New Thai PM uses holy water and feng shui to ward off occult challenges

September 9, 2014
T

(Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha prays before the first cabinet meeting at the Government House in Bangkok September 9, 2014. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom)

As he prepares to move in to Bangkok’s Government House this week, Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha is going to great lengths to sweep away any occult challenge.

Prayuth, 60, has left nothing to chance since leading a military coup to topple a democratically elected government on May 22. After a meticulously planned power grab, he has systematically snuffed out dissent.

That meticulousness is being carried through to his government. Like many politicians and generals before him, Prayuth believes in spiritualism and divination and on Monday members of his entourage were seen carrying Buddha statues and religious idols thought to bring luck in to Government House.

But his beliefs go beyond conventional religion, and last week, Prayuth told an audience of dousing himself from head to toe in holy water as his enemies had tried to curse him.

Army officials say his views on the spirit world and rituals to ward off evil are unlikely to influence government policy, however.

“Like most Thais, General Prayuth has a deep respect for the spirit world, but his policies will be determined by urgency, practicality and the needs of the people,” Veerachon Sukhontapatipak, deputy spokesman for the army, told Reuters.

Despite its outwardly modern appearance, everyday life in Thailand still prominently features pre-Buddhist animist beliefs.

Read the full story by Amy Sawitta Lefevre here.

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