- 24 Years Ago: Black May 1992
- All About Royal Ploughing Day
- 6 Years Ago: When the Red Shirts Accepted an Offer of New Elections & Announced an End to Their Rally
- Remembering the Thaksin Years: Cleaning Things Up
- Men who attacked family in Hua Hin “did not have the intention to harm” them
- Withdrawing the knife is easy
- Getting Jatuporn and Sombat
- Conflict with the Lanna Kingdom
- Claim: Thai junta has access to messages sent via Facebook
- Security start-up backed by Thaksin seeks $1bn valuation
From Nation Weekend, June 24, 2016
Main cover reads: Big brother of Dhamakaya
[The man on the cover is a former DTAC boss and well-known businessman Boonchai Bencharongkull. Refers to Boochai calling Dhammakaya temple’s followers of Dhammakaya temple to help protect respected Abbot Dhammachayo from being apprehended and charged on money laundering charges. Meanwhile, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) is closely examining the legality for his action.]
Top right: ‘Suu Kyi’ opens the new chapter Thai-Myanmar relations in the era of people dominating the country. [meaning in “the era of democracy”]
[The woman in the picture is Myanmar’s foreign minister and state counselor Aung San Suu Kyi who visited Thailand to strengthen the relationship among the two countries. She also discussed Myanmar workers’ rights in Thailand.]
Headlines on the right side:
1st: “Soon” Matichon. The monks asks “what do you want?”
[The word “soon” in Isan mean “very angry.” This is about a monk and activist who wrote a song to promote the referendum of draft constitution. The song was criticized for looking down on northeastern people.
Matichon newspaper has continually used this song and its controversial lyrics to criticize the motives of the junta. This focus has become so intense that Matichon’s bias on this issue has become a topic of discussion.]
2nd: The NCPO defeats the UDD [yellow] Ends the disruption in the referendum
[Refers to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) trying to deal with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or the Red Shirts. The Red Shirts are trying to conduct activities to call on people to reject the draft constitution. The title alludes to the multiple incidents where the junta prevents the Red Shirts from anti-charter activities.]
3rd: Tears of [yellow] ‘Chai Moo’ [white] Water-logged not a flood
[Refers to Bangkok Governor ML Sukhumbhan Poripatra nicknamed Chai Moo. He has been criticized for his response toward the heavy flooding in Bangkok. He told the public not the public not to worry as Bangkok was not actually flooded and there was only excess water that had to drain.]
4th: ‘GT200’ [white] haunted. Old sin of the military
[Refers to a fake bomb detector GT 200 scandal. Recently, the British court ordered the company selling the GT200 to pay compensation to some countries that were defrauded. This issue has raised questions about the lack of transparency for Thai military procurement.]
From Matichon Weekly, June 24-30, 2016
Main cover reads: We [inside a heart] love [blue] UN
The man with telephone is UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.
The man with yellow shirt is PM Prayuth while group of men in black shirts are prominent Red Shirts led by [left] Nattawut [2nd from the left] Jatuporn and [3rd] Weng
[This refers to the political game between the junta and the Red Shirts who trying to involve international organizations to pressure the junta. Recently, the Red Shirts made a compliant to the UN human right body on infringements of their rights when the junta shut down their anti-fraud centers established to monitor the constitution referendum. However, soon after the Red Shirt’s move, PM Prayuth said to the media that he had already called to the UN Secretary General to explain about the reasons behind the crackdown.]
Top right: Temple boy Tycoon. Mopping the floor. Big cleaning ‘Dhammakaya’ to protect his respected abbot
[The man in the middle is a former DTAC boss Boonchai Bencharongkul who urged the followers of Dhammakaya temple to go to the temple to practice dhamma in order to help free their respected Abbot Dhammachayo from all bad things. Dhammachaya is now facing the charges of money laundry and his followers trying to block the police from arresting him.]
From Lokwannee, June 25-July 1, 2016
Main cover reads: …Admitted that at first it worked…
[Refers to the scandal of the GT200 bomb detectors purchased by the Thai military. This scandal has reignited claims that the military seems unable to really fight graft and make military procurement transparent. The cover image mimics the bogus GT200 as a dried cucumber (perhaps mimicking the human organ). The headline reminds people that the military long insisted that this bomb detector worked and resisted attempts to investigate their procurement.]
From Manager Weekly, June 25-July 1, 2016
Main cover reads: Seem to be very quiet, [black] but I take everything naja.
The man on the cover is Interior Minister and former army chief Anupong Paochinda.
Pictures on the left: Airship, GT 200, Armored vehicle, waste disposal plants.
[Refers to Gen. Anupong. Under his supervision, there were many scandals related to military’s procurement which raised concern about transparency. This anti-Thaksin periodical joins with the pro-Thaksin Lokwannee above to remind the public about army scandals. This is highly ironic as the military rules the country under the pledge of fighting corruption.
Gen. Anupong’s personality was very sedate and he did not get much attention from the media compared to other big-talking Eastern Tigers clique members, such as PM Prayuth or Deputy PM Prawit.
The headline jokes about this, saying Anupong is quiet, but still engaged in much corruption. It ends with “naja,” the feminine sentence-concluding word, to poke fun as his unmanly reserve.]
Top: #motherismother [pink] When mother Boom [white] met [orange] Janie
[The woman on the left is Boom Panadda Wongphudee and on the right is Janie Tienphosuwan.
Refers to the conflict between two well-known actresses Boom Panadda Wongphudee and Janie Tienphosuwan regarding the parking lots for their Fitness business. The phase ‘mother is mother’ is popular phase to praise a person who is very strong and no one can destroy.]
Bottom: Elder brother [blue] ‘Boonchai’ is not a president of [blue] ‘DTAC’ [white] (only in the name) naja
[The man in the picture is DTAC board chairman Boonchai Bencharongkul.
