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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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Out-of-date ideas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?]

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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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Hold your temper

From Arun, September 17, 2019
Title: “Tighten your stomach”
On PM Prayuth’s stomach: Temper
On the stone: Parliament debate

[This is joking advice to PM Prayuth to control his temper while being attacked by the opposition during the parliamentary debate. PM Prayuth, a military man not comfortable with being questioned, is known for being impatient and moody.]

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Closing the cases

From Naewna, August 26, 2019
Top: Person who ordered [showing Thaksin]
Mid: Persons who encouraged [showing the Red Shirt leaders]
On the hammer: 19.3 million compensation for encouraging the Red Shirts to burn the buildings.
Bottom: Person who burned [showing a buffalo; 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 rank-and-file Red Shirts.]
On the ball and chain: Jail [meaning the low-level henchmen are caught for actions ordered by those who cannot be touched by the law]

[Refers to the leaders of the Red Shirts Jatuporn, Nattawut and Arisman who were ordered by the Supreme Court to pay 19.3 million baht plus 7.5% interest in total of an estimated 30 million baht for damages caused by fires set in a commercial building during the the 2010 Red Shirt protest in central Bangkok.
The cartoonist gleefully shows the Red Shirt leaders being smashed. However they were actually let off the hook. Several of them have began cooperating with the government so it is likely that the former junta would want to quickly close out legal cases against them from incidents nearly 10 years ago.
In a Thai-style facing-saving compromise, the Red Shirt leaders were acquitted of the arson that followed their protest, but held responsible for their repeated public threats during the protests that Bangkok would burn if the authorities acted against them.]

Previous editorial cartoons referencing the “greening” of the Red shirts:
Top Red Shirts join with the military
Collecting Red Shirts for the military
From Red Shirts to Green Shirts
Dyeing the Red Shirts green

From Manager, August 28, 2019
Jatuporn and Arisman: You must ask only him to pay 30 million*… He said for people let burn it and he would take responsibility!
*Payment for damage 19.3 million plus 7% interest per year in total of 30 million

[Refers to three Red Shirt leader Jatuporn, Nattawut and Arisman who were ordered to pay compensation for inciting the burning of buildings in Bangkok during the 2010 Red Shirt protest.
The cartoon refers to a quote where a Red Shirt leader Nattawut Saikua made a very Thai-style boast that if protesters take violent action he would take responsibility. The idea of a leader telling his followers or employees to do something outside the bounds of law and that he would take responsibility for it is a common concept in the Thai world.]

From Manager, September 3, 2019
Jatuporn: Boss!!… Three of us have been ordered to pay 30 million because of you… Don’t you think you should help?
Thida: We are lucky, Weng.
On the pipe: Financial support pipe from Dubai [meaning the money Thaksin provided to finance and direct the Red Shirt protests in 2009 and 2010; in Thai editorial cartoons the influence of money is depicted as water coming from a pipe]

[This cartoon show Red Shirt leaders Jatuporn, Nattawut and Arisman who were ordered by the court to pay around 30 million baht for inciting the arson during protests in 2010. This illustrates the belief that the leaders were betrayed by Thaksin who should now help them pay their debt.
In the background Red Shirt leader Thida and her husband congratulate themselves for safely remaining in the background of the movement during the protests and refraining from making bold threats on Thaksin’s behalf.]

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Those who expose corruption

From Manager, August 22, 2019
Left: This… Swagger MP… a braggart!!!
Caption: After kicking him…
Right: Because of MP Sira… We know there is a group trying to illegally own the land in Phuket.
Caption: …don’t forget to praise him as well.

[Refers to the case of Phalang Pracharath Party’s MP Sira who went to Phuket to investigate irregularities in the issuance of land ownership documents for a condominium project. A clip was posted on social media showing him scolding the local police for allowing the situation. This clip caused him come under fire for grandstanding on the issue (expressed on the left side of the cartoon). The reaction also demonstrates the Thai view of public criticism as being rude and undesirable.
The cartoonist points out that, due to this incident, the public has been made aware of the illegal ownership of the land.
All of this shows the contrast between old and new values. The old stresses harmony and non-confrontation. The new is a growing intolerance of traditional Thai corruption–now more easily exposed through online media.]

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Coming after Prayuth

From Manager, September 5, 2019
The Opposition: No!!! It must be broadcast. Our fans will see Prayuth’s blood.
Caption: 18 Sep… Sensitive people shouldn’t watch the TV

[Refers to the parliamentary debate on September 18 in which PM Prayuth must attend to answer the opposition regarding his peculiar incomplete oath of office in which he omitted a line about following the constitution.
As Prayuth as prickly military man not used to being criticized it is thought he my act angrily when attacked.
The cartoonist criticized the oppositions for mounting the attacks jsut to increase their own popularity.]

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We will help him burn himself

From Manager, August 19, 2019
Sudarat: The PM is like a boy who plays with the fire and then is stuck into it… The opposition only wants to help in… we don’t have any bad intentions.
On cans carried by the MPs: Petrol

[Refers to the situation of PM Prayuth in the parliament. After years of absolute power to rule the country and as a military man used to ordering people around he has little patience for people criticizing him. Now that is is a politician, the opposition can legally attack him in parliament which has caused him to show his temper and frustration at his new role as politician.]

