Monday, February 21, 2011

2011 shaping into good year for the fortune tellers

JUDGING by the amount of exposure soothsayers were given at the very beginning of this year, says an observer, horoscope reading must be getting back into vogue. Not only were the periodicals generous with their print space to feature fortunetellers and their predictions, the electronic media, too, has given much airtime. One television station featured horoscope reading as an hour-long programme on the eve of the New Year and repeated it the next day.

The days of sidewalk fortune tellers may be numbered in the age of computers, but certainly there is no shortage of demand for their services even among the most skeptical or highly educated. Given the right marketing push, the art of divination can be lucrative.

One soothsayer had came up with a series of books to predict what the Year of Rabbit held in as early as October last year. Whether or not the predictions are accurate, I have no way of knowing, but to judge by the dog-eared copies in dumper bins with big discount stickers now stuck on them, I can't help but wonder if the author could have foretold the outcome of the books.

Chinese or English horoscope, there is no shortage of believers - whether they read them out of obsession or curiosity. Some people I know will not buy a newspaper if the horoscope section is missing. No one noticed when once, some predictions became mixed up, a magazine copy editor told me. But when she left out a horoscope in one issue, the phones did not stop ringing.

Science or quackery, only the experienced can tell. Sometimes even the experts are stumped when the stars refused to cooperate and play havoc with predictions. The more sensible among my friends say that you should take readings with a grain of salt. Take the case of a colleague who turns 60 this year. The stars are said to be against him - and people born in the Year of the Rabbit. However, his fears proved unfounded when he struck lottery a fortnight ago.

Perhaps the best way to take horoscope readings, if you cannot accept them as novelty, is to use some common sense.

If you can get out of bed today, earn enough to feed and house yourself and your family, and sleep well without worries t onight, then it is a good day regardless of what soothsayers say.

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