- Remembering Black May 1992
- All About Royal Ploughing Day
- Four Years Ago: Another Coup in Thailand
- 2012: Thaksin Reverses Earlier Calls for Reds to Forgive & Forget with Fiery Speech
- The rich man is not full yet
- RIP “Rong” Narong Prapasanobol, cartoonist
- Is it right for Thais?
- Move to the Jurassic era
- Political vacuum cleaners
- Weekly News Magazine: Getting Ready for the Political Future, April, 2018
- Fertilizing the junta party with crap of the past
From Thairath, May 29, 2018
Title: Sorry for the police using excessive force on you.
Phra Buddha Isara: Yes… being in jail for the country.
On the hand: former Phra Buddha Isara
At top right is Dhammachayo: Is there anyone to apologize to me?
On his robe: Dhammakaya
Phi Nooring: Have you apologized to them? [meaning those killed in the 2010 Red Shirt protests]
Mouse: April-May 2553 [the 2010 Red Shirt protests in Bangkok]
[Refers to PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon who apologized for the handling of the arrest of Phra Buddha Isara. Phra Buddha Isara was charged with illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protests and also for using royal initials without permission on a series of amulets.
Phra Buddha Isara is a senior monk respected by the Eastern Tigers military group (consisting of PM Prayuth, Deputy PM Prawit and Deputy PM Anupong Paochinda, among others). His participation in protests against the Pheu Thai-led government was instrumental in creating conditions that led to the 2014 coup. His arrest led to many theories about why this military ally was being targeted.
This cartoon calls on the junta to treat other groups equally. For example, the authorities used massive force in their attempt to arrest Dhammakaya’s abbot Dhammachayo. There is also still not accounting for deaths of Red Shirt protesters in Bangkok in 2010.]
From Arun, May 29, 2018
[This is a haunting and evocative cartoon from Arun.
It seems mourn the very long wait for democracy in Thailand after the 2014 coup. This is the longest period of military rule in several decades.
The cartoon shows banyan trees growing over a worn Democracy Monument. The monument’s main feature is a plinth that the charter is symbolically sitting on.]
From Manager, June 13, 2018
Caption: Both sides are amazed at each other.
Both: What kind of hair style is that?!?
From Thairath, June 14, 2018
Title: The handshake of history that the world is happy to see.
Mouse man: World is getting colder immediately. [instead of hot as in tensions being high]
Mouse: Heroes in peace
From Arun, May 28, 2018
Title: The fight of two electric poles [or utility poles]
Left: Lung Kamnan
Right: Mr. Chuan Leekpai
[Refers to the coming election which might feature a competition between two men, both of whom were once members of the Democrat Party.
Former Democrat Party Suthep (left), leader of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), recently launched a new party to compete in the coming elections. The party pledges to support continued military rule. Suthep is known as “Lung Kamnan” for his earlier role as a village headman or “kamnan.”
Meanwhile, the win of Mahathir in Malaysia caused the Democrat Party to consider promoting former PM Chuan as the leader of the party to contest the election.
This cartoon shows a common place for election posters–on cement power poles. These utility poles are often thought of as referring to election time.]
From 2013: Another notable utility pole reference:
Running a power pole for Bangkok Governor
Return to the power pole to its owner
Buffaloes and the Electric Pole
People’s Revolution Knocks Down Thaksin’s Electric Pole
Power pole or Pheu Thai candidate?
Thaksin’s “Electric Pole” Candidate Laid to Rest
From Manager, May 24, 2018
Doctor: Do a fingerprint, get a ballot. Then, go to an election box and choose and cast a ballot.
Doctor on right: Casting a ballot ten times–then they will get better.
On a sign: Treatment area for people who want an election
[This ridicules anti-junta groups who demand quick elections this year.
The cartoon reflects the view of those who support the junta and believe in their pledge that reform can only come from the heavy hand of the military–not elected politicians.
They feel that the pro-election protesters are simply being used by anti-junta politicians–such as the Pheu Thai–to pressure the junta for elections that are clearly coming as it is obvious that political groups are preparing for new polls and making deals behind the scenes.]
From Thairath, June 1, 2018
Title: Preventing us–for only we have the power to tear. [meaning military power and the present charter are set up to prevent people from writing a new constitution]
On the Democracy Monument plinth: Expanding the power in the constitution.
Below the tank from left to right: Tearing up every constitution that has been made; Overthrow the government [accusations made against the military]
On shirt of man on the boot: Barrister of NCPO [the junta]
The barrister is saying: Tearing are not allowed [meaning “rewriting the constitution” is not allowed]
Mouse man: Constitution must come from the people.
Mouse: Legacy of dictator.
