These flowers chains are bought daily to bring luck (ideally in the form of more business for the purchaser, in this case). After purchasing, they are hung on the Buddha shrine in this shop, and as part of the daily closing ritual they are moved from the shrine to this formidable bundle suspended from the ceiling so that they may be replaced by the next day's flower chain. The stall owner could not recall how long he had been hanging them there for, but said that he had started doing it because although the flowers' appearance degraded after their one day on display, their sweet fragrance persists for days afterwards.
It begs the question - how fast does the luck these flowers are meant to bring degrade? Slower than their physical beauty? Quicker than their scent? What are the particular properties/characteristics of the luck these flowers are meant to bring? Does hanging them in this way multiply the individual flower chains' potency - creating a force of luck greater than the sum of their parts? Do the luck of these temporary, fleeting objects vary in character from that of other, more permanent talismans?
The owl is considered a lucky animal in Myanmar culture. Hung on rearview mirrors as a charm, it is believed that if one enters into your house, luck will follow. A commonly seen form this lucky bird takes is the golden, grapefruit-sized, hollow version, often spied in pairs in stores large and small alike. This particular one of a pair roosts in a tailor shop in Sagaing, near Mandalay.
A more novel form can be seen on this lottery ticket being sold at a street stall in a Yangon neighborhood, design courtesy of the "Get Extraordinary Prize" Lottery Company. Closer inspection reveals the bird's feathers to be various denominations of Myanmar's currency, the kyat (pronounced "chat").
When you are having your future forecast, how do you feel about an animate versus inanimate forecaster? Is it more reassuring to have a living, breathing agent in charge of your fate/destiny/college acceptance/promotion than, say, a computer? Is it a binary divide between "animate" and "inanimate" or are there shades of gray? Is it more reliable/accurate to have your fortune told by someone you can communicate with and with whom you must necessarily interact and play a role in determining your fortune - such as the bicycle-based mobile fortune-teller (with his colorfully decorated steed) from Myanmar? Or is it more accurate to have an animate-yet-completely-unbiased and non-invested party foretell your future - such as this bird (parakeet?) trained to select customer's fortune card from a box (bonus bit of repurposing - note the recycled cardboard beverage box upon which the fortune cards are balanced)? Would you sacrifice "randomness" for tactility - being able to view, touch, interact with the forecasting process? Is a random number generator choosing between 0 and 1 is "less random" than flipping a coin? When chance is removed from the realm of the tangible, analogue and visible, how does that change it?
Note: The bicycle-based tarot expert employed an intriguing pricing scheme for a fortune teller, "Pay whatever you want." How does a good reading versus a bad one affect the amount received? I happened to receive a good reading despite drawing some ominous looking cards - perhaps in the interest of profitability there are no bad readings?