Refers to Boonchai who called the followers of Dhammakaya temple to go to the temple to practice dhamma in order to help protect their respected Abbot Dhammachayo who is now facing a charge on money laundering.
After he made the statement, DTAC company insisted that the company is distinct from its board members and politically neutral. They contedn that the actions of Boonchai should be considered a personal matter not related to the company.]
From Arun, June 16, 2016
White box: Phooyai Wiboon Kemchalerm, An intellectual leader
In the cartoon from left-middle-right: Society, Economy, Environment
The man in the cartoon is Phooyai Wiboon Kemchalerm
[Refers to an intellectual leader on agroforestry Wiboon Kemchalerm, the founder of the Village Social Development center that promotes ideas on how to integrate society, economy and the environment through the idea of the sufficiency economy. In Thai, “Phooyai” is a title used before the name of a respected elder man.]
From Manager, June 12, 2016
Man in the posture of a beggar: Thank you for your kindness… for depositing my money… without charging a fee.
Banker: Next person… Hurry up!
Sign above him: Deposit
On the building: Bank
Caption: Must appreciate their kindness… it’s not a negative interest rate yet.
[Refers to the TMB Bank’s decision on reinstating its savings interest rate to 0.125% after originally cutting it to a zero rate. This sparked a public outcry in a nation where savings is the key way people save to pay for major purchases and retirement (as opposed to credit and government programs as in the West).]
From Arun, June 10, 2016
Title: The bribe of “Nataree” causes the transferring of four tigers of the Huai Khwang police station
[Refers to a raid of the Nataree Massage Parlor that found dozens of illegal sex workers as well as the documentation of the bribes that the establishment paid to the local police station. Thus far, several local officers, including the chief of Huai Khwang police station, were transferred to inactive posts pending an investigation.
The statute in the cartoon used to be in front of police headquarters in Bangkok (it has since been relocated to the police academy in Nakhon Pathom) and is the symbol of the organization. This incident has caused yet another stain on the reputation of the force.]
From Manager, June 7, 2016
Left: Red Shirt leader Jatuporn: Everyone starts to fight against fraud now…
On the backdrop: Referendum – No fraud – Not cancel
Some of the seated people are other prominent Red Shirts such as Vithaya Buranasiri, Viphuthalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Nattawut Saikua, Thida Thanvornseth, and Weng Tojirakarn
Right: Viphuthaleang: You’re taking a bribe!
Nattawut: You’re cheating on donated funds!
Weng: You are the one who cheating on donated funds!
Man fighting Weng: You’re taking the bribe!
[This refers to the Red Shirt’s anti-fraud center established with the aim to monitor the draft constitution referendum. This is likely a Thaksin/Red Shirt strategy to allege that after the referendum that the outcome is false and thus the new charter is a fraud that need not be respected.
The joke of the cartoon is that it is ironic that the Red Shirts are opening an anti-fraud center when their own movement has always been riven with raucous accusations of corruption and kickbacks.
Although rarely covered in the English-language press, continual Red Shirt infighting over proper use of money has been the bane of the movement.
It appears that corruption accusations are used as a method for Red Shirt leaders to eliminate rivals and move up the chain of command. Accusations have also been used to sideline and isolate Red Shirt factions that demonstrate independence in advocating a break from Thaksin control.
It is also interesting to note the “Not cancel” admonition that appears on the Red Shirt backdrop (in real life as in this cartoon).
This is a key part of their push against the junta in all their anti-charter activities. It is a demand that the referendum not be canceled and to make clear that they are not asking for further delays to fix the charter.
The movement was earlier stung by just such a gambit when they frantically demanded the junta’s handpicked body vote down an earlier charter draft. The assumption was that the junta would never accede to Red Shirt demands and thus the Red Shirts could act as aggrieved as possible in the face of certain defeat.
Instead, the charter committee voted down the draft thus adding at least a year more until elections.
Since then the Red Shirts have pushed hard against the charter and the junta while always making sure “Not cancel” is part of their rhetoric as well.]
Fake monks? Buddhist leaders warn NYC tourists to be wary – AP, June 27, 2016
[The CBS reporter (below) correctly reports that the monks claim to be collecting for a temple in Taiwan. The AP article reports that the temple is in Thailand.]
…Men in orange robes claiming to be Buddhist monks are approaching visitors to some of the city’s most popular attractions, handing them shiny medallions and offering greetings of peace. They then hit them up for donations to help them build a temple in Thailand, and are persistent if their demands are refused.
…The Associated Press tried to ask more than half-dozen of the men about their background and the temple they said the donations were being used to support. Each claimed to be a Buddhist monk collecting money for a temple in Thailand, but none could give its name or say where exactly it is located. All the men refused to give their names and ran off when pressed for answers…
Hassling By Fake Buddhist Monks On High Line Has Grown Worse, Vendors Say – CBS, June 27, 2016
…The purported monks’ ruse is to approach people with a gold medallion of peace, then offer a beaded bracelet. In return, they ask for donations — $5, $10, or $2. One monk claimed the donation would be put toward a temple in Taiwan…
From Nation Weekend, June 17, 2016
Main cover reads: Shitanmae Pong… End
[The monk on the cover is Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo.
It refers to Dhammachayo’s famous saying “Shitanmae pong… rich.” “Shitanmae” is the word said by the Buddha meaning “we win.” WE think “pong” is just the sound of a puff of magic.
Dhammachayo always says “Shitanmae Pong Rich” to encourage people to donate more to the sect. This is in keeping with the sect’s peculiar belief system that states that goodness will happen depending the amount of your donation to the Dhammakaya temple. The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has attempted to arrest Dhammachayo due to his charge on money laundry. However, his followers have tried to block the DSI from arrest their beloved abbot.
