How I got duped in China

a.k.a. Monks with psychology degrees

china temple

Okay, I knew it was a tourist trap since it was one of the stops of the Li River Cruise. I wasn’t going to buy any of that crap anyway but since I was in a holiday mood and in high spirits (pun intended – was carrying a bottle of their Sweet Osmanthus Wine) I went in anyway.

joss stick

I picked one of them joss sticks (apparently they have this ritual where guys use their right hands but girls use their left hands) and it was tabulated against a book of sorts where I was given a piece of paper.

That paper, according to the people behind and ahead of me was Very Good (TM).


Personally, I think the monk who attended to me is Excellent (TM). He must have a doctorate in Psychology from some Ivy League school. That or he’s just one of those who’s good in profiling people (NSA would do well to hire from this temple).

He just asked me how old I am and what I wanted to know. I answered career and romantic relationships (in that order).

laughing buddha

He looked at me and said:

I am a very ambitious person
I do not like to work for people
I abhor authority
It would be good for me to strike out on my own this year

I am not ready to settle down
I want marriage but cannot find someone that I can really connect with
Settle my career and the relationships would come along

I was a bit taken aback by all this profiling but I after a bit of thought it’s a no brainer:

I came alone to China – rules out relationships
My age and demeanour – obviously I am working and most people resent having to answer to a boss (I know everyone has a boss yadda yadda)
Striking out on your own – that’s what everyone wants, he’s just telling you what you WANT to hear

temple altar

Since I was nodding at all the right times, he rightly profiled me as a sucker and led me to a donation box. I was asked to donate RMB 300 at least. It’s either RMB 300, RMB 600 or RMB 900. I said no, but as a gesture of goodwill, I will give RMB 200 (which is about RM 100). I did that not just to go against the numbers but he has also said some things about me that I didn’t reveal and I’m still trying to figure out how he managed to profile that. smirk

He gave me this doohickey that I’m supposed to keep in my wallet for 3 days before taking it out. I forgot all about it and only remembered when I saw the imprint on my wallet.

Well, guess what? Right after I took it out, I lost RM 35,000. Lucky year my ass.

Disclaimer: I do not believe in organized religion. I would call myself an agnostic but one with ties to Christianity subtype Protestant genus Methodist. That is the official denomination of my family but I’m the only one who does not believe in a God per se. You know how it goes, using religion as a crutch. As the Scottish proverb goes “Danger past, God forgotten“. 😉

hello god

Hello God? Is that you speaking to me? I’m going to have to ask you to speak louder coz I can’t hear what you’re saying. smirk

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44 thoughts on “How I got duped in China”

  1. bb: Hmm…well, come out of the closet then, it’s no big deal in this time and age. Everything is cool mate. Don’t worry about it. 🙂
    All the best!

  2. Oh, I went to the same temple 2yrs ago. They told me that they accept donations in RMB 3K,6K up to 9K. They even had a credit card machine for your convenience. Honestly, in Guilin, if you ever go there again. No more temple trips. We have more temples in Malaysia then in China.

  3. HB, I been duped also in Beijing in many places I been to. Not trust stupid cab drivers they don’t know how to get to your location and want you to guide how to get there to earn that money. Some people will also grab your package or luggage to help carry it for you and want you pay them large amount of moeny for or not get luggage back.
    Temple of Heaven was over rated there were anything interesting to see in it at all. San Li Tung Snow Shopping Center sellers not honest to buyers lie of clothing fit you well and where is made. Pushing bad products at you if not knowing of it.

  4. China sounds like an absolute shit box. Con artists left right and centre, even in Temples. How can a monk justify charging so much money for 3 minutes work. Dude, you should ask them to show you their profit and loss statement. I bet they made more money that IBM and Apple put together.
    You should bring the thingo/doohickey back to the monk and yelled at him. See what he says.
    Back to teh rat blog. A quota? Dude, it’s a rat, they multiple faster than rabbits. Ripped off again, mate. Ha ha ha ha
    But the kitchen is cleaner than the snake restaurant. You have got to pay for that.

