BANGKOK — The internet was laughing Tuesday morning as a universal sign of bad luck scurried across the path of junta leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha at Government House.
Two days after Prayuth’s Phalang Pracharath Party won the popular vote at the general elections, videos emerged of the moment a black cat crossed his path as he walked between Government House buildings, much to the amusement of netizens.
“According to ancient wisdom, if a black cat crosses your path then you will receive disappointment and suffering within seven days. So I hope he won’t get to be the prime minister,” user Teerapong Satrawut wrote on Facebook.
It’s unclear if Prayuth noticed the animal, but the general is known to be superstitious and wears many amulets to protect himself from bad omens. Government House as well as state rituals are deeply steeped in superstitious forms of defense.
“If I were the cat, I wouldn’t cross his path. I’d leap into his face and give him a good kick,” user Suriyan Banpnet Meck commented on a Facebook news article about the black cat.
However, not all wished the general ill – user Tae Cung said it was a good sign.
“Cats have nine lives, so this is good luck…the cat walked in from his right side, so it’s good luck. It’s true, I checked the magic manual. It’s only bad luck if it’s a cobra, monitor lizard or other low animals,” he wrote.
In January 2017, auspicious lotus ponds installed to enhance the luck of Prayuth’s administration broke. A year later, red lanterns were hung around Government House, although a government spokesman denied they were a response to the bad mojo from the broken bowls.
Government House is a nexus of magic rites and superstition in the capital: government officials practice magic rituals to relieve drought and in 2014 anti-government protestors exorcised Redshirt curses there. Ghosts have been blamed for disrupting construction work and refusing to leave after rites to appease them.
Prayuth did not answer questions about Sunday’s general election, which has been criticized for its poor handling and apparent irregularities.