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Singapore numerology expert Dr Khim Goh. Photo: Handout

Coronavirus: Singapore fortune reader offers advice on love, life and money on Facebook

  • Khim Goh uses a combination of concepts, including numerology and bazi, to predict life in a post-Covid world
  • The most common questions she receives are related to employment, family finances, divorce and house hunting
As Singapore heads into what experts believe will be its darkest economic year since independence, many have turned to fortune-tellers to help quell their anxieties and seek better direction in their lives amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Numerology expert Dr Khim Goh has been drawing more than 5,000 views to her live fortune-reading broadcasts on Facebook, where she offers advice on health, life, love and money.

Goh, 50, uses a combination of different divination concepts including numerology, bazi, qi men dun ji and i-ching to make her predictions.

Numerology is the belief in the relationship between numbers and personality traits, events and circumstances, while bazi uses one’s birth date and time to read their fortune. Sociologists believe that astrology and fortune telling are popular among those who subscribe to Chinese religions such as Taoism and Buddhism.

Dr Khim Goh normally charges S$150 an hour for a fortune-reading session. Photo: Handout

Goh, who is also a psychology lecturer, typically charges S$150 (US$106) an hour for a one-on-one reading, but she began live-streaming her readings after being overwhelmed by clients seeking appointments.

“Before the outbreak of the virus, I would do up to 10 readings a month, but now I have two or three readings each day,” she said.

The most common questions she receives are related to concerns about employment, family finances, divorce and house hunting.

“Many have asked me how to handle their marriage due to the financial strain caused by the virus,” Goh said. “Some are even facing court cases and bankruptcy charges, and have asked me to do their readings and give them a sense of direction.”

Singapore PM: ‘jobs will disappear’ as Covid-19 hastens digital disruption

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Thursday said in an annual Labour Day address that the city state’s labour market would feel the “full brunt” of the ongoing global economic slowdown, including the deaths of entire industries due to digitalisation.

The speech, which traditionally gathers 1,500 labour movement leaders and partners to celebrate the achievements of workers and unions, was delivered via a live-stream for the first time in six decades.

The fresh economic challenges have motivated many to flock to fortune-reading services for guidance.

Fortunetelling is one way of accessing the supernatural or some mystical power to foretell their future and [learn] how to avoid a predicted bad future.
Tan Ern Ser, National University of Singapore

After Mandy Wong, 36, lost her job in company cutbacks last month, she decided to tune into Goh’s live-stream sessions to find out how she could bounce back on her feet.

“She told me that I didn’t have to worry too much about money, but that I should look for a new job which has something to do with the wood element, like writing,” Wong said.

“I think now, you can’t really see the future and when you’re lost, you just need some direction in your life, which is when I would go to Dr Khim,” she added.

More than 1 in 5 Singapore firms looking to slash jobs due to Covid

Similarly, when freelance make-up artist Leong, 44, was undecided on whether to expand her business and open a beauty parlour this year, she first went to Goh for a reading.

“I was advised to keep a low profile and not make any major changes or make any big investments,” said Leong, who declined to give her full name. “I took her advice and decided to take beauty courses on make-up, facials and embroideries instead. I was very lucky, otherwise I could be paying rental without being able to continue my business.”

Leong has since attended all seven of Goh’s live-stream sessions to ask about her daughter’s job prospects amid the pandemic.
Professor Tan Ern Ser, a sociologist from the National University of Singapore, said the practice of seeking fortunetelling services was not unique to Singapore.

“Most people do believe in one or some spiritual beings, forces, or power, given that there are things in life that they can’t understand, explain, predict, or control,” he said. “And fortunetelling is one way of accessing the supernatural or some mystical power to foretell their future and [learn] how to avoid a predicted bad future.”

He added that it depended on one’s “preferred mode or modes of seeking help to reduce our fear and anxiety”.

Goh believes the coronavirus has had a detrimental effect on the mental well-being of many of her clients, and she has used her reading sessions to counsel them.

“Sometimes, you have to give people hope at a period like this,” she said. “I try to guide them during this period and try to show them when more opportunities will come in for them.”

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This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as: In an uncertain world, Singaporeans turn to fortune-tellers for hope