Fortune-tellers & politics in Thailand

Fortune-tellers & politics in Thailand

Fortune-teller palm-reading with a big magnifying glass.
Fortune-teller palm-reading with a big magnifying glass.

Public figures cannot avoid fortune-tellers, observes former-PM Abhisit, but predictions for careful living, not policy. Everyone from Gen. Prayut to Thaksin uses them.


Fortune-telling and politics intertwined in Thailand

Kyodo News agency

Over the years, many incidents have shown that Thai politics and politicians place great reliance on fortune-tellers and astrology.

A number of people, from ordinary people to the elites, seek guidance from fortune-tellers who provide predictions by various supernatural methods.


Recently, astrologers told Prime Minister Prayut to speak less.

"Fortune-tellers told me to speak less to maintain a good political atmosphere. I will obey their advice," the Prime Minister told reporters before cutting short a press conference recently.

The advice to speak less came after Gen Prayut invoked a number of strong measures in dealing with opponents to 'maintain order' in the country, but those harsh measures also drew criticism.

Recently, Gen Prayut has himself sometimes blasted the media when asked questions that angered him, including about such topics as prolonging his power, the constitution referendum, and anti - government movements.

Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, an unlucky fortune teller known as Mor Yong who was arrested in a high-profile lese-majeste case but died in prison shortly afterwards.


Some astrologers in Thailand predict the future using birthdates, while others claim to be spiritual mediums who connect with spirits or supernatural beings to learn what will happen in the future.

One politician in northeastern Thailand said he likes hearing advice from fortune-tellers mainly out of the excitement of seeing if the situation predicted 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 said.

A typical astrology table as used by many Thai soothsayers. (Bangkok Post file photo)


In Thailand, both personal and political predictions normally are made by astrologers at the end of the year, as people want to know what is going to happen in the new year.

Uncertainty or political deadlock also causes some groups, politicians in particular, to resort to soothsayers.

Typical sidewalk fortune-teller as found in Thailand.

Nattaya Chetchotiros, 57, a veteran political journalist who also has astrology skills, said astrology is part of Thai people's daily life.

In the past, astrologers have predicted the fortunes of monarchs, elites and government bureaucrats, especially when they led troops in war or during times of transition.

Throughout history and still today, astrology has been relied on by groups in Thai society, politicians in particular, according to Ms Nattaya, who has worked as a political journalist for more than 30 years.

EThi, that’s her name, though for Myanmar generals and powerful Thai politicians, she’s known as ET. For years the diminutive, deaf-mute Myanmar fortune teller has read cosmic signs and predicted the course of national events and become an unlikely character in Southeast Asian politics. Apichit Jinakul


"All Thai politicians do want to know if they will be elected and definitely a large number of them consult fortune-tellers," she said.

One such example is ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

While in office, Thaksin consulted with several astrologers before he made political decisions, in addition to conducting many religious rites at Government House and other places.

E Thi, or known as ET , the deaf-mute Myanmar fortune-teller. Apichit Jinakul


"Thaksin went to Myanmar asking advice from the famous fortune-teller E Thi (pronounced: ee-tee) when he was in power and after he was deposed," said Ms Nattaya.

E Thi predicted Thaksin would face political disaster.

E Thi is a well-known fortune-teller in Myanmar who has made predictions for many politicians and businessmen both in Myanmar and other ASEAN countries.

Many of those who met E Thi said her predictions were right.

Warin Buawiratlert sits in front of his shrine, which he says is inhabited by the spirit of Indian guru Kewalan, where he meets guests looking for insights into their future.


Among famous astrologers, a well-known fortune-teller from Chiang Mai, Warin Buawiratlert, 59, said he predicts Gen Prayut will stay in power for at least three more years (read more about him here).

The famous astrologer once predicted that the next prime minister's name would start with the letter "P", and his prediction was criticised when Yingluck Shinawatra became prime minister.

