Tycoon Fights Protesters with Feng Shui

When threatened with a public protest in front of his company’s headquarters, Yuzana chief U Htay Myint used an extraordinary defense—he paid a Thai feng shui master 4,000,000 kyat (US $5,000) per day to ward off looming ill-fortune.

U Htay Myint, who is also a Lower House MP for the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party, has faced pressure for confiscating land in war-torn Kachin State. To fend off his client’s critics, the mystic for hire repositioned a red light bulb on the reception-area ceiling to face outwards—“to repel destructive elements coming from outside,” according to an Intelligence source.

He also identified a jinx on the Yuzana logo and suggested an alternative. A pool at U Htay Myint’s Rangoon residence was deemed another source of peril. The 58-year-old tycoon, who hails from Myeik in Burma’s deep south but has Chinese ancestry, then reportedly made a day trip to Singapore for yadaya che—a ritual aimed at reversing bad luck or compensating for misdeeds.

In 2006, Yuzana seized more than 200,000 acres (80 hectares) of farmland near the world’s largest tiger reserve in Kachin State’s remote Hukawng Valley, forcing nearly half a million people off the land they have lived on for generations.

This story first appeared in the December 2012 print issue of The Irrawaddy magazine.

4 Responses to Tycoon Fights Protesters with Feng Shui

  1. How many Hlutdaw members are the person like Htay Myint? As long as USDP is composed with people who are crooked and wicked, the future of the party covered with darkness. The government is no less than the gang members who raped a young woman on the bus. I hesitate to call the Burmese junta as our government because it is composed with thugs.

  2. George Than Setkyar Heine

    200,000 ACRES is NO JOKE folks!
    How come he came to ACQUIRE that VAST STRGETCH of PRIME LAND in the first place guys?
    This certainly certified the fact: CORRUPTION and IMPUNITY are BROTHER and SISTER RUNNING RAMPANT in BURMA of course today.
    And he is an elected member in Than Shwe’s puppet parliament man!
    And the SCOUNDREL/THIEF TURNING to WITCHCRAFT/SORCERY as the LAST RESORT WOULD NOT EXEMPT HIM from GETTING HIS ASS FRIED, rather sooner than later as well trust me.
    When KARMA – Daw Suu’s RULE of LAW – FINALLY CATCHES UP WITH HIM which is INEVITABLE, CERTAIN as the EXISTENCE of SUN and MOON in the SKY and IN DUE COURSE of TIME as well, HE WILL RUE the DAY he was BORN believe me.
    LET IT RAIN WHILE IT LASTS as they say in Burma man!

  3. All in a day’s work, eh? The calibre of these people just gets better and better. I guess he’s only following some role model like the Reagans and of course Ne Win. Yadaya, feng shui, northern star, same difference, innit? The richer they get the more insecure they feel, greed feeding into fear and contempt.

  4. $5,000 a day to move a light bulb? I’m not even sure any Thai MP would pay that much to in support of his superstitious beliefs.

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