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Astrology predates polling, and is no less inaccurate

If a solar eclipse can be reliably predicted, why not a mortal event?

A palmist at work on Mandalay Hill, Myanmar (Photo by Dominic Faulder)

It was late 1981 when an old lady approached me in Bangkok's Lumpini Park offering to read my fortune. As the oversized tarot cards turned, she foretold a life in Thailand with a career, family and more. I was recovering from a bout of dengue fever and knew this to be nonsense. In a matter of weeks, I would be back in London selling features on malaria, political repression in Burma and preparations for the Rattanakosin bicentennial -- the 200th anniversary of Thailand's first Chakri king.

I did not give the encounter a moment's thought until years later, when I came across my jottings in an old notebook. By then I was back in Bangkok, married with a family and reviving a fascination with what was to become Myanmar -- the closed country that had first drawn me to Southeast Asia. The old soothsayer, I had to concede, had been uncannily accurate. Maybe there was something to astrology after all.

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