"I predicted what I saw, although Yingluck won the election and became the government leader, she could not stay long because the prime minister must be P (Prayut)," Mr Warin said.


Following the next election expected next year, Mr Warin predicts all groups will join together to work for the country under a national government, which will be set up to run the country and carry out reforms.

This current government will be joined by major political parties, including rival parties.

Katha Shinabanchorn, fashionable TV fortuneteller.


Former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva is among famous politicians whose future was picked by fortune-tellers.

Mr Abhisit said he could not avoid fortune-telling since he is a public figure but he does not rely on the predictions.

"I am not a person who relies on astrology but many fortune-tellers predicted my future and I was not offended. I can listen to all predictions," he said.

"Sometimes, the prediction did not come to pass but sometimes it did, such as the incident in which I broke my arm from a fall. A fortune-teller warned me several months before and I really broke my arm," Mr Abhisit added.

Khun Pettsawan, a fortune-teller on Silom Road.


Although Mr Abhisit regards the predictions as suggestions for careful living, he did not use them as the key to policy implementation.

"Using fortune-telling to make decisions on the party or government policy is not my way," he said.

He refused to comment on the prediction by Myanmar's E Thi who indicated he will return to be prime minister in the near future.

Renowned fortune-teller Luck Rekhanithet (front), aka Mor Luck Fun Tong, attends a Buddha image casting ceremony at Wat Klong Wan in Prachuap Khiri Khan's Muang district. He denied the ceremony was to bring good fortune to convicted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Chaiwat Sardyaem

Astrologer Por Liampetcharat, the chief instructor, makes a point to his pupils during class at the non-formal education centre in Don Muang.

