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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - And a tiger growls...

And a tiger growls...

woman.gif
woman.gif

A TIGER may be the downfall of Prime Minister-elect

Hun Sen. The Year of the Tiger, that is.

According to a well-known fortuneteller, enterprises -

such as marriages, new jobs and coalition governments -

begun in the Chinese Year of the Tiger (Feb 98-Feb 99)

are doomed to misfortune.

"Hun Sen will still be strong for a while but as

he is elected in the Year of the Tiger he will be

replaced when the Year of the Tiger is over," said

the 47-year-old soothsayer.

"It is not good for anyone to hold his or her

position in the Year of the Tiger."

The good news, she said, is that there will be no

fighting in Cambodia.

Self-exiled politicians Prince Norodom Ranariddh and

Sam Rainsy will be back in the country by the end of

December, and the parties will compromise to form a

government in January.

"But the coalition government cannot work well in

the Year of the Tiger," warned the woman, who said

her "[psychic] power has been with me" since

1975.

The thousands of bats which suddenly appeared in the

morning of Sept 24, wheeling over King Norodom Sihanouk's

Siem Reap palace at the moment when new MPs were meeting

there prior to being sworn in, portend problems in

government as well, she said.

"The bats are a sign that the senior people will

not go along with each other well.

"When they hold talks with each other, they will

barely reach a solution, and even after they reach one,

they still will use tricks against each other

afterwards."

The fortuneteller's words are held in high esteem by

many Phnom Penhois.

Her fame spreads by word of mouth, and she averages

ten customers every afternoon (she runs a market stall in

the mornings).

People queue for up to an hour to pay their 10,000

riel and ask about their future - usually in love or

career.

She said she asked not to be named because she can't

handle any more customers.

"Many famous people come here, but I don't know

their names," she said.

"Officials from government, from both sides ...

people who come and ask whether they will be elected or

not, whether promoted or not."

She said she sees people's futures in the lines in

their hands and in their faces.

For general events, "the spirit" tells her -

but, she admits, "I'm most correct at telling about

spouses, when people will get married."

Still, she foresaw bad news for the upcoming rice

harvest - "it is not good; people will starve and be

faced with many diseases". But next year's crop

should be "perfect".

So, by winning elections in this unlucky year, Hun Sen

- hoping to gain legitimacy, cement his hold on power and

bring stability and development to Cambodia - may instead

have caught a tiger by the tail.

"Cambodian people will still endure many

difficulties and complications until the Year of the

Tiger is over," she concluded.

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