Ah Tong :'For wife avoid Rat, do you think that I would be able to avoid marrying one born in the year of the Rat.'
They were having supper at one of the roadside stall as Ah Tong wanted to know more about the last prose of '配妻忌
Xiao Wu: 'Yes, it is true that females born in the year of the Rat will not be suitable as a match for you in marriage.'
Ah Tong: 'From the conversation that both of you had during tea, can I assume that the Master is a relative of yours? And more or less you should know this art.'
Xiao Wu: 'Yes, he is my uncle but I am not supposed to acknowledge him which is why I did not tell you beforehand. Just if you want to ask further, I also do not know why too as I have been instructed by my mother, his sister on this. I do not know Tie Ban Shen Shu, just that I saw your bazi chart which he had plot out. You are a Weak Fire element and water is not ideal for you and the Rat is an Water element which have an affinity with the Shen Monkey, your birth year.'
Ah Tong: 'Mmm, your uncle took quite a while to work it out while you have already seen it from my birth chart. Does it means that the Bazi analysis is better as it is faster.'
Xiao Wu: 'You are wrong and I can't blame you for thinking that as it was the same when I first started in Destiny analysis. His art is the most difficult to master as we have to first learn most of the destiny analysis arts such as Zi Wei Astrology, Mei Hua Yi Shu, Yi Jing Six Yao intrepretations, Heluo Lishu numerology and so forth before we can start learning Tie Ban Shen Shu. Lets instead talk about how you can go about looking for your life partner.'
Xiao Wu had not added that the reason it is called Tie Ban or Iron Plate is because once the destiny is worked out as in the words the Iron plate casted, it is fixed and cannot be changed. Further, he had not wanted to elaborate further on the '配妻忌
Ah Tong: 'Do you have any suggestions on how I can find out if the girl I like is not born in the year of the Rat?'
Xiao Wu: 'You are born in the year of the Shen Monkey and women older than you would be at least 8 years onwards. Therefore, your concern should be those that are about 3 or 4 years younger than you. Should be those born in the year 1948.'
Ah Tong: 'Yes, in this case, I had better avoid getting involved with one born in that year. Anyway, if there is anything that I am not sure of, I would seek your advice again. By the way, I really want you to know that I appreciated what you have done for me. If in the future, there is anything you need, just let me know. I cannot promise you much as we won't know about the future but I will do my best for you.'
Xiao Wu: 'Thanks for the offer too but don't think too much about it for as friends, we ought to help each other when we can. Anyway, I had also not visited my uncle since the last Chinese New Year and it is affinity from helping you that I get to see him again.'
Both of them then spend another hour chatting on current affairs and enjoying themselves watching the boisterous crowds on that busy Friday night. They then parted ways separately as both of them did not drive that night.
Time passes fast and soon it was four years since Ah Tong had went for that Tie Ban Shen Shu readings. For the last four years, he was very careful on any girl that he was interested in as he would first try to find out the birth year. However, surprisingly he also did not have much opportunities as he also did not meet anyone that he really liked and therefore had no need for that.
It was during the festive christmas season 1974 Jia Yin the Wood Tiger year that his company had then send him on a trip to Macau to negotiate a property deal. The senior executive who is in charge of this case had taken annual leave and the boss was at a dilemma on who to send as a representative and had then decided on him. His company was trying to buy over a piece of land but there was a problematic landlord who had stood in the way. Ah Tong was actually glad that he was being asked to go so that he have something to do on that day. Can't blame him as Lonely is not a friend and as he is still single and had envied those love couples celebrating the Christmas mood.
At the meeting between the buyer and the group of house owners, he saw a strikingly good-looking woman. Everyone called her Miss Han and she must have been representing one of the owners. However, the meeting was then absolved in an hour as that odd owner out refused to budge on his selling price which was twice the market rate. There was no way to accept it as the rest of the owners would follow suit. In disgust, the buyer went off, telling Ah Tong that the deal is cancelled. Ah Tong then called the company boss to report the situation and was told that he is given the rest of the day off.
He then went to the ferry pier and was surprised that it was fully booked though Christmas was still two days away. He got a ticket for the 2.00 pm ferry and decided to go for lunch.
He then went to a nearby cafe which sells Wan Ton noodles (meat dumpling with noodles) and found that it was much better than he thought. He was then surprised to see Miss Han walked in while he was eating as she nodded at him. He smiled back and was disappointed when she went to another table to sit. In those small cafe as with now, normally the customers would share tables as it is a still a Chinese fast food concept that time. After he had finished eating his noodles, he then went for a walk by the sea as it was still early.
Soon it was time to board the ferry and after taking his seat, he had then thought of taking a short nap after the walk. Suddenly, he then saw the lady Miss Han again walking in the aisle and heading towards his direction. He started wondering where would she be seated when this time with surprise, she took the allocated seat next to him. Sensing an opportunity to get to know her better as there is a kind of feeling that she gave him that no woman had before, he started:
'Oh, we must have affinity as I just saw you at the Cafe earlier and now you are seated next to me.'
