Aug 8th, 2020

From Manager, July 24, 2020
Left, in thought bubble: 14 Oct
On the placards: Revise the constitution; Dissolve the parliament
Caption: The goal of the protesters
Right, in thought bubble: 6 Oct
Caption: The goal of those supporters

[Refers to the current protests calling on the government to dissolve parliament and revise the constitution.
The cartoonist implies that the younger generation of student protests is being orchestrated by anti-military and anti-royalist groups led by Thanathorn of the disbanded Future Forward party and his clique of like-minded politicians.
The cartoon shows that the younger generation desires to create a rally like the student protests of October 14, 1973 that resulted in the overthrow of the then-ruling military dictatorship.
However, the cartoonist contends that politicians, either intentionally or through their alleged promotion of anti-monarchy rhetoric, are more likely to trigger a brutal crackdown like that which occurred on October 6, 1976.]

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Temper and the media

From Thairath, July 20, 2020
Title: The symptom of the New Normal.
Left: 2-3 days before at the newspaper office.
On ID card: Media.
On the sign at left: Mass Media Office
Prayuth at Left: I come to listen to the mass media’s opinions for the sake of the country.
Right: 2-3 days today. At Rayong province.
On sign at right: Rayong Province
Prayuth’s right: The mass media spreads news too much that makes people panic.

[This criticizes PM Prayuth’s temper as he first deigns to ask the media for their opinion about handling the pandemic and then criticizing them for reporting negative news.]

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The change in student protest

From Manager, July 22, 2020
Title: The change in student protest
Left, on the placards: Long Live the King
Caption: 14 Oct
Caption on the right: ….Now

[The cartoonist notes the change in the younger generation–or at least the current protesters’–perception towards the monarchy.
During the political uprising on October 14, 1973 to overthrow the military dictatorship, the King was lauded by students as it was said he helped protesters who were being attacked during the crackdown.
However, in the present protests, the cartoonist notes that the monarchy has been attacked by protesters. This has led to warnings from the military and even Red Shirt leaders to leave the monarchy out of protests.]

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The right time to buy a VIP plane

From Thairath, July 22, 2020
Title: The budget that not so cute.
Billboard: The VIP airplane. The price is 1,348.5 million baht.
In cartoon balloon at left: You will survive, if you work hard.
On people’s backs from left: Starve to death. No money. No food. Distress, lose job. No income. Covid’s toxin. Bad economic. Big debt.
Mouse: From the people’s taxes.
Mouse man: This is for flying over poor people’s heads.

[This refers to the budget for a new airplane that military is buying for “general use.” This is interpreted as a special VIP plane for use by top government and military brass.
The “You will survive, if you work hard” quote is from Col. Nusra Vorapatratorn, a former Royal Thai Army spokesperson. She posted on social media that she disagreed with the youth protest which she called the “mung-ming mob”–sort of a condescending way to say their protest was “sweet” or “cute.” She also urged the protesters to find jobs to earn income instead of protesting. Due to her comments, the protesters went to the HQ of Army to criticize military procurement and Col. Nusra.]

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Thanks Egyptians!

From Manager, July 16, 2020
Sudarat: Thanks for helping us. We will handle the rest.
Egyptian soldiers: Bye!
Caption: With a help of Egyptian soldiers

[Refers to the opposition party Pheu Thai led by Sudarat Keyuraphan who seized the opportunity to attack the government over the issue of VIP Egyptian soldiers being allowed to sidestep quarantine. One of the soldiers was later found to be infected with COVID-10. This case caused massive public outcry and impacted tourism in the region.
The cartoonist notes that the event was a boon for the opposition, as the government had been previously touting their success in combating the virus.]

