1964, September, “Astrologers and Fortunetellers in this Year of the Dragon”




SAIGON–Only a few Vietnamese took the latest Gulf of Tonkin incident very seriously. After all, astrologers and fortunetellers in this Year of the Dragon said September would be an uneventful month.

While in the Westr astrologers are looked upon as hucksters, in the Orient their predictions have a direct bearing on the minutest details of everyday life, the policy decisions made in palaces and cabinet meetings,–And the best time to change the governments.

At the beginning of each lunar year, ushered in with joyous Chinese New Year celebrations in January and February, fortunetellers and astrologers begin to make predictions for the new year in ther their small run homes decrat decorated with elaborate shrines to their best guide to befavorite genii. As the smell of incense andjosssticks from their altars float intothrough their homes and small allyeways outside, they poke through their books of Chinese l data on the movements of the stars. One of their classics, “The Book of Movement” was written by Confucius in 500 B. C., which explains the cycle of life, movements of the stars, the destiny of the universe, the world fate of the world and man’s cycle of life.





The material in these books is considered as scientific date data; the interpretation of this data is an art cultivated by deep-thinking scholars.

Their predictions for x the remainder of the year1964:

The ninth month of the lunar calden calendar, (October) will show a clearer pattern of events in Viet Nam, as opposition forces become po polarize.

The eleventh month, early December to early JanuaryDecember 4 to January 2 Brings ayea “bigger little war”.

In 1965, the Year of the Snake, the anti-Communist war becomes “a big limited war.”

So far, the predictions of the fortunte fortunt fortunetellers is about Vietnam affairs have not been so far wr too far from wrong.

At the c beginning of the year, they openly predicted that Prime Minister Maj. Gen. Nguyen Khnah Khanh would have trouble in the seventh month–August. During that month, he sustained the first Tonkin incident and American bombing of North Viet Nam, opposition of Buddhist leaders and pro-Buddhist student demonstrations–which literally toppled him from office–while his country witnessed Catholic-Buddhist religious warfare and several days of general anarchy.

His futre: future: he will have more trouble in the eleventh month than he did in August, the astrologers say.





For the Vietnamese poe people, an individual’s fate and destiny is directly related to the movements of the great unknowns–the stars and the moon. Timey can noEach family has their own favorite astrologer or fortunte fortuneteller, much as Americans have a family doctor.who is told Astrologers are told the exact hour, day, month and year of [one’s?] birth. From this [info?] he can predict the future. The Family Vietnamese families consult the fortunetellers on any major change to be made. Examples: if they family is to a buy a new house, the fortuneteller says in which direction the house should face, what color it be should be painted. When a baby is born into the family, his horoscope is immediately taken to the astrologers, which suggest who predict his fate, and perhaps his name. One Vietnamese general gave his newborn daughter to a friend for five years because the fortuntehis fortuneteller said itshe would have die if i she remained with him. Several years ago a high-ranking government official always wore a black shirt–so he would live longer.

When the first preludes to a coup d’etat are known in Saigon, the fortunetellers regularly grab their books, make hasty calcuatiosn calculations and predict whether the coup il will succeed or fail. One fortuneteller,w when he heard p the r tanks and troops moving into Saigon two weeks ago, immediately predicted it would fail.Others predicted the N One fortuneteller claims to have predicted five years in advance the downfall of Ngo Dinh Diem who was overthrown Nov. 1, last year.





During the last weeks of August, rainstorms consistently broke out during the hectic student demonstrations and Catholic-Buddhist street fighting in Saigon. One Vietnamese taxi driver expressed a typical reaction, “The gods cause these rains because they are against all these demonstrations. They want them to stop.”

This week As the northern provinces later sustained continued political agitation and student demonstrations, a vicious typhoon swept through the area, which was considered a bad omen for the Vietnamese residents.




The predictions of fortunetilers fortunetellers also affect the affairs of state. Last week, a vernacular paper in Saigon printed a story describing the wife of a minister consulting fortunetellers about the decreses her husband should sign. The Vietnamese accepted readers accepted this as fact–and now the their only question was“wor’s “whose wife is it?”

According to reliable sources, the Vietnam’s nation the date of Vietnam‘s national day was set at the dictates of a fortuneteller. In 1955, when the Republic of Viet Nam was established, President Diem sent a friend to consult the fortunetellers. a renowned fortuneteller and scholar of Chinese literature. The fortuneteller said that though Viet Nam was in the wet monsoon period, the weather would be sunny on October 26. That luck daydate was chosen for the national day.

Vietnamese commanders in the field regularly consult fortunetellers to determine the best hour and day of attack, when r and where to assign their subordinates, twhen their headquarters should be changed. This is also true of the Communist guerrillas, even though they officially disavow themselves these from these “superstitions.”

With such a powerful influence on the fate of the nation, both the Vietnamese government and the Communist guerrillas attempt to utilize the fortunetellers as their propaganda agents. Even American Embassy officials have expressed interest in the ways of the astrologers. For these astrologers who are consistently accurate,





For those fortunetellers who are consistently accurate, leading government officials present lavis g lavish gifts, which as Rolex watches.



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