[This cartoonist always echos Thaksin/Red Shirt viewpoints and has often repeated certain points week after week in the lead up to political confrontations. Thus, it is safe to look to this cartoonist’s work as reflecting the political overview desired by Thaksin-aligned political forces.
This cartoon refers to billionaire businessman Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s pledge to rip up the military-drafted charter if his party succeeds at the polls. This pledge reflects the aims of both the earlier People Power Party and the Pheu Thai Party–both of which attempted wholesale rewrites of the charter to enable Thaksin to be pardoned and presumably return to political prominence.
The pledge is a bold challenge to the ruling junta and it seems to confirm suspicions that Thanathorn represents yet another Thaksin-centric attempt to push for charter rewrites.
After Thanathorn’s promise, the junta responded with legal threats–some of which claiming that calling for a charter rewrite is against the charter.
Update (June 16, 2018): It is interesting to note how all the major parties are now also taking aim at the junta’s charter–Leading players want charter amended after next election–indicating unease with the restrictive charter far beyond only Thaksin’s political machinations.]
From Thairath, May 23, 2018
Title: Totally occupy under four legs
On the chairs (front legs from left to right): Govern state enterprises, the junta governs the country (back row, left to right) Parliament, independent agencies
Words close to the tail: Tasks under their responsibility
On tiger: NCPO [the ruling junta]
On the tiger’s hat: Equivalent of director-general
Phi Nooring: Good at controlling all powers
Mouse: Wants to have power
[Refers to the junta led by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). This cartoon illustrates that the junta now absolutely occupies all the powers governing the country, even independent agencies to check the use of government power.
The tiger represents the Eastern Tigers, an anti-Thaksin military grouping that conducted the last coup and now holds a near monopoly on power.]
From Matichon Weekly, June 1-8, 2018
Main cover picture: Sorry
[Refers to PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon’s apology for inappropriate actions when arresting Phra Buddha Isara (pictured) after the public complained about it. Phra Buddha Isara was charged with illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protests that paralyzed parts of Bangkok and eventually triggered a coup.
He is a senior monk especially respected by the Eastern Tiger military clique (that includes, among others, PM Prayuth, Deputy PM Prawit and Deputy PM Anupong Paochinda).
Phra Buddha Isara, whose layman’s name is Suvit Thongprasert, also faces the charge of forging and using royal initials without permission when he cast a batch of amulets in 2011. He was denied bail and has been defrocked.
This legal attack on a key leader close the the Eastern Tigers who was also part of the series of events that allowed the military to take power again has raised eyebrows.
Theories as to what is really going on are legion. One idea is that Phra Buddha Isara is assenting to the public legal lashing to allow the military to appear impartial as they go after many mroe monks who are close to Thaksin and that make up the backbone of an alleged money laundering operation for Thaksin and his allies.
Another theory is that the military is proving they are working towards absolute political power by removing any independent voice, such as Phra Buddha Isara’s, that might rise up to check their power in the future.]
Top right: ‘Thanathorn’ announces to destroy the fear. Dare to reject the constitution. Oppose “the PM from the outsider.” Reduce the power of the military
[Refers to Thanathorn Juangroongru-angkit (pictured). He was recently elected leader of the new political party the Future Forward Party. He vowed to become the new PM with the goal of a rewrite of the current junta-written constitution. Such a vow is a bold move as it is clear that the junta has created the charter with the expressed purpose of ensuring Thaksin cannot return to power again.
Thanathorn is the son of one of Thaksin’s wealthy political supporters and uses Red Shirt rhetoric to describe himself.
The new party is positioning itself to be become the hope for those who wish to block the political parties allied with the current junta from gaining power.]
From Siamrath Weekly Review, June 1-7, 2018
Main cover reads: Tremble a turmeric forest [white] effect [red] politics
[Refers to an arrest of senior and well-respected monks amid an attempt to reform the Buddhism in the country. Five senior monks were arrested due to a charge of money laundering linked to fraud in a temple fund.
Phra Buddha Isara (pictured in white shirt) was charged with illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) and forging and using royal initials without permission when he cast a batch of amulets in 2011. This arrest was shocking as his support for protests led to conditions that allowed the current junta to come to power.
“Turmeric forest” is used in the media to mean Buddhist monks as turmeric refers to the color of monk’s robes. Thus the headline means something like “the bureaucratic world of the mookhood is being shaken and this is due to political reasons.”]
From Manager Weekly, June 2-8, 2018
Main cover reads: A man who was kicked to the curb
[Refers to an arrest of well-known political activist monk Phra Buddha Isara due to a charge of illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) led by Suthep Thaugsuban and using royal initials without permission when he cast a batch of amulets in 2011.