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Taking back by riding a goat to attack

From Naewna, July 16, 2020
Caption: Taking back by riding a goat to attack.
On the goat: Phao Thai
On lizard: Egypt wins
On the tiger: Thailand wins

[This references the Thai proverb “Taking back by riding a goat to attack” meaning attacking someone when they fail, perhaps similar to the English proverb “If the ox falls, whet your knife.”
Here it refers to the opposition Pheu Thai using the case of Egyptian soldiers sidestepping quarantine to attack the government.
The government was using the pandemic to its advantage before this as Thailand has been a top nation in being able to stamp out the contagion within its borders. The government launched the campaign “Thailand wins” to tout their success and encourage people.
However, allowing Egyptian soldiers to possibly spread Covid-19 validates the popular notion that the government cannot possibly be effective when deeply ingrained notions of being a VIP or “hi-so” are involved.
The cartoonist seems to think that this issue is perhaps a weak pone to attack the government over. The tiger symbolizes the “Eastern Tigers” military clique that has dominated politics since the last coup.]

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Ugly hair cuts as punishment

From Thairath, July 15, 2020
Title: Ugly cutting hair does not hurt like cutting feelings and making sadness
Teacher: I cut your hair because of love.
Phi Nooring: Destroy trust
Mouse: Don’t look good and don’t love anymore.

[Refers to the issue of a Thai teacher crudely cutting a student’s hair in punishment for long hair. This is an old-fashioned practice that bespeaks a highhandedness that is not accepted by modern students.
Recently, student groups called for schools to stop setting rules for student’s hairstyles (e.g. short hair) and stop allowing teachers to cut students hair in punishment.]

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Make people who disagree disappear

From Thairath, July 2, 2020
Title: New monument for Thai police after reform.
Center, on the monument: Serve people. The word “serve” is maked out and replaced with “carry.” The word in this context implies “make people who disagree disappear.”
Above left, on man’s shirt: People. On sign: Political activity.
Bottom left, on girl’s shirt: Student.
Above right: Against dictatorship.
Center right, on man shirt: Student.
Sign: Demand for democracy.
Bottom right: ART
Mouse man: Bully. Threaten. Hurt.
Mouse: Serve the dictator.

[Since the dissolution of the major opposition party, the Future Forward, in February 2020, party faithful have been desirous of a new protest showdown with the government. However, the pandemic has stymied their plans for months. The continuing serious covid-19 situation in other countries has allowed the government to contend an emergency decree is still necessary.
In the meantime, a major anti-monarchy and anti-government activist was brazenly kidnapped in Cambodia and protests have been curtailed and discouraged by the powers of the emergency decree.]

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Better by comparison

From Manager, July 2, 2020
Dr. Somkid: Only when the news came out that Jarn Maam will be head of our economic team… did our popularity get very high… Thank you for coming to save us.
Caption: Must respect you.

[This refers to rumors that inexperienced political functionary would head up the economic team of the ruling Palang Pracharat Party. This was after recent intense political bickering that saw the leadership of many parties shaken up as various political cliques attempt to take control of the huge spending schemes of the government.
Government spokeswoman, Narumon Pinyosinwat (nickanemd Jarn Maam), tipped to lead the economic policy team, had to defend her qualifications after withering attacks on social media.
Such purely political appointments for important positions have been typical in politics where the focus is inward toward bolstering and maintaining coalitions and thus power.
In the cartoon, Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak, head of the government’s economic policy team, thanks Narumon for making them look better by comparison.]

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Americans are biological weapons

From Manager, July 5, 2020
Top, Trump: Former Presidents are not smart and clever like me.
2nd row left: They put a lot of budget… to build weapons… invent new military innovation… waste the country’s funds…
Right: If I become a President for another term, America will be the world’s leader without spending any dollars.
3rd row left: I will use a biological weapon which is inside all American people.
Man: How you gonna do it, sir?
Man: How?
Right, Trump: In the future, if we want to occupy any country, we just send a lot of American people there.
Bottom: Then, cough or sneeze on those enemies… Then, we will win without using tanks… or planes…
Soldiers: Hey! Be careful of COVID infection!!

[Refers to the severe COVID-19 situation in the US. Amid a coming election, President Trump has been criticized for his failure to contain the spread of the pandemic.
The cartoonist jokes that this makes Americans themselves dangerous to other countries.]

