From Thairath, March 3, 2003
Title: A fight based on… bodies and victims
At left Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is holding a dead body.
On the body: Victim of drug addict
The policeman behind him is holding a boy on which reads: drug addict… living death
Word above the man’s head: Human rights
The men on the right are carrying a dead body on which reads: shoot to kill
The corpse on the ground: a victim of extrajudicial killing.
[Thaksin’s anti-drug policy was brutal with thousands gunned down in extra-judicial killings. Some academics in Thailand questioned this and it was a major issue for overseas observers, but most in the country, both in the government and opposition, supported the mass killings.]
From Thairath, August 4, 2003
Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra is rolling out a carpet. On the carpet: Myanmar’s coalition, democracy in Myanmar
Under the carpet: Intervention from the West
Sign in front of a pthe cage: Aung San Suu Kyi
Caption: Use the Eastern way to lead to peace.
[During his administration, Thaksin engaged in a "constructive engagement" policy towards Myanmar despite criticism from Western powers. Local opposition figures saw Shianawatra family business interests behind Thaksin's detente with the military regime in Myanmar.]
Will Taiwan-China be the next Ukraine-Russia? – mykafkaesquelife.blogspot.jp, March 4, 2014
…Just like Taiwan’s sovereignty is heavily undermined by China, so is Ukraine’s by Russia. In both cases the Cold War has not fully ended, its legacy is passed on to the next generation. But young Ukrainians and young Taiwanese want something better, they want to decide the fate of their country, and leave the past behind…
Earlier: Why Thailand is looking like the next Ukraine
India Backs Russia’s ‘Legitimate Interests’ in Ukraine – thediplomat.com, March 8, 2014
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…Telegraph India offers another reason. According to the report cited above, Indian officials have told Telegraph India that, in the newspaper’s words, Delhi is “convinced that the West’s tacit support for a series of attempted coups against democratically elected governments — in Egypt, Thailand and now Ukraine — has only weakened democratic roots in these countries.”
This rationale would be consistent with India’s long-standing, deep-seated abhorrence to anything that merely resembles Western imperialism. At the same time, India has not historically made supporting democracy abroad a central tenet of its foreign policy.
Cambodia: ‘Killing Fields’ producer heaps praise on Hun Sen – Asia Sentinel, March 10, 2014
David Puttnam, the once-brilliant film-maker who is best known for producing the amazing movie of Khmer Rouge terror, “The Killing Fields” has stunned journalists, diplomats and others, by praising the current Khmer government and its leader Hun Sen, for “its commitment to ending corruption…”
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Sam Rainsy: I’ll be a better PM than Hun Sen – The Nation, March 10, 2014
In Thailand, watch your passport – Washington Post, March 10, 2014
…Message boards from Lonely Planet to Thai Visa are clogged with accounts of stolen passports or ruminations on whether to leave their own at a bike shop. New Zealand, which sends thousands of tourists to Southeast Asia every year, warns its travelers to never leave their passports with a motorcycle rent shop — because no one knows where they could wind up…
Stolen Passports Used on Malaysia Airlines Flight Show Gaps in Air Security Around Globe – WSJ, March 10, 2014
…The U.S. increased scrutiny of travelers and their documents after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Numerous al Qaeda members traveled on forged or stolen documents ahead of the attacks, and the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks created afterward said that 15 of the 19 hijackers could have been stopped by stronger checks at borders. Among the commission’s recommendations was the creation of systems designed to make it harder for people to travel on false identities…
Stolen passports never used to leave Thailand: official – Press Trust of India, March 10, 2014
Thailand, which came into spotlight after it emerged that two unknown passengers on vanished Malaysia Airlines flight used passports stolen in the kingdom, today said the documents stolen last year were never used by the suspects to leave the country…
Police will not take action on gay lovers – Eleven Media Group/ANN, March 8, 2014
…The Voice, 7 Day and Democracy Today reported the marriage ceremony on March 2 stirring reactions from Buddhist monks and online media calling the event illegal and immoral.
Myanmar currently has a law against same-sex intercourse that carries up to life in prison but does not mention anything about marriage.