Learn from listening

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  • advice: an opinion or a suggestion about what somebody should do in a particular situation - คำแนะนำ
  • anti (adjective): against - ตรงกันข้าม, ต้าน
  • astrologer: someone who studies the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets and stars and describes the expected effect that they believe these have on the character and behaviour of humans - โหราจารย์, โหร, นักโหราศาสตร์
  • astrology: the study of the movements and positions of the sun, moon, planets and stars, and the skill of describing the expected effect that these are believed to have on the character and behaviour of humans - โหราศาสตร์
  • atmosphere: the mood or feeling that exists in a place - บรรยากาศ
  • being: a living creature - สิ่งมีชีวิต
  • blasted: criticised severely - โดนว่า
  • bureaucrats: people who work in government departments - ข้าราชการ
  • chaos: a situation in which everything is confused and in a mess - ความยุ่งเหยิง, ความสับสน
  • claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
  • come to pass (verb): when some events that was expected to happen, actually happens -
  • comes about: to happen - เกิดขึ้น
  • comment (noun): expressing an opinion - การแสดงความคิดเห็น
  • connect: to join together two or more things - เชื่อมต่อ
  • constitution: the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ
  • consult: to ask for information or advice from someone - หารือ
  • cool (adjective): not hot, not very cold - เย็น
  • criticised: receiving words of disapproval over something that you have supposedly done wrong - ถูกวิจารณ์, โดนว่า
  • criticism: comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad - การวิจารณ์
  • cutting short: making something last for less time than planned - ตัดเวลา
  • deadlock: a situation in which neither person or group involved in a disagreement is willing to change their opinions or positions - หมดหนทาง ไม่มีทางแก้
  • dealing with: taking appropriate action in a particular situation or according to who you are talking to, managing, etc. - รับมือ
  • decision (noun): a choice or judgement that you make after thinking and talking about what is the best thing to do - การตัดสินใจ
  • definitely: without any doubt; for certain - อย่างแน่นอน
  • deposed: forced out of a position of power - ที่ถูกขับออกจากตำแหน่ง   
  • disaster: an extremely bad situation - ความโชคร้าย
  • disparage (verb): to suggest that somebody/something is not important or valuable - ดูถูก, ดูหมิ่น, วิพากษ์วิจารณ์
  • drew (past of draw): attracted - ดึงดูด
  • elect (v): - การเลือกตั้ง
  • elite: (1) of a highly trained group, powerful or influential group - ซึ่งดีที่สุด, ยอดเยี่ยมที่สุด (2) the richest, most powerful, most influential group (in this case, in Thai society) อำมาตย คนที่มีอภิสิทธิ์ที่สุด
  • elite: the richest, most powerful, best educated or most highly trained group in a society - คนที่มีอภิสิทธิ์ที่สุด
  • excitement: getting very emotional about something - ความตื่นเต้น, ความกระตือรือร้น
  • explanation (noun): a description of how something happened or happens; giving the reasons why it happened - การอธิบาย, การชี้แจง, การขยายความ, คำอธิบาย
  • for the sake of: for the benefit or good of someone or something - ผลประโยชน์
  • former: of or in an earlier time; before the present time or in the past - อดีต, แต่ก่อน
  • fortune-teller: a person who tells you what they think will happen to you in the future - หมอดู
  • fortunes: luck, well being - โชค
  • general election (noun): an election in which all or most members of a given political body are chosen. The term is usually used to refer to elections held for a nation's primary legislative body, as distinguished from by-elections and local elections (Source: Wikipedia) - การเลือกตั้งทั่วไป
  • guidance: help and advice about how to do something or about how to deal with problems - การแนะแนว, การแนะนำ
  • harsh: strict, unkind and often unfair - อย่างรุนแรง
  • implementation: the process of making something such as a plan, system, idea or law start to work and be used - การบังคับใช้ (กฎหมาย)
  • in general: including the most important aspects of something; not exact or detailed; overall - โดยทั่วไป
  • in office: serving in government after being elected or appointed -
  • in particular: especially or particularly - โดยเฉพาะ, โดยเฉพาะอย่างยิ่ง
  • in power: the people or political party that controls a government -
  • incidents: events which are either unpleasant or unusual - เหตุการณ์
  • journalist: a person who writes news stories or articles for a newspaper or magazine or broadcasts them on radio or television - ผู้สื่อข่าว
  • key: the most important thing - สิ่งที่สำคัญที่สุด
  • mainly: mostly; most of -
  • maintain (verb): to make something continue at the same level, standard, etc. - ดำเนินต่อเนื่อง, คงเอาไว้
  • major: very large or important - สำคัญมาก
  • measure: a firm action taken to solve a problem or stop a dangerous unpleasant situation - มาตราการ
  • media: radio, television, newspaper, the Internet, considered as a group - สื่อ
  • medium (noun): a person who says that they can receive messages from people who are dead - ร่างทรง
