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A proactive approach to luck

(China Daily)

15:00, January 03, 2012

A university student (left) waits for her turn of fortune-telling in downtown Jinan, capital of East China's Shandong province, in March. More and more Chinese who have a university education are turning to fortune-telling and divination. (Ji Ruimin/China Daily)

Superstitions live on in China because, as many doubters say, better safe than sorry, Li Yao reports.

Imagine leaving a 12-year-old at home an entire day with doors and windows tightly closed, only to open them exactly at midnight with the child struggling to stay awake.

Mao Weiwei, now 26, spent just such a day in the summer of 1997, supposedly for her own good. She needed to avoid the evil spirits and bad luck that were predicted to befall her on that particular day in the Year of the Ox.

"I dressed in pajamas, watching TV and eating a lot that day. The superstitious precautions followed word-by-word the advice of a fortuneteller my aunt had visited."

Mao's parents were indifferent to fortunetelling but wanted to be on the safe side for their only child. That makes them fairly typical in China. But her aunt, now 57, has always gone to great lengths to pursue good luck and dodge ill fortune.

She invited Buddhist monks in Tibet to pray for Mao when she sat for college and graduate school entrance exams in 2004 and 2008.

"It cost about 2,000 yuan ($320) each time for the service. My aunt would like to think my success in both exams was thanks to her efforts to ask for Buddha's blessings on my behalf. I know it is due to my own hard work," Mao said.

She teaches at an English training center in Beijing.

Once Mao lost a Buddha pendant, a gift from the aunt, when she was at university in Shanghai. Mao was nervous and immediately called her mother. The aunt quickly learned the news and was pleased with Mao's reaction. A few days later, the aunt bought Mao a jade Buddha pendant.

Mysteriously, Mao found the old pendant under a pile of clothes when she received the new one. Now she leaves them in her eyeglasses case at home in Shenyang, Liaoning province, so they won't get lost again.

"I generally do not follow superstitions. But in this case I think Buddha saw my earnest regrets for not taking good care of the pendant and forgave my negligence," she said.

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Leave your comment2 comments

  1. Name

PD User at 2012-01-0399.254.58.*
When I read that the Ching dynasty army using this sort practices in the battle field.The box rebellion said they were safe from foregn guns.God,is this where the chinese educated young are doing again."It does not hurt;it may help"Think again!
PD User at 2012-01-03123.139.92.*
just play it safe

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