The cover headline jokes that the sect is now cornered and doomed.]
Top right: NGO asks a good man ‘Vikrom’ how’s about the hornbill in the golden cage
[The photo is from industrial estate tycoon Vikrom Kromadit’s Facebook.
This refers to the uproar and questions over how a rich man like Vikrom can openly violate the law by keeping an endangered bird as a pet on his property
Later, his brother was charged with illegally hunting (and capturing) the preserved hornbill after he admitted the wrongdoing.
All of this controversy is in the spirit of media irony as Vikrom presents himself as a clean and good tycoon. He has written many books about his life and works.]
Headline on the left:
1st: 3 knights of Dhammakaya have not gone anywhere
[Refers to three monks who are close to Dhammachayo. After being silent in the media, the public is curious as to whether Dhammachayo’s influential supporters are still with him.]
2nd: Orlando’s massacre. A heritage of guns in the U.S.
[Refers to the gun issue in the US after the Orlando shooting which killed 49 people.]
3rd: Anti-fraud center — an interfering event for the Red Shirts [meaning that events have conspired to hamper Red Shirt activities at this time]
[Refers to the anti-fraud center created by the Red Shirts to monitor the referendum of the draft constitution. This has been universally seen as part of the political maneuvering Thaksin and those who oppose the junta.]
4th: New column – ‘Underground news agency’
[Refers to a new column of the magazine.]
5th: ‘Tycoon Vichai’ expands his wings to occupy the sky.
[Refers to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the owner of Thailand’s duty free King Power shops and the Leicester City Football team, who took over Thai low cost carrier Air Asia to expand his business into the aviation industry.]
From Matichon Weekly, June 17-23, 2016
Main cover reads: Soon [yellow] against [red] Sun
[The man in the cover is Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan.
The group of Red Shirts behind from left to right: Jatuporn Prompan, Thida Thanvornseth, Nattawut Saikua.
Refers to the Red Shirt’s anti-fraud center established with the aim to monitor the draft constitution referendum. The center was banned by the junta.
The cover plays with the sound of the words “Soon” in Isan-language meaning “angry” and “Sun” in Thai meaning “center.”
So the title means “Angry against the center.”]
Top: A mission of being bitten by crab-CFIT. A missile of ‘LINE’ The pilot hits the ground.
[Refers to a leak of LINE’s messages of Nok Air pilots’ joking about crashing the plane that Yingluck was taking. “Crab” is Yingluck’s nickname.
CIFT stands for Controlled Flight Into Terrain. It used to describe a scenario when a pilot flies an aircraft into the ground.
The title jokes that instead of Yingluck being in the crash, the pilot who made the joke was fired.]
From Manager Weekly, June 18-24, 2016
Main cover reads: Disclose! Wat Saket Declaration [red] Thakky-Tammy [black] conspires with [white] a plan to establish Dhammakaya state-new Thai state
[The monk on the left is Dhammakaya temaple’s abbot Dhammachayo and the man on the right is Thaksin.
Refers to the close ties between Dhammakaya temple and Thaksin’s regime. This article discloses alleged secrets behind their relationship. A former Wat Saket temple abbot also allegedly has close ties with Dhammakaya. “The Wat Saket Declaration” is the alleged agreement that began the relationship among the groups.]
Top right: Take over “Air Asia” unclear deal of a tycoon of “King Power”
[In the photo from left to right: King Power owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha and Thai Air Asia CEO Tassapon Bijleveld.
Refers to Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, the owner of Thailand’s duty free King Power shop who took over Thai low-cost carrier Air Asia.]
Bottom left: Dhamma enlightens Bowie. Stop taking sexy photos “Although paid 10 million baht, she won’t accept it”
[The lady is sexy actress and model Bowie Atthama who recently began seriously studying Buddhism and has decided not to have sexy photos taken of herself anymore.]
Bottom right: Ong-art Dhammanitta – young spokesman beloved by Naja
[The man is Dhammakaya temple spokesman Ong-art Dhammanitta. The title uses “naja” to refer to Dhammayachayo in its profile of Ong-art.
In Thai, the word ‘naja’ is used by women to mark the end of a statement. However, Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammayachayo uses this word although he is male.]
From Lokwannee, June 18-24, 2016
Main cover reads: Anti-fraud (Center)
Hornbill: Now, it’s too bad. People share Facebook posts.
Nok Air’s plan: Be careful, Captain…!!! Don’t hit the hornbill.
[Refers to the establishment of the anti-fraud center established by the Red Shirts to monitor the referendum of the draft constitution.
The cover implies that while the junta banned the Red Shirt’s anti-fraud center which had a good objective to monitor fraud, other incidents of fraud (or wrong-doing) are happening all around.
Tycoon Vikrom illegally keeps hornbills (as revealed on his Facebook post) and Air Nok pilots joke about killing former PM Yingluck in a plane crash.]
From Manager, June 5, 2016
Title: The difference of humor between… humans and animals
Left: On the sign: PM speaking
The man speaking is PM Prayuth
Caption: Human is silent… Catfish is laughing
Right: On the sign: PM speaking
The woman speaking is former PM Yingluck
Caption: Human is laughing… Catfish is silent
[We are not entirely use of the references in this cartoon. In Thai, to call someone a “catfish face” is an insult meaning they are very ugly.
Here, the cartoonist seems to compare pro-Thaksin Red Shirts with catfish. So when PM Prayuth speaks there is an endless amount of ridicule towards his statements–mainly from those who oppose the coup.
However, when Yingluck was PM, her frequent gaffs and the obvious signs she did not really run the government were widely ridiculed. However, pro-Thaksin Red Shirts still firmly lauded her actions and insisted she was a very capable prime minister.]
