COVID to crypto-amulets: young Thais seek fortune-telling upgrades

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BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thai masters scholar Dhidhaj Sumedhsvast did not consider in fortune-telling or supernatural powers till the coronavirus pandemic began two years in the past.

Now, he frequently seeks the recommendation of fortune-tellers, wears fortunate amulets, and has photos of tarot playing cards as wallpaper on his cellphone.

“The pandemic has introduced so many uncertainties that make us really feel anxious,” stated Dhidhaj, 30, who began by praying to Kubera, the God of Wealth in Hindu mythology and a Buddhist deity, for defense towards the financial fallout from the pandemic.

“When I began doing this, I felt secure. While others had been affected by COVID and misplaced their jobs or earnings, I wasn’t. So I consider in it increasingly more.”

Like Dhidhaj, many in Thailand’s anxiety-gripped young demographic have began to embrace fortune-telling and different types of divination.

The pandemic has moved Thailand’s distinct model of divination from streets and storefronts to youth-oriented social media, serving to fortune-tellers to attain a much bigger viewers.

“With the world like this, individuals want religious anchors,” stated Pimchat Viboonthaninkul, a 26-year-old fortune-teller who works solely on-line and who co-founded Mootae World that began the tarot card cellphone wallpaper pattern final 12 months.

COVID STRESS

Thai tradition has lengthy been steeped in astrology and types of divination reminiscent of palm studying, tarot playing cards or numerology.

An estimated 78% of the Thai inhabitants believes within the supernatural in accordance to a 2021 examine by Mahidol University’s College of Management (CMMU).

From consulting with Feng Shui masters to sporting monk-blessed amulets, Thai traditions all sit comfortably inside the dominant Buddhist faith.

Thailand’s largely casual fortune-telling business is estimated to entice round 5 billion baht of spending ($150 million) per 12 months because the pandemic began, up from round 4 billion, in accordance to A Duang, a startup whose fortune-telling software has grown to practically half one million customers, largely aged 18-30.

The app presents every day livestreams by a few of its 7,000 fortune-tellers, throughout which customers can spend 10 to 100 baht ($0.3-$3) for fast insights. It additionally presents personal one-on-one card studying classes at larger charges.

A Duang managing director Kittikhun Yodrak stated common per-user spending has surged fivefold to 500 baht month-to-month from its 2019 pre-pandemic launch.

The pattern displays a “breaking level” in stress ranges that pushes many to seek fast solutions from another person reasonably than from inside themselves, stated Jomkhwan Luenglue, a board member of the Thai Psychological Association.

“It’s psychological first-aid,” stated Jomkhwan. “But it may jeopardise your means to make choices for your self in the long run.”

NEW TWISTS

New digital merchandise have additionally boomed.

Mobile cellphone wallpaper maker Mootae World has made tens of hundreds of photographs – every with totally different tarot playing cards and symbols – for purchasers’ cellphone screens.

Priced at 249 baht ($7.44), every is custom-made in accordance to the purchasers’ distinctive star positions at beginning, plus their deepest needs, whether or not monetary or romantic.

Traditional-looking Buddhist amulets – usually photographs of guru monks or the Buddha made out of bronze, brass or gold – are additionally accessible as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Thai undertaking Crypto Amulets has bought about 3,000 such NFTs since launching in 2021, every for about 2,000 baht ($60) on the Ethereum and Solana blockchains.

Each digital amulet is printed on paper first to be blessed by monks in Surin province, an enormous market of Thailand’s Buddhist amulet commerce 435 km east of Bangkok.

“We used to put on bodily amulets round our neck, however now we will carry NFT ones on our telephones too,” stated Ekkaphong Khemthong, who owns Crypto Amulets and in addition collects conventional amulets.

BIG MARKET

Mainstream enterprise manufacturers are recognising the brand new Thai psychic entrepreneurs because the keys to the rising market of young believers with disposable earnings.

Last month, Mootae World promoted Cigna Corp insurance coverage packages to their followers, tapping into Chinese astrology’s “unfortunate 12 months” perception that in every zodiac animal 12 months, these born with the identical animal signal incur the curse of Tai Sui, the God of Age.

“A brand new advertising and marketing pattern has emerged. Trends are all the time altering, however supernatural perception is a continuing in Thai society,” stated Muratha Junyaworalug, head researcher of the CMMU examine.

“All the manufacturers need to faucet into this market.”

($1 = 33.48 baht)

(Reporting by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Kay Johnson and Jane Merriman)



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