- 24 Years Ago: Black May 1992
- All About Royal Ploughing Day
- Chakri Memorial Day
- 6 Years Ago: When the Red Shirts Accepted an Offer of New Elections & Announced an End to Their Rally
- 12 Years Ago: Thaksin’s Lucky Son Wins Subway Deal
- 15 Years Ago: Thaksin’s Quest for Gold
- Happy Songkran
- Remembering the Thaksin Years: Cleaning Things Up
- Cambodia, Malaysia, and Thailand in the Panama Papers (Thus Far)
- Songkran 2009: Red Shirts overrun ASEAN venue, take govt hostages in Bangkok
- Remembering Banharn
From an image circulated on social media: Ask [yellow] Thai people yet whether they want [yellow] Obama [white] to be involved in the Dhammachayo case
[This is from a news agency named T-News owned by Sonthiyan Pornpatrakul. It is anti-Thaksin since Sonthiyan joined Suthep in the anti-Yingluck protests.
The graphic refers to Dhammakaya’s controversial abbot Dhammachayo who is now facing an arrest warrant due to a money laundering and embezzlement scandal. His U.S.-based disciples are gathering 100,000 signatures to petition US President Obama for help since they claim they cannot stand the injustice and unfair treatment by Thailand’s authorities towards Dhammachayo.
This petition is being used by local nationalists as evidence that the U.S. is once again on the verge of interfering in Thailand’s internal affairs.]
From Manager, May 17, 2016
Somkid Jatusirpipat says: Slowly pull it out, Mr. Apisak. She is old and doesn’t need to use it. Hurry up, I want to have a steamed bun so bad. [pointing to a 7-11]
Caption: When hungry, even last 600 baht of grandma… they still can steal.
[Refers to the Finance Ministry led by Apisak Tantivorawong that is considering cutting the monthly stipend for well-to-do senior citizens in order to save money. Normally, an elderly person will receive 600 baht per month. Before taking the position of Finance Minister, Apisak was also known as a board member of many big companies including CP, the owner of 7-11 convenient stores. The cartoonist criticizes the plan to cut back on support for seniors.]
From Thairath, May 30, 2003
Cartoon title: Pivot of Devils… Once suppressed, gone will be the mafia
On back of officers, from left: Bad cops; bad army officers;
On jackets of men at table, from left: Local politicians; national politicians
On table: Illegal businesses
[Thaksin Shinawatra is entering the room presumably to reform the system.]
From Lokwannee, May 21-27, 2016
Main cover reads: 2 years of the NCPO, a short happiness!
[white] Top: May 2557  to the present, governed by the junta. Draft constitution is open for an unelected PM
Below: May 2535  People protested against the junta and called for a constitution which did not allow for an unelected PM
[Refers to the National Council for Peace and Order led by PM Prayuth which has just reported on their performance after two years in power. One of their self-proclaimed missions was to “return happiness” to the people via a new constitution and reforms. The cover points out a key issue for those who oppose the junta–the possibly of an unelected prime minister mirrors the situation in 1992. At that time anti-military protesters felt justified in coming out and shutting down the city to protest the appointment of the then-junta leader as PM after election.]
From Matichon Weekly, May 20, 2016
Main cover reads: “Not only being [pink] beautiful [yellow] and trying to please [pink] Thai people, [yellow] we need to get an attention from [pink] foreign media [yellow] too.
[Small paragraph] [pink] Kalamare writes “behind the scene of Chompoo’s red carpet”
[The lady on the cover is Araya A. Hargate or Chompoo. This refers to an article written by Kalamare about Chompoo and her fashion on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival. Although some Thais complained that her dresses did not reflect Thai culture, she received much attention in the foreign media.]
Top right: Don teaches a rule of ‘diplomat’
[The man in the picture is Dr. Arthit Ourairat, a Dean of Rangsit University. Dr. Arthit called on Foreign Minister Don Pramudwiani to giving a diplomatic lesson to US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn T. Davies, who raised concern on Thailand’s human rights situation during a press conference after meeting with Thai Foreign Minister. The ambassador’s actions have been criticized by many Thais as diplomatically impolite. Dr. Arthit urged the Foreign Minister to send Davies back to the US to protest his inappropriate diplomatic actions.]
From Nation Weekend, May 20, 2016
Main cover reads: The prophet’s fight: the last battlefield
[On the cover is the UFO-like dome of the Dhammakaya temple. The article is about the fight between the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the controversial abbot Dhammachayo of Dhammakaya temple. The DSI planned to issue an arrest warrant for Dhammachayo if he refuses to meet the DSI for questioning about a money laundering charge.]
Top: ‘Uncle Tu’ discloses [yellow] you should be proud of being Thai.
[The picture is PM Prayuth whose nickname is “Tu.” Refers to PM Prayuth talking about the country situation during the junta’s administrative and called people to be proud of being Thai.]
From Manager Weekly, May 21-27, 2016
Main cover reads: Duty Free. [red] Dirty Free!? The dark side of a fox [is] richer.