  • method: a particular way of doing something - วิธีการ,วิธีดำเนินการ
  • monarchs: kings and queens - กษัตริย์หรือผู้ครองประเทศ
  • movement (noun): a group of people who share the same aim and work together to achieve it - การเคลื่อนไหวเพื่อวัตถุประสงค์ทางการเมือง
  • national (adjective): for the whole country - แห่งชาติ, ของชาติ
  • obey: to do what you are told or expected to do - เชื่อฟัง, ทำตามคำสั่ง
  • offend (verb): to cause someone to be upset or angry - ก่อให้เกิดความขุ่นเคือง
  • opinion: your feelings or thoughts about somebody/something, rather than a fact - ความเห็น, ความคิดเห็น, ทัศนคติ
  • opponent: someone who disagrees with you or who is competing against you - ผู้ไม่เห็นด้วยกับ, ฝ่ายตรงข้าม
  • order: a situation in which everything is well organized or arranged - ความเป็นระเบียบเรียบร้อย
  • ordinary: not unusual or different in any way - ธรรมดา, ปกติ
  • ousted: forced out of a position of power - ขับออกจากอำนาจ
  • out of: to do something for some reason - She ran away out of fear. He acted that way out of fear.
  • party: an organized group of people who have similar ideas about the way in which a country should be governed, and who work together to try to persuade people to vote for them in elections - พรรค การเมือง
  • personal: your own; not belonging to or connected with anyone else - เป็นส่วนตัว
  • policy (noun): a set of plans or action agreed on by a government, political party, business, or other group - นโยบาย
  • politician: a person whose job is concerned with politics, especially as an elected member of parliament, etc. - นักการเมือง
  • power (noun): political control of a country or an area; having a lot of influence and authority to control people and situations - อำนาจ
  • predict: to say that an event or action will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience - คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า
  • prediction: a statement about what you think will happen in the future - คำพยากรณ์,คำทำนาย,การพยากรณ์
  • press conference: an official meeting where someone makes a formal statement about a particular issue or event to journalists and answers their questions about it - การแถลงข่าว
  • prolong: to cause to continue for a long time - ยืดเวลาออกไป
  • pronounced: the way that something is said; the sounds said -
  • provide: to give someone/ something that they want or need - จัดหาให้, จัดเตรียมไว้ให้
  • recently (adverb): not long ago - เมื่อไม่นานมานี้, เมื่อเร็วๆ นี้
  • referendum: an occasion when all the people of a country can vote on an important issue - การลงประชามติ
  • refuse (verb): to say or show that you will not do something; to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ
  • reliance (noun): the state of needing somebody/something in order to survive, be successful, etc; the fact of being able to rely on somebody/something - การพึ่งพาอาศัยกัน
  • relies on: to need something in order to continue living, existing, or operating - อาศัย, พึ่งพาอาศัย
  • reporters (noun): people whose job is to write articles or make broadcasts about events in the news - ผู้สื่อข่าว, นักข่าว
  • resort to: to do something that you do not want to do because you cannot find any other way of achieving something - หันมาใช้
  • ritual: a formal ceremony - พิธีการ
  • rival: a person you are competing against or opposing - คู่แข่ง
  • situation: all the circumstances and things that are happening at a particular time and in a particular place - สถานการณ์
  • skills (noun): the ability to do certain things well, usually as a result of experience and training - ฝีมือ, ทักษะ
  • society (noun): people in general, living together in communities - สังคม
  • soothsayer: fortune teller; someone who can tell what will happen in future; oracle, seer - ผู้คาดการณ์อนาคต, ผู้ทำนาย, ผู้คาดการณ์ล่วงหน้า,ผู้ทำนาย,ผู้พยากรณ์.
  • spirit (noun): the soul thought of as separate from the body and believed to live on after death; a ghost - วิญญาณ
  • spiritual: religious, or related to religious issues - เกี่ยวกับศาสนา
  • suggestion: an idea or a plan that you mention for somebody else to think about - ข้อเสนอ, ข้อเสนอแนะ
  • supernatural: caused by forces that cannot be explained by science - สิ่งที่เหนือธรรมชาติ
  • topic: a subject that you talk, write or learn about - เรื่อง, หัวข้อ
  • transition (verb): to change or to make something change from one state or condition to another - เปลี่ยนแปลง
  • troops: soldiers, especially in large numbers - กองทหาร
  • uncertainty: something that you cannot be sure about; a situation that causes you to be or feel uncertain - ความไม่มั่นใจ (ต่อเหตุการณ์ ชะตาชีวิต ฯลฯ), ความรู้สึกไม่แน่ใจ
  • various: several different - หลากหลาย, ซึ่งแตกต่างกัน
  • veteran: a person who has a lot of experience in a particular area or activity - สส.)หน้าเก่า, (สส.)หลายสมัย, ผู้อาวุโส, ทหารผ่านศึก
  • warn: to make someone aware of a possible problem or danger - เตือน
  • well-known (adj.): famous, everyone knows about it - ซึ่งมีชื่อเสียง, ซึ่งเป็นที่รู้จักกันดี, เป็นที่รู้จัก, เลื่องลือ
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