She just stared at him and then proceed to take a book out of her bag to read. Ah Tong thought : 'Good, she is different and not the type who would just make friends with anyone.' as most of the girls he hd met were from clubs while entertaining clients. Further, his colleague were all married and even then the only one left not married was the Boss's daughter which he had thought that it is better to leave alone.
He then saw that the book was about pottery and quickly used it as a topic to get her attention. He then said: 'Oh, your hobby must be pottery making and I happened to know the writer of the book you are reading.'
It was really coincidental that Ah Tong had met the writer and got to know her well while helping to sell her land 2 years ago. Apparently she is a fan of the writer as she immediately reply: 'You are also into pottery making as a pastime?'
Ah Tong: 'Nope, I just like appreciating pottery wares and Miss Mei (the writer) had given me one of her best works. If you want, I can show it to you when you have the time.'
Ah Tong then took out his name card and gave it to her: 'You can call me at my office if you would like to take a look at her work.'
She nodded and in return, gave him her name card obviously wanting him to call her instead. He was surprised when he saw the Chinese name was of male character 世勳 Si Xun and blurted out: 'Why is it a male name?'
She must have been angered by the question: 'Why do you have to know? Is it the rule that females cannot have male names.' She then turned to the book she was having to read, obviously wanting to put a stop to their conversation.
Ah Tong realised his mistake and quickly says: 'No, just that I was curious and I am sorry if I sound too Ba Gua (Being a Busybody).'
As he saw her still looking at her book and not replying to him, he then prepared to pretend to take a nap when she said: 'Are you tired?'
He quickly reply: 'No, no, not at all.'
She then said: 'My father had given me this name as I was the last to be born and he had hoped that I would be a son. And as the name was picked before I was born, he had then decided to stay to this name for me.'
Ah Tong: 'Oh I see, and by the way, are you from Macau as you are representing one of the sellers?'
Miss Han answered bluntly: 'No, why does it means that I have to be from Macau because I am representing a Macau owner. I am born in Hong Kong and I am representing my aunt who is from Macau for the property.'
Again Ah Tong is cowered by her uncaring, sharp and blunt reply but he still do not give up as he felt a closeness with her that he do not have with other women he knows.
By then, the ferry had reached Hongkong and as they disembarked, Ah Tong offered to give her a lift from the taxi which she agreed. Ah Tong was glad as this shows that she had accepted him as a friend. He was also impressed by her outright character with no hidden agenda unlike those club girls he met. The next day while at work, Ah Tong quickly called Xiao Wu and told him about this girl.
Ah Tong: 'Is there any way I can get the girl to reveal her birth year as I am really keen on her?'
Xiao Wu: 'Sure, you can go and buy a copy of the Yearly Forecast for Zodiac and use it as a conversation topic.'
Ah Tong: 'Pardon me, I don't really understand what you means by that?'
Xiao Wu: 'Simple, you just pretend to read the book when you are with her and says that for the coming year, people born in the year of the Rat might meet with a mishap. If she is born in that year, she would be curious to find out more whereas if she is not, she would just ignore your remarks.'
Ah Tong: 'That is a good idea and yes, thanks a lot, I would have to buy you Afternoon Tim Sum one of this days. See you then.'
With that, Ah Tong then call Miss Han as he had still kept thinking of the day before where she had sat next to him. He had never felt like this with any woman before in his whole lifetime with the closeness and the warmth of her body next to him. He was delighted when she agreed to meet him for dinner on the coming weekend on Saturday before going to his house to take a look at the pottery work. Ah Tong thought that it also could be a positive sign that she is not attached to anyone as she is free for the weekend.
A day before the appointment with Miss Han, Ah Tong went to a bookstore to get the yearly forecast for zodiac signs as well as a few books on pottery art. He was filled with excitement about meeting Miss Han and hope that it will ended his search for a life partner. He had thought that it could be his destiny that he is not meant for marriage life.
On that day, they had dinner at a Western Restaurant as Ah Tong wanted to impress her. After all, he had a substantial amount of savings that had accumulated as he is single for the past almost 20 years. His parents and siblings are well-off and do not need him to contribute to their welfare. In fact, at times, his mother insisted on giving him money gifts as she feels that he need more financial security as he is alone compared to his other siblings who were all married.
However Miss Han is not a fussy eater he discovered as she had ordered a set dinner instead of A la carte and had no complains about the food. She told Ah Tong that actually they should go to one of those roadside stall to eat as she prefers local foods. She felt that a restaurant more or less inhibits her enjoyment of the food with its formality. Ah Tong was pleased to know about it as he loves local foods and also do not like to frequent restaurants as he felt that it creates an artificial feeling. They then discovered that they shared a common hobby for fishing apart for food (It is interesting that in Bazi analysis, people with the Eating God in the chart or from the luck pillar loves food).
