Friday, 16 May 2008

He's the real boss

Thai PM Samak's worship of the mythical snake Rahu underscores Thai politicians' obsession with the much-feared mythical figure.

-Daily XPress Woranaree Kosajan and Budsarakham SinlapalavanSat,

Apr 19, 2008

Daily XPress

PM Samak Sundaravej is in good spirits about his fortune, or duang, and that of his government's after participating in an elaborate ritual worship of the mythical snake Rahu.

But wait. Are the stars above Thailand in Samak's favour?

Other astrologers believe that the duang mueang, or city fortune, will be bad for most of the year."Jupiter is now in an abnormal position. Speaking in layman's terms, Jupiter is under the influence of bandits. This will continue for another three months, until some time after June 6," says an amateur astrologer who asked not to be named."But then you have to watch out for incidents in August and September. This year is not peaceful at all," she says.

Samak sneaked into Wat Traimitr Wittayaram in Bangkok on Thursday evening to participate in the worship of Rahu, the mythical snake that swallows the sun and the moon and causes eclipses. Rahu is associated with bad omens when it moves to certain positions. This time it's moved to lakhana, or in the ascendant, which is the origin of all beings and the universe, and this creates bad omens, leading worshippers to pray for bad luck to disappear. Samak is reluctant to discuss participation in the ceremony, asking reporters not to make a big deal of it. Samak says "of course" his spirit was lifted after the ceremony. "If my spirit wasn't lifted, why would I do it in the first place? This is not about duang. There were lots of people at the ceremony."Several astrologers say Samak's duang hasn't been good lately because Rahu moved to lakhana.But Samak says: "Rahu did not eclipse anything. But take a look: Rahu has eclipsed us all."Samak says Rahu moved out of lakhana yesterday, but other astrologers say that won't happen until tomorrow, or Monday.Samak believes Rahu's move from lakhana will improve the situation for his government."It depends on the beliefs of each individual, but I believe things should be better," he said.

Is it appropriate for the PM to worship Rahu? Pinyo Pongcharoen, president of the International Astrology Association, says Samak might be afraid something bad will happen to him because Rahu had moved."It's a personal belief to worship Rahu. People make merit, which makes them happy and confident," he says, adding the ritual is, at least, a reminder to the PM to rule with prudence and consciousness."It was a normal event. The ritual is a part of local culture," says political scientist Pitch Pongsawat. He says Samak did it for personal reasons, not on behalf of the country.

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