[The man on the cover is Leicester City FC owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha. Leicester City’s mascot is a fox. He is a well-known Thai business man and the owner of the King Power duty free shops. Recently, his stores were alleged to be selling illegal and tax-violated items. Vicha is known as the “king of connection power” since he won his exclusive concessions via bid-free deals with both PMs Chavolit and Thaksin. This brings out many enemies who question the transparency of these deals.]
Top: Tammy wants to die at his temple. Sending a clear signal. [black] If you dare, come and get me (sija)
[The monk in the picture is Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo, referred to in the media as Tammy. Thus far he has refused to meet with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) over money laundering charges, alleging serious illness.
“Sija” or “naja” are the words Dhammachaya always uses to end his sentences. They are most commonly used by woman at the end of a sentence to indicate politeness.]
Bottom left: “Mai” Fool superstar [black] Why everyone doesn’t like her
[The woman in the picture is Davika Hoorned or Mai. Refers to Mai’s latest conflict with the famous designers as she was being dressed at the Cannes Film Festival. After this conflict occurred, may people started to reveal that she is difficult to work with.]
Bottom right: “It’s Yae’s mistake to change herself to make him liked me.”
[The woman in the picture is Ying Yae, a well-known beauty blogger and model. Refers to the story of Ying Yae who recently announced a divorce after just three-month of marriage with her plastic surgeon husband ‘Nopparat.’]
From Thairath, May 14, 2016
Left: It’s the UN’s job is to stop international conflict, but the conflict on Article 112…
Middle: …it’s a domestic problem. How can the UN intervene?
UN man: Yes, we can…
Right: It’s an international conflict between Thailand and the Lanna Kingdom.
[Article 112 is Thailand’s lese majeste law. Many Thais have been sensitive to both UN and US criticism of the laws believing criticism of the monarchy is used by Thaksin’s pressure groups as a political lever.
In the past, at key political junctures, such as when the Phea Thai was trying to enact an amnesty foe Thaksin, the Red Shirts have raised the issue of succession by calling for the reestablishment of the Lanna Kingdom in the north. Red Shirt dogma in the north has contended that Thaksin is a reincarnated royal who thus deserves his own area to rule. At other times, Red Shirts (particularly the mainstream leaders) have flatly denied they have ever called for a separate state.
The joke in the cartoon is that the UN is not interfering in Thailand’s internal affairs, but helping in an international spat between Thailand and Thaksin’s Lanna Kingdom of the north. This implies that the UN is siding with Thaksin and his interests which is a common conspiracy theory among Thais who oppose Thaksin.]
From Komchadluek, May 5, 2016
Left, a Prayuth angel says: Stay only 6 years, it is more than enough.
Right, an Abhisit devil says: Staying longer than 20 years is good, believe me…
[This accuses the Democrat Party of pushing for a longer military presence in politics. This is because only the military’s influence can prevent Thaksin from dominating politics again. This also means that the military would be forced to allow the Democrat Party to lead future governments as the Democrats are the only anti-Thaksin political block that could form a credible government to afford the junta a claim that Thailand is democratic.]
[This is the chart revealed to the press in May after the arrest of eight people for maintaining websites and Facebook pages attacking the PM, the government, and the draft constitution.
The arrests are less about the rights of people to criticize the military government and more about an attempt to show the public that attacks on the junta are politically funded efforts by the Red Shirts, and thus, Thaksin. The chart is lobbying by the military to try to get people to see that criticism of the junta is politics as usual for Thaksin’s benefit.
In the Thai world, showing that a “third hand” or political source is behind protest activity is used to discredit the message of the protest. Beyond this, Thai justice is conditional. If someone is cooperating with the top powers, they will not be the subject of public accusations and legal proceedings.
For the junta to make public claims that top Red Shirts are involved and that an unknown person (Thaksin’s son or Thaksin himself) is the kingpin indicates that there is no behind-the-scenes deal being made with Thaksin.
Such arrests are not an attempt by the junta to show its weakness (as international media likes to speculate when such events occur). Instead they are meant to show the Thai political world that the junta is serious about getting the charter passed (even if by one vote) and that politicians must face up to a new landscape where Thaksin and his money can no longer operate openly and be a political force.]
Title: Chart of a group of people violating Criminal Code Section 16
At top is an unidentified person meant to allude to Thaksin’s son or Thaksin himself.
2nd person: Mr. Chaitat Rattanajan [and ID number]
To his right: [yellow] Activity [orange] received the instructions from his superior and allocates funds to the team. [yellow] Military warrant no. 32/59
3rd person: Mr. Harit Mahaton, Birthday: 28 September 1989, age 27
To his right: [yellow] Activity [orange] An advisor. Supervising the contents of a webpage named “We love Gen. Prayuth” and a webpage named “UDD Thailand” [more too small to read] Received an order from Mr. Chaitat to supervise the work done by Miss Natthika. A freelance writer and cartoonist. [yellow] Military warrant no. 32/59
4th person: Miss Natthika Worathaiyawich (Nat) [and address] [yellow] Military warrant no. 25/59
Underneath and to the left of her photo: A leader of the team [yellow] Activity [orange] A leader of the team/webpage admin of “We love Gen. Prayuth” and other anti-junta pages including “uddthailand,” “Red Intelligence,” and “Red Democracy, Red shirt’s democracy.”