From Arun, May 30, 2016
The man is Somkid Jatusripitak, head of the junta’s economic team.
In his hair: Economy
[Refers to the government’s economic stimulation program. Somkid has urged the Finance Ministry to launch measures to stimulate the country’s economy. “Economy” in his hair likely means he is attempting to make the situation look good or that the economy is like a persistent tangle to policemakers.]
From Thairath, June 3, 2016
Title: Who does destroy it? [Refers to the lifting of the travel ban imposed on certain politicians after the military seized power two years ago.
Man at left (we think this is Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai): If you love the country, you mustn’t say things that destroy the country. A person who destroys the county doesn’t love the country.
[This refers to junta admonitions to Pheu Thai politicians who are now allowed to travel abroad.]
On the paper: Return happiness to people going aboard [this jokingly refers to the junta’s slogan “return happiness to the people”]
Man on right: They don’t say things to destroy the country. Yet, they only say that those who govern the country destroy it. [meaning critics are only saying that the rule of the junta is destroying the country]
On the sign: The NCPO lifts the ban of going aboard
Phi Nooring: Violating people’s rights since the beginning
Mouse: Doing a good thing [meaning that being critical of the military is good thing]
From Thairath, June 8, 2016
Title: If you aren’t corrupt, you don’t need to be afraid
On the gift box at left: Referendum
Top ribbon: Huge government budget
Left ribbon: Government campaign
Right ribbon: One-sided [campaign]
Man in the center is Red Shirt leader Jatuporn. On his shirt: Anti-corruption referendum
The soldier is saying: Get rid off the person… who is an anti-corruption referendum [campaigner]
Mouse man: Who is the first one [to go to jail]?
Mouse: No corruption, no fall. [meaning if you are not corrupt, you will not fall]
[This shows the Red Shirt’s very clever framing of their campaign to monitor the charter referendum. The junta quickly banned the monitoring center and, in response, the Red Shirts have used the junta’s anti-corruption pledge against them, contending that if the junta does not intend to be dishonest with the vote, they have no need to shut down poll monitoring.
This strategy blends with the expected post-referendum tactic of the Red Shirts (and Thaksin) declaring the vote was unfair and/or rigged.
This is a necessary framing of the vote to enable either immediate or future protests as well as justifications for a future elected government to demand amnesty and charter rewrites in the face of opposition from an appointed military senate.]
From Thairath, May 27, 2016
Title: Hoodwink the world
On the mask: Good person
On the glove: Legitimacy to show the world
On the hand: The power to violate rights
On the box: Constitution referendum 7 August 2016
Mouse man: Whoever will believe.
Mouse: [He] Fooled people.
[Another cartoon that criticizes the the junta and accuses it of trying to downplay its restrictions on human rights.]
From Thairath, May 25, 2016
Title: Must choose the future that we really don’t choose.
Ont he box: Referendum 7 August 2016
On military men in black: Return – happiness
Mouse man: Stop cheating people of the future.
Mouse: Thai people in sorrow.
[This reflects the view of people who see the referendum as offering little choice for a democratic future for Thailand (or a future where Thaksin can return to politics). A “yes” vote will create a government that can be scuttled by appointed military senators. This means further amnesty or constitutional rewrites will be impossible. A “no” would lead to further election delays or the institution of an alternate charter. Either way, those who supported the Pheu Thai and its goals see the referendum as a no-win game.]
Happy New Year 2559
Left: Happy New Year 2559 to all Thai people. This year is my 10th year which I sent you my wishes from aboard even our hearts are close. I asked all Gods in this world to bring this year 2559 to be a year which you will receive all happiness as you wish for.
Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra
Right: I would like to convey happiness, love and cheering up to all people. Wish you success, all good things and that your wishes comes true.
[This is the New Year 2016 calendar given by Thaksin and Yingluck to their supporters in the Pheu Thai and the Red Shirts. Later, red bowls for throwing water at Songkran were also given out bearing a message from Thaksin.
The junta quickly moved to seize both the calendars and the bowls as being politically motivated activities from the deposed premiere.
These overt forays into politics was somewhat surprising considering Thaksin has attempted to portray himself as not in charge or involved in the activities of either the Pheu Thai Party or the Red Shirts. In prior months, the public and media focus had been on the junta and their denial of freedom–not on Thaksin and his continuing plots.
While Thaksin probably wants to keep a low profile until a new election date is confirmed, he also cannot remain silent. He must periodically show that is indeed in charge of the Pheu Thai and the Red Shirts or risk a sense of irrelevance that could see his political allies drift from his control.]
From Naewna, June 8, 2016
Left: Our Reverend Father is still at the temple, he does not intend to escape. If you, DSI want to see him…
Right: …our Reverend Father wanted to show this to you in case you miss him.
[This refers to the ongoing siege at the Dhammakaya temple. The sect’s abbot has fielded thousands of human shields to prevent his arrest on money laundering charges. The DSI has been unable to serve its arrest warrant. In the cartoon, the monk shows the bottom of a foot to the DSI chief as an insult to emphasize the abbot can thwart or resist the plans of the authorities.]
From Manager, May 26, 2016
Phra Dhammajayo says: I, Reverend Father would like to die at this temple.
Caption: Which branch [to die in]? [Thanks for the commenter below who pointed out the error in the original translation.]
[This refers to Phra Dhammajayo who is wanted on an arrest warrant. He is avoiding arrest by staying in his fortified temple compound. In the background are the many extravagant properties that belong to the sect.
Broadly speaking, Thai Buddhism teaches adherents to realize non-attachment, karma and to live the middle path.