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Digging up history to fight each other

From Manager, June 29, 2020
Thanathorn: We will dig up the Khana Ratsadon to overthrow them! [meaning Thanatorn will use the rallying point of the overthrow of the absolute monarchy in 1932 to topple the present government]
On the grave: Khana Ratsadon 2475
Army chef: Khana Ratsadon? Ha… ha… must see this…
On the grave: Boworadet rebellion 2476
Caption: Digging up history to fight each other

[Refers to the fight between two groups–those led by Thanathorn’s group and royalists led by the military.
While Thanathorn’s group was trying to commemorate the 1932 coup which overthrew the absolute monarchy, army chef Apirat promoted the Boworadet rebellion led by Prince Boworadet who attempted a counter-coup one year later.]

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Bananas for the monkeys 2

From Thairath, June 25, 2020
Title: Stop a fight for a ‘banana’ between ‘groups’
On chair: Leader of Palang Pracharath party
On banana held by Deputy PM Prawit: Ministers
On bananas close to him: Political positions
Coin bags close to PM Prayuth from left to right: Budget, Loan
On MPs’ cloth: PPRP
On paper close to them: Compete for Minister positions
Phi Nooring: They will be full [of bananas].
Mouse: Internal war

[Refers to Deputy PM Prawit ‘Pom’ Wongsuwan who has now become the leader of the Palang Pracharath Party. This was done so that this top military figure could ensure government stability amid intense infighting for government spoils among its many factions.
The bananas refer to a famous quote from one of key figures in the Palang Prachrath party. He is Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thamnat Prompao who compared small groups of MPs demanding control of government ministries to monkeys and he said that if you want to control them, you just give them bananas. This was interpreted to mean that money and other perks have to be given out to calm MPs and keep the government coalition stable. This confirms the most cynical assumptions about politicians and government.]

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Bananas for the monkeys

From Arun, June 25, 2020
Title: “Pom” accepts an invitation to be the leader of the Palang Pracharath party.
On a flag: Palang Pracharath party
Caption: The owner of the farm

[Refers to Deputy PM Prawit ‘Pom’ Wongsuwan who has now become the leader of the Palang Pracharath Party. This was done so that this top military figure could ensure government stability amid intense infighting for government spoils among its many factions.
The bananas refer to a famous quote from one of key figures in the Palang Prachrath party. He is Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thamnat Prompao who compared small groups of MPs demanding control of government ministries to monkeys and he said that if you want to control them, you just give them bananas. This was interpreted to mean that money and other perks have to be given out to calm MPs and keep the government coalition stable. This confirms the most cynical assumptions about politicians and government.]

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Stealing the coup memory

From Thairath, June 24, 2020
Title: Keep ribbons tightly and don’t allow anyone to steal it. #SAVE 24 June (B.E) 2475
On ribbon: 24 June (B.E) 2475
Phi Nooring: Being a hooded bandit to steal
Mouse: Even they were stolen, we won’t forget.

[Refers to the mysterious group that has clandestinely removed monuments related to the Siamese Revolution that took place in 1932. Anti-government groups have vowed to remember the 1932 coup as a key moment in the nation’s move to democracy.
See also: The Coup for the Military]

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The coup for the military

From Manager, June 24, 2020
Thailand’s military rulers since the 1932 coup drink a toast to the military men who overthrew the absolute monarchy in 1932: Thanks for building an inspiration for a young generation of revolutionaries like us…
Name tags of the leaders from left to right: Marshal P., Sarit, Thanom, Suchinda, Prayuth
On the wall: 24 June (B.E) 2475 The day of the first coup in Thailand
Caption: Those people… shall celebrate.

[Refers to the Siamese revolution of 1932. It overthrew the absolute monarchy and led to decades of military domination of Thailand.
In recent years (and particularly this year after the disappearance of memorials related to the 1932 coup) there has been a move by anti-government groups to extol the 1932 coup as some sort of important move towards democracy. This idea has been repeated in the local media–mainly without questioning the assumption.
However, the 1932 coup brought the military to power and they have cast a shadow over politics ever since.
The men in the cartoon are the military dictators who ruled the vast majority of time since the 1932 coup–mostly through coups of their own.
They call themselves “revolutionaries” to mock anti-government figures like Thanatorn who style themselves as provocative revolutionaries ready to embrace radical notions.]

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Take all you can!

