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For Vietnamese businesses, fortune teller and money | Business and Economy

Hanoi, Vietnam – Nguyen Duy Cuong, the owner of a construction equipment company in Ho Chi Minh, can’t wait to ask a fortune teller to see his Tiger Year business plans, which start on February 1st.

Cuong’s fortune teller, who has been mentoring her for the past 12 years, has been very busy during the epidemic due to the growing clientele that is driven by the services offered online.

As many Vietnamese people talk about a witch, sorcerer or magician, Cuong refers to his guide as “Lord”.

“In the next few weeks, the Master’s schedule will be very busy, so I have to keep it to myself,” Cuong, who was born in 1955, told Al Jazeera.

Cuong will rely on his web-based expertise in everything from arranging chairs in his office and hiring staff, to the duration of his business trips next year.

“I’m doing well this year despite the epidemic. It seems my heartfelt thanks to the spirits benefited me,” said Cuong, who paid about $ 1 million in Vietnamese dong ($ 45) in a two-hour interview. “I have much to thank my Lord for.”

Although relying on superstition, Cuong insists that he can tell real fortune-tellers except for magicians and fortune-tellers.

“I believe in science and my knowledge,” he said. “For the most mysterious things in life, I must turn to the Master. I am spiritual, but not magical.”

In Vietnam, many business owners, whether large or small, or private or governmental, consult magicians to guide them in corporate decisions.

Witches, sorcerers, and other spirit mediums are also popular in Vietnam [File: Kham/Reuters]

Although about 14 percent of Vietnamese Communist population adheres to the official religion, mostly Catholic or Buddhist, spirituality permeates all levels of society.

For many Vietnamese people, consulting a spirit medium is not the only way to gain inner peace, but it is also an honor to have spiritual powers. In Vietnamese culture, life and death are guaranteed by the future, while development and opportunity depend on the heavens. Success requires not only skill and effort but also a good spiritual opportunity called loc. To have this opportunity, Vietnamese perform rituals of thanksgiving in heaven with their parents.

Cuong’s business, like many in Vietnam, has an altar to the Chinese Treasure God and the God of the World, where his agent – who was hired on the basis of the Chinese zodiac sign and form – prepares fruit offerings on the 1st and 15th. of the new moon.

Master Dung, a 28-year-old from Hanoi, told Al Jazeera that his clients often want to read about their health or their business.

“If their costs were high and risky, customers would be looking for frequent forecasts,” said Dung, who asked to be named after his own business.

Depending on the experience of its customers, Ndowe offers packages ranging from $ 9 to $ 36 per hour.

Dung noted that although the astrologers followed their advice based on what the stars would look like, their methods were very effective in solving problems.

“I always tell my clients that the focus can be changed by their good behavior, and my messages often sound good, otherwise they will always be sad and never come back,” said Dung.

In Vietnam, a land of contrasts, there is a clear distinction between official religions and traditions, such as palm reading and ancestor worship.

Following the economic liberation of the 1980s, a Communist government loosened its grip on superstitious beliefs during the war, when many people’s actions were viewed as heretical and anti-social.

In 2006, the U.S. Department of State removed Vietnam from the list of “countries most affected” by religious freedom.

However, the State Committee for Religious Affairs continues to do so overseeing religious organizations and curbing the spread of “magical beliefs”.

Fortune-tellers, fortune-tellers, spirit mediums and other forms of magic can be fined for their services, although the law is not clear on certain aspects of what is prohibited.

The official gray area did not prevent Communist members from using only sermons.

Of the 15,101 members of the Party convicted between 2016 and 2020, 7,692 were charged with gambling, drunkenness, superstition, or the support or participation of an illegal religious group.

‘Years and years’

For businesses, paying attention to spiritual concerns can also be a factor in keeping things running smoothly.

Tran Thanh Hoa, a self-made young man in Da Nang, always brings “spiritual” things with his clients following a client’s change of mind on a logo after a conversation with a fortune teller.

The buyer was told that the blue would not match his birth year and “future”. After a while, Hoa and his client chose the brown as the best fit.

“Since then, I have been asking my clients if they care about their logo in line with their age and their future,” Hoa told Al Jazeera. “I don’t think it’s superstitious. It is worrying because the logos tell people what the colors represent. ”

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