After dinner, they went straight to Ah Tong's apartment to look at Master Mei' s work and Ah Tong can sense that she is excited. Ah Tong then told himself that he must contact Master Mei again so that he can use the relationship to support his courtship. On seeing the artwork, she was really impressed and spent time holding it and feeling the shape. Ah Tong could'nt really understand the abstract feeling as he had just thought that it would looks nice and lends an artistic touch to his apartment. The rest of the evening were spent on chatting about pottery and Ah Tong quickly took advantage to bring out the astrology book when she excused herself to go to the washroom. When she came back, Ah Tong immediately says:
'Oh, this is an interesting year for me as what this book I had just buy on our Chinese Zodiac Astrology said. It said that for romance, I would meet a girl of my dreams and she is born in 1948, the year of the Rat.'
Seeing no response for her, he then carried on:
'You have no interest in Chinese Astrology?'
Miss Han: 'Not really, just that I feel there is no need to know so much. If it is a good forecast, one would be glad but what if it is bad?'
Ah Tong was glad that she replied as he had hoped that she would not talk about pottery art again as it is going to drive him crazy sooner or later if they carried on the topic.
'I agreed but I read it for fun sometimes to pass time. I have a feeling that I might meet the girl of my dream for this year coincidentally too.'
Obviously Miss Han read his intentions differently thinking that he was referring to her: 'Too bad, I am born in the 1949 and is not your dream girl.' She said it with a laugh at which Ah Tong found infectious and he laughed along with her. He then made up his mind that he would be with her for the rest of his life if he could make it happens. For those who knows bazi analysis, Ah Tong have the Flower of Romance star for Angels and Demons in his month earth branch You pillar, a good star for marriage and the spouse.
Time passes fast and both of them spent a lot of time together, going fishing and eating at roadside stall as both of them also loves local foods. Soon, Miss Han accepted his feelings as she did not have many suitors in the past because of her cold demeanour and bluntness which discourages a number of them though she is good-looking and have a child like character. It was at the end of the year of the Bing Dragon in their courtship that Ah Tong proposes to her and she accepted. It was at Christmas that he proposes marriage and Ah Tong had prepared a bouquet of flowers and yes, a diamond ring though modest but at least still a carat piece to be a woman's best friend. For both of them, it was a Christmas that they will never forget together with the oath to be together for better or for worse when she says: "Yes".
They then agreed on the wedding date to be set in March the following year Ding Si Fire Snake, a Spring Month, a good month to signifies the growth of all living things.
One fine day in February before his Big day in March, Ah Tong was at his future father-in-law house waiting for Miss Han as she was changing her clothes to go out for an evening date. Suddenly, the door bell rings and as his father-in law was in the study room, Ah Tong went to open the door. He then saw that it was a despatch guy who have a letter for the family.
'Anybody by the name of Miss Han Xiao Fen 翰銷棻
Seeing the surname is correct, Ah Tong accepted the mail by signing it while trying to recall which of the sisters goes by this name. Miss Han's father had also at that time came out on hearing the doorbell sound and asked: 'What is it about?'
Ah Tong: 'Oh, it is for the sister of Miss Han by the name of Xiao Fen.'
The Father-in law while looking at the letter: 'It is for your girlfriend, it must be from the mother about your wedding invitation.'
Ah Tong was flabbergasted by the reply as he recalled immediately the divination of '一字記之日芬
'I am surprised that Miss Han have another name.....'
The Father: 'Well, it is actually a long story and I think Si Xun would have told you about it by now. I had wanted to have a son and I was actually disappointed when she was born. The mother had then insisted on this name which I do not want. It then became an issue later on which leads us to separate but I suspect that she have another lover at that time and uses that as an excuse to leave me. For a living, I was then travelling most of the time as I was a seaman and she probably had got to know somebody. She obviously had not forgiven me as the letter is still addressed in the name that she chooses for Si Xun (Actually in the Chinese Cantonese dialect group which the father belongs to, the word 勳 also sounds as Fen). It is really so ironic about destiny that I had loved her mother so much. I wanted a son so much that I also think that she had longed for a son as she appeared disappointed each time when the sisters was born. Guess that it is problem of our Chinese mentality, Haiz....'.
And as you guess it, Ah Tong was sleepless the whole night after that when he went home after the dinner date. He felt uneasy as the sound of the word 'Fen' keeps ringing in his ears and he decided then to call Xiao Wu for an opinion though the word 棻 is different from 芬 but had sounded and looked almost the same.
Well, would there be a Happy Ending for this odd couple?
To be continued in a Final episode on New Year's Eve.......
A Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year!!!
for my metaphysics friends here. Cheers.