From Manager, June 18, 2020
On cabinet: Tu Pun Suk.
Table next to yellow cabinet: Four hundred thousand million budget for restoring the economy.
PM Prayuth: Please take them properly… leave some for other people!
Caption: Here also has a Tu Pun Suk.

[Tu Pan Suk is a cabinet where food and other supplies are placed for the poor during this time of need caused by the pandemic. These have sprung up in some provincial areas.
The media has covered several instances of people cleaning out the shelves and leaving nothing for others. This led to a message to the public that people should only take what they need, even though it is free. This message was perplexing for some who appeared genuinely shocked that someone should choose not to take all they could when it was free.
The cartoonist uses this idea to contend that the huge pandemic budget to stimulate the economy was going to be consumed in the same way by rapacious MPs]

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Thaksin’s new politicians are overpriced

From Manager, June 17, 2020
Left: Bag; To take care of you like you are a family member
Pink box: PAO Lumphun
Right: Group; Creative for moving Thailand
Red box: Dubai city [as if Thaksin is sending this care package to Thailand from his home in Dubai]
Caption: Things in bags… are overpriced.

[Refers to the new group called CARE founded by former Pheu Thai and Thai Rak Thai politicians. CARE stands for Creative, Action, Revival and People Empowerment and is made up of Thaksin loyalists.
Across Thai media, this new grouping received an unusual amount of skepticism and ridicule. The group was promoted as a sort of progressive movement in the same way that Thanatorn’s Future Forward Party once was. However, it is composed of technocrat businessmen and politicians who are so close to Thaksin that they have their own nickname–“Thaksin’s brain.” These people did not speak up on progressive issues before nor supported Thanatorn and his new political movement when it was at his height.
The cartoonist jokes that the cost to Thaksin of assembling this new political grouping may not be worth it. It compares the CARE grouping to the scandalously overpriced covid-19 aid bags provided by the Provincial Administrative Organization in Lamphun.]

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I can’t breathe Thai style

From Manager, June 8, 2020
Caption: Thai police don’t use a knee to compress the neck.

[Refers to the case of George Floyd in the U.S., and seems to contend Thai police have other methods of bullying common people. Does anyone know what the plow and iron refer to in the cartoon?]

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I love cobras

From Naewna, June 13, 2020
Sudarat: I hate to raise a cobra.
On the pot close to Sudarat: Pao Thai
On the pot close to Thanathorn: Kaothalai

[Refers to the term “cobra” to mean a person who betrays their group or switches allegiances. It is most commonly used to refer to a politician who betrays their party and moves to other parties for their own benefit.
The cartoonist illustrates an ironic action of Phua Thai’s Sudarat who always said she dis not like cobras. However, her party was alleged to have paid money to attract politicians from the Kaokai (Move Forward Party) established by former Future Forward party led by Thanathorn.
The cartoonist ridicules the parties’ names. He calls the Phua Thai Party the “Pao Thai” as a reference to Thaksin’s Red Shirt agitation in the past and the arson that resulted as “Pao” means “burn.”
The text on the pot close to Thanathorn is “Kaothalai.” It mocks the name of the former Future Forward Party named “Kaokai” or “Moving Forward.” In the cartoon, instead of “Kaokai,” it is “Kaothalai” meaning “slipping.” So instead of using “Kao” (walk or step), it is “Kaothalai” (slipping).]

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Buffet government again

From Naewna, June 4, 2020
Caption: The war of four legs in PALANGPRACHARATH PARTY.
On the dog: PPRP [abbreviation of Palangpracharath party.)

From Thairath, June 4, 2020
Title: Exercise as an appetizer.
Prayuth: One million million loan to restore [the nation] after covid-19
On chairs: PPRP [abbreviation of Palangpracharath party.]
On suits: PPRP [abbreviation of Palangpracharath party.]
Mouse man: Splitting the chairs [the payment] on the special meal.
Mouse: Will not starve.