Myanmar spent $1.6 billion on embassy building in Bangkok – Eleven Media Group/ANN, March 8, 2014
Myanmar has spent US$ 1.3 billion (S$1.6 billion) building a new embassy in Bangkok, the most expensive among 18 new embassies being opened in major cities around the world, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs…
Cambodia bans public forum planned by opposition-aligned trade unions on Women’s Day – Xinhua, March 7, 2014
…”The Phnom Penh Municipality does not allow the 18 trade unions and associations to hold the public forum on March 8 at the Freedom Park or other public places because this forum’s purpose has mixed with political characteristics,” said a letter signed by Phnom Penh Vice-Governor Khuong Sreng and sent to those trade unions and associations late Thursday…
Thai pursuit of Alan Morison case ‘heavy handed’, says rights group – The Guardian, March 7, 2014
…Human Rights Watch said Thai authorities should not bring the criminal defamation and computer crimes charges against the two journalists. It is reported to be the first occasion the Thai military has used the Computer Crimes Act against a media outlet…
Thailand hotspot for young Aussies to take “steroid” holidays – couriermail.com.au, March 8, 2014
…According to the Australia Crime Commission, the price in Australia for a single 10 millilitre vial of testosterone was up to $230.
In Thailand it’s about $51…
Thai PM losing grip on northeastern stronghold – DW, March 7, 2014
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
Thai Premier Yingluck Shinawatra faces growing opposition from northern business leaders and farmers who blame the government for rampant corruption and a botched rice price scheme…
Thailand consumer confidence falls to 12-year low – MR/NN, March 7, 2014
…The latest study of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce (UTCC) showed that the consumer confidence index plummeted to 69.9 in February, its lowest level since November 2001…
Thailand ranks 47 out of 99 countries for rule of law
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.
Bad scores of 63 for "constraints on government powers" (checks and balances on government) and 89 for "civil justice" (courts can resolve disputes between individuals).]
Student and People Network for Thailand’s Reform delivers letter to embassies – Manager, March 6, 2014
[Scroll down for the English version. Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
From Manager, February 20, 2014
Thaksin: Now you’re here. It’s just a half way. You can move forward. It’s not going to end easily.
The cycle [starting from Thaksin’s pointer and going clockwise]: Being ruled on by the Court -> Defending the Court’s decision -> Going to see the Olympics -> Being exiled -> Agitating Red Shirts to fight -> Winning the election -> Issuing an amnesty bill -> Facing anti-government groups -> Dissolving the parliament->
Caption: Her brother’s vicious cycle.
[This shows a cycle of events that has occurred for Thaksin and seems to continuing for his sister.]
What’s gone wrong with democracy – The Economist, March, 2014
[Thanks to Tom for pointing this out.]
…One reason why so many democratic experiments have failed recently is that they put too much emphasis on elections and too little on the other essential features of democracy. The power of the state needs to be checked, for instance, and individual rights such as freedom of speech and freedom to organise must be guaranteed. The most successful new democracies have all worked in large part because they avoided the temptation of majoritarianism—the notion that winning an election entitles the majority to do whatever it pleases.
…Robust constitutions not only promote long-term stability, reducing the likelihood that disgruntled minorities will take against the regime. They also bolster the struggle against corruption, the bane of developing countries. Conversely, the first sign that a fledgling democracy is heading for the rocks often comes when elected rulers try to erode constraints on their power—often in the name of majority rule…
Thailand’s Intolerance of Its Own LGBT Community Will Surprise You – Time, March, 2014
…“In Thailand, we always smile and save face, but we close our eyes to all bullies out there,” says Kaona Saowakun, a trans man whose struggle to come to terms with society and his gender identity has been dogged by petty discrimination. When he was barred from taking exams at his university in trousers, he filed a complaint to the NHRC and was able to force the university to amend its rules. But then the university began requiring everyone who wanted to be exempt from the dress codes to file an application ahead of every new semester.
The LGBT people who do well in Thailand tend to keep their sexual orientation hidden. “If Thailand had been really tolerant, people would come out. But they don’t,” says Douglas Sanders, a Canadian professor emeritus specializing in Asian LGBT issues. “No prominent celebrity or political figure has come out, so there are no role models…”
Cambodia’s opposition leader plays racist card – DW, March 5, 2014
[Not sure why this is reported as news. This tact has always been part of Rainsy's politics.]
…”In Cambodian politics, it seems as though you only have a choice between corruption and pogrom,” Golzio said in an interview with Deutsche Welle…
From Thairath, February 21, 2014
Cartoon title: Likae on “Double Standard” from the Pheu Thai band ['Likae' is a Thai traditional theatrical performance for laymen.]
Left: …Will sue the EC [Election Committee] for being too slow in organizing the election…
Right: …and will sue the NACC [the Office of Anti-corruption Commission] for being too quick in filing a lawsuit against PM for cheating the rice farmers.
[Reference is to the NACC that gave notice to the Caretaker Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawtra that she was to be charged for rice pledging scheme corruption. Critics charged the NACC of being to quick to investigate and charge the PM.]
From Komchadluek, February 21, 2014
Yingluck: I would like to announce that the crackdown is in compliance with the international standard and no weapon is used.
