Wǒ Men Podcast: What’s In a Name? (Redux)

Revisiting the story of Annie, who changed her name on the advice of a fortune-teller in the hopes of changing her whole life

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5:26 PM HKT, Tue September 17, 2019

The Wǒ Men Podcast is a discussion of life in China hosted by Yajun Zhang, Jingjing Zhang and Karoline Kan. Previous episodes of the Wǒ Men Podcast can be found here, and you can subscribe to Wǒ Men on iTunes here.

For this week, we would like to share an old episode published in 2018, interviewing Annie Huang who changed her Chinese given name from Yating (雅婷) to Yiling (奕绫) based on the instruction of a part-time fortune telling master (who incidentally holds a full-time job as a private equity investor).

Even though Annie has a well-paid and highly-regarded job and is in a loving marriage, she was bothered that this may not be what she wants and felt confused as to where her life was going. A new name, the theory goes, could potentially free her mind and soul and allow her to be a “free horse” (she is born in the year of horse) to pursue what she wants.

She is not alone. Many Chinese seek comfort and assurance from fortune telling masters, who don’t only serve as a kind of prophet, but also to some extent play the role of psychologist. Amid the myriad pressures of modern life, many Chinese are turning back to traditional superstitions and beliefs, and fortune telling and feng shui businesses have boomed over the past decade.

In this episode, Annie talks about her name changing experience and how it has fed into a process of self-discovery.

Listen below on Mixcloud, or find Wǒ Men on iTunes here.

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Use this time to reassess your life choices