People born in the Year of the Rooster will have a pretty horrifying love life this year.
Photo: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times
Potential crises include betrayal, violence, visits to the police station or courthouse and a dangerous lover who may cause “eternal damnation,” says notable fortune teller Wisdom Tsai (蔡上機) in his book Wisdom Tsai Activates Your Good Luck in 2018 (蔡上機2018大開運).
Unfortunately, that’s my zodiac sign.
Fortunately, however, two other fortune tellers I visit near Taipei’s Xingtian Temple (行天宮) have better news. One should always take these predictions with a huge grain of salt, but just hearing their positive words almost made me wish that the Lunar Year would come sooner so I could see what good things this year would have in store.
Photo: Paul Cooper, Taipei Times
I guess that’s the real purpose of paying up to NT$1,000 for a 10-minute session. It’s funny how the human brain works — I choose to completely disregard Tsai’s vision of doom and gloom even though he is the one with the much higher profile.
TIME TO GET HITCHED?
After asking for my basic details and having his white Java sparrow pick out two cards from a pile, bird fortune teller Yang Kuo-min (楊國敏) says he sees two peach blossoms (桃花) in my year — meaning that I’ll encounter two women who will take an active interest in me. One will be older, one younger, and I’ll meet them around the same time.
Illustration: Tania Chou
I ask him if that’s a good thing or not, and he replies, “What kind of man wouldn’t want that? Also, both will help you as well.”
But then Yang, who plies his prognosticating trade on a fold-up table across the street from the temple, says that this will also bring trouble. Concerned, I ask him several times what that means throughout the session. Apparently, I’ll have issues due to my indecisiveness — which is nothing new.
“You’re too picky,” he says. “It’s not that nobody loves you. But you will miss many opportunities if you keep looking for the perfect person. There has never been a perfect person since ancient times. Find someone who is just right.”
On the other card is the Chinese character for “Happiness,” and Yang suddenly jumps from me meeting women to urging me to get married and have children, emphasizing that this year is the year to do it. That’s a huge step to take given that I haven’t even met anyone yet.
“Congratulations,” he says. “If you do decide to get married, come back here and I’ll pick an auspicious day for you.”
FIERCE WOMEN IN APRIL
Our session complete, Yang leads me to an underpass, which is lined with stalls with fortune tellers, and introduces me to palm and face reader Kuo Chi-hsiung (郭吉雄), an 80-year-old dapper gentleman in a suit and fedora. The stall is plastered with photos of Kuo posing with celebrities as well as his many students in action.
Kuo looks at my palm and face and starts telling me some details about myself, most of them pretty accurate. One that stands out is my weak stomach — he suggests that I stop drinking beer (which I have eschewed largely for whiskey in recent years) and eat less daikon radish and Chinese cabbage. I also frequently move around, rarely staying in the same place for long, and I don’t like to stay in an office all day.
As for my love life? I will meet a woman who is a decade my junior at the end of this month (Kuo conveniently translates all the lunar calendar months for me). I’ll meet potential partners — all younger — from February to May, but the one I encounter in April or May will be quite fierce when she talks.
“It’s okay if she’s fierce, as long as what she says makes sense,” Kuo says. “If she is being illogical you must reason with her, otherwise she’ll get used to yelling at you.”
He also says this year is good for getting married, and I ask him if he could tell me which woman I should choose.
“If you really decide on doing so, bring them here and I’ll let you know,” Kuo replies.
That would probably be a little awkward, but I’ll keep it in mind.
OTHER WISDOMS OF LOVE
While Yang and Kuo told my fortune specifically, Tsai provided the Taipei Times with a brief outline of all zodiac signs based on his book.
Of the 12 animals on the Chinese zodiac, rats will have the best luck in love because they will be the center of attention, but they should show sexual restraint, otherwise it could prove disastrous for their marriage (of course), property and career.
Tigers come in at a close second, and their luck in love will also bring them financial gain at work. Those who get married this year will also experience a boost in their careers. Again, tigers should show sexual restraint, otherwise it might lead to blackmail and a monetary settlement.
The only sign that will have a worse love life than roosters is the snake, which Tsai describes as “tragic.” An obsessive stalker might turn violent, leading to a stay in the hospital or a court case. Snakes should exercise caution while breaking up with their significant other, especially those who live together, or risk violence or even death.
Those who are having rocky relationships might see things take a turn for the worse.
And poor rabbits — who come in 10th — will have their hearts broken and scarred. They will also face the risk of being tricked by someone who’s already married or in a relationship. Rabbits who are single are unlikely to find a partner, and those in relationships might see things go south. Even worse, rabbits also run the risk of having private photos or videos exposed, or lose a great deal of money over an affair gone awry.
Those who have bad predictions may want to seek out multiple opinions like I did — but those for whom Tsai has predicted great things probably shouldn’t bother. Just enjoy your Year of the Dog.
The chills were what first tipped me off that something was wrong. It was an early Thursday evening in late February and I was sitting in my office. I normally hit an energy low this time of the day but this was different, as I suddenly felt chilled, absolutely drained of energy, the lightest of achiness in my muscles and joints and a slight pain behind my eyeballs. I went home, took a long hot shower and went to bed early. After a full day of rest, I felt normal enough on Saturday to jump on my bike and enjoy
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