BANGKOK — Many Thais spent the last hours of 2019 flocking to the much revered City Pillar Shrine where they pray for a better life next year – even as they express dire outlook for politics and money matters in the year 2020.

If anything, those interviewed said, they anticipate the political and economy situations to decline in the next 12 months.

Natsakol Bunditchoke, 68, drove from nearby Chonburi province to the City Pillar Shrine to pray for a successful business. He believes the prospects for both the economy and politics are bleak.

Natsakol Bunditchoke

“Those managing [the government] are not adept in running the economy. Politics is a mess. I want politicians to think about the people more. If they can’t take the country forward then they should allow people to decide,” Natsakol said, referring to a new general election.

“It’s all bad,” Chumporn Laochamroon, 67, a retired Bangkokian government official said. Chumporn then lit three incense sticks to pray for better luck and wealth in 2020.

Chumporn Laochamroon

Petcharat Jumewongsai, 48, is originally from Yasothon in the northeast but she has been living in Bangkok for 20 years now. Self-employed, she said she prayed for a successful business year.

Petcharat Jumewongsai

“I hope the economy will improve but I really doubt it. As for politics, I hope politicians consider the people more.”

Kingmanee Thaowong, a 24-year-old company employee came with her friend, 19-year-old Sitthichai Nuemyoon, a vocational college student.

Kingmanee Thaowong and Sitthichai Nuemyoon

Sitthichai prayed for a speedy recovery of his two fingers. The tips of his left hand’s index and middle fingers were cut off by accident at a factory by a metal cutting machine that his colleague was operating.

Sitthichai said he didn’t sue his colleague for damages, but the factory didn’t want to send him to a private hospital that would have cost him 90,000 baht. The young man relied on the universal health care program instead.

As for politics and the economy, Sitthichai believes it will only get worse.

“Both politics and the economy goes hand in hand. It’s up to the government,” he asked.

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