  5. ink: Haha! It’s all in good fun. 🙂
    Zagary: Yeah, they actually ask you to donate to fulfil the destiny (or something like that). There are more temples in Malaysia than China? Interesting, I did not know that.
    Thanks for the tip! 🙂
    fresh026: Haha! Yeah, I have noticed that direct corelation too. T_T
    I have somewhat managed with limited success to stop the drink though. 🙂
    Tan Yee Hou: Heh! I thought it was pretty funny how they do that. What are the things you hear about monks in China? I haven’t heard of anything unusual besides the usual molest/rapes which is kinda common in all religions. 🙂
    Vickie: Hey, thanks for the tip, sorry you had to go through that. I should watch out for that when I go to Shanghai. 🙂
    Cabs are relatively cheap in China though, but I’m not sure about the big cities like Shanghai and Beijing.
    rocket: That’s how they manage to build that solid gold Buddha my friend. 😉
    Every visitor to the temple contributes to the next statue that they put up.
    I’m not sure what kind of rat it is, the more I think of it, the more I think it’s a mole or a vole. 🙂

  6. amen. danger past, its forgotten, just drag me up on the shore. I swear… spitting up water.. but how old are you, hb? me i am 50. asked to a fathers day cook out to day. i have none of my own. upmpteen kids playing in the grass. never had time to visit some places. although as a bsa leader and oa and life scout, its ok. and military. and church leader a bunch. really. If I told you where I have been, you would never belive it. but some kids and adults, have never traveled more than 30 miles, in any direction. well shit. really? well, Ive been to ca, but not lA .london, but not stonehinge. heathrow but not… see? and a lot of other places. But I have never traveled , since about 1970, with out faith in jesus. a name that irritates. sorry. and there are right pricks and bad persons out there, it dont give you an excuse to do wrong. Its not easy. happy fathers day. did you really think it was gonna get easier? well it does, in some ways, some not. good friends and family. and now you get to teach it? well, yeah. God bless and happy fahers day, hb. bet you got more spiritual kids than you know.

  7. I tried to find some links that explain how fortune tellers profile people – it’s very basic psychology, but there’s too much noise to find reliable links. There’s a great series of programs on TV on BBC in UK by a guy called Derren brown debunking all this stuff. i guess some of it is on DVD or torrent. Anyway, you can check his wiki profile for more info

  8. separate from first comment – tourists get targeted in every country. it’s the same in malaysia. every day i get accosted by the ‘monks’ on bukit bintang and they show you a list of donations where someone has given them 300, 600 and 900 ringgit (those same numbers again).
    and i’ve listened to the sellers in petaling street, the reason they ask you where you’re from is because different countries get charged different amounts. japanese get the highest, scandinavians after and then aussies and brits get the lowest rates because their cost of living is lower than the first two.
    on top of which i often get charged roughly double for food at stalls and mamaks than malaysians. because all foreigners are rich. obviously.

  9. the dude asked you to strike out on your own, did ou ask him which industry to break into? see if he can guess correctly.
    oh ya, you might want to partner with mr monk and open a casino next door. sure d good business

  10. tom: I’m 29, my friend, close to hitting the big 30 soon. 🙂
    Thanks buddy, and happy father’s day to you too! 🙂
    kulturpop: Nice! Thanks for sharing bro! 🙂
    ciki: Haha! Yeah, I just gotta check it out, being a non-religious person in general (unless there’s trouble ;)). 🙂
    I went in with an open mind, which is probably why he could read me so easily. 🙂
    kulturpop: Interesting! Yeah, I said I was from Malaysia, come to think of it.
    Understand how you feel mate, especially at some mamaks. 🙁
    rocket: Heh! So are Christian TV evangelists and faith healers. Always asking to donate to their ministry and so forth while flying jets and dining on fine cuisine.
    I should have asked the monk that…but knowing his lousy track record, it would be downright idoicy to listen to him. 😉

  11. Another nail in the coffin for con artist in China…bad publicity gets around. Hope others heed this warning and the peoples tourist commission in China is reading this. Cancel my China trip.

    thing is, no matter where i am… i never EVER believe in fortune tellers. 🙂 or psychics or monks whatever
    what’s a future if u ain’t gonna live it to find out for urself 😉

  13. Jeff: Well, China is still fun! You just gotta stay away from the tourist traps…and make friends there. I’m going again later this year to visit someone I met in Guilin, but her hometown is Guangzhou. 🙂
    rocket: HAHA! I doubt he’ll give any good numbers. I had been hoping to win RM 175,000 with RM 50 buys on Small but no hits so far. Fucking close one time though. 🙂
    Jessica Tan: I totally agree with you Jess! =D
    I was there coz it was a vacation and I wanted to keep an open mind and explore. 🙂
    e: HAHA! That would be damn hilarious. 🙂

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