Thaksin shifts puppets

The last time a coup
leader became PM
after a return to
democracy

Prem Tinsulanonda in Context

Prem
Tinsulanonda
(1920-2019)

Who will come crawling?

Who will come
crawling?

Analysis: Thailand’s Half Democracy

Analysis: Thailand’s
half democracy

Do all Thai roads
lead to Singapore?

The Missing Marker & Thai Democracy

The missing marker &
Thai democracy

How many died in the Thai drug purges?

How many died in the Thai drug purges?

Remembering
Black May 1992

Remembering the Red Shirt protests of 2010

Remembering the Red Shirt protests of 2010

Remembering the checks & balances of the 1997 charter

Remembering the checks & balances of the 1997 charter

During Red Shirt rally, Thaksin kids withdraw 10 billion baht

During Red Shirt rally, Thaksin kids withdraw 10 billion baht

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While keeping a votive tablet in the mouth

From Thairath, November 21, 2019
Title: Although you speak while keeping a votive tablet in your mouth…
On the podium: NACC [the National Anti-Corruption Commission]
NACC chief Worawit Sukboon: Please believe in us. We are honest, justice and professional.
On the boxes of evidence he is standing on: Remaining case; lend from friends [Deputy PM Prawit’s explanation as to how he obtained expensive watches]; corruption of government officers; amulets; big cases; case of friends; cases of the opposition; corruption [all of this means there is aple evidence of wrongdoing but the NACC sweeps it under the rug]
On papers held by a man at the back left: Order to be incorrect; Order to be correct [meanign the NACC is taking orders from the government]
On paper held by man at left: News [meaning they are the media]
Phi Nooring: Believe in the action
Mouse: Justice that can be ordered.

[Refers to the credibility of the National Anti-Corruption Commission led by Secretary-General Worawit Sukboon. The cartoonist contends that the NACC’s work seems to benefit to the government as probes of government allies are delayed of dismissed. Meanwhile the opposition must suffer the consequences.
The cartoon uses the Thai proverb “while keeping a votive tablet in the mouth” meaning a person who tries to refer to Buddhist principles to support his actions in convincing people to believe him. The meaning is like the English idiom “to swear on a stack of Bibles.”]

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Words won’t stop the attack

From Naewna, November 21, 2019
Above grenade launcher: Media shareholder case.
Thanathorn: Our heart has already been hit by injustice, we were accused as being people who don’t know how to live. But our hearts are still warm, we have real blood, real human body. Be sympathetic to our people and what we believe.
Caption: This master of words… cannot escape…!!!

[As the constitutional court readied its judgment on Thanathorn’s shareholding case, he gave a stirring and impassioned speech that impressed many with its sincerity and defiance.
His youthful fearlessness seemed to set him apart from the self-serving and conniving actions of those in the past who also tried to confront the Thai establishment–namely Thaksin.
The cartoonist notes that his speech will not help him escape the judgement of the courts and avlacge of legal cases he is being confronted with.]

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The little people are corrupt

From Thairath, November 20, 2019
Title: Claim justice first.
Above the cell: Workplace of people in Chaiyaphum Province.
On the cell: The commoners whose land was reclaimed the land by NCPO [the military junta].
At far right, Deputy PM Prawit: Don’t need examination. [This refers to allegations of him having unusual wealth after he was seen wearing expensive watches.]
Man on the left: Did nothing wrong.
Woman who is being carried, government MP Pareena Kraikupt: Trespass on 1,700 fields of government land.
Above man on the left carrying MP Pareena Kraikupt: Workplace of Members of the House of Representative from Ratchaburi Province.
Mouse man: Carry each other.
Mouse: Push away the faults.

[The cartoon is meant to demonstrate the hypocrisy of the military-dominated government that acted aggressively to address longstanding land-encroachment violations by average villagers.
However, it turns out that star government MP Pareena Kraikupt may be involved with businesses that encroach on huge areas of protected land. The cartoonist suggests that corruption allegations for government-connected figures will be quickly dismissed, just like the allegations against Deputy PM Prawit.]

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Help out or win out?

From Thairath, November 8, 2019
Title: Uncle Tu’s story titled ‘The Lion and the mouse (ant)
Ant: I come here to help in return of your kindness.
Phi Nooring: Making up his own story.
Mouse: Wants to be a hero.

