BANGKOK — Yannitat Aeumtrabuth, a renowned astrologer known as Ajarn Bank, said he’s learned that a comatose television star is under spiritual assault from a man he killed hundreds of years ago in a previous life.
Thailand’s most famous fortuneteller, Luck Rekhanitade, jumped into the media circus Monday night to say he knows what will happen to Thrisadee "Por" Sahawong – but can not tell the public, yet.
As the national obsession over the 37-year-old actor enters its ninth day of media infatuation, the door has opened wide to opportunism from Superstition Incorporated, with astrologers and shamans screaming for attention with their self-proclaimed – yet widely embraced – powers.
“Hoping I can become a monk in time,” Yannitat wrote on Facebook last night of his power to help the actor recover. “I’m afraid it will be too late.”
A sketch posted by fortuneteller Yannitat Aeumtrabuth of 'Khun Mad,' the spirit he says is preying on the actor.
The Media-Magical Complex
These updates aren’t confined to late-night radio programs or web forums, but found on the front pages of national newspapers.
Much like the magic men and their crystal balls, the media seem to foresee that covering Por’s metaphysical condition can deliver a future of likes, clicks and organic Facebook reach.
Por, a famous soap opera (lakorn) actor, was brought to Bangkok’s Ramathibodi Hospital on Nov. 9 in a coma blamed on complications from dengue fever.
A professor of philosophy and religion said no one should be surprised the media dragged superstition into its coverage, given its power with audiences.
“Looking with an open-minded point of view, nothing is wrong with relying on the supernatural,” said Silpakorn University’s Komkrit Uitekkeng. “But, in the meantime, it also reflects our immaturity as a society.”
In regards to ethical astrology, Komkrit said those publicly predicting a critically ill man’s future had gone too far. All those shaman charlatans, however? They don’t operate under any code of conduct, he said.