Wǒ Men Podcast: I Changed My Name Because of a Chinese Fortune Teller


The Wǒ Men podcast is a bi-weekly discussion of life in China hosted by Yajun Zhang and Jingjing Zhang. Previous episodes of the Wǒ Men podcast can be found here, and you can find Wǒ Men on iTunes here.

What’s in a name? For Annie Huang, potentially a new lease of life.

Annie (pictured left) recently 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 today’s episode, Annie talks about her name changing experience and how it has fed into a process of self-discovery.

Have thoughts or feedback to share? Want to join the discussion? Write to Yajun and Jingjing at [email protected].

Previously on the Wǒ Men Podcast:

Wǒ Men Podcast: Prison Breaker

Wǒ Men Podcast: The Changing Landscape of Chinese Media

Wǒ Men Podcast: “Sitting the Month” – Postpartum Confinement in China

Wǒ Men Podcast
Wǒ Men Podcast is produced and hosted by Yajun Zhang and Jingjing Zhang, who discuss a variety of topics and share a diversity of voices from on the ground inside contemporary China.
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