[This refers to the attempt by police to take back a protest area at Phan Fah Bridge on Ratchadamnoen Avenue in which four protester and one police officer was killed on February 18. Immediately after this the courts took away the government's ability to clear the protesters by force.]
From Thairath, September 11, 2002
Title: Without killing them… can’t rest in peace
On the coffins: Osama Bin Laden; Saddam Hussein
[Rank and file Thais tend to be highly suspicious of major foreign powers like the US and the UK, often ascribing complex conspiracy theories concerning their intentions in Thailand.
Thai leaders have long cooperated with US leaders while presenting the public face of supposed Thai impartiality. Thaksin, however, openly supported the U.S.'s war on terror and provided facilities for one of the secret CIA prisons.]
From Manager, February 18, 2014
Title: Thaksin’s regime is getting more complicated.
Under Yingluck: Manipulating Chalerm
Under Thaksin: Manipulating Poo [meaning PM Yingluck]
Under astrologer: Manipulating Thaksin
[Refers the recent news that Thaksin’s ex-wife Potjaman visited famous Myanmar astrologer San Zami Bo to seek advice for her ex-husband to return home.]
From Thairath, February 16, 2014
Cartoon title: America said Thailand is the source of fake stuff
Top left: Fake fisherman randomly threw his net to catch feeding tubes, but only got laughter!
[Reference is to the Centre for Maintaining Peace and Order (CMPO) director Chalerm Ubumrung. He released a list of companies and persons accusing them of providing financial support to the People's Democratic Reform Committee. The accusations were ridiculed when it was warned that the CMPO could be sued by those on the list.]
Top middle: Civil servants at the Commerce Ministry mourn at the fake funeral of Yanyong Puangraj!
[Reference is to a number of the Ministry's civil servants who said that they were going to dress in black on February 19-21 to mourn the Caretaker Deputy Minister of Commerce, Yanyong Puangraj. The act is to show opposition to Yanyong's order to conduct an investigation of those civil servants who spoke at one of the anti-government rallies.]
Top right: Fake borrower to borrow on behalf of the government!
[Reference is to the Caretaker Deputy Commerce Minister, Yanyong Puangraj, who asked some banks to lend to rice mill owners so that the latter further lend to the rice farmers who remain unpaid by the Caretaker Government. Under the agreement, mill owners will lend 50-60% of the full mortgaging prices as indicated on each warrant.]
Bottom left: The fake popcorn phobia spreads among political bullies!
[Reference is to the shooting incident at Laksi on February 1 when a group of anti-government protesters clashed with a group of the Red Shirt from Pathum Thani province. That day a group of mysterious men, with their guns hidden in popcorn bags, appeared to protect the anti-government protesters who were being fired at by the other side. The cartoon here shows a man running for a child with a bag of popcorn.]
Bottom middle: Serious spread of fake rice mortgage warrants which cannot be cashed out!
[Reference is to rice farmers who pledged their rice to the government but still are not paid because the government has failed to sell the rice.]
Bottom right: Only the rice farmers who hung themselves are real!
[Refers to 11 rice farmers who were affected financially by the government's inability to pay for their pledged rice. Their financial status became so severe that they supposedly decided to kill themselves.]
From Komchadluek, February 17, 2014
Yingluck: If you don’t lend us more money, then, this rice farmer will die.
[This cartoon shows that the caretaker PM Yingluck Shinawatra use the rice farmers as a hostage to pressure the banks for lending the government more money to pay for the rice-pledging scheme. A number of people have withdrawn their money for the Government Saving Bank after the bank decided to be involved with this scheme.]
From Manager, February 17, 2014
Man in the middle: Thaksin… I’ve heard that you want to cut off karma? [wash away sins]… Let us perform the ceremony for you.
Caption: These guys can cut karma [wash away sin] more effectively
[When Thaksin recently traveled to Myanmar reports said that he met a fortune teller and had a ceremony to wash away sins. Such sins or bad karma supposedly being responsible for his bad luck--probably in being unable to pass amnesty despite his electoral victory in 2011.
The men in the cartoon refer to a video clip of three middle-eastern looking men who made death threats against Thaksin Shinawatra for his policies in the Thai deep south.]
From Manager, February 16, 2014
Ghosts: They cheated us out of the money from our rice that we pledged… and leave us to starve until we had to kill ourselves.
Caption: No merit can stop this karma [sin]
[The 11 ghosts refers to the 11 rice farmers committed suicide supposedly because they were unable to get government payments for their rice. They are pointing at Yingluck, her sister Yaowapa, and Yaowapa's husband Somchai.]