Sunday September 12, 2004

Lady luck smiles on Malacca tourism

By Tan Choe Choe

MALACCA: It used to be the historical sites and the laid-back charm that attracted tourists to this town.
Now people seem to have found another reason to visit Malacca fortune-tellers.
There are now special tours organised by travel agencies to visit fortune-tellers here.
And such tours have become popular, especially with Singaporeans.
Singaporean tourists pay RM110 each for a day tour and RM308 for a two-day trip with a city tour and a nyonya meal thrown in.
Tye Hiap Soon is among those who has been cashing in on the fortune-teller fever.
He said some of his customers were staunch believers in fortune reading, while others were just curious.
PRIVATE READING: Fortune teller Tan Koon (right) reading the fortunes of English tourists Jo Kellman (left) and Chris Turton at Jonker Walk recently.
Tye said he had been bringing in groups from Singapore to see a particular 18-year-old seer at Tanjung Minyak here over the last two months.
The seer is famous for predicting four-digit lottery numbers.
Another tour operator from Johor Baru, Warita Tour and Travel Sdn Bhd, also organises special "fortune-teller" tours to Malacca.
A tour guide with the company, Koo Han Ghoo, 58, said visits to fortune-tellers were especially popular among tourists who were above the age of 30.
"Our customers are mainly Singaporeans but there are also some locals from Johor," Koo said.
His company charges RM55 for a day trip and RM99 for a two-day tour.
Koo said such tours were not only popular among Chinese but other races as well.
Hee Mee Kien, 29, said she came from Kuala Lumpur to have her fortune read by a particular seer.
The latter doubles up as an air mata-kucing peddler at the night market in Jalan Bunga Raya here.
"There are many fortune-tellers in Kuala Lumpur, too, but I heard some of the best are in Malacca," she said.
Fortune-tellers, offering services ranging from palm reading to geomancy, can be found at busy tourist spots like Jonker Walk and Jalan Bunga Raya.
There are also those who operate from their homes.
One of them, C.Y. Loh, said fortune-telling was not really a business for her but a calling that could not be ignored.
"I just help those who come to see me. And I charge a token sum."
Her readings are from RM10 onwards.
Loh claimed that an average of 20 people visited every day and she had full appointments till next month.

Parent site: "Focus on Malaysia"