As Phra Buddha Isara was instrumental in creating a series of events that allowed the current junta to come to power, his arrest surprised many.]
Top: Disclose a reason behind…!! Playing a trick to speculate the price of “oil gas ethanol” to be higher than reality
[Thai social media has been abuzz with complaints about high gas prices and conspiracy theories about why they are so high. The prevailing theory (which has been met with legal threats from PPT) is that the prices are high to create public support for the junta’s big-ticket spending on power generation and refining schemes.
Such theories also appeared in the past when blackouts in the south seemed to coincide with the push for controversial power generation plants that the government insisted were desperately needed.]
Bottom left: A war of honor [yellow] T Moment [white] challenge [yellow] GDH A war of movie about BNK 48
[Refers to an intense competition between two movie companies–T Moment and GDH–to release a movie starring by members of the famous girl group BNK 48.]
Bottom right: TCAS first year dismally failed. The entrance system is in chaos – ‘Who’ must take responsibility?
[Refers to the new school entrance exam system ‘TCAS’ which received complaints by students and parents.]
From Lokwannee, June 1-8, 2018
Main cover reads: Oops… sorry
[Refers to PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon who apologized for the handling of the arrest of Phra Buddha Isara after several people complained excessive force was used. Phra Buddha Isara was charged with illegal association for his role in the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) protests.
The traffic cone refers what Phra Buddha Isara used during the PDRC protests to indicate their cordoned off area. There were reports that people were quickly attacked by Phra Buddha Isara’s bodyguard and his followers if they touched or moved the traffic cones.
Thus, the dinosaur, representing the old-fashioned junta, is knocking over Phra Buddha Isara’s traffic cone, but the junta is not going to get attacked as they have all the power.
So Lokwannee, a pro-Thaksin, pro-Red Shirt magazine, is reveling in seeing Phra Buddha Isara being roughly arrested in retaliation for his bully tactics in helping overthrow the Pheu Thai-led government.]
From Manager, May 29, 2018
Left, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit: Hey!… Why every time I speak… you have to lick my mouth.
Right, dog: It smells like breast milk.
On the shirt: New Future Party.
[The cartoon refers to the Thai saying to “smell breast milk in your mouth.”
The cartoonist is criticizing the New Future Party as being led by someone who is gullible and unaware of what he is really doing. This is indicated by calling the party leader a baby.
The baby term is also used to describe the young activists who led protests insisting on elections being held this year.
As Thanathorn is the son of one of Thaksin’s wealthy political supporters, uses Red Shirt rhetoric and openly vows a constitutional rewrite if elected, it seems suspiciously like he will be acting on behalf of Thaksin.]
From Thairath, May 31, 2018
Left, police officer: In case of the police using a vehicle which is considered [private] property in a dispute for their personal use, it is not a crime because [by using it] they help to prevent it from deteriorating.
Middle, people: If you say something like this, it seems like you support the police to act immorally.
Police: How is it immoral?
Right: If someone’s daughter or wife is taken into custody, then the police can take her for their personal benefit.
[Refers to a case where police were caught using property being held in a dispute (like vehicles) for their personal use. This violates the law.
In middle section is the actual reason the police gave for using the property–by driving around people’s cars they were holding, they were helping out by preventing the cars from breaking down from disuse.
The people respond by saying the police might similarly “use” women they are holding to make sure they are in working order.]
From Manager, May 23, 2018
Suthep: I support Mr. Prayuth to be the next PM for reform.
PM Prayuth: May I touch a little bit?
[Refers to the junta led by PM Prayuth who has vowed to reform the country after seizing in 2014. Although enduring several scandals that have left anti-Thaksin groups like the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) disappointed, Suthep Thaugsuban, a leader of the PDRC, is still supporting the junta.
While Suthep is putting together political alliances to support the military, the junta is seemingly courting some of the most corrupt political kingpins in the country (represented by the orgy scene at right).
This cartoon plays with the sound of Thai words: ปฏิรูป = reform and ปฎิลูบ = touch. Here is means the reform the junta promises has ended up with alliances with some of the most notorious political groups in the country.]
From Manager, May 22, 2018
Sign on stage: Democrat Party’s Li-ke.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit (I think): Dr. Warong… what are you writing?
Former Democrat Party MP Dr. Warong: Questionnaire sirs, to find out why our party… did not win the hearts of the people.
[Li-ke is a traditional Thai dramatic performance. It is likely considered old-fashioned and a quaint by the younger generation.
The cartoonist compares the Democrat Party to Li-ke as it seems unable to capitalize on the political turmoil of the last 15 years and win elections.
Compared to the flashy populism and big money handouts of the Pheu Thai and the attention-getting handsome young men starting new parties, the Democrats seem staid and uninteresting, perhaps representing the past of Thai politics rather than the future.]