[Refers to PM Prayuth suggesting Thai fable “The Elephant and the Ant” to the Chinese PM during his visit to Thailand to attend the ASEAN Summit. This story is similar to Aesop’s Fable “The Lion and the Mouse” as they teach not to underestimate someone who is smaller than you. In this content, it means a small country, like Thailand, can help a big country, China.
However, the cartoonist accuses PM Prayuth of making up his own fable because there was a question as to whether the two stories were mixed up by PM Prayuth.
In the Lion and the Mouse, the mouse helps the lion in return for his kindness in not killing him. However, in the Elephant and the Ant, the ant can actually beat the elephant. Thus, it is likely Prayuth did not intend to suggest a fable to the Chinese PM that resulted in Thailand somehow conquering China.]

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Thailand caught in the middle

From Thairath, November 7, 2019
Title: Pillar and super good friend.
On Trump’s knife: Cut out GSP.
Mouse man: In the middle of a trade war.
Mouse: The tasty food.

[Here a “pillar” of the Thailand economy (China) and a “super good friend” (Trump, who has seemingly improved relations with Thailand much to the delight of the junta-riddled government) are dissecting Thailand in the form of PM Prayuth in their ongoing trade war which included pressure such as revoking GSP protections.][

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Do you know how to live?

From Manager, November 6, 2019
live . not . happy [literally it means “live not happy,” but the meaning is something like “restless” or “being disturbed,” sort of like a person is making trouble or cannot sit still]

[The logo is meant to imitate the logo of Future Forward Party. In the face of legal problems that threaten to disband the party and perhaps jail its founder, the party came out with a new campaign “live. not. stay.” This cartoon mocks that saying.
The Future Forward Party’s logo literally is “cannot live,” but it means something like “do not know how to live.”
This means that their actions are different from other political groups and that they dare to challenge the government. Saying that they “do not know how to live” is kind of sarcastic and fatalistic–because if they did know how to live they would join the pro-government coalition.
The cartoonist mocks their defiant motto by turning it into a saying that blames the party for making trouble with its provocations, such as when its spokesperson did not wear all-black in parliament during a mourning period.
Such incidents like these were not innocent gaffes, but calculated events that demonstrated the party’s commitment to its beliefs. Thus, suspicions about the party’s commitment to the current style of government in Thailand has resulted it being under intense legal attack. Had the party been more circumspect or subtle, it might have lived to perhaps participate in a future government considering its surprising popularity in its first election try.
The cartoonist’s modified slogan here means something like, “if you stand out, you will not be happy” meaning that Future Forward is a party that likes to cause trouble–even to its own detriment.]

From Manager, November 7, 2019
Left: Thanathorn: Yu. Mai. Pen. [a saying meaning he dares stands up for his principles even knowing he will metaphorically or literally die]
Caption: A nephew has a problem….
Right: Thaksin: Nhi. Hai. Pen. [meaning “learn to escape”]
Caption: ….Uncle has an answer.

[Refers to Future Forward Party’s leader Thanathorn who is calling on the public not to be afraid of the old traditional regime and dare to insist on change.
In the face of legal challenges that threaten to sideline his party, he launched a new campaign for public support to demonstrate to the authorities his popularity.
His new campaign is “Yu. Mai. Pen.” or “not know how to live.” This means that his party and its followers dare to challenge the status quo with a new kind of politics to fight against dictatorship–even knowing they will be destroyed for this.
The cartoonist notes that for all of the high-society billionaires like Thanathorn or Thaksin who insist their supporters dare to challenge and sacrifice against the Thai establishment, ultimately the billionaires run away to live in luxury in foreign lands while their supporters are left to face charges.]

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Trump in Thai editorial cartoons

From Naewna, October 26, 2019
Title: Frenemy
Above the sword: The U.S. cut Thailand’s GSP.

[Refers to the recent action of President Trump in suspending Thailand’s benefits under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) worth as USD 1.3 billion. The U.S. accused Thailand of not taking steps to protect the labor rights.
However, some groups believed that the U.S.’s action was really in response to a soaring trade deficit and Thailand’s decision to ban ractopamine, a feed additive commonly used by U.S. pork producers, and glyphosate.
The cartoonist contrasts the GSP move with the increasingly positive relationship bewteen Thailand the U.S. since President Trump came to office.]