[Massive spending has always been key to government stability as MPs and MP groupings typically have little ideological leanings. In most cases, they are groupings of regionally based tycoons, power brokers, mafia types (and their offspring) who have banded together to promote their own interests and that of their clans.
Governments always take any opportunity to spend big and those who can control ministries can reap the benefits of overpriced spending and kickbacks which are a ubiquitous part of the Thai world.
In these cartoons, the cartoonists note that the present spending, done under the cover of the pandemic and the emergency decree, has even less oversight that usual.
This has caused massive riffs in the government coalition as cabinet seats are coveted to be able to control this windfall.
The situation has even caused the Phea Thai to further fracture since a party cannot remain on the outside of controlling such large amounts and survive for long.
Adding to this is that the government’s conduct during the pandemic has created a groundswell against the military-led coalition.
All politicians are looking to a future where they can be positioned to be a part of a government both acceptable to the voters and acceptable to a military which has clearly singled it has the resolve to prevent a Thaksin-controlled or Future Forward-type party from gaining control of government.
This will lead to a future government that will not be able to be clearly labelled in one way or another. It will be a stew of non-ideological figures. This is a return to the “buffet cabinets” of Thailand’s boom years before Thaksin and the 1997 people’s charter when personality-based political cliques formed governments and were held together by government spending that ultimately rewarded those in power.]

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Stole minister’s seats!

From Manager June 16, 2020
Left, on sign: Palang Pracharath
Left: Stole minister’s seats!
Left, running men: Finance Minister Uttama Savanayana (acting party leader) and Paiboon Nititawan, acting deputy party leader are being chased by Industry Minister Suriya Jungrungreangkit, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin
Right, on sign: Democrat
Right: Have a lot of free time… So, don’t know what to do.
Right, running men: Commence Minister Jurin laksanawisit (party leader) and Agriculture and Cooperatives Minister Chalermchai Sri-on being chased by Thepthai Senapong and Sathi Wongnhongtoey
Caption: The reason for starting to overthrow party’s leader.

[Refers to the intense internal conflict in the Palang Pracharath party and the Democrat party. There are many factions inside these parties and each of the groups is racing to control various ministries due to the mammoth spending bill the government has approved.
The joke is that there is really no reason for a cabinet reshuffle now as the country is in the midst of the pandemic. The cartoonist implies that the politicians’ priorities are getting control of the vast amounts of money that will be spent.]

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Fracturing parties

From Naewna, May 28, 2020
Left: We will survive if we stick together. Otherwise, we will die.
Right: If we are together and do nothing, then we should separate even it will cause us to die.
Caption: From now on, we are not going to attend the funeral even one or the other dies.

[Refers to the intense conflict within the Phea Thai party as Thaksin supposedly attempts to reassert influence as new parties and factions are forming and the “Progressive Movement” gains traction with the public.
The cartoon shows a separation of the letters that make up the party’s logo–“PT.” Here the “P” (พ) and “T” (ท) are walking away from each other.
We think the caption plays on the Thai idiom, “Even if you die, we will not attend the funeral” meaning that there exists hate and an unforgiving attitude between rivals.]

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I can’t breathe–in Thailand

From Thairath, June 2, 2020
Title: From the U.S. to Thailand
On book held by PM Prayuth: The borrower from the Chao Phraya River
On PM Prayuth’s shirt: State emergency
Man: I can’t breathe.
On his shirt: People
Paper in font of him: Business bankrupt. Jobless. No income. Suicide.
Phi Nooring: Compel them to die.
Mouse: Don’t be too cruel.

[Refers to the allegations that the government is taking advantage of COVID-19 period to lessen people’s freedoms and spend massive amounts of money. Such budget-busting spending is essential for the stability of any government and current government is accused of using its powers to push through spending with inadequate oversight.
The cartoonist equates the plight of common Thai people with that of George Floyd, who appeared to have been murdered while being restrained by police in the U.S. “Borrower from the Chao Phraya River” we think is a sort of alias implying the location of a person or indicating where a person comes from (i.e. Bangkok).]

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Government tracking you?