From Manager, May 16, 2018
Ex-PM Chavalit: Why can Mahathir become PM at the age of 92? I’m only 86.
Headline on the newspaper: Mahathir wins the election and becomes PM at the age of 92.
Caption: This news inspires a lot of elders…
[Ex-PM Chavalit is an elderly man, but also a major political power broker. Until recently he was probably considered too old to be a real contender for any political post and was relegated to sending political messages for Thaksin.
However, when Mahathir Mohamad become Malaysia PM again at 92, it probably inspired a lot of the old-school Thai political kingpins to hope that they might become the next PM, particularly as a compromise candidate considering the churn that is going in within MP groupings.
Aging Democrat Party ex-PM Chuan Leekpai has also been brought up as a potential PM choice.]
From Lokwannee, May 25-June 1, 2018
Main cover reads: 4 years are very fast!!!
On the liquor bottle: Power Special liquor 44 ridiculous liquor factory. National Council for Peace and Order
[Refers to 4th year anniversary of the junta known as the National Council for Peace and Order controlling the country. This cover illustrates that now the junta seems to be addicted to power like an alcoholic. It portrays the military leaders as dinosaurs.]
From Siamrath Weekly Review, May 25-31, 2018
Main cover reads: Complex games [literally something like “game hides a game”]
On the poster in the background: Thailand hates dictator
[Refers to a recent rally to call for the elections this year on the four years anniversary of the coup.
It is thought that Thaksin really wants to have the election as soon as possible to forestall the junta attempts to put together a coalition to block his party.]
From Matichon Weekly, May 25-31, 2018
Main cover picture: 4 years of “moving backward’”
[Refers to a protest held by a pro-election groups led by student activist Rangsiman Rome (center). The junta’s performance has been criticized by those groups as moving the country backward. The country still faces economic problems as well as the decline of human rights and freedoms.]
Top: Kam Phaka [yellow] praises 5 Thais who are “out of the coconut’s shell” top 50 “Asians to watch”
[Refers to feminist writer Kam Phaka’s article praising five Thais, namely Thanathron Juangroongruangkit (top left), Parit ‘I-tim’ Watcharasindhu (top right), Netiwit Chotiphathphaisal (bottom left), Rasmee Isan Soul (bottom middle) and Taopiphop (middle bottom) who were in top 50 Asians to watch ranked by Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper.
These people are part of the “young generation” who dare to fight for change in society.
“Out of the shell” comes from Thai proverb “a frog in a coconut shell” meaning a person who believes they know everything from their limited perspective of being in a coconut shell.
Red Shirts and anti-junta call those who support the junta and oppose them “frogs in a coconut shell” claiming they believe whatever the junta tells them.]
From Manager Weekly, May 26-June 1, 2018
Main cover reads: Expensive for whom?
[Refers to an increase of oil price in Thailand. The article asks who will benefit from this. It makes the claim that the oil prices, controlled by Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan, are excessive. With the Interior Ministry led by Gen. Anupong Paochinda (pictured left) actively promoting a renewable energy mega-project, it questions if the high oil prices are meant to support the acceptance of the project and the inevitable kickbacks that would go to supporting the junta’s election bid.]
Top: Behind an “order” to wash out a “temple’s fund corruption gang” Arrest 3 “Phra Phrom” to clean “Saket temple” – The mission on reforming “Dongkamin world”
[Refers an arrest of senior monks consisting Phra Phrom Sith (first from left) Phra Phrom Dilok (second monk), Phra Phrom Methi (third monk) and Phra Attakijsoporn for alleged embezzlement.
Not only being senior monks in the Sangha Supreme Council, most of them are from Saket Temple. This action illustrates the bold attempt to reform Buddhism in the country.
“Dongkamin” refers to Buddhism. We thing this can be explained as follows: “kamin” means turmeric while “dong” is a group. Turmeric also refers to the color of a monk’s clothes. So, the word “Dongkamin” refers to the “monk’s world.”
Buddhism in Thailand recently has faced criticism for commercialism which violates Buddhist principles.]
Bottom left: Completed the fourth year since the coup. The NCPO shows it is handling the mob event to fight or “delay the election”
[Refers to the protest for quick elections this year on the fourth year anniversary of the junta known as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
However, this rally was stifled by the junta and did not cause any real effects. There was speculation in much of the media that this group protest was doubtless linked with Thaksin who needs to prove his relevance and turn the narrative of elections about being about a quick “return to democracy.”]
Middle: Hire “beautiful girls” writing on their sexy chests – A technique of “football gambling website” – Be careful for violating the law
[Refers to a technique used by the football gambling websites to promote their website by hiring sexy girls to write their advertisement on their chests. Such public sexiness, particularly on the internet, is often cracked down on in Thailand.]
