriends. They believe that men are so logical and evidence-based that their decisions are made only after serious consideration. Men don’t count supernatural powers in this aspect, some said.
“My wife often rushes to ask the psychic about any big things in her life. I let her do it, but I still try to intervene at times to minimise the risks,” said Nguyễn Quốc Huy, the husband of a woman who goes to a fortune teller.
At any rate, it’s noteworthy that identifying whether a fortune teller or a psychic can connect to the deities or spirits, or display other special abilities, is a difficult task. Ironically, those who strongly believe in the bad predictions while ignoring the good ones often encounter cunning soothsayers, and they have to pay a lot for offerings to the deities and spirits in an attempt to win over their protection, per the fortune teller’s instructions.
For others, good predictions about their future are like a painkiller. It destresses them and alleviates all worries - for example, the promise that my dear friend will get married soon.
“The fortune teller confirms that I am going to get married at the end of next year. Now my job is to work harder to have more money to prepare for the big day. It seems quite sure this time,” my friend said with a laugh. -- VNS