From Thairath, November 29, 2019
Title: Are we friends?
PM Prayuth: I love you.
Wording close to him: Cut GSP for 600 Thai products
Phi Nooring: It becomes a trade war.
Mouse: Long distant love
On the bag behind President Trump: Budget for purchasing weapons from the U.S.

[Refers to the current situation of U.S.-Thai relation after President Trump announced an elimination of the GPS on 600 Thai products. Since Trump came to power, the U.S. has seemed to warm to the military-dominated government and many activities have been returned to normal. Thus, the government was blindsided by the GPS move apparently designed to reduce trade deficits.]

From Manager, November 29, 2019
Left: What?… You don’t want to sell opium? Then I will occupy your land.
Caption: The Westerner’s behavior in the past.
Right: What?… You don’t allow us to sell toxic chemicals? Then, I will suspend the GSP!
Caption: …in present.

[Refers to the U.S. action to cut the GSP of Thailand’s imported products. This cartoon contends that the move is due to the toxic chemical ban and is little different from the U.K. demanding to sell opium in China in the past.]

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Michael Ball recalls Man City ‘madness’: Thaksin Shinawatra gave us a team talk

Michael Ball recalls Man City ‘madness’: Thaksin Shinawatra gave us a team talk – planetfootball.com, November 21, 2019
…“Maybe another manager might have said there’s a line here that you don’t cross, but Sven understood that it’s their money and understood their way of life and let them do what they wanted, but it wasn’t as professional.
“Sometimes the chairman came down to do a team talk.
“I think a lot of the players were down and doing that thing you do in the classroom – looking up to see if anyone’s laughing. It was just a strange thing and Sven just took a back step and let him do what he wanted.
“We left the changing room and looked at each other, shrugged and said ‘what was that all about?”…

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Domino fell the wrong way

From Manager, October 25, 2019
Thanathorn: This will be the first domino to overthrow Prayuth’s government!!!
On domino: The by-election in Nakorn Pathom

[Refers to Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn who told the public that if the opposition bloc wins the by-election in Constituency 5 of Nakhon Pathom province, it will be the first domino to fall and set the stage for a change of government. However, his party lost in the election to the candidate from the pro-government party. The cartoonist ridicules Thanathorn’s ambition and over-confidence in his party’s popularity.]

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Banning the toxic chemicals

From Arun, October 24, 2019
Title: Unanimously voted to ban three toxic chemicals. The opposition group vows to appeal the Administrative Court.
On snakes: Three toxic chemicals.
Word on the bottom right: Not dead yet
On lady: Resolution
Word above a man with a hat: Agree
Word above another man: Don’t agree

[The committee chaired by the Deputy Agricultural and Cooperative Minister unanimously voted for a ban on the use of three toxic farming chemicals. The result of the committee pressured the National Hazardous Substances Committee (NHSC), which has resisted an outright ban. Other opposition group are also fighting against the decision of the committee.]

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Save Thanathorn from the snakes

From Thairath, October 22, 2019
Title: Cobra is normal, but Anaconda is more dangerous.
On Anaconda: Dictator + Inciting media. Groups to destroy the Future Forward Party
On the book: Budget of Uncle [PM Prayuth]
On the small cobras: PT [Phea Thai], Opposition parties
Phi Nooring: Pray for him to survive
Mouse: Save Thanathorn

[Refers to the current situation of the Future Forward Party led by Thanathorn [pictured]. Recently, many members from his party announced their resignation and some voted support the government against the Future Forward Party’s resolution. The party is also facing a risk that it will be dissolved due to various legal cases.
The cartoon refers to Aesop’s Fable titled “The farmer and the viper.” It is a parable of a person who betrays for his benefit. In Thai politics, politicians who switch parties are called “cobras” for their disloyalty.
The cartoon shows Future Forward Party Thanathorn beset by cobra members of his won party who supported the government due to the benefits they may be receiving from the government budget. Thanathorn is held by a giant snake representing the push government, military and media to paint him as a dangerous radical.
Thanathorn is making the three fingers salute from Hunger Games to signify that the present government is still a part of the dictatorship he wants to resist.]

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Out-of-date ideas

From Manager, October 17, 2019
Thida: The army chief is a man who lost a generation. [meaning he is behind the times]
Piyabutr: Yes…. now the world is moving forward!
Caption: Those people are trendy in the current world.

