Prophet at the Box Office

By Lawi Weng 24 July 2012

A Thai film company are set to make a full-length movie about ET, the celebrated Burmese fortune-teller who is said to have deeply influenced both Thai and Burmese politicians over the years.

ET (often written E-Thi) held a press conference on Monday in Bangkok alongside her sister to announce the project. ET is disabled and her speech impediment makes her predictions all but incomprehensible. However, her sister translates the prognostications for those seeking her counsel.

Celebrated Burmese fortune-teller ET.
Celebrated Burmese fortune-teller ET.

“Many directors have approached me in the past about making a biopic,” ET said at the press conference. “But I did not have the feeling that they could present my story accurately. When Kanttana [the Thai film company] came to me, I knew straight away that they could deliver the right message.”

The screenplay for the movie is based on a script written by Burmese fashion model Si Phyo. Speaking to Rangoon-based Popular News, he said that the plot is about a Thai actress who visits Burma to see ET and ask the identity of her one true love.

“The actress [to play ET] will be Thai, although the dialogue will mostly be in English,” Si Phyo said, adding that he too will play a part in the film, and that Thai TV channels 5 and 7 are both eager to screen it due to the nation’s fascination with ET and astrology.

The Irrawaddy previously reported about ET when former dictator Snr-Gen Than Shwe and his wife Kyaing Kyaing sought her out to advise them how to hang on to power.

Many Thai people have been known to travel to Rangoon to consult ET, including former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

More than 20 years ago, it was rumored that before overthrowing then Prime Minister Chatichai Choonhavan in February 1991, Thailand’s conspiring generals made a secret trip to Rangoon to seek advice from the fortune-teller. After consulting with ET, they apparently made several offerings at a temple in order to ensure a successful coup. When returning to Thailand, the generals were instructed not to touch the earth, but only to walk on red carpets when moving to and from cars and aircraft. This they duly did; their coup d’etat was ultimately successful.