Fortune tellers deal in uncertainty

January 07, 2018 - 09:00

In the first days of New Year, many people prepare a wish list and check their futures. What does the future hold for me, my family, my love, my career?

Viet Nam News

By Nguyễn Mỹ Hà

In the first days of New Year, many people prepare a wish list and check their futures. What does the future hold for me, my family, my love, my career? 

It is quite popular for young women to seek the advice of a fortune teller, a shaman who tells fortunes with the help of a set of cards, or with some Oriental chart mapping the years from the time of birth. The fortune tellers are rated by the percentage of  predicted events that come true.

Of course, people want to hear that they are going to get a raise, a promotion, pass an important test or marry someone they love.

However, for these things to happen, I believe, you need to work hard or meet and hang out with the right people.

And no-one wants to hear about possible accidents or misfortunes. If these things are unavoidable, why bother wasting your time and money in the first place?

Today in a modern, yet uncertain world, people tend to cling to myths to explain the inexplicable.

There was a popular satire about the truthfulness of fortune tellers. “Your fate is to be either rich or poor! Your first child will either be a boy or a girl!” Simple as that, but many people still want to hear this obvious nonsense from someone "in the know".

Psychologists say when people are in a state of self-doubt or uncertainty or getting over a tragic event or trauma, they tend to seek advice from someone they trust who can tell their future. But the truth is, the further you dig into superstition, the more you get tangled in a web of uncertainties and doubt.

I used to accompany a friend to see many fortune-tellers to ask if she should divorce her ex-husband. The couple once seemed a perfect match, but to an outsider only. 

To my surprise, none of the fortune-tellers told her to get a divorce, but they did say that her new beau was a better match. It’s considered to be unkind and immoral to advise break-ups, so each of the soothsayers told her to hang on to the marriage and even warned her of the consequences of breaking up.

Bewildered and beguiled by so many fortune tellers without the courage of their convictions, she realised that none told her the things she wanted to hear.

Again to my surprise, my friend finally filed for a divorce, ignoring the pondering pronouncements to follow her heart.

You reap what you sow. Study hard, word hard, then you’ll reap benefit. But there are certain times in life when you work your hardest, try your best but things keep going wrong. So, you count to three and get back on your feet.

What to do if people turn against you and make false accusations? What to do when someone close stabs you in the back like that? Keep calm and smile, because you can do nothing but ignore it. Perhaps if I had gone to a fortune teller earlier in the year, I might have been forewarned. On the other hand, I might have just wasted money.

But what’s the point if all a fortune-teller can do is to tell you that bad things may come your way, but you can’t do anything about it.

Life is like hiking up a mountain. When you feel exhausted and you cannot take it anymore, you’re at the top before you realise it.

And your fortune, if you’d want to know, stays as simple and discrete as the words in a fortune cookie: "Smile and keep going!"

Happy New Year! VNS