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:
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?