iSurprise Fortune Tellers

Row of respected fortune tellers

Myanmar’s fortune tellers

Fortune-tellers are highly revered in Myanmar and are consulted regularly by anyone from a rickshaw driver to top military leaders, for anything from naming a baby to which courses to study at university. Depending on the reputation and experience of the fortune-teller, prices start at 5,000 kyat. The 18 fortune tellers in the compound usually see about 2-5 people a day. The busiest times of the year are around holidays such as Thingyan. On those days, they consult up to 50 people a day.

Astrologer’s advice

It is said the decision of General Ne Win in 1970 to switch (overnight) the traffic from left-hand to the right was based on astrological advice. He also consulted soothsayers in his decision to introduce 45-kyat and 90-kyat banknotes (since 2+7 equals lucky number 9) and insisted on walking backwards over bridges. General Ne Win is not the only general to follow the fortune teller’s advice. More recently in 2005, Senior General Than Shwe ordered the construction of a new capital at Naypyidaw, on a precise date and time, based on the advice of his astrologer.

How to become a fortune teller?

Not everyone can become a fortune teller, most come from a long line of fortune tellers and were taught by the family elders how to read astrological signs, some attended theological schools.

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