Right: “Lek-Busaba” does a massive reform of GMM25 “Jae Chod” fighting hard on a new project
[Refers a huge reform of the digital TV channel “GMM25” led by Busaba “Lek” Daoruang (left), the successor to GMM’s senior executive Saithip “Chod” Montrikul Na Ayudhaya (right). Jae is Chinese word meaning “elder sister.”]
From Thairath, May 15, 2018
Title: Malaysia’s model
On sign held by the student: Want to have an election
Phi Nooring: Election is a way out.
Mouse: Learn from a neighbor
[Refers to Malaysia’s 92-year old PM Mahathir Mohamad who unseated corruption-plagued Najib Rasak in an election.
The results of the election shows how Malaysian people want to change their country after a long time ruled by Najib.
This cartoon implies that an election is the answer for Thailand to solve the country’s problem and that Thailand should learn from Malaysia’s political action.]
From Manager, May 15, 2018
Najib: If we changed from Mahathir to Prayuth, now we would be enjoying shopping aboard…
Caption: Najib is corrupt in the wrong country
[Refers to Malaysia’s ex-PM Najib Razak who is facing big legal problems after being defeated by Mahathir Mohamad in the recent election.
After the election Najib and his much-hated luxury shopping wife were barred from leaving the country.
The cartoonist points out the very different situation in Thailand, where those accused of corruption, like former PM’s Thaksin and Yingluck, are apparently allowed to slip out of the country and live a life of luxury shopping in foreign countries.]
From Manager, May 13, 2018
Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak: After the Buriram’s shaman blows merit to your head, then you visit Pa Noh for making-up. Then, it will be done and you will become the PM for sure.
On a sign close to the hut in the left background: Buriram’s shaman
On the sign on Sanoh’s house: Thienthong’s makeover [meaning something like Thienthong’s beauty parlor]
Chavalit: Oh!!! What’s about my middle chain?
Caption: Tu’s roadmap
[Refers to an attempt of PM Prayuth to ally with several political groups to win the coming election.
Deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak is known as one of the power brokers, who, along with Deputy PM Prawit, is putting together deals for the junta.
In the cartoon, the Buriram’s shaman is Newin Chidchob. PM Prayuth recently received a very public show of support from Newin’s power base in Buriram.
“Thienthong’s makeover” is supposed to be a beauty parlor run by veteran kingmaker Sanoh Thienthong (also here and here), a respected senior politician allied with many political groupings over the years, recently with the Pheu Thai Party. He is known as a person who controls factions that can bring governments to power and then make them fall if he wishes.
Ex-PM Chavalit has often spoken up for Thaksin in the past, threatening trouble if Thaksin is blocked from power and also trying to give the impression that the military is split with major parts of it opposing junta rule.
Chavalit has also publicly affirmed recently that Thaksin wants to return to the country. This is another clear indication that Thaksin is sending a message that he is completely engaged in the political fight and that a vote for his party is a vote for his return to power.
Presently Chavalit is pushing a political strategy called the “middle chain,” but his association with Thaksin means there is little attention given to his plan. The plan simply calls for quick elections to solve all conflicts.
Since he is close to Thaksin, the cartoonist shows that Chavalit is somewhat ignored in all the political power plays going on at present.]
From Daily News, May 10, 2018
Left: When you ask for a lottery win.
Right: When you ask for a [big] budget.
Inside the bubble at bottom right: In Buriram
[Refers to PM Prayuth’s visit in Buriram province in the northeast region which is the hometown of political veteran Newin.
PM Prayuth received a warm welcome from people and was girded with loincloths to show the local style of welcome.
The cartoonist shows how locals gird special trees, said to be inhabited by ghost, with loincloths in an attempt to create good fortune.
The joke is that Buriram locals likewise put loincloths on the PM in hopes it would ensure wealth would come to them from the government.]
From Manager, May 8, 2018
On sign above doorway: Buriram Brothel
Man at right (considering the content of the cartoon, it must be Thaksin): Did he know… you are very dangerous… whoever sleeps with you, they will die?
Newin (as a prostitute): Yes… But maybe he’s unconscious…
Caption: After finishing their affairs
[Refers to the political alliance between PM Prayuth and rural kingpin Newin. Recently, PM Prayuth visited Newin’s hometown in Buriram province and vowed to give the area a lot of support and infrastructure projects.
PM Prayuth’s alliance with one of the most notorious of politicians raised eyebrows since the junta has constantly touted that their motives are better than that of politicians. This public show of support from Newin occurred when other political parties were banned from organizing so cries of unfairness were also raised. Predictably, the government denied any political deal was made.