The joke is that the Phra Dhammajayo says he wants to die in the temple (as opposed of being pout in jail), but the sect has so many luxurious properties that it appears that Phra Dhammajayo is displaying greed and prestige since he wants to die in these luxurious surroundings. This sort of feeling is not a proper impulse or discipline in Thai Buddhism.]
From Nation Weekend, June 10, 2016
Main cover reads: Be aware of Thaksin
[The man on the cover is PM Prayuth. This refers to the political game between Thaksin and the junta which is what the coup and its aftermath are ultimately all about.
Recently, the Red Shirts established an anti-fraud center to monitor the draft constitution referendum. This was an attempt by the Red Shirts to use the junta’s goals on fighting corruption to fight against the junta itself. However, the junta banned the Red Shirt center saying the government already had enough agencies to monitor the referendum.]
1st headline on the left: Death of [yellow] ‘Seh Ice’ – End of the great man.
[Refers to the death of former Thaksin advisor Gen. Trairong Intarathat, alias ‘Seh Ice.’ He passed away due to a blood infection. In Thai, the word ‘Seh’ stands for Chief of Staff.]
2nd headline: An artist monk asks which part says [yellow] ‘Silly Isan’
[Refers to the referendum canvassing song entitled “(On) 7 August, Be United in Referendum for Secured Democracy: released by the Election Commission (EC). This song was criticized for its lyrics advising people from the north and northeast people (Isan people) to carefully consider their votes and not allow themselves to be used (by Thaksin).
This song later was revised although the EC and the songwriter monk insisted that he did not have the intention to insult people.
The importance of this in the Thai world is not that it demonstrates some sort of superior, paternalistic attitude from Bangkok. This is the incorrect assessment in the English-language media.
The importance is that the songwriter is a known leftist and Red Shirt sympathizer. To have him chiding the Red Shirts for slavishly supporting Thaksin is meant to demonstrate that the Red Shirts (and Pheu Thai voters) do not have to serve Shinawatra family interests. Thus, the songwriter and song are meant to show that there are cracks in the loyalty of the movements and that Thaksin is growing irrelevant.
This is the greatest anathema to Thaksin and his family. All of Thaksin’s activities this year–his raised profile in the international press, the calendars and Songkran bowls, Yingluck’s political tours in the Northeast, etc. have been meant to demonstrate that the Red Shirts and the Pheu Thai are firmly under Thaksin control and must act on his orders. Thaksin’s ability to master these movements and direct their activities is a reflection of his relevance (or lack thereof).]
3rd headline: ‘Khon’ [white] belong to whom? Put out a fire of nationalism
[Refers to a nationalist sentiment over Thailand’s attempt to register the Khon, a traditional masked dance, on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage list. Meanwhile, Cambodian people use the social media to condemn this and claimed that Thai version of Khon is based on the Khmer ‘Lakhon Khol’ tradition.]
4th headline: War Elephant Foundation [white] a hot issue of Thailand’s football team
[Refers to the War Elephant Foundation established by ThaiBrev, the company that owns ‘Change’ beverage’ to support Thailand’s national football team. The team is known as the ‘War Elephant’ and will receive a total of 100 million baht in support over 10 years.]
From Matichon Weekly, June 10-16, 2016
Main cover reads: Soon [white] fights against fraud in the referendum
From left to right are Red Shirt leaders Jatuporn Prompan, Thida Thanvornseth, Nattawut Saikua; in the background is Weng Tojirakarn
[This refers to the Red Shirt’s anti-fraud center established with the aim to monitor the draft constitution referendum. This center was banned by the junta. This cover plays with the sound of the word “soon” in Thai and Isan languages.
“Soon” in Thai means “center” which here means the anti-fraud center while “soon” in Isan means angry.
This comes from Jatupon’s statement during the press conference that launched the center. He said that a person who is angry easily will disclose hidden information easily. He was alluding to PM Prayuth who often gets angry during interviews.
All of this is part of an expected Thaksin/Red Shirt strategy to declare that there was fraud during the referendum.]
Top: ML Nattakorn [white] doesn’t’ ‘Pluem’
[This refers to TV host ML Nattakorn Devakula’s article about PM Prayuth’s demeanor. This headline plays with the word “pluem” which, in Thai, means “not happy.” So, it means he is not happy with PM Prayuth’s manners which seems to very aggressive and impolite, particularly when he is in front of the press.]
From Lokwannee, June 11-17, 2016
Main cover reads: Don’t cheat… Don’t be afraid
On the white paper: Referendum
[The junta has taken legal action against those who criticized the draft charter or who called for a “no” vote. This cover story implies that if the junta is confident that the referendum will be carried out transparently and will not cheat to help it pass, then the junta does not need to be afraid of people, particularly the Red Shirts, whom tried to establish a center to monitor the voting.]
From Manager Weekly, June 11-17, 2016
Main cover reads: Being on the throne for 70 years. His prestige is expanded around the nation. Long Live the King 9 June 2559 
[Refers to the celebration of 70 years on the throne of Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej on 9 June 2016. The King has been a figure of stability in the country throughout decades of political upheaval. However, people have recently grown concerned about King’s health condition and his infrequent appearance sin public.]
From Manager, May 23, 2016
Top left: Viagra, Piyasawat brand.
[Refers to Piyasawat Ammaranan, President of Thai Airways International from 2009-2012. Despite the sagging reference in the logo, he was credited in a big turnaround in the carrier’s fortunes. After The Pheu Thai came to power he was unceremoniously replaced by a political appointee in a move that shocked the airline industry: How politics ran Thai Airways into the ground]
Top right: Viagra, Sorajak brand.
[Refers to Sorachak Kasemsuwan, the Thaksin crony appointed to head the airline.]
Bottom center: Viagra, Charamporn brand.
[Refer to the current president of Thai Airways, Charamporn Jotikasthira, who has seen profits return to the airline under his management.]
