Anderson Lim clasped his hands tightly in a praying position as a spiritual medium made back and forth movements before him.
Lim then chanted indistinctly as the medium set a paper doll – known as a “substitute” – on fire.
The doll, dressed in a blue shirt that belonged to Lim’s brother, was part of a Taoist ritual performed to ward off bad luck.
” Recently [my brother] had a very bad fall. He missed a step and his ankle was severely fractured. He was hospitalized for two weeks, “said Lim, a 41-year-old businessman.
“I hope that after this ritual, he will be fine. I have seen too many things that cannot be explained, so there are some things that we have to believe. “
Like Lim, many Singaporeans in the modern city-state still turn to supernatural means, such as traditional spiritual mediums, for good luck, health, and prosperity.
While some of his clients seek feng shui advice for disagreements at home, others seek help when they are unlucky or have career issues, said Jeroen Chew , an exorcist and master of feng shui.
Chew joined unconventional commerce over a decade ago after hearing stories that his father Chew Hon Chin, better known as Grand Master Chew, changed the lives of many people around the world.
“My father showed me that non-Taoists and non-religious believed in him,” said Chew, 44. “When we went to the Philippines, there was a long line of people lining up to see him … And I thought to myself that this man can really do something to change people’s lives. “
For former Chew, joining the profession was more of a calling. He said he was cursed 16 years ago, and after coming out of the “spell”, it was time to help others.
“I was cursed for about 10 years. I couldn’t sleep or eat properly, my business failed and everyone thought I was crazy, “said the 72-year-old, who added that he had also attempted suicide.
“Nor did I believe in gods or spirits in the past, I only believed in myself. But one night I dreamed that someone told me that if I got out of the curse, I would need to help people the same way. “
He then created Ghostbuster.
Explaining how the name was born, young Chew said his father originally wanted to “catch ghosts,” but that the family business has since evolved to offer not only exorcism services, but also feng shui readings as well. as luck improvement and ancestral prayer services.
The company also offers ba zi reading, reading its date and time of birth, which would allow Chew to “warn customers” of things as if a conflict should arise with their superiors or their bosses.
” [The lectures] will tell them, “Today you are not in a good energy mood with your boss, you have to be careful,” said Chew, whose services are offered from 88 Australian dollars (65 US dollars).
“Some people don’t take us seriously. But like I said, we help those who want us to help. Those who don’t believe us are fine with us. “
Today, Ghostbuster has approximately 1,000 customers of different faiths. On larger events, such as the eighth day of the Lunar New Year, also known as the jade emperor’s birthday, attendance averages between 400 and 600 “followers.”
According to Chew, 70% of his clients are Christians, even if certain elements of his business are rooted in Taoism.
“We will never tell to you to change religion. We are here to solve your problem. If I solve your problem, I do something that makes you feel good, you feel better and you keep going with your life. You will not change anything, “he said.
Customers ranging from teens to those in their thirties are increasing, said Chew, representing about 60% of his clients.
Most of them ask for help when they face bad business prospects or problems with their family.
Chew added, “Some people feel that they are not reaching their maximum potential … and let’s help each client achieve the best they can in their career or family life. ”
Among those who turn to such supernatural means is Wilmer Ang, 30, who went to see a master several years ago “out of curiosity”. He later consulted with the master when he started his business and when he encountered problems at work.
“I will visit my master occasionally, either to ask for advice on my business or to love life,” said Ang, who works in the real estate industry.
He is said to carry certain objects, including precious stones, or to place “lucky charms” in his office to bring him prosperity.
Another believer, Max Tan, 35, first consulted a numerologist in his twenties. Then he thought it would be a “good idea to see what the future holds.”
During the consultation, he discovered that he had conflicting character traits and “slowly reconciled” with who he was.
Tan, who is a fashion designer, recently consulted his master again, who confirmed his decision to continue his studies.
Dhylan Boey, a professional metaphysician, who has been in the business for over 10 years, has suggested that the younger generation is more open to such practices because it has “fewer hangups” with taboos and conventions, compared to the older generation.
Boey, who specializes in numerology, crystal healing, tarot and feng shui readings, said, “My Generation Y or Generation Z clients are open to new things that may not be be validated by clinical sciences. ”
“On some level, they like to believe that some magic still exists in this world and that as young humans grappling with life problems, and discovering their purpose in life, they may also be doing part of this magic. “