Perhaps it is a sign of the times. As Hong Kong edges towards the handover, fortune tellers in the ancient art of fung shui are seeing a rising number of youngsters anxious about their future. Some are relative newcomers to the workforce after graduating from college. Others have worked for some time. Together, they share concerns and uncertainty about where their lives are heading. Fung shui masters who try to foresee their future say they have noticed more young people coming to see them, and for reasons different to those in the past. Questions most commonly asked revolve around prospects for emigration, career advancement and relationships. 'Not only old people come to visit us, but now more and more young people who wish to know their future knock on our doors,' reports one fortune teller. 'Owing to the sluggish economy and political uncertainty, young people are more concerned about their work prospects.' Abel Yeung, a fung shui master for 30 years, says the trend has gathered pace in recent years. 'Ten years ago, most of my clients were elderly people with much experience of life. They found the difficulties they faced could be explained by their fate. They came and consulted me,' he says. 'Now many younger ones who are eager to succeed come to me. They don't understand why they may face certain challenges. 'They are blind believers and tend to be more superstitious than the old people. Because the younger ones believe what we tell them without their own independent evaluation. 'Life is like a deposit passbook. It records good things and bad things you have done even before being born,' Yeung declares. 'Your birth date and time is the account number to release the amount that you have saved. But this is not yet fixed. You have to put effort in, in order to profit from it. 'The difference lies in whether you take the initiative or just sit still and wait,' Yeung says. Yan, a 24-year-old civil servant unhappy in her present job, craves to know whether she will get out of her rut. 'I am not superstitious, but just curious about my fate. 'Some of my friends also share the same feeling. We have high aspirations but it seems that we can't fulfil them at the moment,' she says. 'It is better to consult the [fortune] expert on whether I should persist with my present job or seek a change.' But, Yan adds: 'I'll only accept the favourable things he tells me and ignore the rest.' Dr Freedom Leung Yiu-kin, psychology lecturer at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, says people with low self-esteem commonly consult fung shui masters for direction. 'When people face uncertainty and have low self-confidence, they will appeal to supernatural sources for solutions,' he says. Twenty-two-year-old Pauline says her consultations with fung shui masters are driven by uncertainty. 'On the decision-making process, there are so many uncertainties confusing me and none of my family members nor friends can help,' she explains. But Yeung urges people like Pauline not to depend solely on their advice. 'We can only advise them that they may start a relationship around a certain age. But we cannot tell them whom to choose,' he says. 'They have to make up their own mind.' As Phillio has discovered, that may not be easy: after consulting a fortune teller about her job, she is now wondering whether to take his advice. Yeung's clients are not solely Chinese. He says he has had visitors from western Europe and South Africa asking him about their fortunes. 'Of course I have to adjust a little when I read their face because, for example, their definition of a flat nose differs from ours,' he said. 'I need to compare their face to other Westerners and draw a conclusion. 'But their lives pattern can be explained by the I Ching [the classic book of changes] which is universally true.'