Caption: after changing many kinda of medicine… the Thai White Champak finally found the right one.
[Interesting cartoon that references the phallic form of the Thai Airways logo.]
From Komchadluek, May 16, 2016
Uncle Sam: Violate. Violate the rights. Violate the rights. [meaning he is complaining about Thailand violating its citizen’s rights]
On the man’s suit: Lobbyist.
On paper: Drama script.
[This speaks to a widespread belief that the US is purposely attempting to undermine the junta and bring back Thaksin for a variety of conspiratorial reasons. This belief stems from Thai assumption that the U.S. knows that the junta’s actions are only intended to check the actions of Thaksin, who is viewed as the most undemocratic of leaders. For the U.S. to criticize the junta (as well as call for quick elections) means that the U.S. wants Thaksin to return to power.]
From Naewna, May 16, 2016
Above the BBQ: Problem of violating human rights.
Caption: Vulture is waiting…
Behind the vulture is Thaksin.
From Thairath, May 14, 2016
Title: you little… if you lie when you grown-up… when you die you would go to hell… you know!
Speech balloons on the left, from top to bottom:
will not seize power
will not extend [our time in] power
will not violate [people’s] rights
[These are promises the junta made after seizing power. The cartoonist is contending that the junta lied about these issues and is indeed intent on extending their power while clamping down on people’s rights.]
Speech balloons on the right, from top to bottom:
the constitution is democratic
give full freedom to people
no corruption–but consulting fees
On the people’s shirts from left to right: Stay still. Stand still. Oppose.
Speech balloons over woman on left: ja [a word of an agreement in Thai]
Students in foreground: Yes I know, teacher.
Mouse man: Strongly agree.
Mouse: Law of karma.
[This seeks to point out the hypocrisy of the junta that has reacted swiftly to all attempts to protest its rule.]
From Nation Weekend, June 3, 2016
Main cover reads: A knight kills a Dhamma star
[The man on the cover is Justice Minister Gen Paiboon Koomchaya.
Refers to an attempt to arrest Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo who is facing a charges related to money laundering. The word “Dhamma star” refers to abbot Dhammachayo. Although Dhammachayo’s followers are trying to stop officers from arresting the controversial abbot, Gen. Paiboon ordered the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to arrest Dhammachayo within three weeks and he refused to use the Article 44 (the junta’s absolute power) to overrule legal niceties in this case.]
Kong is shaking [yellow] ‘right-Lao’ is in Thailand while [yellow] ‘left-red’ is in Laos.
[The article says that the Lao Government arrested three right wing Lao suspects for violating national security and those people were believed to be linked with some groups in Thailand. Meanwhile, some Thai communist groups referred to as the “left-red” are thought to be in exile in Laos. The word “Kong” refers to the Mekong River.]
From Matichon Weekly, June 3-9, 2016
Main cover reads: Dhammakaya Wars
[The yellow UFO refers to Dhammakaya temple’s UFO-shaped stupa.
Refers to Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo who is trying to delay his arrest over money laundering charges. After being impeded, the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) used drones and helicopters to take pictures of the current situation inside the temple.]
Left side: Soft war – 5 million Like ‘Don’t get tired of me.’
[Refers to Yingluck who is trying to sustain her political popularity. Five million people follow her account which shows that people have not forgotten her.]
From Lokwannee, June 4-10, 2016
Main cover reads: The gang overthrowing an abbot (again, people?)
[An UFO-shaped stupa refers to Dhammakaya temple’s giant golden stupa.
Since this magazine is pro-Red Shirt, it plays with a saying of ‘Lom Jao’ meaning overthrowing the Royal family.
Often Thai protest movements have cited Thaksin and the Red Shirts as part of a “gang” to overthrow the monarchy meaning a conspiracy.
While the word ‘Jao’ means the royal family and the word ‘Jao-awat’ means abbot. So on the cover, instead of trying to overthrow the royal family, the government is trying to overthrow ‘Jao-awat’, an abbot.]
From Manager Weekly, June 4-10, 2016
Main cover reads: Dhammakaya state
[Pictures are shown the places and activities inside Dhammakaya temple with the UFO-shaped stupa which is a symbol of the temple. With the temple closed off to the Thai authorities it has become a de facto state that can resist the laws of the land.]
Top: Having an affair with another girl. A wife asks to divorce, but her mother-in-law doesn’t agree. [red] ‘Tod’ denies – [Says] it’s not him.
[The couple is Pithi ‘Tod’ Bhirompakdee and Woranuch ‘Noon’ Wongsawan. This refers to a rumor disclosed by a gossip Facebook page about a well-known person who has an affair with another woman. Now his famous actress wife wants to divorce. This rumor makes people curious whether the rumor is about Tod. However, he has recently denied it was him.]
Below: ‘Wanchalerm’ Vs. ‘One Point’ – From ‘Do you know I’m the son of whom?’ to ‘My son, whom no one can touch’
[The men in the photos from left to right: Chalerm, his son Wanchalerm and his grandson Archawin (or Kamo), Pai Lik (known as Pai One Point) and Pai’s father (Ruangwit Lik).
Refers to an incident in which someone had a conflict with Wanchalerm’s son Kamo and that person claimed that he/she was in the group (part of the inner circle of entourage) of Pai One Point.
However, later both Wanchalerm and Pai posted their pictures taken together to refute the news and confirmed that that person did not belong to Pai’s group.
The saying “Do you know I’m the son of whom?” is a well know saying used by Chalerm’s so to threaten authorities who try to check their behavior.
Pai is the son of veteran Pheu Thai politician Ruangwit Lik.]
From Manager, May 29, 2016
Left: This man uses buffaloes as armor.
