Plagues of insects and civil strife loom; but govt says master plan for development will keep peace
THE start of the new calendar year, an event typically met with vows of reform and expressions of optimism, has in recent days occasioned a flurry of dire predictions from astrologers, who say that everything from swarms of destructive insects to faltering social mores will conspire to sow the seeds of national turmoil.
“Everything this year will be worse than last year,” said San Vannak, 53, a fortune teller who works in front of the Royal Palace. “Many people and also cattle will die from epidemic diseases and disasters such as floods, storms and droughts, all of which will be caused by climate change.”
He said five provinces in particular would be affected by inclement weather: Battambang, Kampot, Prey Veng, Pursat and Siem Reap.
Im Borin, director of the National Committee of Khmer Customs and Horoscopes at the Ministry of Cults and Religions, said he was concerned about crop yields.
“The farmers must take care of the crops they have already harvested because crops this year will not be good,” he said, adding that “about half of the vegetable and fruit crops will be destroyed” by insects.
He went on to predict a rash of human casualties as a result of declining “social morality”.
“There will be many people killing each other,” he said.
“Social morality will be reduced throughout society, and there will be a lot of rage from the evictees, who are increasing in number.”
Vay Vibol, a member of Im Borin’s committee and the Post’s Khmer edition astrologer, said he agreed with the predictions for the agriculture sector, though he was more sanguine about development prospects in general.
“Cambodia might not be in turmoil,” he said, adding: “As astrologers, we make these predictions using the ancient books of astrology, but we don’t know for sure if they will be true or false.”
For his part, Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said he was unfazed by the astrologers’ statements.
“We have never been interested in the predictions of astrologers because we believe in our master plan and strategy for the development of the country,” he said. “We have accountability and flexibility to respond to circumstances and ensure social sustainability.”