Superstition Trumps Rationality


Former Prime Minister has urged people to be patient in the current climate and that the situation will improve when Mars leaves the vicinity of Saturn. It is the closeness of the two planets, apparently, that is causing so much of the trouble the Kingdom is currently facing. A well-known astrologer, Khun Luck Rekhanitade has, meanwhile, announced his own prophecy of the future, which includes the fact that July 2nd this year will be the scariest day of the last thirty years and that there is likely to be violence in Bangkok which will reach a peak on the 6th of the month.

It is all too common for Thais (and politicians from the rest of the region) to place their faith in magic and superstition of all sorts. Khun Thaksin was among those who visited a certain Cambodian monk who had a reputation for magic and the sudden disappearance of some high-profile statues from the front of buildings has been attributed to the preachings of such monks. The junta, during the recent disastrous dictatorship, regularly flew off here and there to consult with whoever they thought would tell them they were doing a good job. Luckily it has not reached the extent of Burma, where one former leading general had the currency denominated in multiples of 87, since he believed that was his lucky number. Even so, nearly every politician is either willing to seek magical help or permit being shown doing so in the media. Superstition of this sort is closely linked to religion here.

My wife has a cousin who owns a house in Bangkok but was posted to work in the south. To deter burglars, he installed an anti-theft system which would turn on the lights in the evening and turn them off again in the morning. When he returned from his duty, he was rather surprised to find incense and offerings of food to the house, since neighbours believed it was haunted and could, potentially, reveal the secrets of the lottery.

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JW

JW has been one of the first contributors to this blog before he gave up on it all in April 2010, during a time when Thai society got more and more polarized about political matters because of red-shirt protesters.

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