[In the picture, Thaksin is protected by red buffaloes. The buffaloes represent the Red Shirts which act as political muscle for Thaksin and his family. Referring to a person as a buffalo is an insult. However, Red Shirts have turned this tradition around by embracing the comparison at times.]
Right: This man uses lotuses (under water) as armor.
[In the picture, Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammayacho is protected by lotuses. Buddhist lore symbolically divides people into four kinds of lotus. The one which is under the water refers a person who is very stupid and does not open their minds to learn anything. Thus the cartoon ridicules adherents of the Dhammakaya sect.]
British internet security start-up backed by ex-Manchester City owner Thaksin seeks $1bn valuation – Telegraph, June 11, 2016
[Includes an intriguing mention about the involvement of Temasak, the Singaporean fund that acquired Thaksin’s Shin Corp in 2006. Thaksin has always had an admiration for, and a cozy business relationship with, Singapore (as does the junta).
Temasak’s purchase of Shin Corp finally sparked mass protest against Thaksin’s government after the sale dodged capital gains tax and benefited from laws quickly passed just prior to the sale.]
…It is understood that the company has signed its first commercial deal with a major operator in Singapore, as part of a government digital strategy dubbed Smart Nation. The massive Singaporean sovereign wealth fund Temasak is also lining up an investment in Scentrics, according to City sources…
The company: Scentrics
From Matichon Weekly, May 27-June 2, 2016
Main cover reads: I’m getting bored.
[Refers to PM Prayuth’s statement that he appeared to mutter accidentally during an interview. The red hand is a device created by students to help patient ALS illness. This magazine used the photo and the quote to question how PM Prayuth will continue to control people’s hands (to vote) in the referendum on the charter.]
On the right: It’s a turn of Dr. Egg power to become like Jun…? An appointment of ‘police’–no one can touch on.
[The men in the picture from left to right: Admiral Phajun Tampratheep and Dr. Arthit Ourairat
Refers to Dr. Arthit’s comment posted on his Facebook on position-buying in the police.
After this comment was posted, he was threatened like Admiral Phrajun who was charged for violating Computer Crimes Act because he dared accuse the Thai police of corruption in the LINE chat app. Deputy PM Prawit, argueably the most powerful person in the junta, has seized control of the police behind-the-scenes, scuttling efforts to reform the body as long as they do the bidding of the junta. Thus, a shield of invulnerability has gone up around the force to prevent it from being reformed or criticized.
Dr. Arthit has been called ‘Dr. Egg power’ by the media as he used to have an egg factory.]
From Nation Weekend, May 27, 2016
Main cover reads: 6 heroines known around the world
[On the cover is a photo of Thai womans’ volleyball team. Top left-right: Pleumjit Thinkaow, Wilavan Apinyapong
Bottom left-right: Onuma Sittirak, Malika Kanthong, Nootsara Tomkom, Thatdao Nuekjang
Refers to Thai women’s volleyball team which was defeated by Japan in the women’s qualifying event for the Olympic games. After the game, there was strong criticism about unfair refereeing. Some Thai groups issued a campaign called ‘No Spirit’ against Japan.]
Top right: ‘Che’ [white] hasn’t died yet. Wherever is injustice [yellow] ‘Che’ will appear!!!
[Refers to an article about Che Guevara, the Marxist revolutionary. Although times have passed, he still is a potent symbol for people fighting injustice.]
From Manager Weekly, May 28-June 3, 2016
Main cover reads: You, I have something to tell. If you want to catch [red] Tammy, [black] you must urge [red] SSC (naja)
[The monk on the cover is Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo in a photo released to show he is too ill to report to police to face charges. The media gives him the nickname ‘Tammy’ which the sounds is likely similar to his name, ‘Dhamma (chayo).’ He uses the female sentence-ending word ‘naja’ at the end of his sentences. SSC is the Supreme Sangha Council which many Thais believe is sympathetic Dhammachayo and that might be protecting him.]
Top: When Dr. Arthit is shining brightly – to big brother [the U.S.]
[The man in the picture is Dr. Arthit Ourairat, Dean of Rangsit University.
Refers to a comment posted on Facebook about the inappropriate statements of US Ambassador to Thailand Glyn Davies about human rights and the lese majeste law.
Dr. Arthit, whose name means “the sun” in Thai, called on the government to return the ambassador to the US to teach a lesson to the US not to intervene with the internal political affairs of Thailand. In addition to this, Big brother refers to the US.]
Bottom left: Analysis on Japan winning over Thailand to go to the Olympics, [Thais had the] Best performance, but lost to the sponsor
[The picture is the woman volleyball match between Japan and Thailand. This refers to the defeat of Thailand’s volleyball team to Japan. This game was criticized for not being fair. The referee was blamed for trying to help Japan to win the game since Japan is a main sponsor for the world volleyball league.]
Bottom right: Disclose [blue] ‘Nong Mo’ due to her beauty, many women want to give her their uterus.
[The lady in the picture is Jirachya Sirimongkolnawin or Nong Mo, Miss Tiffany Universe 2016 Pattaya transgender pageant.
Refers to a story of current Miss Tiffany Jirachya. Many women praised her beauty which is more beautiful than a biological woman. Due to this, many of them really wish her to become a real woman. The saying “want to give someone their uterus” is meant to show their sadness that she could not become a real woman.]
From Lokwannee, May 28-June 3, 2016
Main cover reads: Use for hitting or hiding?
On the left of the canister: Performance of the government
[Refers to the junta’s performance after two years in power. This cover plays with idioms related to a metal bucket. “Hitting the metal bucket” means to announce loudly (like drumming), mostly with a positive meaning.
On the other hand, “hiding under the metal bucket” means to hide from the public because of doing something shameful.
