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经济萧条神棍发财

2006-05-12 09:34

  Good Trade in Bad Times for Fortune Tellers

  Virkven Sargu's phone has been ringing all afternoon as anxious Singaporeans ask him to forecast when the city state's recession will end.But with a vermilion caste mark on his forehead and head-to-toe robes in white, Sargu isn't an economist or a banker —— and his predictions aren't limited to the markets.He's a fortune-teller or, as he likes to put it, an astropalmist.

  Business has been booming in recent months, with more and more people seeking his words of wisdom as they struggle with an economic downturn that the government says will leave as many as 25,000 workers out of a job by the end of this year.

  “Nowadays in Singapore, so many people are worried about the economy. It was like this when the economy became sick five or so years ago,”Sargu said at his office and home in the city's Little India district, stroking a long, white beard that belies his 44 years.“They're very confused these days and I just try to tell them what to expect,”he said.Bad times have been good to Sargu, even if he's a bit hazy on the numbers.“Sometimes three appointments in an afternoon,Sometimes 10 or more appointments.”Sargu is not the only fortune-teller in Singapore to see people queuing for more arcane ways of predicting their prospects after fund managers may have failed them.

  Demand is stronger in other Asian countries as well.A recent report by Thai Farmers Research showed Bangkok residents lining up to consult fortune-tellers, with nearly 81 percent of those polled saying they have visited one. The average was two readings a year since the Asian financial crisis began in 1997.

  萨古先生的电话整个下午都响个不停,焦虑的新加坡人请他预测经济萧条什么时候才会过去。他不是经济学家,也不是银行家,他的预测范围还不仅限于市场,他是一个连打扮也相当专业的算命先生!

  新加坡政府呼吁国民要勒紧裤腰带过年,年前又将有2万5千人失业。国家经济的困境却使萨古先生的生意相当红火。大约5年前东南亚经济开始持续低迷,新加坡人变得焦虑不安和不知所措,不少人向萨古先生寻求人生指引。他说,每一个下午有大约3至10位质询者。对金经理的建议感到失望的新加坡人,纷纷求助于象萨古先生那样的算命先生。

  其它东南亚国家在这方面的需求也相当强劲。泰国曼谷的一个调查显示,81%的受访者承认,他们曾光顾算命先生。

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