YANGON, Myanmar – For many in Myanmar, fortunetellers play an important role, offering advice about everything from love and jobs to travel. A few also dabble in politics. With an eye on Sunday's historic general election, some street-side palm readers and astrologers are talking about the winds of change; others days of doom.
What some of them had to say in Yangon, Myanmar's main city:
SANN AUNG, UNDER A TREE
"It's funny," says Sann Aung, 67, sitting before a poster of a giant hand marked with the "girdle of venus" and the "line of intuition."
Most people believe Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy will win the election, he said, peering over the top of his reading glasses. But no, he said, it will be the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party.
"The country is still under the shroud of 'evil,'" he explained. "It could be another 2 or 2 1/2 years before we emerge from that."
ZAH HMU SHEIN, AT A REVERED PAGODA
Zah Hmu Shein sits at a desk in his tiny office in the shadow of the revered Sule Pagoda, prime real estate for a man in his profession.
Believed to be nearly 2,000 years old, the golden temple is in the center of a busy traffic circle. Overcrowded buses careen by as he gazes for answers on his clunky desktop computer.
"According to my calculations, there will be a change in government," the 36-year-old finally says, noting Suu Kyi is a populist. "Sunday is an auspicious day for the public, so it will encourage a lot of NLD supporters to get out there and vote."
"The NLD will do well," he said. "But not enough to form a government on its own. It'll have to form a coalition with USDP."
THAN NAING, AT CITY HALL PARK
Sixty-year-old Than Naing doesn't hesitate.
It's a sweep for Suu Kyi and her opposition party, he says at City Hall park. Not a single seat for the USDP.
KAIRO THITSA, BY A NEWLY BUILT HOTEL
"No question," said 53-year-old Kairo Thitsa, sitting beside a friend selling coconut milk in front of a newly constructed, yet-to-open five-star hotel. "The NLD will win."
Kairo Thitsa insisted his prediction was based on astrology, not opinion.
"OK, forget about the seats for the military," he explained, referring to a clause in the constitution that guarantees the armed forces a quarter of the 664 seats in parliament.
"The NLD will win 60 percent of the remaining seats, the USDP 10 percent and smaller ethnic parties 5 percent," he said.