From Thairath, June 11, 2020
Title: Co-opting COVID-19… to ‘abduct’ #save people’s mobile phone
On left: #SAVE Sgt Arm #SAVE Wanchalearm
On Covid virus: Ask for the location. Mobile. People.
Phi Nooring: Violate rights and freedom
Mouse: Use for threatening
On mobile’s screen: Freedom

[Thailand has principally used contract tracing to control the spread of covid-19. This has included the requirement that people use an app to check into and report their location.
Particularly after the abduction of dissident Wanchalearm in Cambodia, anti-government groups have accused the government of accessing people’s mobile phone data to track and destroy the opposition.]

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You can view the “beautiful sight” from your window

From Manager, June 2, 2020
President Trump: Your toilet is on fire. It is a beautiful sight to behold… ha… ha…
President Xi: Ha… ha… your house is on fire. It is so beautiful… ha… ha… ha… ha…

[Chinese social media has been quick to point out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments that the Hong Kong protests were “a beautiful sight to behold,” and that now U.S. lawmakers can witness such beautiful sights from their own windows.
“Toilet” here used sarcastically as if Hong Kong is a small part of China overall.]

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Going broke during the pandemic

From Manager, May 26, 2020
Spokeswoman: Good news… Today the number of infected case is O.
Woman: Bad news… Today our remaining money….is O!

[Refers to a impact of the COVID-19 lockdown measures which has caused many people, especially the poor, to face difficult times due to business closures and joblessness.]

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Where is he?

From Thairath, June 8, 2020
Title: Oh! can’t breathe.
On the spotlight: Pressed the charge by the NCPO [meaning he was under charges related to coup-era violations]
On the picture: #Wanchalearm
Phi Nooring: Why so heartless?
Mouse: Why kidnap him?

[Refers to the alleged disappearance of a Thai activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit who has been exiled in Cambodia. He was apparently kidnapped off streets and bundled into a van.
After his disappearance, human rights groups and anti-government groups called on the Thai government to investigate and also accused the government of being behind his abduction.
According to his sister, his last words as he was being abducted were “I can’t breathe,” mirroring cases of police brutality in the U.S.
This abduction is part of a long string of disappearances and deaths of activists who have agitated against the Thai government from neighboring countries.]

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America’s karma

From Manager, June 14, 2020
Title: Revenge
Top: After establishing the country… America caused the genocide of millions of native tribes people.
Second row, left: Followed by the genocide of millions of Vietnamese people…
Seocnd row, right: …and Iraq… Syria… many countries in the Middle East. Millions were killed.
Third row, left: Spirits of those millions of victims with revenge… have been born into new lives…
Right: To become the Corona virus
Fourth row: And return to America… for revenge
The corona virus says: Kill the whole country; Kill it!

[This cartoon reflects commonly held beliefs related to karma. It contends that U.S. actions in history are being punished by the severe toll caused by the corona virus.]

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Keep your guard up

From Thairath, May 26, 2020
Title: Don’t stop keeping your guard up or “doing the wrong guard?” [meaning that the government measures during the pandemic are hurting people rather than preventing the spread of the virus]
PM Prayuth: State of Emergency. Curfew
Men on the right: Treatment for the second wave of COVID outbreak; Commission for State Quarantine
Men in the front: Don’t receive fund assistance; Hoarding goods for speculation.
On their backs: [left] CCSA [right] Government
Phi Nooring: Afraid of hunger rather than infection
Mouse: Cartoon picture idea from Dr. Or [this is the nickname of a person who suggested the idea for this cartoon to the cartoonist]

[Refers to the dilemma of government measures meant to handle the COVID-19 situation. While the government led by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA) calls on the public for keeping their guard up to prevent the spread of infection, many people have been advantages from this measure, such as hoarding medical goods or corruption on the place provided for the state quarantine.]

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Causing trouble in Hong Kong

From Manager, May 31, 2020
Man: Why do you burn there… it’s so subpar!

[Refers to the rioting in the U.S. due to the death of George Floyd.
This cartoon reflects the viewpoint, promoted by China and accepted by media in neighboring countries, that protests in Hong Kong are not organic, but are being caused by other nations, like the U.S. and U.K., that seek to harm China.
Chinese social media has also been quick to point out House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s comments that the Hong Kong protests were “a beautiful sight to behold,” and that now U.S. lawmakers can witness such beautiful sights from their own windows.]

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