This reemergence of Newin into the political equation ended a long period of isolation for him after he was hounded from political life after betraying Thaksin’s alliance to allow a Democrat-led coalition to form in 2008. This fateful move prevented new elections and stalled Thaksin’s political return to power for years. This meant the political party Thaksin directed was locked out of the spoils of government. It also meant that military commanders would be appointed who would bitterly oppose his return to power for years to come.
The dire nature of being blocked from power in 2008 led to the necessity of forming the Red Shirt movement and then both the 2009 and 2010 occupations of Bangkok in a desperate attempt to cause the government to fail. This was both to trigger new elections and forestall the appointment of anti-Thaksin military leaders.
Newin himself, like several other rural kingpins, has been responsible for joining and leaving governments over apparently selfish and greedy reasons. The cartoon notes that Thaksin “died” because Newin betrayed him and anyone who allies with Newin can expect the same.
Newin’s reemergence into politics–particularly in supporting an arch-foe of Thaksin–demonstrates an apparent weakness in Thaksin. The Red Shirts were able to ensure, for nearly 10 years, that Newin remained officially retired from politics. His overt political alliance with Prayuth must certainly reflect expectations that Thaksin will not be allowed to control another government in the future and that his influence in the country is on the wane. (More about Newin Chidchob)
In the cartoon, Newin says “But maybe he’s unconscious…” This refers to PM Prayuth’s action to ally with any group that opposes or blocks Thaksin without concern about their often incredibly venal political backgrounds. Again, this is a huge contrast to the junta’s boasts that they have purer motives than the elected.
It is also interesting to note that Thai cartoonists are not squeamish about referencing prostitution, HIV, sex, and even rape in their works.]
From Siamrath Weekly Review, May 18-24, 2018
Main cover reads: Melayu old man is dancing with a sword.
[Refers the victory of former PM Mahathir Mohamand (pictured) over PM Najib Razak in Malaysia’s recent election. This led him to become the world’s oldest leader with his age of 92. The word “dancing with sword” is a descriptive word to illustrate how Mahathir has and wields his power.]
From Matichon Weekly, May 18-24, 2018
Main cover picture: 4 years already
[Refers to the junta who has been in the power for four years. Many have called on the junta not to delay elections this year instead of next.]
Top: Mahathir-Maha “Chuan” The impact of Malay politics. Democrat supports an old man to fight with “Maha Dood”
[Refers to the win of former PM Mahathir Mohamand (pictured) in the recent Malaysia’s election. At 92-years-old, Mahathir, brings hope to many senior Thai politicians that they can return to power as Thaksin’s dominance over the last twenty years forced many old political kingpins from power.
The Democrat Party also has an idea to support former PM Chuan Leekpai (pictured right) to lead the party with the aim to repeat a Mahathir-like victory.
This headline uses Mahathir’s name by calling Chuan “Maha.” The word “Dood” is a Thai word meaning “absorb.” It refers to PM Prayuth who is now trying to ally with several political groups to win the next elections.
So the last part of the headline means that the Democrats are supporting Chuan, an old man like Mahathir, against another old man like Mahathir, PM Praytuh who is “Mr. Absorb” for his attempts to ally with other political groups.]
From Manager Weekly, May 19-25, 2018
Main cover reads: Phenomenon on the old tiger effecting the Eastern Tiger
[Refers to the effect of Malaysian PM Mahathir (at left) on Thai politics. The election of the 92-year-old Mahathir has ignited hopes that the many old men of Thai politics, like the Democrat’s Chuan (pictured at right), sidelined by 15 years of Thaksin dominance, could return to power. This also impacts the present PM, Gen. Prayuth, who is part of the influential Eastern Tigers military clique that has steadfastly opposed Thaksin dominance of politics.]
Top: Disclose a mission of “silent tiger” to take over “renewable energy.” Change “trash” to be “fund” raising funds for support the election
[Refers a renewable energy project using waste to generate electricity that was proposed by Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan (pictured left). This project is now supported under the Ministry of Interior led by Gen. Anupong Paochinda (pictured right), PM Prayuth’s senior officer from influential military group known as the Eastern Tigers. Different from other government ministers, Anupong keeps a low profile. However, this headline illustrates that even when he seems to be very silent, he is quietly gaining a lot of “benefit” to help support the junta to compete in the coming election as this project involves a huge budget.
Thais would innately understand that mega-projects equate with massive cash kickbacks (“benefits”) for whatever government institutes them.
This is why all parties out of power vigorously oppose government projects and why the junta has push 20 years of mass transit projects–to starve future governments from reaping the benefits of such projects.