She received money for managing the webpages at 110,000 baht/month from Mr. Harit Mahaton since March 2014. And money to allocate to five team members (named Yothin Mangkhangsanga, Noppakao Kongsuwan, Worawit Saksamutnan, Supachai Saibut and Kannasit Tangboonthina) in the amount of 85,000 baht/month.
Apart from this, she was also hired to operate the website of Peace TV named “Jatuporn Prompan” and “Peace TV” from March 2014. She used the same team that operated the anti-junta/anti-NCPO webpages. She received a monthly payment from Peace TV of 20,000 baht.
Used to receive funds from Mr. Sombat Boon-ngamnong for operating the anti-junta pages from 1 December 2013-31 March 2014 (during the beginning of operating the webpages) in the total amount of 992,500 baht by allocating funds to support the webpage admin to attack the PDRC [The People’s Democratic Reform Committee, a group that protested the Pheu Thai when it attempted to pass an amnesty for Thaksin]
Left of Natthika’s photo: Jatuporn Prompan [green] hired [others to] operate the webpages
[Jatuporn is a top Red Shirt leader.]
Right of Natthika’s photo: Mr. Sombat Boon-ngamnong [green] hired [others to] operate the webpages
[Sombat is the leader of a Red Shirt offshoot movement that has often clashed with the leadership of the mainstream (like Jatuporn).
Below this point are more details of rank-and-file people who allegedly operated the websites.]
From Thairath, May 5, 2016
Title: Best bride… must be a marriage of convenience
On the veil: Constitution
On the dress train: Expand power
On man’s black suit: ECT [Election Commission of Thailand. Constitution drafter Meechai at right presents the bride.]
Left poster: 6 is ok, 8 is not [Refers to the Facebook 8 detained by the government. Six were bailed out, but 2 were refused bail because they are alleged to have committed lese majeste.]
Right poster: Only complimentary, no blaming.
Mouse man: Karma of groom to be.
Mouse: Controlling her mind.
[The groom represents the public that is being forced to accept a new charter.]
From Nation Weekend, May 13, 2016
Main cover reads: Praing praing sounds like a thunderbolt
On a poster: [red] Angry [blue] very
[PM Prayuth displayed this poster to the media during his participation in an event promoting Visakha Bucha day. PM Prayuth told the media that he gets very angry since he has to fight with bad people. He jokingly asked his staff to put this on a poster that hangs in the cabinet office.]
On the left: Shut down [yellow] gold mines’ [white] to return happiness to people or to reverse a political game.
[Refers to the latest order from the junta to shut down all gold mines in Thailand by the end of the year. This action is believed to ease the conflict between the local people in many provinces affected by private companies whose activities pollute local communities.]
From Matichon Weekly, May 13, 2016
Main cover reads: In a ‘hug’ of [yellow] the world [yellow] ja
[The picture is of Resistant Citizens group leader Sirawith ‘Ja New’ and his mother Patnaree Charnkij.
Refers to Ja New’s mother who faces lese majeste charges. However, later she was granted bail. The police charged her for collaborating to insult the monarchy and to break the computer crime law on national security. One piece of evidence shown by the police is that there was a conversation between her and another person in which she replied ‘ja’ (a Thai expression of acknowledgement that sometimes is meant to mean “yes” or “ok”–it is an affirmative expression of acknowledgement) in reply to anti-monarchy comments.
The English-language press initially reported that she was charged only because she did not say anything to oppose the anti-monarchy comments. However, the police responded that this was not true and that there was other evidence that have not been released to the media. Her arrest raised criticism from various human rights groups that the junta’s actions violated freedom of speech.
Update: When this explanation was first written on May 18, the international media had not reported on the specific issue of “ja”–instead cribbing from anti-junta activists who claimed Patnaree for saying nothing at all (her “silence”).
However, by May 21 the BBC had picked up on the more specific “ja” issue (The Thai cleaning lady facing prison for ‘I see’) which leads us to believe that at least some in the international press do follow Thai-language sources of news rather than just reworking info from the Nation and Bangkok Post with a few local color quotes thrown in.]
Top right: Fin… premium with national husband ‘Song Joong-ki’
[The photo is from a famous Korean drama entitled ‘Descendant of the Sun’ starring Song Joong-Ki and Song Hye-kyo. The story is about a soldier working as a UN soldier dispatched from South Korea who meets a volunteer doctor. Due to Joong-ki’s popularity, he is referred to in the media as the national husband who win all the girl’s hearts. The word ‘fin’ comes from the word ‘finale’ but in Thai, it’s to express the feeling like ‘very very happy’ or ‘very awesome.’]
From Manager Weekly, May 14-20, 2016
Main cover reads: [red] Transferred immediately [white] The army [yellow] hurts Thai’s heart, [black] pleases [red] Hun Sen.
