Cadres' son makes fortune with soothsaying
Qi Xiang , a 31-year-old man born and raised in Beijing, has been a full-time fortune teller for four years. He said he enjoys the work and considers it a life-long career.
What led you to this fortune-telling profession?
I was a planner at a real estate company. Because of my special interest in I Ching, my colleagues, from the bosses to security guards, asked me to tell their fortunes. Later on I could no longer focus on my work, so I quit in 2006 and decided to make soothsaying my full-time job ... My income has more than doubled. It satisfies me both financially and spiritually.
Are there actually many young people doing this as a job like you?
No, I'm the youngest in this circle. Most of the people I know are over 40. I used to think that many young people would be interested in I Ching as I was, but years later, I found most of them don't study it. They just hear about it but never do any research about it.
What are the most asked questions from your clients?
Predictions about relationships are the most inquired topic, and then career and luck for wealth. Fung shui is a separate item. There are not so many clients for that because the charge is higher.
Did your family and friends have any objection or any doubt?
My mother was in the army and used to study science; my father worked in court. They are both Communist Party members. Neither of them is interested in bagua (the eight symbols in Taoist cosmology) or fung shui. Nobody supported my decision at first, mainly because of doubts whether I could make ends meet by doing this. But later their attitude changed as my income grew. Though money is not why I chose [this profession] in the first place, it not only provides me a better material life but also social networking. Because of my knowledge in I Ching, I'm usually the centre of discussion when I am hanging out with friends. Some people may feel strange when they learn about my work, but they don't shy away.
Is there an association?
There are small groups but no authoritative associations. I don't participate much in such discussions because I think you find truth from practice.
How do you attract clients? Is there government interference?
Most people come to me because of recommendations from their friends. There's no registration with the government, but massive publicity is certainly unacceptable. I have kept a low profile since the very beginning as I wanted to make it my career. I want the clients to focus on my knowledge instead of any other personal information of me, because I don't want to contradict any system. About half of my clients are located in other provinces, and we communicate via telephone or online chatting devices.