Temple Street night market is amazing. Past the hawkers of clothes, bootleg DVDs, sex toys and octopus porn, there lies something so completely wonderful: a street of fortune tellers. Rows of them, one after another after another. I was astounded. I didn’t know what to do, where to go. So I tried to see them all.
7pm – Fortune 1 – Grace (HK$50)
She started with my face. “Your eyes are very good. First point: powerful, and second point: your eyes are smiling. Eyebrows long and thing, this is very good. You plan before and you work step-by-step. I see this, because your eyes are very powerful. Your nose is straight and high. You can work well.”
She grabbed my face with her two hands. “Look at me!” She studied. “I can’t see nose holes. You can save money. You good save money.”
She turned my hands over, opening and closing them. “But you will have money take by the others. See?” She touched my fingers. “This is the safe, but the safe has big holes. Your mouth is no good. You cannot say ‘no’ to the others. You must! You must learn to say ‘no’ to the others!”
“Now, health. You have trouble with your stomach. Is this true?” (Oh, lord, is it true.) “You must take food careful. Take warm food. Not too much cold things. And you are workaholic. You work good, but you must take rest. You must rest! Take careful, especially your heart.”
“Have you been married? No? It’s okay. Late marriage is good for you. If early marriage, might end divorce. Now is good for marriage. 2010 is good for you. 2011, no. 2012, yes. 2013, no good. You will have two children.”
“Also, for health, you have had accident as a child, yes?” (I didn’t think so, but I later decided I had.) “Maybe you don’t remember. You will have another. Take careful. Maybe a water danger or driving danger. Take careful. Years to take careful are horse, rabbit, and lamb. Especially horse.”
“For a job, government job is okay. Building, okay. Set up the building. Making the road, or the bridge. Or the designer, okay.”
Accuracy: Frighteningly close.
7:30pm – Fortune 2 – ?
Refused to talk to me, cursing at me in Cantonese.
7:35pm – Fortune 3 – Allen
A long line of bored women waited to see the tarot-reader Allen. “Does she speak English?” There was a conference, and a “no.” “Would she write down my fortune in Chinese?” There was no conference this time, just a unanimous (and horrified) “no!” Disheartened by two rejections, I went for a bowl of gluitinous rice balls with red bean and coconut juice from Hui Lau Shan around the corner.
8pm – Fortune 4 – Tse Po Loy (HK$50)
Fortune telling by *birds*! What an experience! What a promise! And, ultimately, what a letdown. In about three seconds, a bird plucks a card from a pile. And that’s your fortune.
This was mine: “Love can be likened to a tree. When it is blossoming, wait for fruit with patience. Your love is blossoming now. It is growing up. Marriage is the fruit of love in the right time and with the right fate. Of course, the precondition of our marriage is that both of you have a disposition for getting along well. Thank you for your HK$50.00!”
Accuracy as of 2011: Fowl.
8:05pm – Fortune 5 – Wong Chun Fu
Wong didn’t bother to stop picking his nose when I stopped by his stall, but nervously refused to tell my fortune. “Perhaps you could…” He peeked around his curtain to the next stall, but they were busy. “Maybe, uh…” He looked the other way, but they too were busy. So he grabbed me, and led me down the street, pulling out his mobile. “My brother… he speak very good!”
His brother, Tenly specialized in Nicam fortune telling, whatever that is. He had a whole menu of choices: palm for HK$150, face for HK$150, bones for HK$200. “Um… what can I get for HK$50?”
“Fifty?” He was shocked. “Fifty?” He shuffled his papers. “People fly in to see me! Look!” He waved to a wall of photos of himself with TV crews. “Even GBTV has filmed me!” I’ve never heard of GBTV. But…
8:10pm – Fortune 6 – Tenly Wong (HK$100)
“Hmm… your nose is for money. Your forehead is for career. See your business line cuts in two? This means it is quite easy for you to change job. The job that is more suited for you is sales and marketing. Maybe hotel, or transport.” Car salesman, again! “Another type is clothes, medicine, design. In 2009 you have too much pressure. You will be more lucky, November 7 to February 2, winter.”
“Your eyebrows and eyes, they are too close. You push yourself too much. Look here!” He pointed to veins in my hand. “You are only 36! I recommend some places for you to go: water places. Beach, river, coffee shops, clubbing. People getting together.”
“From February 4 to now, you are confused. You are not always like this.”
“For romance, you do not need to be so rush to find. You need to concentrate on your career! But for romance, 2009 is a good year. The happy hour for you is 5pm to 8pm, and 1am to 3am. This is romantic time. You can find a good lady, but it doesn’t mean she is beautiful. Find an honest lady. I do not mean foolish. Honest!” He poked me. “And she should have a good job! A steady job!”
“You will be more and more lucky after 41. More than before 40.”
“Remember, use water color. Blue, black, grey. And also wood color: green. Including your business card, and your car.”
“Where are you from?” “San Francisco.” “Remember, don’t gamble! Once you have money, you gamble. Don’t! Your lucky numbers are 1, 3, 4, 8, 13, 14, 43, 48… also all lucky numbers. If you want to sign a contract, 11pm to 1am and 3pm to 5pm.”
“You need to have a good plan for your future. Once you are lazy, you are very lazy.” He burst out laughing. “You can not be happy all of the time. 41 to 50 years old will be very lucky. Take this time to know yourself. You maybe were a manager, but you do not need to be. Understand yourself.”
Accuracy as of 2011: Not so bad. Although I think he misread those “good months”… they were pretty hellish if I recall.
9:15pm – Fortune 7 – Lok Tai Fook
Lok looked about 200 years old, with wispy beard and mumbling in a warbly voice. Yoda-esque. All I could understand, as he handed me his business card with his very, very long fingernail, was one word: “外国人” (foreigner). He turned away.
9:20pm – Fortune 8 – Ming
I joined a small line of girls sitting on squat plastic stools waiting to see the tarot card reader Ming. Clearly Hong Kong girls like the tarot cards. It takes an hour for me to get into the tent, and when she saw me, Ming balked. “I am sorry, I am in a rush. Perhaps I can refer you to a friend?”
“I’ve been waiting an hour…” We go back, and forth, and argue, and finally she agrees to do a quickie.
She anxiously shuffles the cards, and has me palm both halves of the deck, before picking a mountain, a fish, a tree, and twelve other cards.
“Your love line is not stable,” Ming says nervously. “You give much love and affection, but you meet a love rival. He is quite upset. It probably can not be solved in the near future. At least six months. There will be a chance you can settle, but the love rival still exists there.”
“Is that all there is?”
“This is all I can see.”
Accuracy as of 2011: Completely accurate.
By this time, the stalls were being taken down, and people were leaving. And I was exhausted. So I left.