Telling The Future


Fortune teller, Daegu, South Korea.

My knowledge of contemporary Korean literature is sadly lacking but if somebody asks me I always recommend Young Ha Kim — Photo Shop MurderI Have The Right To Destroy Myself, and Your Republic Is Calling You.  I Have The Right is easily the darkest and funniest of the three, and evokes Seoul in an incredible way.

That said, here’s an editorial from Kim in the NYT on South Korea’s anachronistic relationship with fortune-telling and physiognomy in 2013:

“When the head of the Hyundai Motor Company, Chung Mong-koo, was fighting with his younger brother Chung Mong-hun over the company’s management, he is said to have consulted a fortune-teller. Lee Byung-chull, the founder of Samsung Electronics and father of the present chairman, Lee Kun-hee, is believed to have strong faith in pungsu. (The elder Mr. Lee considered physiognomy so important that he made sure a fortune-teller, or ‘face reader,’ was present at employment interviews.) LG Group is believed to have considered pungsu when determining the structure of a new building.

It is perhaps not unusual then that Mr. Chey also turned to a fortune-teller. When he was handed the leadership of SK after his father’s death in 1998, he was too cash poor to pay his inheritance taxes. Mr. Kim was entrusted to invest Mr. Chey’s personal money because of his connection to a former SK executive who was also a close family friend and mentor of Mr. Chey’s.”

Fortune tellers are very easy to find throughout urban areas here in South Korea, but I’ve never tried one myself.  My life is just too damn boring.

Then again, Ronald Reagan was way into astrology so maybe it isn’t just a Korean thing.

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