Politics, Stars Align for Thai Fortunetellers

Mr. Luck's upbeat, automated predictions on love, life big business in tumultuous times
By Sarah Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2008 3:02 PM CDT
A fortuneteller sleeps while waiting for customers Nov. 16, 2007, in downtown Bangkok.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Fortunetelling, always a big part of Thai culture, is bigger business than ever now, the Wall Street Journal reports. As political unrest buffets the country, an automated telephone astrology service run by a seer known as Mr. Luck is flourishing. "Every time there's a crisis in Thailand, it's a glorious time for astrologers," Mr. Luck says. But some say he's corrupting an ancient tradition.

In Thailand, it's common to consult an astrologer—top politicians and military leaders do it. And Mr. Luck makes it easy. Callers enter their birth dates, pick a topic, and get a prediction. But old-school astrologers are critical. "Before, it took years to build up a reputation as an astrologer," gripes one of Mr. Luck's rivals, who wants to regulate the industry.