Bottom left: Teerakiat Jareonsettasin “educational reform has already been done a lot” “but to get rid of corruption is more important”
[Refers to an interview with Education Minister Teerakiat Jareonsettasin (pictured) on reforming education and fighting corruption.]
Middle: Behind a hug scene “Tanya-Pinky” and a huge budget from TAT to “Peck”
[Refers an online series titled “The Bitch War” to promote tourism in the southernmost provinces produced by Sanchai “Peck” Engtrakul under the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT). Tanyares “Tanya” Engtrakul (left) and Savika “Pinky” Chaiyadech take the main roles in the series. The series illustrates the peace in the southernmost provinces similar with the peaceful relations between those two actresses.
In the past, Tanya and Pinky had an intense conflict as Pinky was alleged to have an affair with Tanya’s husband Peck.]
Right: Stop smoking is good for your heart, life, yourself and people around you.
[Refers to a special column on good health which this time is about the benefits of stopping smoking.]
From Manager, May 7, 2018
PM Prayuth: Honey… I’m going to hurry to reform our house.
Woman: No… You don’t need to. I’ll find the new one.
On her shirt: Thai people
On a sign above the house: Thailand
Caption: After being together for 4 years
[Refers to the apparent lack of reforms that have been delivered by the military junta. As the media began to point this out, the government seemed to suddenly rush to both boast about their accomplishments as well as promise further substantial reforms.
The cartoon shows a stereotypical rural house with PM Prayuth telling his spouse, representing the Thai people, that he will rush to clean up (or reform).
The cartoon suggests that it may be too late for the junta to do what it promised and win the hearts of the people.]
From Thairath, May 5, 2018
Title: If you fight with persons who control the rules
On a ballot box: Election follows the NCPO’s roadmap [the junta’s roadmap]
On a man with glasses on right: Politician
On a man with glasses in front: Independent agencies
Phi Nooring: Be careful of their cheating rules
Mouse: A killing stage
[This cartoon expresses concern for the rules for the coming elections set by and enforced by the military. The cartoonist shows PM Prayuth, the chief charter author, and independent agencies threatening politicians.]
From Thairath, May 10, 2018
Title: This land calls for me.
By Prayuth hands: Uncle Tu… Fighting!
Newin is thinking at left: Asking for a government budget of 10,000 million.
Mouse man: Arrogant as a political candidate.
Mouse: Who called him here?
[Refer to PM Prayuth’s quote “this land is calling me to do for this country” which he used during his visit to Buriram province. The province is home to well-known politician kingpin Newin Chidchob.
As the northeastern region is a strong support base for Thaksin and the Red Shirts, this visit to Newin’s hometown shows the junta’s resolve to make alliances and remain in power after the next elections.
The cartoonist ridicules the trip and the reception by Newin supporters and asks the price of having Newin join the junta in government.
In the cartoon, PM Prayuth is wearing Thai loincloths–ethnic grab that is traditional in the northeastern region as well as Laos and Cambodia.
The loincloths on PM Prayuth is a way of showing a friendly welcome.]
From Manager, May 9, 2018
Left, Prayuth: People think Tu draws in Newin…
Right: But we think Newin draws in Tu.
[“Tu” is the nickname of PM Prayuth.
Refers to the visit of PM Prayuth to Buriram province which is the hometown of well-known politician Newin Chidchob.
Although Newin announced he had retired from the politics, he still has power, particularly in the Bhumjaithai Party as well as strong connections with several political groups.
This visit indicates the political alliance between PM Prayuth and Newin.
This cartoon questions which politician is being exploiting on the way to power.
More on this: Absorbing is the Thai Way]
From Manager, May 3, 2018
On the green wall: Military zone, do not enter.
Democrat leader Abhisit: Keeping the cash machine for only yourself… not fair!!
On the pink ATM: CP
On the blue ATM: Billionaire Charoen.
[The ATMs refer to the supports from Thailand’s wealthiest businessmen. One is Dhanin Chearavanont, owner of CP Group and Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, who controls Thai Beverage. Both conglomerates are powerful enough that their influence probably rivals the government itself, but both have been cautious not to overtly engage in politics (unlike Thaksin).
The cartoon reflects that these mega-power brokers have apparently thrown their support behind the junta.
In the foreground, Democrat leader Abhisit laments that the money and influence of these business groups are shutting him out of power.]
From Manager, April 29, 2018
PM Prayuth at left: “Black cat, white cat. You can catch the mouse, you are good too.”
Man at right: Son of a bitch!… That is a lizard… not a cat!!!
Caption: Be careful of this phrase’s owner. He would stand up mad.
[Refers to Mao Zedong’s quote “it doesn’t matter whether the cat is black or white, as long as it catches mice.” Mao’s quote refers to the political system used to govern China in that, whatever system it is, if it works it is good for the country.