[Soldiers from left to right: Commander of the Sixth Infantry Regiment Col. Tanasak Mitrapanond who was behind the construction of the Preah Vihear replica and Army commander-in-chief Gen. Teerachai Narkvnich. In the background is the Preah Vihear replica built in Thailand near the border.
After news of this model became widely know, Army commander-in-chief Gen. Teerachai transfer Col. Tanasak from field force commander in areas close to Cambodia’s Preah Vihear temple to an Army staff member (an inactive post) without providing any explanation. Col Tanasak’s replica threatened to harm relations between Cambodia and Thailand over the temple. This news magazine is often rabidly nationalist and interprets this news as a humiliation for Thailand and a victory for Cambodia’s Hun Sen.]
Top: For investors or people [purple] Listen to the answer from [green] Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi. Big boss of Pracharath
[The man in the picture is Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi., CEO of ThaiBev. This refers to an exclusive interview of Thanapa who also taking a role of as head of Pracharath or People’s State Model to improve the grassroots economy established by the junta in cooperation with the private sector. Since many measures created by Pracharath focuses on increasing investment, questions have been raised as to whether the measures are established for supporting the people or rich investors.]
Below left: “Mai-Chompoo’ [black] just presenters for products, have an event in Cannes.
[Women from left to right: Araya A. Hargate (or Chompoo) and Davika Hoorne (or Mai).
This refers to the conflict between famous actress Chompoo and Mai. Gossip has contended that Mai is trying to copy the career path of Chompoo, especially this year as she also went to the Cannes Festival as a promotion for ice-cream maker Magnum. This is said to be similar to Chompoo who is always invited to Cannes as a brand ambassador of L’Oreal.]
Below right: “PM fighting” [black] when the poll reflects his popularity’s decline?
[PM Prayuth is holding a poster says ‘very angry.’ This refers to PM Prayuth who always seems very angry when he answers the media. He showed this poster during one event and told the media that he seems to be angry every time because he has to fight with bad people to help the country. The article title uses the word ‘fighting’ which in Thai is used as an exhortation to cheer up a person. Thus, the article tell PM Prayuth to cheer up despite news that he is less popular with the public.]
From Lokwannee, May 14-20, 2016
Main cover reads: [on the ant] Computer act, Referendum act [number] 112, 116, 44
Small sentence below: Rights and Freedom. Thai people still can express themselves freely.
[This cover notes that although the junta insists that Thai people can freely express their views about the junta and draft constitution, some who post messages calling for the rejection of the draft have been arrested due to violations of law such as the Computer Act or the National Security Act.]
From Manager, May 4, 2016
On the man’s shirt: Bangkok’s people [Bangkokians]
Man: Look!… I chose him to work for Bangkok… works on garbage disposal… cleaning up… taking care of the city make it clean… but what he does is nothing but eat only… eat… eat… and getting more fat.
Caption: human’s business.. that never understands nature of pig.
[Refers to Bangkok Governor Sukhumphan Boriphat, nicknamed “Moo” (“Pig” in English). He has been embroiled in a number of damaging scandals and has become a liability to the Democrat Party. “Getting fat” refers to allegedly benefiting from corruption.
6 Years Ago: When the Red Shirts Accepted an Offer of New Elections & Announced an End to Their Rally
From Nation Weekend, April 29, 2016
Main cover reads: Big retribution
[The monk on the cover is Phra Dhammachayo. In the background is the UFO-shaped Dhammakaya Ctiya, a place for mass meditation and prayers in Dhammakaya Temple.
The covers refers to Dhammakaya’s abbot Phra Dhammachayo who avoided in meeting with the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to answer charges of money laundering. He sent his lawyer instead to claim he was suffering from a serious illness. However, many people have been skeptical about his sickness since some saw him continuing his duties up until shortly before the appointment date with the DSI.
The title suggests the alleged injury is karmic retribution for the Dhammakaya’s sect heretical slant on Buddhism, its support of politicians such as Thaksin, and it alleged money-laundering activities.]
Top right: Overthrow the referendum [white] Keep eyes on a group of people who have weapons–to promote reform before elections.
[Refers to the situation of having a referendum on the controversial draft constitution. While the junta is trying to urge people to accept the draft constitution, other groups question the draft as not being democratic. The article discusses concerns that the military may use this controversial situation to delay elections to conduct reforms first.]
From Matichon Weekly, April 29-May 5, 2016
Main cover reads: Referendum of [yellow] draft constitution. [green] “An egg inside the rock”
[2nd man from the left is Suthep Thaugsuban, a chairman of the Muan Maha Prachachon for Reform Foundation along with his team.
Suthep declared his support for the controversial draft constitution. He is believed to have close ties with the junta that is trying to push forward the acceptance of the draft in the coming referendum in August this year.
“An egg inside the rock” is a Thai idiom meaning to be very protective. This draft is very protective of the junta, the military’s role in the future, as well as its goals to halt further Thaksin-dominated governments from rising again to do his bidding.]
