“A Monotonous and Lonely Life”

by Ant Stone on November 11, 2010

in Malaysia

I like most places of worship. I grew up in the shadows of spires, sprinting through the graveyard’s of England’s old cathedrals and churches. Since then, I’ve found meaning when meandering through Tibetan monasteries, marvelled at mighty mosques, and the spicy smells which pervade the world’s Hindu temples will never stop inspiring me.

I’ve schlepped round stupas, and joined pilgrims on their marches and still, I’ve yet to find a house of worship which doesn’t impress me.

But I’ve never had my fortune told in any of them. Until now.

Buddha’s Sixth Sense

Not long after I entered the quiet realms of Buppaharam Temple on Penang’s Perak Road I came across a strange contraption. It was crude and kitsch, with a crooked coin slot, and dominated by a large tin disc with a serrated edge and covered in numbers.

I obliged, and it span around in a rather comical fashion before rattling to a stop, and signalling the number four. There was a large shelf beside the machine, and it became obvious I should pick out the sheet with the corresponding number. I’m quite clever, you see.

Misfortune Telling Machine

Here’s what the piece of paper said:

Chiam See No. 4
He who gets this Chiam See will have a monotonous and lonely life. Just like a group of chickens roaming to various places and one of them is separated far away from the others.

You will meet your supporters in future, but it may take a long time. You should not go forward with your business at present. But prepare yourself ready for immediate alteration.

A sick person in your family will get well soon. In case of prosecution you may win the case. Your absconded debtors will not yet be found. Your wife who is now in pregnancy will give birth to a boy.

“Charming,” I thought “I’m going to live the life of a lonely chicken.

Then I read it again, and I began to do what we all do when reading horoscopes and messages in fortune cookies.

I started to believe it.

Behind the Words

A monotonous and lonely life? I’m a traveller, who is often alone. At times, yes, I guess it has been monotonous and lonely. Perhaps I have been a chicken who has been unduly “separated far away from others”.

As far as, “I will meet my supporters in the future, but it may take a long time”. I had dismissed that one.

But soon after this occasion, I arranged to meet David of Malaysia Asia and Mei of Cumi & Ciki in Kuala Lumpur. As fellow bloggers, I think we can agree that we support each other. And with regards “…it may take a long time”, well, I’m sure David won’t mind me saying this; he was over an hour late picking me up.

I “should not go forward with your business at present”. Between me and you, I have several businesses in the pipeline (I’m a man with many fingers in many pies, so to speak). So this one clearly hit home.

“Prepare myself for immediate alteration”, well, this one was as clear as day. I was in Malaysia on a stopover during my journey home to the UK. A place I haven’t been for three and a half years. Immediate alteration? Tick.

“A sick person in your family will get well soon”, well this one really struck a cord. The reason I’m returning to the UK, is because my girlfriend’s dad has cancer.

“Your absconded debtors will not be found yet”, again, very pertinent. Because I work as a freelancer, I am open to this kind of risk, and sure as sure can be, I’m owed a substantial amount of money from a pesky debtor.

And finally, “your wife who is now in pregnancy will give birth to a boy”.

At this point, I screwed the piece of paper up, dismissing it as rubbish. I found it a week later in my bag. The day before, a good friend phoned to tell me his girlfriend was having a baby boy. Long shot?

How does this fortune relate to your own life? Can you fit it in? Are you superstitious, or is it simply hocus-pocus? Consider sharing your thoughts with fellow readers below.
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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Tony November 12, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I think that you need to ‘not believe’ or you could just use it as an exuse for when things do happen or find yourself waiting and looking for something in your life you can attatch it to.

I personally believe it’s all about confidence tricksterism (is that a word?). Taking control and/or manipulating the weak and vunerable. Comes under the same banner as witch doctors and demons and angels. Probably originated from some form of religion that used it to scare people into following the rest of the tribe and carried through the ages by feeble minded people too scared to take control of their own destiny or those that wish to control the destiny/lives of others..
Some interesting stuff on Google


Ant Stone November 15, 2010 at 11:56 am

I think you make a good point, Tony. I have made it fit quite nicely with my life, haven’t I? I love your analogy with tribes; I hadn’t thought of it like this. I like your way of thinking (if a little bit conspiracy theory).


ciki/agentcikay November 14, 2010 at 1:04 pm

hahaha, MalaysiaAsia was late to pick you up wasn’t he! I was surprised David called me asking me for directions to your hostel – really funny. I had to google the directions. Oh well, at least we found you in the end! it was lovely hanging out with ya! will be dropping by to see u in the UK one day soon, don’t worry! LOL


Ant Stone November 15, 2010 at 11:57 am

He was — but I wasn’t fussed, it made it authentic! Great to meet you both too, terima kasih :)


ciki/agentcikay November 14, 2010 at 1:06 pm

to answer your question, I am not superstitious. I believe in coincidences, in divine intervention in GOD, but it’s never by chance. Everything is preordained!


Ant Stone November 15, 2010 at 11:58 am

You sound like a lady who knows what she wants, and likes things to be in order.


Tony November 15, 2010 at 7:20 pm

It’s only a conspiracy if you believe it is! lol- (did I really lol???-oh boy!)


Corinne @ Gourmantic November 16, 2010 at 7:50 am

Much like horrorscope (my term for it), it’s whatever you want to believe and gives your life a reason. I’ve seen it in extremes where a friend believes her life is about to change for the worse because it is ‘in the stars’ and I watch her sabotage her good chances.

I’m much more grounded in logic to believe in such things!


Ant Stone November 16, 2010 at 10:32 am

Oh, wow. I couldn’t ever live my life by them (especially those in the newspapers), but I see your point, Corinne. Thanks for your most grounded of opinions.


Zablon Mukuba November 17, 2010 at 7:24 am

am afraid of fortune telling, they might tell me something i dont want to hear


Ant Stone November 17, 2010 at 1:23 pm

I’ve been to see a fortune teller. She did the whole tarot card thing, and it spooked me. She knew a lot of things, about a lot of people in my life that I wasn’t prepared to hear about. Mostly true.


Kyle November 17, 2010 at 4:14 pm

I think you can always make these things fit your life. So much of it is generic. How many fortunes talk about travel? Most. And everyone in the world is either traveling or wants to travel. Pretty much!


Ant Stone November 17, 2010 at 5:37 pm

It seems so, Kyle. The thing that was so exciting about this one, was that it wasn’t in a newspaper, but from a crappy machine tucked in the corner of a Buddhist temple… I felt like Tom Hanks in Big, just for a second.


Bluegreen Kirk March 15, 2011 at 2:36 pm

I think that jsut with a fortune cookie you can make things fit or go against what you are doing if you really want to. It like when you want something say a car. You never really notice the car until you want it and then it seems like everyone has copied your idea. The fact is just you notice it more.


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Megan October 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm

What a beautiful and, of course, well written article. In my opinion, the best part about Chiam See, very inspiring.


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