[Refers to Red Shirt leaders and the Future Forward Party (co-led by Piyabutr) who are presenting their own progressive ideals while opposing the “old-fashioned” power of the military in government.
This was after the army chief’s blistering speech accusing some in the opposition of attempting to change Thailand’s political system.
The cartoonist ridicules the opposition who claim to be progressive persons. Over the years, some in these camps have written about communism and revolutions in other countries as a way to alleged show their true opinions about local politics. However, they claim they just happen to be writing about these subjects and it has nothing to do with politics.
The cartoonist jokes that these supposedly progressive people, alleged inspired by past revolutions, are actually quite old-fashioned by following outdated political models.]

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Which pair destroys the country?

From Thairath, October 17, 2019
Title: Which pair destroys the country?
Inside the bubbles from left to right: Appeal to the NACC; China doesn’t like it; pulling the enemy into the country; communist [these are meant to represent the whispered rumors dogging Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn]
PM Prayuth: Love Lung Kamnan very much [meaning Suthep] Suthep: Trust in Uncle Tu [nickname of Prayuth] Phi Nooring: They only took a picture together. [meaning Thanathorn was slammed only over a single photos with the Hong Kong protest leader Wong]
Mouse: Weird right wing.

[Refers to the controversial picture taken by Thanathorn with Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong that caused a rebuke by the Chinese government warning Thai politicians not to involve themselves in China’s affairs.
The cartoonist points out the close ties between PM Prayuth and Suthep, known as Lung Kamnan, who apparently banded together to prevent an election and halt democracy in the country. The cartoonist thinks that this alliance is much more harmful to the country than Thanathorn ever was.]
See also: Real democracy in Hong Kong

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Seeing things

From Arun, October 15, 2019
[Refers to army chief Gen. Apirat who gave a speech denouncing certain politicians and academics for using old communist elements of “hybrid warfare” to undermine the country and the monarchy.
The Future Forward Party in particular has demonstrated an amazing ability to bring new faces into MP posts–some allegedly a desiring a wholesale restructuring of Thailand’s political system. The party is also very popular among the young which is worry for the razor-thin majority of the military-dominated government coalition.
The speech was unusually pointed. It was perhaps a warning to the Future Forward Party in particular that the military and government stands together to prevent the Future Forward Party from attaining power. Such a stand encourages MP defections to the ruling government.
We are not sure of the pose in the cartoon. Is it a reference to a cartoon character pose?]

Posted in Editorial Cartoons – Arun | 1 Comment

Real democracy in Hong Kong

From Manager, October 10, 2019
Joshua Wong: See, Thanathorn… real democracy will be like this.
Caption: Learn the democracy from Mr. Wong

[Refers to a photo that showed Future Forward Party’s leader Thanathorn with Hong Kong democratic activist Joshua Wong.
At an Economist magazine forum, Thanathorn was quoted as saying he was inspired by Hong Kong democracy movement to form the Future Forward Party.
The photo infuriated the Chinese government with the Chinese Embassy in Thailand warning Thai politicians not to intervene in China’s internal politics. The Thai army chief also accused Thanathorn and Wong of conspiring together while seeming to compare the violence in Hong Kong with the Red Shirt rioting in Bangkok in the past and warning the nation against a return to that sort of political agitation.
This cartoonist is warning that Thanathorn’s movement risks a return to the violence of the past.
Beyond this, the continuing rioting in Hong Kong and doubts about the end game of the protests there fits into a traditional Chinese government way of framing democracy. Past fighting in the Taiwanese parliament as well as the current protests in Hong Kong are used to frame democracy as akin to chaos. This fits with Thai beliefs about protest being a shameful last resort because it shows the disunity of society.
Thus, it should not be surprising that some Thais might feel more skeptical about the efficacy of the Hong Kong protests and tend to follow Chinese government lines that it is mindless lawbreaking. For another viewpoint see Which pair destroys the country? (live November 9)]

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Progressive people

From Manager, October 8, 2019
Left: President Mao, please come to help Thailand become communist.
Caption: Progressive person 6 Oct B.E. 19 [1976]
Right: President Trump, please come to help Thailand become democratic. Caption: Progressive person 6 Oct B.E. 62 [2019]

[Refers to the overseas lobbying of the Future Forward Party’s leader Thanathorn. It is thought he has been working hard to make sure overseas government to not legitimize Thailand’s new, “half-democracy.”
This cartoonist’s viewpoint reflects Thailand’s (and ASEAN’s) unease with encouraging outside powers to influence political developments in countries in the region. There is also perhaps an allusion that Future Forward risks a violent backlash, just like the killings in 1976, if they continue their alleged provocations.]