Top right: A future of ‘Chartthapattana’ after the death of ‘Dragon Teng’ The mission is in hand of ‘LukNa’
[The man in the picture is former PM Banharn Silpa-archa whose nickname is Teng. After he passed away, the future of his party is under control of his daughter Kanchana. ‘LukNa’ is a combination his daughter’s nickname “Noona” and “luk” meaning elder daughter or son. Banharn is sometimes lauded as “Dragon Teng” due to his political power in Thailand’s politics and his background from China.]
From Manager Weekly, May 6, 2016
Main cover reads: Villas de Thammy. If he escapes from the charge [meaning if he flees from police], then where is a place he will go?
[The monk is Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo. In the background are photos of places related to Dhammakaya’s network and assets.
The headline mocks the monk’s supposed poverty as the Dhammakaya temple preaches enlightenment via donations which leaves the monk with considerable assets and places to flee to if he wishes.]
Top: Again! When Lung Kamnun is taking a role of Nora in front of a fire.
[The man in the picture is Suthep as known as Lung Kamnun. We think that this means that, as the leader of many political supporters and as a person with close ties to the junta, Suthep is taking the role of a front man who bears the brunt of attacks as he declared his support of the controversial draft constitution. This headline mimics the Thai proverb “a skin in front of the fire” but instead using the word “skin,” it uses “Nora,” a traditional dance from the south of Thailand to refer to Suthep who comes from the south. It means Suthep is doing a dance–a pre-arranged role in the passage of the charter.]
Bottom: Almost bankrupted. That’s it, [says] the audience.
[The man in the picture is famous anchor Sorayuth Suthassanachinda. Recently Sorayuth was found guilty of cheating the state out of millions of baht of advertising revenue. As he was facing charges, all of ratings of his news programs rapidly declined. The sentence “That’s it” is his famous catchphrase he used at the end of his news program.]
From Lokwannee, 30 April-May 6, 2016
Main cover reads: We will do as we promise, please give us some time. We will do as we promise, please give us 5 more years. We will do as promise, please give us more than 20 years.
[The covers uses lyrics from the junta’s theme song named “Return happiness.” In the song, the junta asks the public to give them time to reform the country in order to accomplish their tasks to return the happiness to the people. However, there is concern that the junta is trying to stay in power much longer.]
Above: Censorship explanation from the Bangkok Post, May 18, 1992 – The Nation and other Thai newspapers ignored the government censorship and printed as usual.
Front page – Huge protest in City – Bangkok Post, April 21, 1992
Front page – ‘Drastic’ action to quell riot – Bangkok Post, May 18, 1992
Censorship issue, p.2-3 – Bangkok Post, May 18, 1992
Enough: End this terrible tragedy – Bangkok Post, May 19, 1992
Young doctor tells of battles to save life – Bangkok Post, May 19, 1992
Front page – Bloody battles rage in City – Bangkok Post, May 19, 1992
Disastrous End – Burning – Chaos in the city – Thai Rath, May 20, 1992
Where peace took its last turn – The Nation, May 20, 1992
City braces for more riots – The Nation, May 20, 1992
No elegance on blood-soaked, battle-scared Rajadamnoern Road – The Nation, May 20, 1992
Chronology of events – The Nation, May 20, 1992
Shootings were in self-defence, says spokesman – The Nation, May 20, 1992
Cartoon: Joys were gone – Thai Rath, May 20, 1992
Part I – Background & A night on the bridge
Part II – Crossing the lines
Part III – A hot afternoon
Part IV – The shooting starts
Part VI – Soldiers advance through Banglampoo
Part VII – Aftermath
From Thairath, May 4, 2016
Title: Against the extension of power
On the left, small papers all together can be read as: “Asking for the rights of Thais” and “Release our friends” [referring to the Facebook 8 who are accused of being paid by Red Shirt leaders to mock the Prime Minister]
On the right the soldiers are saying: Carry [The word ‘carry’ is also slang in Thai meaning to be captured illegally by someone who has power. This implies the military will steal the rights or perhaps rig the charter voting.]
On a ballot box: Shut-up referendum [meaning people are not allowed to campaign for or against the charter]
Phi Nooring: It seems like watching a long movie’s story.
Mouse: Violate rights
[Playing on the title of “Captain America: Civil War,” the allusion to a rift between people is probably going to be an emerging theme over the coming months.
If the restrictive new charter is passed (and if it passes by one vote the junta will claim victory and continue on), future attempts by Thaksin for a political return appear doomed.]
From Manager, May 1, 2016
In the background, Deputy PM Prawit says to Thaksin: Calm down, Sin [Thaksin]… If Watcharapol can withdraw [a knife from] my brother and other two… then to withdraw [a knife from] your sister will be easily.
The man withdrawing the knife is NACC chief Pol. Gen. Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit
Men in the pile from top to bottom: Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan, former PM Chavalit Yongchaiyudh and former PM Somchai Wongsawat
At right is Yingluck
On the knives: NACC [National Anti-Corruption Commission]
On the sign by the forest: Transitional forest
A man in the forest: Thaksin
[This references the Thai idiom, “to put the knife in someone,” meaning to punish them.
As all Thai cliques do when they come to power, the junta apparently has gone to work setting up the conditions to clear family and cronies of encumbering legal charges.
