Thailand’s political fortune tellers are like ours, only different. Western politicians use pollsters to foretell the future. Thai politicians use fortune tellers: much more fun! When a Thai politician is stuck for an excuse, quoting a fortune teller is perfectly acceptable: “Fortune tellers told me to speak less to maintain a good political atmosphere. I will obey their advice,” our beloved Prime Minister, General Prayut Chan-o-cha recently told reporters before cutting short a press conference. His astrologers had urged the outspoken general to speak less and, by so doing, to cool the political tone. General Prayut’s remarks came after he implemented several strong measures (dealing with opponents and trying to maintain order in the country) that drew criticism. In addition, Mr. Prayut himself has been known to blast the media when they raised topics that bothered him, like prolonging his tenure, the constitutional referendum and anti-government figures often drew responses that inflamed the political mood.
Although Mr Prayut’s comment did not prove he believes in astrology, astrology and Thai politics are tightly interconnected. A number of people, from ordinary people to the elites, have sought guidance from fortune tellers who provide predictions with various mystic methods.Some Thai astrologers – like the man in the photo – use Tarot cards, astrologers tell fortunes with birthdates, and some use meditation to connect with mystics who claim they can read the future. A local politician in near me in Chiang Mai province said he likes hearing advice from fortune tellers mainly out of the excitement of seeing if the situation predicted really comes about.“Some predictions did happen but some did not. There is no explanation for astrology in my opinion but in general Thai people do not disparage any prediction”. He’s right about that: Thais simply love predictions. Cannot get enough predictions you might say.
Especially at the end of the year people want to know what is going to happen in the following year. Uncertainty or political deadlock also causes some groups, politicians in particular, to resort to soothsayers. Mrs. Nattaya Chetchotiros, 57, a local political journalist and astrologer, said astrology is part of Thai people’s daily life: historical documents refer to astrologers who predicted the fortunes of the monarch, elites and bureaucrats, especially when they led troops in war or times of transition. “All Thai politicians want to know if they will be elected and a majority of them consult fortune tellers,” she said. One such example is ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, now living in exile. Mrs. Nattaya said that while in office, Mr Thaksin consulted with several astrologers and conducted religious rites at Government House before he made political moves.
“Thaksin went to Myanmar asking advice from the famous fortune teller named E Thi both when he was in power and after he was deposed,” said Mrs Nattaya, who added that E Thi predicted Mr Thaksin would face political disaster. E Thi is a well-known Myanmar fortune teller who has made predictions for customers including politicians and businessmen both in Myanmar and SE Asian countries. Many E Thi clients said her predictions were accurate. Among local astrologers, Warin Buawiratlert, a well-known Chiang Mai fortune teller, predicted that General Prayut will stay in power for at least three more years. Mr Warin said that his prediction was made with meditation that would connect him with his master who helps him see future scenes….