Here, PM Prayuth is making alliances with venal old politicians, here represented by monitor lizards, which are reviled animals in the Thai world.
Prayuth uses Mao’s quote to mean that it does not matter how bad his political allies are as long as they assist in shutting Thaksin out of power.
In the caption, the owner of the phase is Mao Zedong. The cartoonist shows that PM Prayuth uses Mao Zedong’s phase in the wrong way. Mao did not mind what political system it was as long as it was good for the country. However, in case of PM Prayuth, he seems to say he can join hands with anyone as long as they are against Thaksin. This brings very bad politicians to power which must be bad for the country.]
[The political world was stunned recently when it became clear that the military junta had forged an alliance with one of the major factions that once underpinned Thaksin’s political empire–Newin Chidchob.
Newin is among the most notorious of Thai politicians and the very symbol of the rural mafioso kingpin.
1996: Newin’s canvassers caught red handed in vote buying
2010: 20 million baht is too cheap to assassinate Newin
2010: Nothing in this world causes as much pain as what Newin did to me!
2010: Newin’s Tears and Drool
2010: Beware of the Newin Pipe!
2017: The beginnings of the military coalition–What do these bombs mean?
2018: The worst of politics comes to support PM Prayuth
Newin was also the rarest of politicians–one who dared betray Thaksin by joining a Democrat coalition in 2008. The betrayal of Thaksin saw Newin hounded from politics by the strong arm tactics of the Red Shirts.
Newin publicly swore off politics, instead building his own sort of potential political muscle to counter the Red Shirts in his Buriram football club.
The present emerging political climate, crafted by the junta, is compelling for old political hands like Newin who wish to finally participate in a government that is not controlled by Thaksin nor harried by the Red Shirts.
From the perspective of those who cheer on the military for its role in preventing a Thaksin return to power, an alliance between Newin and PM Prayuth seems to be the ultimate hypocrisy.
The junta has spent years now crowing about how they are superior to elected politicians. The association it is making with Newin contradicts all of the military’s high flown rhetoric about its purity of intention in ruling. There would have to be, no doubt, shady big money deals that the junta would have to promise Newin to keep him on board in a government.
Still, the apparent gains the junta is making in courting factions is something that has not happened before. It is an erosion of control by Thaksin that observers have been watching for since the 2006 coup. It never materialized before.
Ultimately, it will not be (and has never been) about the popularity of Thaksin. It is about the co-opting of of longstanding MP cliques that are consistently elected. Turning their support to one candidate created the Thaksin political juggernaut. Turning them elsewhere will determine if the junta can make a convincing case to hold on to power after the next elections.]
From Thairath, May 3, 2018
Title: Special type of man.
On chair: The prime minister from a coup
On Prayuth’s paper: Taking in politicians [vacuuming politicians], stay on in power
Sign at middle bottom: Illegal, but gave amnesty to themselves already.
Above right: Official residence for justice.
Man in front of the residence with sign: Legal, but… wrong in Good Governance.
Mouse man: Thinking that you are a god.
mouse: Can do anything, but do nothing wrong.
[The cartoonist shows that the ruling junta makes sure every rule and law supports the legality of their actions–even though they wrote the rules and can give themselves amnesty.
It also shows the controversial judges residences being built in Chiang Mai. These were widely opposed by the public, but the junta initially seemed to be dragging their feet in stopping the construction.]
From Manager, May 1, 2018
On the sign at top left: Polluted politicians
PM Prayuth, bottom left: Must [big word] absorb!!! It’s Thai culture.
The cartoonist shows Thai PMs who used this strategy starting from the bottom left to right, Prayuth, Thaksin, Chavalit Yongchaiyudh
Top right to left: Chuan Leekpai, Suchinda Kraprayoon and Chatichai Choonhavan.
[Each party, particularly the big parties, will try to attract MPs to their teams with the aim to win the election and thus support the party’s choice for PM.
The cartoonist shows this as a septic tank collection pipe which sucks up useless, old-guard politicians.
The 1990s were rife with MPs being offered huge sums of money to switch parties or otherwise ditch existing alliances.
Then, for years, this process was muted as Thaksin successfully collected MPs first into his Thai Rak Thai Party. He was then able to prevent MPs from leaving his party largely due to the 1997 charter that made it difficult to switch. Those who switch alliances, like Newin, found themselves hounded out of politics.
Foreign observers often mistake the installation of a prime minister as proof of public support. However, it merely means that MPs (regional bosses who will win one way or another), have been bought up to support a certain party’s pick for PM.
This time, Thaksin’s control finally seems weakened and there is a free for all with PM Prayuth welcoming any political groups to join his alliance.
This is often referred to as a Political vacuum cleaner.]