Pol. Gen. Watcharpol, who has close ties with the junta, is believed to have been elected as the head of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) in order to help Deputy PM Prawit’s brother Pol. Gen. Patcharawat.
Deputy PM Prawit is thought to be the most powerful person in the junta, content to let the international press focus on the erratic behavior of Prime Minister Prayuth.
Deputy PM Prawit’s brother, along with Thaksin puppets Somchai and Chavalit, were all facing protracted legal battles over the hard line the People Power Party government took to forcibly clear anti-Thaksin protesters in 2008.
Deputy PM Prawit has close ties, not only with the Eastern Tigers who overthrew the Pheu Thai government, but with Thaksin himself and many other political figures who acted on his behalf. Releasing the legal pressure on Somchai and Chavalit gives the junta a carrot to negotiate with as the military moves to forever block Thaksin from a political return.
However, there has been intense Thai media focus on the prospect of Prawit’s brother, Pol. Gen. Patcharawat, being absolved of all charges in cracking down on protesters. While other police officers refused orders to take violent action against the protest, Pol. Gen. Patcharawat reportedly stepped up.
At that time, officers were photographed openly shooting towards the crowd as a message to the public that the government had the means and support to resist efforts to unseat it.
Pol. Gen. Patcharawat’s apparent leadership at the time violates the conscience that officers of the state are supposed to have–particularly to resist carrying out politically motivated orders from an elected government.
This stems from the prevailing Thai belief that the elected are compromised by dent of being elected since they must then be loyal to the movers and shakers who afforded them their positions. Thus, the police and army must think twice before throwing their lot in with the elected as the elected’s motivations would not be in concert with the good of the nation.
The cartoonist contends that a deal is being made between Prawit (representing the military) and Thaksin that Yingluck could likewise be spared humiliating legal cases if Thaksin plays along.
However, in recent weeks, the junta has shown it is keeping the pressure on Thaksin with the arrest of the Facebook 8 and the public insinuation that their paid activities lead back to leaders of the Red Shirt movement–and perhaps Thaksin’s son.
Thai-language articles about this often have “hostage” in the title because the army actions are meant to show that the junta has Thaksin family members under legal threat which they can unleash if Thaksin makes moves to seize control of another future government or disrupt the passage of the charter.
Contrast all this nuanced information with the bland editorials from the international press ruminating on the dictatorship and actions of Prime Minister Prayuth.
Prayuth is hardly considered a consequential player any more. The real political drama pits Prawit’s anti-Thaksin clique and Privy Councillor Prem’s anti-Thaksin clique against the shifting remnants of Thaksin’s political machine.]
From Manager, April 28, 2016
Left: “If this government… which has such a power… cannot accomplish reforms… Then, we can’t hope that a government that comes from an election will be able to accomplish it.
Left caption: Hoping
Right: Reform of the squat toilets nationwide.
Right caption: Completed…
[Refers to the junta’s promises to reform the country. With a referendum and then elections coming fast, there seems to have been little real reform from the junta that will last–certainly nothing that will prevent Thaksin populism from returning or that would reform the police force.
Instead, the junta could only tackle general and easy issues, such as the launch of a program to replace squat toilets (seen as old-fashioned) with sit-down toilets at all public facilities.
Who said the quote on the left?]
From Komchadluek, April 26, 2016
PM Prayuth: What!! Time is almost up… but it’s not reformed yet.
[Refers to the junta that once touted their intentions to reform the country. However, as time has passed, there are few successes (can even fewer that will last) before an election which they promised to conduct in 2017.]
Thailand defends rights restrictions at UN review – Reuters, May 11, 2016
[This article started out with the oddly provocative title “Thailand faces ‘moment of shame’ at U.N. rights council review”]
Meanwhile, the Thai News Agency responds with this: Countries satisfied with human rights protection in Thailand
Update from the PRD: UN praises Thailand for efforts in promoting human rights
US will be careful about ‘Rohingya’ use, US ambassador to Myanmar says – elevenmyanmar.com, May 12, 2016
Scot Marciel, US ambassador to Myanmar, has told Thura Shwe Mann, the chair of the parliamentary Legal Affairs and Special Cases Assessment Commission, that he would be cautious about the using of the term “Rohingya” in the future, the former general posted on Facebook…
New US Ambassador to Myanmar Says He Will Keep Using Term ‘Rohingya’ – Reuters, May 10, 2016
The new ambassador of the United States to Myanmar said on Tuesday he will keep using the term Rohingya for the persecuted Muslim minority, even after the government controlled by Nobel prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi asked him to refrain from it…
Rohingya a Term ‘People Can’t Accept,’ Shwe Mann Tells US Ambassador – The Irrawaddy, May 12, 2016
…“In the future, I will be careful about using terms that displease the Myanmar people,” the ambassador was quoted as saying in Shwe Mann’s Facebook post…
Shwe Mann meets, chastises US ambassador – MMTimes, May 12, 2016
…Thura U Shwe Mann, who heads the Commission for the Assessment of Legal Affairs and Special Issues, said the ambassador acknowledged the term is disliked and even unacceptable for many Myanmar people. The ambassador reportedly said he had “no choice” but to avoid using the term…
From Komchadluek, April 21, 2016
Left: In the past, people fought because of this man. [The man is Thaksin.]