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Return justice to the people

From Thairath, October 7, 2019
Title: Sacrifice a life to the cause of justice.
Written in blood: Return justice to the people [this was a phrase repeated in judge Khanakorn Pianchana’s alleged suicide note posted on Facebook]
Phi Nooring: A bullet calling for rights.
Mouse: Stop an injustice

[Refers to Yala senior judge Khanakorn Pianchana who shot himself in the chest inside a courtroom moments after he acquitted five defendants of murder and firearm charges. He alleged that he was being pressured to find the men guilty instead.
The Office of the Judiciary spokesman quickly downplayed the event, stating that the incident was due to personal issues and stress.]

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It’s bad

From Thairath, October 3, 2019
Title: Too bad they can’t wait PM Prayuth: In B.A. 2579 Thailand will be a wealthy country and Thai people will have a high income.
On the tablet he is holding: Future of Thailand
On papers around the suicides: Bankrupt; Debts
On the car: Failed business [this shows people inside the car committing suicide by placing a cooking crock inside the car]
Phi Nooring: 5-year performance shows
Mouse: Thai people die to escape poverty

[Refers PM Prayuth’s remarks when he said he did not think Thais used Google much and that they should to improve their knowledge. The cartoonist contends the government’s performance is terrible, causing people to have to commit suicide.
People killing themselves in despair over the economy or the government is a frequent trope of pro-Thaksin/pro-Red Shirt media. However, other cartoonist who oppose Thaksin have recently drawn cartoons on this same theme of economic suicides over government policy.
Also: Some will commit suicide
How to escape an economic downturn
Economic suicides]

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Lobbying the U.S.

From Manager, September 30, 2019
Pannika to Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn: Only 5 dollars… we can take a photo with Trump… cheaper than hiring the APCO Company.
Caption: Next time go to DC…. Use this service.

[This photo mocks the Future Forward Party’s lobbying in the United States. It was revealed the Future Forward Party hired a lobbying firm to obtain meetings with U.S. politicians and talked about Thai political situation. Such activities are usually criticized for trying to bring “outsiders” into the Thai system. It also brings to mind Thaksin’s aggressive lobbying efforts against Thai governments after his exile.]

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Greta

From Arun, September 26, 2019
Title: Greta Thunberg, 16-year-old Swedish activist spoke at the UN Climate Summit
Thunberg: “I shouldn’t be up here. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you!

[Refers to the impassioned speech of young environmental activist Greta Thunberg who spoke up at the UN Climate Summit calling on world leaders to take serious action to deal with the climate change problem.]

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More absorbing

From Thairath, September 26, 2019
Left side heading: Iron charms
Katathep: Value things never thinking about selling [meaning he placed a huge value on “iron charms” he owned, but could never sell them at that price]
Right side heading: Trots of pig’s poo [something like “pig’s diarrhea” to mean the supposedly dirty business of poaching MPs from other parties]
Prawit (in the middle, wearing the expensive watches he was criticized for possessing)–he calls out to the Pheu Thai members: Don’t know who will be absorbed… but he who can be absorbed, I will get them. [this means the main government party is welcoming oppositions MPs to join it by “absorbing” them into the government party]
Above the door: PT [Phea Thai]
On the truck: Sewage car. PPRP [the initials of the main ruling party]
On the bags on the truck: Budget for giving. Budget for absorbing. [this means funds are set aside to bribe opposition MPs to join the government]
Phi Nooring: Never stop absorbing.
Mouse: Shameless people get it, but people who have shame won’t. [This is a Thai proverb meaning that people who are shameless can get everything they want as they do not hesitate to ask for it or take shameful action on their own. On the other hand, people who have morals and can be shamed are too shy to do thing they want or ask for others to help.
This implies the shameless government sucks up Phea Thai MPs while the Pheu Thai would never do such a thing. This is ironic, however, as Thaksin-directed parties that were the predecessors to the Pheu Thai were created by absorbing MPs from other parties.]

