Why fortune tellers go unpunished for giving wrong predictions



FOUR weeks to go and fresh predictions for the New Year will be pouring in from feng shui masters, psychics and fortune tellers. But before we do that, why don’t we take a look at their success rate so far? That question may appear absurd to those who believe that topic must be reserved for the entertainment pages of a newspaper. However, the entertainment section is not created to indict itself. So let’s leave it at that.

All right, so let’s revisit the predictions for 2016. How did they fare? Even if the predictions seem to be turning in the opposite direction, the feng shui masters, psychics and fortune-tellers are likely to remind us that the year is not over, and we still have one month to go.

Let’s take this piece from Taho News, which proved itself wrong as early as last May. I’m referring to the article—“Top 10 Fearless Predictions for 2016 for the Philippines that Will Most Likely Come True”—in particular, that one telling us that “Mayor Rody Duterte will not be elected president.”

How about this stargazing by a local tele-radio station? On Dec. 31, 2015, when media people were scrambling for news content for the year-end, it predicted “a lot of negativities and unstable energies in the upcoming year. . . . It’s one of indecisiveness, it’s one of . . . fickle-mindedness . . . (and lack of) focus.”

I’m not sure what it meant by a lack of focus or fickle-mindedness. Was it referring to President Duterte’s flip-flopping on many issues? Well, at least not in the case against war on drugs and his mocking of the United States and the European Union, which have criticized him for extrajudicial killings in the country.

The truth of the matter is, his bombastic statements are making foreign investors jittery, resulting in the weakness of the Philippine peso, driving it down to a low of PHP50=USD1.

“Whether Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte aims to shock, inspire or just amuse, deciphering his blunt and often unpredictable rhetoric is a potential challenge for investors seeking policy clarity from the new leader,” a report by Ditas Lopez of Bloomberg said.

Lopez writes that Duterte has “tweaked” his stance on several issues since the time he was elected to power, resulting in foreign investor concerns over his long list of “apparent contradictions.”

Back to the local tele-radio’s stargazing program, it said aside from instability in the political scene, some politicians and celebrities may suffer from illnesses, even death, and predicted an attempt on the life of a leader. Unwittingly, Duterte lends credibility to its claim when he said, “he has received reports that the Central Intelligence Agency wants him dead.” The report came when he was interviewed during a state visit in Vietnam in September.

What has become interesting and undeniably truthful is when the stargazer predicted that “a national political candidate’s health condition will worsen, and a female politician will pass away” apparently referring to presidential contender Miriam Defensor-Santiago, who died more than two months ago.

That stargazer appears to be a bit accurate in her predictions, except that we have yet to see the rest of her forecasts come into fruition until December 31.

Casey Stengel says, “Never make predictions, especially about the future.” And yet we constantly seek the advice of people, including political analysts, stock market brokers, sports pundits and of course lawyers—who tell us they have a good idea on how the future will unravel.

And so, what’s the answer to our topical question—“why fortune tellers go unpunished for their wrong predictions?” The simple answer is—no one cares. Besides, fortune tellers don’t give out specific names, but rely much on people’s professional activities. And that’s the reason why it is often featured in the entertainment section of newspapers.

Sometimes, the less you know about the future, the better for your sleep and general well being.

Rey Elbo is a business consultant specializing in human resources and total quality management as a fused interest. Send feedback to elbonomics@gmail.com or follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter for his random management thoughts.


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