Right: Now! The politicians are fighting because of this thing. [The image shows the constitution plinth symbolizing the constitution.]
[In the past, people were divided into Thaksin’s supporters and those who support him. However, since the junta took the power, Thaksin has been pressured to stop his political movements and has not received much attention from the public. On the other hand, the draft constitution issue is now becoming a significant issue as politicians will urge their followers to reject the draft.]
From Manager, April 19, 2016
On bottle: The Meechai’s constitution.
Left, Abhisit, with other politicians behind him, is saying: Toxic… taking this can kill us all…
Right, junta member Prawit is saying: Tonic… taking this would make us live long…
Caption: Same bottle… but different indications.
[Shows the difference in attitude to the draft charter. Politicians appear to be stymied by the strictures the charter places on elected politicians. The junta however, contends these checks will safeguard the peace of the country from further political disruptions.]
From Thairath, April 15, 2016
Title: We are controlled to choose “the future that we do not choose… for ourselves” [meaning the voters are being manipulated to cast a “yes” vote for the charter]
Man with glasses: Accept it.
Man with hand cover his mouth: Not accept it. [meaning the vote for or against the charger]
On the box: 7 August 2016.
On the curtain: The referendum of Meechai’s constitution.
On the chair: Outsider prime minister [Meaning the charter would allow an unelected prime minister. Those who oppose the charter use this as a rallying point as the events of Black May 1992 were triggered by an unlected prime minister being selected by elected MPs.]
Man sitting is holding a paper that reads: 20 years country’s strategy [referring to the junta’s committee to make sure that the country’s 20-year goals are being followed by politicians]
Man who is standing: Unelected senator.
Today is Ploughing Day. This ancient Brahmin rite has been celebrated in many ways in Thailand over the years with Buddhist elements added in the Rama IV era.
After being abandoned for many years, the modern one-day version of the ceremony (and reintroduction of the ploughing itself) dates from the 1960s.
The actions of the oxen pulling the plough are said to foretell a good or bad growing season. In recent times large crowds gather at Sanam Luang to witness the event and collect the seeds used in the ceremony for good luck.
Above: We believe this is a report of the first Thai ploughing ceremony since the practice was abandoned in the 1920s. Reporting on the May 2, 1960, event, the Bangkok Post, May 3, 1960 wrote:
Omens Determined From Ceremonies
Not So Much Water; Farang Contacts Grow
Officials Draw Plough After 3 of 4 Bulls Run Away
“…More and more contacts will be made with foreigners. This will help improve the economy of the nation.”
Also note the news item: Kra Canal Digging In Next 3-4 Years
Above: "A PLOUGHING FESTIVAL IN SIAM" BY HARRY HILLMAN, Published London, 1898.
"…illustrated account of this Siamese ceremony, which took place at the residence of Phya Surisak, the High Priest of Agriculture, when no farming will commence until the year is foretold by astrology and the results of the ceremonial ploughing."
Above and below: More photos from the ploughing ceremony in the late-nineteenth century
(Source: Undated postcard)
Above and below: Postcards showing the ceremony in the past – The location of the scene below is "Dusit Park"
(Source: Undated postcard)
(Source: Undated postcard)
From Naewna, April, 2016
Red Shirt leader Jatuporn says: I would like to say something like what Abraham Lincoln said when he said that “people are the true power.”
Right: Such as, “burn them all people, I will take responsibility…”
Caption: Words are too expensive, but actions are too cheap…
[This ridicules Jatuporn’s contentions that the Red Shirts are an expression of true democracy by reminding people of Jatuporn’s famous speeches in the lead up to the 2010 protests in Bangkok in which the Red Shirts threatened arson unless their demands were met.]
[Update: Please note the comment that correctly states that the person in glasses is more likely Watthana Mueangsuk, since Chavalit is untouchable and could not be apprehended by the junta.
Earlier interpretation: This alleges Thaksin and the Red Shirts created a ruse to enable calls to the UN to halt military oppression. This ruse supposedly started with Thaksin defender Chavalit Yongchaiyudh speaking up on Thaksin’s behalf as part of Thaksin’s PR offensive earlier this year.
As a former prime minister and army commander-in-chief, his statements chiding the junta are meant to show that not all military brass oppose Thaksin.
Chavalit also is known for his allusions to violence–indeed the mere fact that a former commander-in-chief is speaking up to oppose the current army brass is supposed to foreshadow violence that is the result of dissatisfaction and the hurt feelings of Thai “big men” upset by the unfairness of the junta.
However, despite the cartoonist’s claim that the military was somehow attacking Chavalit, the reality was that the military shrugged off Chavalit’s criticism. Most of the media mocked Chavalit once again as a fair-weather friend of Thaksin who cannot be counted on to back up his threats.]
From Manager, April 20, 2016
Left: With all of my power… my cousin can become lieutenant now!!!
