Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - When destiny calls, young lovers split




When destiny calls, young lovers split

When destiny calls, young lovers split

13-fortune-teller.gif
13-fortune-teller.gif

Romantic plans put on hold as clairvoyants warn of unholy matrimony

HENG CHIVOAN

A fortune teller gives a reading to two women on the Phnom Penh riverfront, May 22.

Sat Sovann's heart has been broken since 2003, when the woman he hoped to marry dumped him because of a fortune teller's gloomy prediction about their future together.

"My girlfriend believed the fortune teller when she said I would betray her if we married," said Sovann, a 25-year-old English teacher at the Asean International School in Phnom Penh.

"I cannot forget it because she was my first love and no one can replace her. I am still suffering."

Astrology's once powerful grip over the Kingdom has loosened considerably as Cambodians, particularly those belonging to the better-educated post-war generation, turn away from traditions that once dictated the decisions of their more superstitious elders.

But fortune tellers still exert considerable influence as informal relationship counselors and many unquestioningly heed their warnings, said Phan Chanpeou, a professor of psychology at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.

"The words of fortune tellers still have a strong impact on marriage in Cambodia," he said.

Take, for instance, Phat Samphy's bid to marry his sweetheart, which ended abruptly when a soothsayer predicted death for the couple if they married.

"The girl I love told me her parents asked a fortune teller about us and they said we couldn't marry because of our different astrological signs," said Samphy, 27, a student at Human Resource University.

However, while fortune tellers remain pivotal arbiters in matters of love, Chanpeou pointed out that some independent-minded Cambodians are less willing to swallow completely their often dire predictions.

"Before my girlfriend and I wed, we went to a fortune teller who said one of us would die if we married," said Yen Kunthea, 24, an employee at the FCC in Siem Reap.     

"My parents tried to stop us from marrying but I went against them and now my wife and I live together happily," he said.

I cannot forget it because she was my first love and no one can replace her. I am still suffering.

"We should not believe in superstitions more than we believe in our own hearts.... In the end, we spend our lives with the person we love, not with fortune tellers."
Sok Pongsa Metry, a 25-year-old software developer, was also adamant with his girlfriend that they would not consult a fortune teller about their wedding plans, saying that the words of a stranger should not influence their decision.

But he said that while the younger generation is increasingly likely to shun fortune tellers, parents still use them because they find their prognostications about their children's future reassuring.

Even for some young people, the tradition of consulting a fortune teller is a hard one to break.

Ham Davy, a fortune teller who dispenses advice in front of Wat Onalom, said about five or six young people see her each day to ask about their future with their loved one.

"I'm not sure how I affect them," the 65-year-old said. "I know only my predictions."

Sam Vannak, 45, a fortune teller who operates in front of the Royal Palace, has no doubt about the value of his advice to couples planning to wed.

"It is very important for them to see a fortune teller before they get married because they need to know if they will be compatible," he said, adding that about ten young people came each day to consult him about their love lives.

"I know my predictions are true because I believe in myself," said Vannak, who has 40 years' experience in the business.

MOST VIEWED

  • UN bodies call for drug centre closure

    Thirteen UN entities on Monday issued a joint statement calling on countries in Asia and the Pacific to close all compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and other diseases and some forms of human rights violations. The group includes

  • Racism a ‘chronic disease’ in the US

    China said on Monday that the ongoing civil unrest in the US highlighted its severe problems of racism and police violence, and exposed Washington’s double standards in supporting Hong Kong’s protesters. “Black people’s lives are also lives. Their human rights must also

  • VN PM targets prosperous status for key southern economic region by 2035

    Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Saturday asked the southern key economic region to strive to become a powerful and prosperous region by 2035, 10 years ahead of the deadline for the same goal for the whole nation. He made the remarks while chairing a meeting

  • Indonesia backtracks on decision to relax wood export terms

    Indonesia has backtracked on a decision to relax export requirements for timber products months after issuing a deregulation policy that environmental groups criticised for threatening to put sustainable timber trade at risk. On May 11, the Ministry of Trade issued a regulation annulling its previous regulation

  • Bedding product exports gain 190%

    Bedding product exports from Cambodia to the international market in the first four months of the year totalled $24.21 million, up 190.11 per cent over $8.34 million in the same period last year, Ministry of Commerce data show. The ministry includes mattresses, pillows, sheets, blankets and sleeping bags

  • Pork prices rise sharply in the region due to ASF

    The price of live pigs and pork has risen sharply in the region now that the quantity of pigs has dropped due to the African swine fever (ASF), Swine Raisers Association of Thailand vice-president Wiwat Pongwiwatchai said last week. He said the price of live