[Refers to the criticism of pro-Prayuth party Palang Pracharat (PPRP) since it is engaging in the longstanding practice of absorbing MPs from other parties to join their side.
Such “absorbing” or “sucking” is often symbolized by a sewage truck sucking up sewage.
Meanwhile, Katathep Techaruangsakul, MP of Palang Thai Rak Thai, one of the nine single-member “micro parties,” reported that he owned iron charms he valued at 1 billion baht. This is a sort of ridiculous over-estimation that brings into focus the rules requiring MPs reporting their assets.
“Trots of pig’s poo” comes from Thai proverb “Rainy day, trots of pig’s poo and bad people meet each other.” It means an incident that gathers many bad people together.]

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Don’t be so open about it

From Manager, September 23, 2019
Man: Because your mouth can’t be shut. If you don’t say it… no one know you gave money to the party for borrowing… now we are all in trouble.
Caption: If this party is disbanded, this is the thing that the party members should do.

[Refers to the current situation of the Future Forward Party after leader Thanathorn admitted that he lent around 100 million baht so the party could be in place to contest elections. This is counter to the intent of laws that force parties to raise money organically and thus prove their popularity. Due to this loan, the party risks bring investigated and possibly dissolved.
Laws governing political parties are likely to be strictly enforced especially as the Future Forward Party is both a vocal military and government critic and also is alleged to harbor radical opinions.
At far right is Pannika Wanich, Future Forward Party spokesperson. Her actions, both in the present day and in the past, including controversial gestures toward a photo of King Rama IX, also open her and the party up to further investigations. Even her explanations of her gestures toward the photo were not a denial of negative feeling, but an explanation of the context and reasoning of her actions at the time.
Thanathorn’s and Pannika’s statements are probably seen by some as needlessly forthright since they give their opponents ammunition to attack the Future Forward Party.]

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Believe in Thaksin

From Manager, September 23, 2019
On the sign: FAKE NEWS Thaksin donates 100 million USD to help floodings! [flood victims]
Caption: Even an shallow hole… it still can trap a number of buffaloes.

[Refers to rumors spread among Thaksin supporters that the exiled PM donated huge amounts to help people affected by flooding. This would be in contrast to the sitting government which was heavily criticized for its supposedly slow response to the crisis.
To refer to a person as a “buffalo” is an insult meaning they are stupid. Here it is used to refer to the pro-Thaksin Red Shirts.
The cartoon uses the Thai idiom “a hole for trapping the buffalo” meaning only a silly, stupid person will fall into the lie or trap.]

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It’s bad

From Manager, September 18, 2019
Left: Chor: Crap bad in every article!
Caption: From Chor…
Right: …to ba chor

[Refers to Future Forward spokeswoman Pannika ‘Chor’ Wanich who criticized the current constitution using a word indicating something very bad or inferior–perhaps akin to saying something is “crap” or “shit” in English.
She gave multiple interviews using this phrasing and received a negative reaction from the public especially from pro-government groups, because of her choice of language.
The undertone of this is that the Future Forward Party seems like past parties like the People Power Party and the Phea Thai that intently focus on rewriting the constitution.
Considering the military clique that controls politics, it seems unlikely that the charter will be rewritten–at least in the way the Future Forward Party desires.
This cartoon compares the name “Chor” with the name of the food, “moo ba chor” (or marinated pork chop). It compares her harangue against the charter with the insistent chopping used to create the food. It perhaps also warns that her high profile along with the controversial opinions she is thought to hold might get her chopped up.]

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Whatever happens

From Manager, September 15, 2019
Thaksin: As I told Kie… do your best and whatever happens, then we can be exile…

[Refers to former Pheu Thai MP and Red Shirt member Arisman ‘Kie’ Pongruangron (seated left), one of the highest profile provocateurs during the Red Shirt protests in 2009 and 2010. He has served jail time already and is embroiled in many other legal cases.
Thaksin’s comment in the cartoon is based on the traditional Thai concept that a leader will take responsibility for the violent actions of those serving him. Commonly a protest leader might tell his followers that “whatever happens, I will take responsibility.” This is to give the followers permission to act violently or irrationally– thought of as the natural response to an untenable situation.
The cartoonist turns this around by having Thaksin say that, instead of taking responsibility for what his followers do on his orders, he will instead let them rot while he goes off shopping in foreign capitals.
Yingluck is perhaps an even better example of this as she continuously vowed to face charges against her in court until one day she vanished leaving other members of her government who were charged along with her facing decades-long sentences.]

