EST. 2009

January 23, 2012

That Two and Six, Fortune Sticks

BAD DAY TO WISH. TRY TOMORROW. Though he had forgotten long ago about them, Jaime had bought me these Chinese fortune sticks from a trip five years ago. Terrified of bad fortune, I've used the sticks only twice before today, serving merely as an obscure piece of decor on my bedside table.

Said to be the oldest known form of fortune telling in the world, Chinese fortune sticks take from the Kau Cim fortune telling practice performed in Buddhist and Taoist temples. Flat, usually bamboo, sticks resembling incense sticks are printed with numbers and painted red on one end. They are stored in a cylinder or tube which is to be grasped with both hands and shaken until a single prominent stick pops or drops out. The number on this stick will then correspond to an interpretation by a temple priest, or in this case, an interpretation from a book of Chinese poetic phrases.

Chien Tung is considered by the Chinese as an art rooted in religion and is not done for mere game or amusement. The method takes its wisdom from the idea of a person's future becoming past through the present. Reflecting on and understanding these present experiences in turn allows one to better face future indicators as they come.

As it is Chinese New Year today, I take another step to embracing the tradition of our Chinese-Filipino friends by pondering my own future, as it becomes my present today. The fortune sticks say that today is a bad day to wish. I suppose it may be a better day to be content? To be thankful.

As for being vexed by a light woman, what does that mean?! Light-weight? Light-skinned? Light-haired? Light... footed? No matter. I'm always "vexed" anyway.

Now, what to wear. Maybe red. Maybe gold!

Chien Tung Chinese Fortune Sticks and red envelopes. Photos by Lady San Pedro.