Thungsakdevi, a female angel, rides a rat over Sothearos Blvd, Phnom Penh, to mark the start of the Year of the Rat on April 13.
Cambodia’s official predictions for the New Year have been made and things are not looking good. From flooding to rising food prices to jealous wives, it looks set to be a tricky Year of the Rat – if the predictions are to be believed, that is.
Once a year, royal astrologer Im Borin publishes his predictions for the year ahead. His predictions appear in a small but widely distributed paperback book adorned with Technicolor pictures of the Buddha.
On 13 April – the day when the year of the pig was symbolically ended by Thungsakdevi, a female angel, riding a rat into Cambodia – Borin made his first predictions.
The Kingdom will be seriously threatened by flooding, rainfall will be unreliable and the yield of the average paddy field will drop, said Boran, who also runs the Committee for the Research of Astrology, Khmer Culture and Custom (CRAKCC) at the Royal Palace.
Worse yet, inflation will not be easing anytime soon, according to Borin.
He said the price of basic goods will continue to rise, fruit and vegetable harvests will be poor and Cambodians’ quality of life will deteriorate.
There will be more violence in the Kingdom than there was last year, predicted Borin.
On the second of three days of predictions, Borin added to the grim picture he had already painted by saying the price of salt would increase.
That will be of minor concern to some, though, as Borin also said wives of high-ranking government officials would be in a foul mood over the coming year, being easily frustrated and angered.
There would also be more malaise in small communities, he added.
The third day of predictions focused on governance. Borin predicted that even if government officials emerged victorious from arguments with “their enemies” while maintaining the peaceful relations with them, there would still be chaos in the country.
“Every prediction I make, I make according to traditional rules, but use of these traditional rules has declined,” Borin wrote in his book.
“I made predictions from the few remaining rules as I want the younger generation to know about this part of Cambodia’s history.”
While Cambodia’s urban centers are rapidly modernizing, Borin’s predictions still carry a lot of weight throughout the country.
One farmer from Angseong commune, Bati district, Takeo province, who declined to be named, told the Post by phone on that he and other farmers in the area were worried about the predictions regarding rainfall.
“I believe about 50 percent of the Khmer New Year predictions because it is our local tradition,” he said.