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Economic suicides

From Thairath, August 27, 2019
Title: Thai people in 2562 [2019]
Left: People who don’t want to be poor
On the papers: Debts
Right: People who want to be poor
On the bag held by PM Prayuth: Stimulate popularity
On the bag held by Deputy PM Somkid: Stimulate the economy
On the papers held by people: The poor card [government-issued card issued to the poor]
Phi Nooring: Who said Thai people are happy?
Mouse: Economic slowdown

[This refers to the current situation in which ordinary people are facing an economic slowdown and higher household debt. Suicides are increasing including the current fad of people placing a food heater in their closed car (illustrated at the bottom left).
Depicting or claiming many economic suicides is a perennial talking point of pro-Thaksin/pro-Red Shirt media.
On the other hand, PM Prayuth’s government is spending huge amounts of money on schemes his opponents say are only to cement his own popularity. The beneficiaries of such policies have been criticized as not being the real poor.]

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His own worst enemy

From Naewna, August 19, 2019
Above the Molotov cocktail: The debate on the PM’s incomplete-oath taking.
Caption: Each fuel makes the parliament become fired up.

[Refers to the opposition’s move to grill PM Prayuth in a general debate in the House of Representative over his peculiar incomplete oath-taking during the cabinet’s swearing-in ceremony. During the oath he omitted the part about adhering to the constitution.
This cartoonist expects that the impatient and hot-tempered PM Prayuth will give the opposition ammunition against him when he is questioned in parliament.]

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Prime Minister forever

From Thairath, September 5, 2019
Man in the chair: Checking your fortune, you will be here for two terms.
On his shirt: Fortune teller
On his chair: Political officer
Man standing: I see the picture of you being the PM forever
On his shirt: Thai fortune teller
On the signs held by people: Revise the constitution; the poor in the whole country; the government with a slight vote in parliament; corruption problem; political problem; society; economy
Phi Nooring: God of black magic
Mouse: Political trick

[Refers to the fortune tellers predicting PM Prayuth will be stay in power for two terms or eight years. This cartoon criticized PM Prayuth for checking his fortune, instead of solving the country’s urgent problems.]

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Weekly News Magazines: Grilling Prayuth, September, 2019

From Manager Weekly, September 3-13, 2019
Main cover reads: Don’t you sympathize with me?
[Refers to a well-known political fortune teller predicting PM Prayuth will maintain his power for eight years. Such predictions are usually front page news in Thailand and reflects the current wisdom–in this case that the former junta, despite its missteps, has cemented itself into power. This cover mocks this rosy prediction as PM Prayuth has endured withering attacks by the opposition, investigations of his government, and an embarrassing lack of loyalty from government coalition partners.]
Top: Disclose every issue [orange] “Sondhi” was released. No order-not related to politics. Everything complies with the [orange] “law”
[Refers to ex-boss of the Manager media group Sondhi who was released from prison after more than three years due to violating securities and stock market laws. He insisted that the release was in compliance with the law not due to influence or a close relationship with the government.]
Bottom left: [Yellow] Han Kwang-Song Juventus’s football player
[Refers to North Korean football player Han Kwang-Song who recently joined famous football team Juventus. He is the first North Korean football played to play in the Italian Serie A League.] Right: “Can’t find any voice like this”
[Refers to singer Maj. Gen. Prapas, a retired soldier who known for his singing voice. His renditions of old Thai songs can be heard in many Thai soap operas. The quote is from a compliment from former PM M.R. Kukrit Pramoj.]

From Lokwannee, September 6-13, 2019
Main cover reads: The floods are increasing, hurry up to fetch water.
[Refers to the Thai proverb “the water is increasing, hurry up to fetch it” meaning that there is an opportunity and you need to grab it quickly. The headline is sarcastic meaning that politicians are using the current flood situation to increase their popularity as well as request budget increases to prevent floods in the future.]

From Matichon Weekly, September 6-12, 2019
Main cover reads: ‘Chuan’ Sappaya
[Refers to PM Prayuth who will be grilled in parliament over his incomplete oath of office when he omitted the line about abiding by the constitution. This cover praises House Speaker Chuan Leekpai, a government ally, for doing his duty by scheduling the debate and requiring the PM for attend the session. This is consequential because PM Prayuth is the former junta head that overthrew the elected government. As a military man he has displayed that he is not used to being criticized or investigated. Although Chuan’s Democrat Party is part of the ruling government coalition parties, he is doing the nonpartisan, democratic part of his job by setting the debate and requiring the PM to face questioning. The word “Sappaya” is the name of the new parliament building–‘Sappaya-saphasathan” meaning a place where one should do good things.]
Top: Drought gone–storms are coming; ‘Debts’ flood higher to the half level of houses. Economy down–Politics in chaos; “Metal ship” was interrupted.
[Refers to PM Prayuth’s government which is now facing the several issues such as natural disasters, growing household deb, economic slowdown as well as political instability within its own coalition. “Metal ship” was first mention by Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-gnam as he compared PM Prayuth’s elected government to a big strong ship that was powerful enough to carry out the duties of the government for the country and the people.]

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No bathroom breaks

From Arun, Matichon, August 16-22, 2019
On the cliff: Coalition government
Top: Sir, can we go to the rest room?
Bottom: No, I don’t allow it.

[Refers to the razor-thin majority of PM Prayuth’s government and the coalition parties during the parliament. This has caused difficulty for the coalition government in voting for its policies in parliament. Recently, the coalition government lost a vote because some of their MPs were not the room, presumably in the bathroom or milling around, during the voting.]

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