Sept. 3 - Parents in South Korea consult fortune tellers in the hope of boosting their children's college entry exam chances. Paul Chapman reports.
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Byun Mi-kyong has no idea how her daughter will fare in her all-important college entrance exams.
She's hoping a fortune-teller will have a clearer view of the 18-year-old's university and career prospects.
(SOUNDBITE)(Korean) BYUN MI-KYONG, MOTHER, SAYING:
" I couldn't have a heart to heart talk with anybody about this but I can speak frankly about what's on my mind to him. It was a big help to me."
These South Korean students are being cheered on their way to sit one of the most competitive college entrance exams in the world.
A place at one of the best universities is considered critical to getting a good job.
And the fortune tellers say they want students and parents alike make the best of their chances.
(SOUNDBITE)(Korean) SHAMAN CHOI KUING-HUN SAYING:
"When it comes to their children's education, if I give advice to parents they just follow it blindly for their kids. In my opinion most South Korean parents are devoted to their children."
The fortune tellers base their advice on a child's choice of university and career on the year, month, date and time of birth.
Kim do-Kyung's here because her 13-year-old son's showing promise in maths and science.
(SOUNDBITE)(Korean) KIM DO-KYUNG, MOTHER, SAYING:
"Many parents come here by word of mouth, mostly from Gangnam because some mums said their child did better than expected in entrance exams after talking to a fortune teller."
South Korea has an estimated 300, 000 people are in the fortune-telling business.
They charge somewhere between $44 and $89 dollars an hour.
And it seems many parents see that a forward-thinking investment in their children's future.
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