Due to this, the cover questions the junta’s performance and whether it should be proud to be shown or ashamed since many problems are still unsolvable and the junta has been strongly criticized for violating the human rights of people.]
From Thairath, May 25, 2016
Left, anti-junta activist: Two years of the junta… These people says that their lives are poor!
Middle: People: Can we say something more?
Anti-junta activist: Sure, what are you gonna say?
Right: We are poor since your government.
[Refers to the performance of the junta since they took the power from Yingluck’s Pheu Thai government. The junta has been criticized, particularly from Red Shirts and anti-junta groups, for not addressing economic issues and improving peoples’ livelihoods.
This cartoonist contends that this problem occurred since the previous government and they could not solve it either.]
From Naewna, May 24, 2016
Left: Atomic bomb in Japan
On the bomb: Japan
Middle: Napalm bombing Vietnam
On thebomb: Vietnam
Right: Glyn T. Davies bombing Thailand
The man on the bomb is US ambassador to Thailand Glyn T. Davies.
On the bomb: Thailand
Caption: New form of American warmaking
[This refers to US ambassador to Thailand Glyn T. Davies who has been criticized for trying to intervene Thailand’s internal political situation. Recently, he raised concern about human rights in Thailand during a press conference with Thailand’s Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai. He also raised concern about rights restrictions relating to lese majeste.
Some Thais contended he was acting in an inappropriate diplomatic manner and called on the junta to expel him from the country.
Like most things in Thailand during these times, whether Thais love or hate the ambassador and his comments boils down to whether they support the coup or support Thaksin’s return.
Critics allege fear and repression in Thailand along with the use of the lese majeste laws to silence critics.
This cartoon from the rabidly nationalist and anti-Thaksin Naewna takes the position of those who support the coup. In this camp the claim is either that foreigners do not understand the Thai situation, or more commonly, that the U.S. in particular supports the return of Thaksin for a number of conspiratorial reasons.
Due to an upcoming event, it is very unlikely that there will not be much tolerance for tinkering with lese majeste laws, particularly when anti-monarchy comments have been a staple of some pro-Thaksin groups. It is most likely that the overall national mood will increasing turn conservative and reactionary month by month as trepidation over momentous times come inevitably closer.
For a time, as fanatical devotion reaches its height, it will become dangerous to be seen as a Red Shirt. Thaksin does face a difficult immediate future when patriotism and its defenders will not tolerate his brand of political muscle that uses anti-monarchy rhetoric as a level in political battles.
In the face of such commonsense reading of the events of the immediate future, it does indeed seem strange that the U.S. continues to publicly press the government on the lese majeste issue.]
From Khaosod, May 26, 2016
Caption reads: To cheer up – Followers put some messages to cheer up Dhammachayo on Dhammakaya temple’s entrance at Liap Khong Sam Rd., Amphor Khlong Luang, Pathum Thani Province. Meanwhile, the DSI informed about 5 measures to undertake after Dhammachayo refused to meet on 27 May.
Sign at left: Please dress properly.
Protest messages on the gate:
Luang por is a leader of goodness.
[In Thai, Luang Por is used as a name for an elder and respected monk. Here, Luang Por refers to Dhammachayo, an abbot of Dhammayaka temple]
Destroy Luang por = Destroy Buddhism
We can die to protect our Luang Por
Although you don’t like or have faith, don’t kill or destroy.
Cheering up DSI for giving justice to Laung por
From Manager, May 24, 2016
Announcer: Tammy [nickname for Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo] is getting weak… and pulled back to closely to the door. But for Yingluck, I don’t know how she gets her power, she is moving far away. She is so strong.
Signs on the cages: Prison
Caption: This game will be exciting for the whole year.
[This cartoon illustrates how both Yingluck and Dhammachayo are under threat from legal cases that could end up in prison time.
Such high and connected figures are usually immune from these sorts of cases–particularly in a time of democratic governments when all movers and shakers have reason to cooperate to make the most of their posts.
Only the military in a coup period has the clout and sheer force to make sure these cases are applied to top figures. Justice, of course, is a secondary consideration. It is ultimately about the overall battle to make sure the political world knows that Thaksin is being pinned down as top allies and symbols of his rule are hampered legally.
Thai-language articles about these events often have “hostage” in the title to illustrate that these high profile cases are actually political hostages being used against Thaksin and his political provocations.
“Tammy” is a nickname used by the media to refer to Dhammakaya temple’s abbot Dhammachayo. It plays with the sound of a pronunciation of his name “Dhamma” which sounds similar to “Tammy” (or actually more closely to “Tamma”). Dhammachayo always uses the polite feminine closing word at the end of a sentences–“naja” and thus is mocked by the media with a female nickname.]
Image reads: Invitation to all fellows to participate in the ceremonial tonsure for the heirs of the Buddha
[bold] Udomseuksa [university level], Class of [orange] 44th [the 44th ordination ceremony]
Saturday [yellow] 4 [white] June 2559 At [yellow] 16.30 [white] hrs. At the heir of the Buddhism’s training centre [yellow] Jamjan building [white] (opposite the Kaew Sarapatnuek Room)
[Refers to Dhammankaya temple’s ordination program for university students. This advertisement invites people to participate in the ceremony to shave the participants’ hair before becoming a monk.
Currently, Dhammachaya, abbot of Dhammakaya temple, is facing an arrest warrant due to money laundering charges.]
From Khaosod, May 29, 2016
The caption reads: Kindergarten students of Dun Sat Community School, Kranuan District, Khon Kaen province are wearing solider uniforms every Thursday as a part of the program Little Soldiers of Princess Mother, to collect garbage. The school said this program aims to teach students discipline.
[This program has been praised by the government education official, but criticized from some groups who see the program as a sign of the increasing militaristic attitude in Thai society under the current junta.]