Right: This is an ordinary thing… everybody does it!!
Caption: Uses supernatural power often… so it seem now to be it normal?
[This ridicules PM Prayuth’s order to give a relative a position in the military. It implies that the absolute power of the junta is being used with increasing frequency.]
From Matichon Weekly, April 22, 2016
Main cover reads: Return the happiness [red] the real NCPO
[On the cover, there are pictures of Ratchanok Intanon and her boyfriend Pannawich Thongnuam.
This refers to the success of Ratchanon who becomes the world’s No.1 woman in badminton. Her success has brought the happiness to Thai people. Her father promised her to allow to have a boyfriend if she got the world’s No. 1 ranking. The cover jokes that this will return happiness to her. It uses the junta’s motto, “return happiness to the people” to make the joke.]
Top right: Why is ‘Watana’
[The man in the picture is former commence minister from Pheu Thai Party Watana Muangsook. He was charged by the military for violating the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order banning political activities. He strongly criticized the draft constitution and questioned how democractic it was.]
From Nation Weekend, April 22, 2016
Main cover reads: Happy May’s day
[In the picture, Rachanok Intanon or May (middle) received a warm welcome from her parents after winning the Singapore Open and becoming No 1 in the world in woman’s badminton.]
Top right: Enjoy both sides of the Mekong River [yellow] ‘Thongloun Sisoulith’ [white] new Lao PM
[The man in the picture is Lao PM Thongloun Sisoulith who vows to upgrade the country and strengthen ties with neighboring countries, such as Thailand and other ASEAN members.]
From Lokwannee, April 23-29, 2016
Main cover reads: Do you think… Thailand is kamlang-watana country or under developing?
Three monkies at the bottom: Yeah.. Kai watana or Kai-oou
[Refers to military charges for former Pheu Thai Party member Watana Muangsook for violating the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) order banning political activities.
This cover plays with his name “Watana” meaning “develop” and the word “kamlan” put in front of it to create present continuous tense. So, the word “kamlang-watana” means “developing.” So the main title means “do you think Thailand is developing or is falling behind” and it does this by raising the issue of Wattana’s arrest.
The monkeys refer to Watana’s nickname “Kai” (“chicken” in English) and “Kai-oou” is government spokesman Maj.Gen. Sansern Kaewkamnerd’s nickname.]
From Manager Weekly, April 23-29, 2016
Main cover reads: Everyone does it [blue] Wongsuwan [heart] Chan-ocha [pink] the series
Big pictures in the cover (L-R): Patipat Chan-ocha and Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha
Pictures in the circles (L-R): PM Prayuth Chan-ocha, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan, and former national police chief Pol General Patcharawat Wongsuwan.
[Refers to the brother of PM Prayuth–Gen. Preecah–who gave a job and army rank to his son Patipat and said it is a common practice in the military. This has been criticized by the public on an inappropriate use of power to benefit one’s own family. Likewise, Deputy PM Prawit has been criticized for trying to help his younger brother Pol Gen. Patcharawat to escape charges of dispersing a rally in 2008.]
Top: ‘Thai nationality’ [black] a request from [blue] “Nong May” [black] to reward [blue] Coach Xie’
[The woman is Rachanok Intanon or May (“Nong May” meaning “little sister May”) and her Chinese coach Xie. After winning winning a number 1 world ranking, Rachanok asked PM Prayuth to give Thai nationality to her Chinese coach Xie Zhuhua whom is behind her success.]
Thai Songkran, use water wisely.
Things to do during the Songkran Festival.
Left: Sprinkle water onto a Buddha image and monk for good fortune.
Right: Offer food to monks at the temple.
Left: Pour water on the hands of revered elders in the family and ask for blessings.
Middle: Take your children to pay respect to elders of your family to show them your gratefulness and make a close relationship.
Right: Making merit to ancestors who have already passed away.
Left: Helping your family clean the house or cleaning a public place to give to society.
Right: Set birds and fish free for merit for your life due to giving freedom to animals.
Left: Splash water gently in order to have some fun and carry on a good Songkran tradition.
Right: Doing recreation to carry on traditions.
Things not to do during the Songkran Festival.
Left: Don’t drink alcohol inside the temple or when driving.
Right: Don’t arrange any alluring performances.
Left: Don’t dress in an inappropriate way.
Right: Don’t assault any girls.
Left: Do not speak, say bad words or pick a fight with others.
Right: Do not splash or spray to driving vehicles.
Left: Don’t splash water on people who do not want to be wet or who are running an errand.
Right: Don’t teach or do the wrongdoings of Songkran traditions with foreigners.
Don’t use dirty water or splash water violently.
From Naewna, April 18, 2016
Caption: The earthquake has already started shaking in Thailand!!
[The man in the cartoon is PM Prayuth. Refers to the draft constitution referndum. While the junta is trying to encourage people to accept this draft, many groups called for a vote ‘no’ at the referendum in coming August because the draft is not democratic and some parts benefit the junta.
The cartoon compares the divided opinions on the referendum of the draft constitution with the situation of the earthquake which recently hit in Japan and Ecuador.]