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How to escape an economic downturn

From Manager, September 11, 2019
PM Prayuth: The government has already injected a hundred billion… the economy will recover…
Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn: Must amend the constitution… then the economic problems will be solved.
Stove: Carry me in the car… close the windows tightly… Then, there will be no economic problem.
Caption: To solve the economic problem… Who we should believe?

[Refers to the current economic slowdown in Thailand. This cartoon mocks the efficacy of the actions of the government (spending money) and the actions of the opposition (demanding a rewrite of the charter). The cartoonist implies they are both trying to take advantage of the economic situation to benefit themselves.
At the right is a crockery device used with hot coal to heat food. Recently, using it to commit suicide has become popular. People place it in their cars to suffocate. The cartoonist suggests that this might be the only real way to escape an economic downturn.]

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Feeding the monkeys

From Thairath, September 10, 2019
Title: Feed them up… then they won’t be disagreeable.
On bananas held by Thamanat: Positions
On bananas held by PM Prayuth: Benefits
On monkeys’ shirts: Seat-allocated parties, small parties, unexpectedly-seat awarded parties

[Refers to Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thamanat Prompow. He was appointed by the Palang Pracharat Party to coordinate the small parties and keep them in line. Thamanat compared his work of dealing with the small parties in the coalition government with feeding bananas to monkeys. This means that the government has to give the small parties benefits, such as postings and control over lucrative projects, in order to ensure their support. His statement caused anger among the smaller parties who thought his comment condescending. Some parties announced they were considering leaving over the insult which resulted in another round of the Palang Pracharat Party trying to placate them.]

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Out of the red barrel

From Manager, September 10, 2019
Man: Get out quickly!… Billy was killed during the democratic government not dictator government!!!
Caption: After falling in the red oil barrel for a while

[Refers to the case of missing Karen right activist Billy. The Department of Special Investigation confirmed his death after finding a fragment of his burnt skull in an oil barrel in the reservoir of the Kaeng Krachan dam in Phetchaburi Province.
This cartoon references the Red Barrel killings of the early 1970s when the military dictatorship liquidated suspected communists by burning them alive in oil drums.
The cartoonist contends that those with supposedly more revolutionary views feel safer to express them during times of elected governments when the military’s hand is stayed in dealing with them.
Billy’s killing seems to have taken place during the Yingluck-era government thus contradicting the conventional wisdom that the military will not act against agitators if they are not controlling the government in a dictatorship.
As there has been an apparent uptick in brash demands from parties alleged (or accused) of having radical intentions, the cartoonist jokes that they will retreat from these positions now that they know that Billy was liquidated during the Yingluck government years when even the most radical Red Shirts were protected from prosecution by being given posts in the government.]

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Beset

From Naewna, September 6, 2019
On the left: Drought
On the right: Flood
The drought says: Uncle Tu stays longer… We will visit you every year…!!!

[Refers to natural disasters in Thailand which are increasingly severe and which challenge the government’s efforts to mediate them.
PM Prayuth’s administration has been criticized for slow action in assisting people affected by heavy flooding and drought.
Those who supported Prayuth to remain PM after elections are said to be those wanting him to “stay longer” (as opposed to anti-junta/pro-Thaksin forces that demand he “get out”). In the cartoon the drought notes that Prayuth (Uncle Tu) is staying longer and thus he will have to deal with the increasingly variable weather.]

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Some will commit suicide

From Manager, August 29, 2019
Caption: We believe… as long as this government stays… there will be an increase in people committing suicide.
On the sign in the back: PT Pheu Thai party
On the sign at left: People think. Pheu Thai does. Maew-Poo escape [the motto of the party modified to note that the party leaders–Thaksin (Maew) and Yingluck (Poo)–have fled the country to escape legal cases]

[This cartoon makes a joke of the pro-Thaksin/pro-Red Shirt tradition of publicizing people who commit suicide–either from financial woes or over political angst–and warning that more suicides will occur unless pro-Thaksin/pro-Red Shirt parties are returned to power.
The cartoonist notes that the longer the military-backed government holds on to power, the more dire things will be for the opposition Pheu Thai.
Rumors have been swirling that the overseas support for the party–meaning from Thaksin and his family–has dried up. This has led to defections and the loss of key party members that failed to win in the last election.
While the Pheu Thai has touted progressive ideas and steadfastly opposed military rule, it was always seen as a political vehicle for Thaksin’s ambitions. Thus the flashy Future Forward Party has stolen popularity from the Pheu Thai, especially from the younger generation.]

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