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
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
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
People queue for up to an hour to pay their 10,000
riel and ask about their future - usually in love or
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.